Halfway down a dark, seldom traveled side street on the poor side of town, stood an old two-story shack. The paint was peeling off the clapboard siding and a few cracked windows were held together with cardboard and tape and seemed to give a death rattle when the wind blew.
It had a wrap around front porch, complete with rocking chairs that had been painted a hundred times and were mended with wires and screws.
It was set far back from the street with a long, badly broken walkway leading to the front door. Two huge oak trees flanked the house on either side. A few leaves were still clinging to limbs with their last ounce of strength and lent eerie shadows in the moonlight. It was the perfect setting for a haunted house and Halloween was fast approaching.
The little girl who lived there was excited but at the same time, she was a little frightened. She had always quietly feared Halloween. She was afraid of ghosts and goblins who would rise out of their graves and inhabit your body. She was afraid the Devil would come out, snatch your immortal soul and take you to Hell.
She had heard tales of werewolves and vampires, who would emerge from dungeons and coffins, looking for the blood and brains of easy prey to turn into zombies. Yet she longed to go trick or treating.
When Halloween arrived, she knew that all the neighborhood children were going to dress up in their costumes, expect treats and be ready to get up to mischief, if none were provided.
She also knew that she wouldn’t be one of them as there was no costume for her, nor were there going to be treats to hand out to any children who might come knocking at the door. Costumes and candy cost money and money was something that her grandparents didn’t have.
The little girl hid behind the front door, peering through the glass, watching children walking down the street with their trick or treat bags. They laughed and giggled as they went from house to house.
The soft glow of the street light illuminated clowns, princesses, cowboys and frontiersmen wearing coonskin caps. Their bags were laden and she wondered what scrumptious goodies they might hold.
They would bring their delicacies to school the next day and sneak a piece when the teachers weren’t looking. It was that way every year. Sometimes one of them would give her a piece of their candy. She would be so proud of that piece of candy but she wouldn’t eat it. She would just hold it tightly in her hand until most often, it melted.
They passed by her house because it was dark, with the exception of the dim flicker of a kerosene lamp in the hallway.
There were no carved pumpkins with candles lighting up scary faces sitting on the front steps and the spider webs across the front door were not there for decoration.
She found herself looking for the silhouette of a witch against the full moon. She had always heard that witches were evil. She heard they made potions from eye of newt, legs of frog, lips of fish and tails of alligator. She heard that they could at will, cast a spell and make you grow warts or turn you into a toad.
She watched for hours until her grandma told her it was time to go to bed. She put on her pajamas but sneaked back to take one last look.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. As she peeped through the glass, she saw five children standing on the front porch, screaming “trick or treat!”
The little girl didn’t know what to do, so she ran to tell her grandma. Her grandmas’ eyes were misty as she told her that she didn’t have anything to give to the children…but they kept knocking.
Her grandma went to the kitchen and picked up the only piece of fruit they had, which was an orange. When she made it to the front door, the children had given up and walked away.
The little girl felt so sorry for her grandma. She never forgot how sad she looked as she stood in the doorway, holding that single orange.
This is a true story.