There was a little boy who was afraid of Halloween. Not just of the shrieking ghost and ghastly ghouls of the season, but even of the trick-or-treaters who came to his door. Who knew what lay behind those masks? Certainly not the kids next door! He was afraid of it all, from the decorations to dark night lit by a silvery full moon.
As a toddler, the little boy would look out the window and see the wind moving the decorations. He was too little to know it was the wind, instead thinking the ghosts and witches and scarecrows were real. The little boy was also afraid of the neighbor’s dog that guarded its family’s decorations by taking up sentry on the front lawn. The little boy would look out the window and shrink back. His mother told him again and again that none of this was real – it was all make believe. His pre-school teacher told him, too.
This particular year, they were going trick-or-treating. “It’s all make believe,” his mother reminded him. “Not real, okay?” He nodded, but he still wasn’t convinced. So off they went on Halloween night, door to door to get candy in his plastic pumpkin. The little boy liked this part. But then he went to the house across the street. The neighbor’s dog was nowhere in sight, so he breathed a small sigh of relief. Clenching his mother’s hand, he noticed the decorations not moving in the wind. “Make believe – not –,“ he told himself while he closed his eyes tight and bit his lip. He opened them to see something white trailing toward them down the walk and he was ready to scream, heart beating wildly, when he saw a tail at the end of that ghost! Hey, wait a minute! It was the little dog! The little dog had become tangled in the ghost decoration and was running, trying to free himself, while at the same time greeting the boy. He laughed with delight.
The little dog wasn’t so bad after all, and there really was no such thing as ghosts! All along his mother and teachers were right – it is all make believe. He began enjoying Halloween each year after that and now is no longer afraid. That little boy was once in all of us, too – do you remember?
Submitted by reader Jeanne McCarthy of Wareham