Happy Halloween, News readers. Let's take a break from the usual Vocal Local to enjoy a tale told by a grandfather to his grandson:
The night before Halloween, a little boy lay restless on the bed; the sounds of fireworks in the distance distracted him from his thoughts until a passing car's headlights illuminated the room, filling the walls with shadows that make his imagination run wild. Quickly hiding under the sheets, he drops one of his toys on the floor; the noises attract footsteps down the hallway, the sounds of hard-soled shoes echo louder and louder as they get closer. The little boy hears his bedroom door creak as it opens. He clutches the blanket tight above his head, his breathing getting heavier as he feels his bed move as an unknown person sits down beside him. He feels a hand grab the blanket and move it to the side; he looks up and sees an elderly man sitting on the edge of his bed.
"Grandpa, I thought you were a monster," the boy says. His grandpa pats him on the head.
"It's okay to be scared, son. Sometimes it helps us feel alive to be scared." Grandpa looks sees a Halloween mask poking out from under a pile of clothes. "Are you going to wear your costume tomorrow?" The boy shakes his head, prompting grandpa to ask why.
"I don't like it; it's too scary, grandpa. All the costumes that everyone has are scary, why do people like to dress like monsters?" Grandpa pats his grandson's head again.
"Long time ago, dressing up like monsters was meant to keep the real monsters from harming you. It was believed that one day a year, spirits from the spirit world cross over to our side to visit their loved ones. So everyone would get together and hold big family feasts that night. They would set an area for their loved one to sit, and even have their own plate of food." Grandpa pauses as more fireworks are lit in the distance.
"Grandpa, don't stop, keep going."
"Now not all these spirits were friendly, some of them were very bad and wanted to harm people," grandpa said. "So people started to dress up as monsters and ghosts to fool the bad spirits, and guess what? It worked, so every year on the same day; people would make homemade outfits of monsters and ghosts so they can walk around without fear of being hurt by these bad spirits."
"Does that still happen today, grandpa?"
"Everyone has their own beliefs on Halloween, son; this was told to me by my grandfather when I was your age. There is nothing to be afraid of; as long as you wear your costume, the bad spirits won't get you." Grandpa leans over and kisses his grandson. "Now you get some sleep, you got a big day ahead of you."
"OK, grandpa," the boy says as he lies down. Grandpa tucks him in, leaning over to kiss him on the forehead again before.
"You're going to get lots of candy tomorrow; I love you my grandson," Grandpa says.
"I love you too, grandpa," the boy replies as his grandfather leaves the room and closes the door. As he closes his eyes, the door swings open again. He sees his mom standing at the door.
"Baby, it's 2 a.m., why are you still up? Who were you talking to?" she asks as she rubs her eyes.
"Mommy, you didn't see grandpa? He was just in here a second ago."
"Baby, you were dreaming. Go to sleep now."
His mother slowly closes the door, turns to face the wall and looks at a picture of grandpa and an elderly woman. Beneath the picture it says, "We love you both. Gone but not forgotten. RIP 1924-2011." She stares at the picture for a few seconds, her eyes adjust so she can see her reflection in the glass. Behind her, she sees grandpa. She turns around but no one is there. In her son's room, she hears him talking again.
"Grandma, when did you come to visit?"
This story has been passed down from grandfather to grandchild throughout years of wicked Halloween nights that have come and gone. It's your turn to pass on this spooktacular fable. Happy and safe Halloween, ghouls and monsters!