By Amy McCollom
For a lot of people, October means pumpkin spice and everything nice, colors of orange and gold and red, hayrides and wiener roasts, and cool nights wearing hoodies. For other people, October means Halloween! Some people just love the ghoulish, scary, haunted houses, jack-o-lanterns, and costume parties. If you have small children, take heed. A couple of my kids have been scarred for life after a well-meaning sibling just had to show them a frightening mask they found in the Halloween aisle at the Big Mart store. It’s all good, they have pills for that now.
If you have any phobias, leaving your house during Halloween season is not for the faint of heart. Whatever you are afraid of is surely glowing, glittered, giggling and readily available to scare your pants off at a store near you: spiders as big as your firstborn, skeletons so real they could be used in medical school, eyeballs that you could get for great uncle Harry in case he loses another one, even growling severed dog heads. (Ok, that one was kind of cool.)
For me, it is bats. I had a scary experience a long time ago when I was staying in a large house by myself. The first night a bird kept flying through the house, and into my room, swooping down over my head. I was scared to move. I finally called my dad, and he told me to get a broom and chase it out of my room and shut the door. He told me the next day that it was not a bird, but a bat. Birds do not fly at night. I had the heebie-jeebies all day! I also didn’t sleep in that house any more until my husband came home from National Guard camp.
When he did come home, he wanted to have a welcome back party for his Army buddies, so we decorated our basement, prepared refreshments, and even set up our band equipment (I was the drummer way back then) to play that night. There were about 50 people crowded in our basement, and the music was pumping. Right in the middle of the party, suddenly everyone started screaming and started running upstairs! Then I saw them. Two bats had swooped out of the chimney shoot and were swooping down over the guests! I got on the floor and ducked behind my bass drum.
I held my drumsticks tight in my hand and was ready to whack at anything that flew my way. Some brave young men tried batting at the flying pests with their hats in one hand, while still holding their cold beverage in the other. Then bang! Suddenly a loud burst of guitar strings blared through the speakers. I looked up just in time to see Joe, our lead guitarist, smack a bat out of the air with the neck of his guitar. Knocked it cold. Someone behind the bar area hollered that they stepped on the other one with their boots, so that was the end of him.
Curious to see one up close, we gathered around the bat that Joe knocked out. It looked like a tiny vampire, with fangs hanging out, blood coming out of its mouth. As we hovered over it, its eyes snapped open and it hissed like a snake. We all jumped back about three feet! Someone might have wet their pants. Not me, but someone.
Somebody had the “great” idea to save it, so they put it in a Pringles can and snapped the lid on it. Then somehow later that night, that Pringles can ended up in our freezer in the kitchen.
I was afraid to get ice cubes for a week. Every time I needed something out of there, I opened the freezer door very slowly, peaking in carefully, pancake flipper in hand. Then one day, wouldn’t you know, that Pringles can just up and disappeared. It was quite the mystery. And that’s all I have to say about that.
I don’t like spiders, but as long as my shoe is bigger, they don’t scare me much. Rats are my friends, so no problem with them. Black cats, well, I have had cats all my life. In fact, cats eat spiders. Ravens? They eat spiders too. Bats, though, are Satan’s butterflies.
Honestly Halloween doesn’t scare me nearly as much as the thought of Thanksgiving, and spending hours with relatives and their different beliefs and attitudes in one room on a cold day. Now THAT is a panic attack waiting to happen. Scary times. Stay safe, my friends.