already knew what her costume would be. She was going to be the
princess under the bed and champion the rights of monsters
everywhere. Who else was as brave and strong and amazing?
mom helped her zip up the dress without catching any of her fur in
the zipper. She put her crown on, settling it right behind her third
eye. Aspen grinned at the mirror.
She was missing a baby fang, but otherwise she looked very princessy. It was perfect. She smoothed out her fur and jumped down from the stool.
Aspen was ready for a night of tricks and treats. She picked up her plastic pail and waited by the door. After taking far too many pictures, her mom finally took her out into the delightfully scary sunshine.
was fun to be out so late in the day, when the sun was shining and
casting odd spooky shadows everywhere. Tree branches cast shadows
that looked like human hands reaching out to catch her. Aspen held
her mom’s paws a little tighter and tried not to look at them.
rang her neighbor’s doorbell and waited. Even with her mom right
next to her, she felt a little nervous. She could hear old Mr.
Dragon shuffling to the door. His tail made a swishing sound when he
he said, opening the door just a crack.
or Treats.” Aspen smiled widely, showing all her fangs.
how terrifying!” Mr. Dragon opened the door a little wider. “Is
that the princess under the bed, visiting my old cave? I’d better
show her my best tricks.”
giggled. “It’s me, Aspen. I want to see your best tricks,
so Mr. Dragon breathed fire in the shape of spiders and bats. He
said a spell and one of the firebats was cool enough to sit on her
hand for a few seconds before it flew off with the others, fading
away into the bright sky. Aspen applauded until her paws hurt.
Dragon bowed and smiled, and then he shuffled back inside. His door
clicked shut. Aspen didn’t feel nervous any longer. She raced to
the next house with her mom following behind.
later, her plastic pail was full of treats. She’d collected brussel
sprouts and broccoli and cauliflower and cabbage and radishes and
turnips. Even better, she’d seen so many amazing tricks.
yetis built a snow maze that didn’t melt. The Scottish monsters
could disappear and reappear and did a dance that seemed to take
place in four dimensions. The vampires made the area around their
house dark as night whenever someone knocked on their door. It was
strange to stand on their front porch in the darkness and see
daylight stretch like a curtain around the outside of their lawn.
shadows were smaller and less scary by the time Aspen got home. She
was so tired. She couldn’t remember ever staying up this late. Her
dad took her pail and exclaimed over all the treasures.
tax. I get all the brussel sprouts,” he declared.
gave him a stern princess glare. “That’s not fair. You can’t have
all of them.”
a scary princess you are.” Dad grinned. “You win. We’ll share
Mom too,” Aspen said. “Did you do tricks or treats this year?”
We still have some peas left over. Maybe next year I’ll think of a
good trick to do.” Dad gave her a hug. “It’s time to go to
sleep. Do you need me to tuck you under the bed?”
hugged her mom and then stood up straight and tall. “I can brush
my fangs and get to bed by myself. I’m the princess under the bed.”
She started to walk away and then paused. “Could someone help me
with my zipper?”