I was sick of Christmas songs by Thanksgiving.
A new record! Maybe next year it will be Halloween?
I was sick of Christmas songs by Thanksgiving.
A new record! Maybe next year it will be Halloween?
Aspen 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?
Her 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.
It 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.
Aspen 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 walked.
“Hello?” he said, opening the door just a crack.
“Tricks or Treats.” Aspen smiled widely, showing all her fangs.
“Oh, 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.”
Aspen giggled. “It’s me, Aspen. I want to see your best tricks, please.”
And 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.
Mr. 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.
Hours 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.
The 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.
The 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.
“Daddy tax. I get all the brussel sprouts,” he declared.
Aspen gave him a stern princess glare. “That’s not fair. You can’t have all of them.”
“What a scary princess you are.” Dad grinned. “You win. We’ll share them.”
“And Mom too,” Aspen said. “Did you do tricks or treats this year?”
“Treats. 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?”
Aspen 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?”
I want to be a vampire butterfly unicorn princess for Halloween.
I’m fine with that…if you’re making the costume.
It is fall, and that means a change of wardrobe for the flower fairies. There are just a lot fewer fresh flower petals to stitch into stylish fairy dresses. And so, they’re left with colorful but stiff and scratchy fall leaves.
Of course, some fairies gather the long blades of grass to weave into lovely gowns. Unfortunately, this means that they are up weaving before dawn to get dressed for the day. Getting up early is difficult when so many fairies stay up late to dance by moonlight.
They know it won’t be long until it’s too cold to be out at all. By winter, the flower fairies will all be burrowed deep in hidden nests to sleep through the winter. The frost fairies will take over their duties while they’re finally able to get some much needed rest.
The flower fairies are so tired in the fall after using their earth magic to help things grow and bloom and painting the world with color and singing with the bird choirs and encouraging baby birds and butterflies to hatch. Tired fairies having to dress up in itchy scratchy leaf dresses means the fairies are very grumpy in the fall. Grumpy fairies often play mean tricks.
This is why you set something down somewhere safe in the fall and you can’t find it again for months and months. You won’t find it. The fairies hid it and won’t give it back until they wake up feeling guilty in the spring.
This is also why your yard is filled with leaves an hour after you finish raking. And why your dog barks at nothing all the time. And why your never-fail cookie recipe goes completely flat when you need the cookies to turn out well.
You may think that this means that grumpy flower fairies are to blame for all of the pranks that happen around Halloween. Actually, they love Halloween when people are happy and sharing with their neighbors. They love the positive energy, and those nice big pumpkins with warm candles inside are the perfect spot to gather and tell stories.
There are also pieces of costume and small candy wrappers left around for a silly evening fashion show. They especially love the shiny metallic wrappers that look like the reflective surface of a perfectly still puddle. It’s even better if the wrappers still smell sweet.
Flower fairies don’t hang on to their treasures. But it is fun to dress up and compare looks and tell stories just for one night. They know that soon, very soon, it will be time to sleep for a season.
Many people put out birdseed for the birds during the cold weather. Some people even put out food for stray cats. But not many people remember the poor flower fairies.
Consider planting some flowers that will bloom late. Sunflowers are a good choice. Some varieties of roses bloom late, too. Do a search and plant some seeds if you are able. The fairies will be grateful, and you may be able to find your car keys when you need them. It’s worth a try.
If you’re going for the scary look, you need to smile less.
Marianne and Charlie were out gathering materials for a book report diorama. Charlie was certain that he could make an amazing replica of Willie Wonka with twigs and clay if he could only find the right twigs. Isaac offered to come along, but Marianne said that he didn’t have the eye of an experienced crafter, so he stayed home.
It was for the best. He had bills to pay and paperwork to fill out, and he needed to stop putting it off. He’d get right to work, just as soon as he had a snack. He needed to sharpen some pencils too.
Actually, it turned out that there were a lot of things that he really should get done. There was that wobbly chair leg, and didn’t the bathroom faucet leak? Isaac was halfway to the garage for his toolbox before he stopped himself. Procrastination wasn’t the answer here.
And so he sat down at the kitchen table with all the paperwork spread out in front of him and got to work. It was never as bad as it seemed. In fact, in less time than he expected, he was addressing the last envelope and setting it on the pile of things to send.
Just then, the doorbell rang. Isaac stood up and stretched. He hadn’t heard Marianne and Charlie come home yet, so he was the only one home to answer the door.
When he opened the door, the man on the front step burst into song. He was dressed in black from head to toe and carrying a scythe, but he was smiling as he sang, so he seemed friendly.
“On the first day of Halloween, my true love gave to me a vulture in a dead tree…”
The man continued singing. Two hooting owls, three ravens, four squeaking bats, five spider rings…all the way to thirteen trick-or-treaters. Isaac applauded when he finished.
“So, you’re a Halloween caroler?”
The man turned away and put in some plastic vampire teeth. He turned back and grinned. “Yesh.”
“Isn’t it a little early? Halloween is more than a month away.”
The man shrugged and his black cloak rustled. “We’re already halfway through Halloween sheashon.” He turned and took the teeth out, shoved them in his pocket, and then began singing again.
“We wish you a happy Halloween… and a night full of fear. Now give me a candy apple…”
When the man began singing about how he wouldn’t leave without a candy apple, Isaac felt a little nervous. He really wasn’t prepared for carolers. Nevertheless, he applauded the caroler and hurried back to the kitchen. He returned with the fruit bowl.
“I have dairy-free, sugar-free, tree-friendly caramel apples.” Isaac held out the bowl of apples. “Take several.”
The man put in the plastic vampire teeth again and looked into the bowl. “I shuppose they are healthier that way,” he said at last. Then he took two apples and dropped them into a bag that had been sitting behind him, hidden by his black robes. It looked nearly full.
“Is that all caramel apples?” Isaac asked, impressed.
“No, moshtly candy.”
“People buy candy this early? It’s not even October.”
“It’s Halloween sheashon. Why do you think they have it in shtoresh thish early?”
“I guess that makes sense. Thank you for the carols.”
The man nodded and left. Isaac took the bowl back to the kitchen and filed away the paperwork. He left the stack of things to put in the mail on his desk.
At this point, he decided the wobbly chair leg and the leaky faucet could probably wait another week. He sat on the couch and read until Marianne and Charlie came home. He nearly finished a chapter.
“We had a Halloween caroler,” he announced.
“Did you give him candy from the bowl in the pantry?” Marianne asked.
“What candy? We have candy for carolers?” Isaac started going through the pantry. There was a bowl of mini candy bars on the top shelf.
Marianne looked over his shoulder. “Of course we do. Why do you think they have the candy in stores this early?”
“What did he sing?” Charlie asked.
“Well, it was a little strange. They were Christmas songs with Halloween words.”
Charlie rolled his eyes. “That’s what makes them Halloween carols. It’s too bad we missed it. I can’t believe you didn’t give him any candy.”
“I gave him apples. They’re healthy.”
Charlie frowned. “I’m glad mom buys the Halloween candy we give out.”
“Why have I never heard of Halloween carols? I didn’t even know there’s a Halloween season! When did this all happen?” Isaac wondered if they were playing some kind of trick on him. But Marianne and Charlie just looked at each other and shrugged.
“I don’t know, Dad. Maybe you were always reading or something and missed it.” Charlie held up a bag and shook it up. “We’re going to work on my diorama. Do you want to help?”
They were inviting him to help with a craft project? Carolers and Halloween season forgotten, Isaac happily followed them into the kitchen. He loved books, so he was certain to be a lot of help with book report dioramas. How hard could it be?
It turns out that it was harder than he thought.