A Halloween Encounter

horse-hole

The yellow smudge of a setting sun slipped behind the trees leaving a warm glow to the field.  Nightbirds scattered, roosting in the trees while insects droned on in a constant monotony. The air felt cooler after the heat of the day. Ground fog swirled around the grasses casting eerie shadows on the ground. The evening gloom was rapidly approaching. I shivered in anticipation.

Not far off in the field, our two neighbor horses steadily crunched grass, their teeth reflecting bone-white in the rays of the setting sun.  It was Halloween night – All Hallows Eve.  Children would soon fill the neighborhood with the sounds of laughter, as they went from house to house showing off their costumes and collecting treats.

2014-12-25-13-30-03

My eyes drifted toward the horse hole which was visible in the fading light.  The horses visited me daily looking for handouts of carrots or even an occasional apple. They hung their necks through the opening, all the while munching, as I rubbed their velvety noses.  They were the best neighbors.

I was ready this time. Last Halloween I ran out of candy early. This year I made sure I had plenty of treats to hand out to the kids. My pumpkins were lit, and the decorations spread around the front porch were inviting – not too scary for the little kids. I made myself comfortable in a chair and sipped a glass of wine, enjoying the descending darkness.

The kids came from every corner of the neighborhood, dressed as fairy princesses with dainty shoes, green colored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, skeletons, Count Dracula’s, monsters of every variety you could imagine. Babies were dressed up as bugs, teddy bears, and even a vampire baby stopped at my door to receive a treat.

The darkness filled the neighborhood. The street lights were lit, and a warm glow cast long shadows on the road. The children ran ahead of their parents, filled with excitement.  Parents milled about in small groups watching their kids, always near. I smiled at the sounds of laughter which completed the friendly Halloween atmosphere. I couldn’t help but marvel at how cute the kids were, enjoying the banter they exchanged with their friends.

By late evening, most of the children and parents were finished with Trick or Treat and were heading home. A few crying fairies stomped their way behind their parents, mad because the great adventure was over for another year.

I cleaned up the porch and put away the decorations in the storage bin.  It was a lovely Monday night, unusual for this time of year. I refilled my glass and walked out back to the patio which overlooked the field where the neighbor horses grazed.

scotland-1719084_1920

The view was amazing. Stars lightly sprinkled the sky spread out like a mantle overhead. The warmth of the day had dissipated, and I could feel the coolness creep in between the folds of my sweater. I sipped my wine and appreciated the spectacular beauty of the night sky.

Suddenly, the most obnoxious odor seemed to waft, thick like a fog, drifting in the air around the horse hole. Far in the distance, I could hear the neighbor horses running as their thundering hooves hit the ground. They ran hard, and their frightened cries filled the field. I was rooted to the spot, unable to move. My heart leaped into my throat, and I couldn’t breathe.

It was then, in the inky blackness of the field that I saw him – the Headless Horseman! His profile glowed in the shimmery darkness of the horse hole! A large orange head burned with an intensity that scared me deep into my bones. I felt the wine glass fall from my hand and shatter on the ground. Shards of glass flew into the air, spraying bits of glass into my hair.

headless-horseman

(Image Credit: Telltale Games)

The horseman’s black steed snorted flashes of lightning through his muzzle, and his blood-red eyes glared at me.  The creature balanced a glowing Jack-o-lantern in his right hand. I could see him clearly, and there was NO head. The apparition was so lifelike that I could make out the buttons on his coat which were visible in the light from the glowing pumpkin.

I swallowed hard and felt my eyes popping out of my head. I stared transfixed at the horse hole for what seemed like hours but was only, in reality, a few seconds. The Headless Horseman whirled about on his black steed and disappeared into the blackness. The fog churned in great billows and drifted about the field in his wake.

Slowly, the smell faded. The fog grew thicker, and moisture dripped from the leaves on the trees. I trembled uncontrollably. All around me, I heard no sounds. My breaths came in great gasps. I whirled around, trying to catch my breath. I stopped to gaze once again at the horse hole. It was dark – just swirling fog and an eerie quiet which lingered, jangling my nerves.

He was gone. I felt my heart pound a quick staccato in my chest. With great effort, I relaxed my tightened muscles and walked toward the horse hole for one last look. My shoes crunched in the ruins of the wine glass beneath my feet. Behind me, inside the house, a light came on in the kitchen which illuminated the patio outside.

“Colleen, it’s getting late. Come inside,” my husband, Ron called out to me.

“On my way.” I surveyed the area one last time. I took my time walking toward the back door. My thoughts milled about in my head. How could I tell him what had just happened without him laughing at me?

Maybe I better keep this encounter to myself, I thought. Too much wine and a tad too much chocolate could be the answer to my vision. I shook my head at the broken wine glass on the patio, realizing that red wine would stain the concrete. The stain had already spread, and a dark patch of discoloration was visible beneath my feet. With a shrug, I turned and walked away.

I traipsed into the house, locked the door, and turned off the light.That was enough Halloween for this year.

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my scary encounter from when we lived in Florida! ❤ True story! 😀

happy-halloween

An Essay on the Importance of Halloween in American Society

Halloween has become one of the most celebrated retail holidays in our American culture although the roots of the holiday are shrouded in religious beliefs that have survived from the beginning of time. Think of Halloween and visions of costumes, jack-o-lanterns and candy appear. Lots of candy! But the earliest celebrations of Halloween symbolize the eternal struggle between good vs. evil which is still representative in our society today.

According to Maggie Black, Halloween, All Hallows Eve or Hallowtide includes Halloween evening and the feast of All Saints followed by All Souls’ Day (October 31st to November 2nd) and has a history rich in religious traditions that originated with the Celtic feast of Samhain which celebrated the end of summer and the harvest. (60) The Celts believed that on Halloween the dead walked the earth again and this brought much fear to the people. (60) Early agricultural societies revolved around the seasons and as summer traveled into fall and the warming influence of the sun waned, they began preparations for the long hard winters. The bounty that was evident from the summer harvest provided the perfect backdrop for a celebration. The Celts looked to the seasons to answer questions they had about their own existence and I believe this natural progression of the seasons caused them to try to explain how they thought their world operated back then.

2014-10-27 05.54.20

During the harvest celebration, the Celts also celebrated their dead which is also explained by the season of fall and associated with death. Bonfires were lit to drive the evil demons away and protect the souls that were still earthbound. Great feasts were held to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and religious rites were performed to purify the people for another year so they could produce another bountiful harvest the following year. As Christianity developed throughout the world, some of the more basic traditions from the Celts followed with the Halloween holiday. Gradually, demons became witches and Halloween in America settled into a celebration of the harvest and the bounty that the summer produced.

I recall as a child attending Halloween parties that were focused on the harvest of fall. Apples, nuts, pumpkins and gourds were readily found in the fall. Pumpkins were carved to symbolize laughing or crazy faces as if to mock the evil spirits from long ago. Costumes were worn as a disguise and I wondered if that was so the evil would not recognize my true form and find me. These Halloween traditions have followed us into the Twenty First Century.

Halloween has become one of the most important retail holidays celebrated in America today. At its humble beginnings, Halloween consisted of carved pumpkins and homemade costumes and Trick-or-Treat. I remember the thrill when I tromped up to a neighbor’s house all dressed up in a disguise and shouted out, “Trick or Treat!” It was equally thrilling when a full size Milky Way bar or some other precious sweet that I loved was deposited into my treat bag.

The retail phenomenon began about fifteen years ago. Suddenly, everyone had a lawn display that consisted of ghoulish graveyards, huge blowup Frankenstein monsters or black cauldrons boiling some smelly concoction. Hidden stereos spewed forth scary sounds in decibels high enough to make your toes curl! Neighborhoods had contests with one another and their neighbor’s yards were crammed with every imaginable Halloween decoration that is available for sale today.

outdoor-halloween-decorations

(Image credit: Outdoor Halloween Decorations)

“Halloween is becoming more sophisticated as people start taking their celebrating seriously,” says Kathy Grannis, a spokesperson for the National Retail Federation. “It’s a fun, stress-free holiday that allows you to be as creative as you want to be.” (Herbst 1) Coupled with that, the retailers want you to spend your money on their Halloween themed items. Halloween displays typically show up in stores across America before the kids have gone back to school in many cities! Halloween is big money in the retail world and we Americans have created a monster in sales.

“The average American will spend nearly $60 to celebrate Halloween this year. Consumers spend the most on costumes, averaging about $22 a person, followed by decorations, candy, and greeting cards.” (Herbst 1) Decorations are fueling the retail industry. Everyone wants to recreate their favorite horror movie scene or have the best graveyard on the block. No Halloween party in America is complete without cobwebs and giant spiders stretched across your ceiling! Besides that, the retailers remind us with every advertising venue possible that it is not fun to Trick or Treat at a house with no decorations!

Halloween is fun because it allows everybody to let loose and be something they are not. When you buy into Halloween, you buy into the fantasy of Halloween. Because our unemployment percentages are at the highest levels in years and so many people are out of work, Halloween has become the ultimate way to pretend that your life is better. As Americans, we need diversions that give us cause for celebration. Halloween does that. It’s the one night a year to live in a fantasy and then return to the reality of your life the next day.

Halloween is still about the fall season and signifies the first holiday of the traditional American holiday season. Just like the Celts long ago celebrated the harvest and the end of the summer, today we share the same thirst for the fall celebration. The religious overtones of the holiday have been replaced with a more commercial view of Halloween that is like an offering and a hope to keep all that is evil at bay. I think the Celts would understand.

Works Cited

Black, Maggie. “Saints and Soul-caking.” History Today 31.11 (1981): 60. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 9 Oct. 2010.

Herbst, Moira. “The Booming Business of Halloween.” BusinessWeek Online (2006): 1. Academic SearchComplete. EBSCO. Web. 9 Oct. 2010.

2014 © Copyright-All rights reserved www.silverthreading.com

Thanks for stopping by to see what I am up to.  It is Halloween Week and I look forward to seeing you again!

Silver Threading