Eerie tales from the Shannon Crypt

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love carving pumpkins, I love watching “Young Frankenstein” and I love sucking Dots out of my fillings. If I’m having a bad day, just watching a “Simpsons’ Halloween Special” will completely change my mood. In honor of this most sacred holiday I present three horrifyingly true tales in Shannon Herstory. Happy Halloween!
***
I was Curly.
My friends were Moe and Larry. Moe and I were hiding in the shrubs on the curb near my house. It was Halloween and we were waiting for Larry to come up the sidewalk. The plan was to jump out of the dark bushes and tackle her. But Larry was late.
“Where the hell is Larry? My legs are killing me,” Moe said as she popped the last bite of a Milky Way into her mouth.
“I don’t know but this wet grass has completely soaked my trousers.”
I pushed the foliage away from my shower cap, which was beginning to make my head itch. It was just like Larry to be late. Even though she was supposed to be a man, I knew Larry would show up in lipstick and smelling like a Dayton’s perfume counter.
“The ground isn’t wet.”
“What?” I asked.
I was too busy watching a group of monsters shuffle down the street. I strained to see how full their pillow cases were.
“I said the ground isn’t wet.”
Moe was starting to look alarmed. She grabbed my hand. Hard.
“Oh my God, you’re sitting on a squirrel.”
Moe was right. I was sitting on a squirrel or what had once been a squirrel before it had become a MANGLED MASS OF ROAD KILL!
I was stark naked before I even reached the porch. When I got into the living room I continued to run in circles, shrieking. Moe had to explain the situation to my mother and to Larry — who had just shown up looking ready for the runway. A half an hour later we left the house as Larry, Moe and Frankenstein. I had recovered from the squirrel incident and was ready to stuff myself with candy.
***
Mom let me wear eye shadow. It was the first time I had gotten to use makeup. I had a beautiful dress and a sparkly wand. I was 4 and quite possibly the most beautiful princess in the whole world.
I hopped around the house, unable to control my joy, while Mom dug my warmest coat, a pair of mittens, earmuffs and a scarf from the closet. I saw the pile of winter gear on the floor and stopped hopping.
“Shannon Frances Scott you aren’t going anywhere until you put on these clothes.”
Frances meant she had already won. I cried when I put on the coat and it covered all my beautiful sequins. Unmoved, Mom handed me a Kleenex and put on my ear muffs.
It was the first time I had trick-or-treated in my new neighborhood. I grabbed Mom’s hand and let the dark night surround me. Everything seemed to contain magic — the strobe lights, the jack-o-lanterns, the box of raisins my elderly neighbors gave me. Kids in costumes crowded the streets and although they all seemed to tower over me, I wasn’t afraid. When a big boy wearing an eye patch swooped at me with his fake knife, I relished every moment. The ghosts, goblins and witches had become my element.
And my adorability was earning me a haul.
On the way home I let Mom carry the pillow case. I was more tired and happy than I had ever been in my whole life. I decided I was going to be a witch the next Halloween. Or maybe a pirate. I leaned my head against Mom’s hip and the glitter wand slipped from my mitten-covered hand. When I turned around to pick it up, I noticed a gorilla was following us.
Mom noticed him too. The gorilla pounded on his chest and started running toward us. Mom stood still for a moment, then she grabbed my hand and we started running. I don’t know if the gorilla meant to mug me for my candy or if it was my pretty Mom he was interested in — I never found out. We outran the gorilla easily. Whoever it was, they were too fat to match our pace.
When we got inside, I immediately dumped my candy on the floor. As I watched the “Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” I divided my plunder and ate all the licorice. (Little knowing that by midnight I would see all that licorice again).
***
I was bending over a jack-o-lantern, trying to light a candle, while balancing an umbrella over my shoulder. It was a cold, rainy Halloween and I was doing a miserable job of trying to impress my new boyfriend.
After the candle died out for the zillionth time I came back into the porch looking like a wet rat. He thought that was funny. But since I had spent 20 minutes primping my hair, I did not laugh.
My heart raced when I brought him into the house, which was filled with my mother’s friends. My “aunties” (as I lovingly refer to them) are a bunch of cackling, hilarious, magical women. My boyfriend and I walked into their candlelit room and I just knew the centerpiece would burst into flames as it had done every year. The aunties looked him up and down to see if he was worthy of my companionship. Before they could make a decision, I grabbed his arm and pulled him up the stairs.
I had just settled him into my room when the telephone rang. My best friends were still hanging onto tradition.
“Come on Shannon, you know you want to. We’re going as an orange and an apple. If you hurry over I can guarantee you the pear,” Moe said.
“I can’t talk right now … I’m kind of busy.”
“He’s over there, isn’t he? Fine, just don’t expect us to share our candy.”
I hung up the phone and a huge roar of laughter shook the floor. It was followed by the smell of burning hair. I gave a nervous laugh and told him I’d be right back. I ran into my mother’s room in search of something normal.
I had to prove to this guy, who was sitting on my bed, right now, that I wasn’t a freak or a witch or a piece of fruit. I grabbed a deck of cards and ran back into my room.
“Normal people play go fish,” I thought.
I had shut my bedroom door before I realized that I was holding a deck of my mother’s Animal Medicine cards. So much for normality. I popped a piece of chocolate into my mouth and resigned myself to reading his Animals.
The only one I can remember is squirrel.
Shannon Scott’s column appears on Thursdays. She welcomes comments to [email protected]