Halloween horror humbles host

By Doug

NORMAN, Okla. — At Halloween parties, beware of the small and sheeted.
The wind shrieked through the oak tree outside my tiny apartment, sending a barrage of leaves swirling through the air.
A faint mist fell from a dark sky thick with moon-concealing clouds.
It was a perfect Halloween night, and the atmosphere was altogether spooky.
Inside my apartment was a different story. A costumed mixture of friends and acquaintances packed the place, all telling stories of Halloweens past, complimenting each other on their disguises — ghouls and goblins, knights and princesses, Elvises and Marilyn Monroes.
Music played softly under the resounding conversations, and most guests grasped cups of ghoulish brew in clenched claws or gnarled fingers.
I had stationed myself next to the refreshments, keeping the punch bowl full and the dishes of food brimming. I had disguised myself as Iguana Man, my Halloween alter ego that had made his appearance for the past couple years.
Just as the festivities were getting started, the wind kicked up outside and blew through the front door of my apartment with a crash, startling everyone. All conversation stopped abruptly, and all eyes turned to the doorway. The frigid Halloween wind blew into the apartment, bringing a wisp of fog with it, mingling uncomfortably with the silent crowd. The door flapped like a tongue in the doorway’s mouth.
At the door stood a lone child, probably about six or seven, dressed only in a long white sheet with two round eye holes and a slit for a mouth hole. The child had a small cloth bag, which he stretched outward to us and said in a sweet, clear voice, “Trick or treat.”
Unfortunately, I had forgotten to buy any treats, so I told the sheet-clad child that he was out of luck. The child paused, and then cocked his head sideways.
“Are you suuuuuure?” the child asked, his voice rising in pitch.
I nodded and apologized again. The child nodded slowly in return and turned toward the sidewalk. Thinking nothing of it, my guests and I shut the door and returned to drinks and conversation.
A few minutes later, I noticed to my dismay that the crowd was beginning to thin. I found this strange, since I really hadn’t seen anybody leave. In fact, some of my good friends were missing, but I figured they had probably gone on a ghoulish brew run and would be back.
But people continued to disappear, and I couldn’t figure out where they were going. The front door hadn’t opened for 30 minutes.
Then I saw him. The child from before was mingling among the crowd, his white sheet brushing among the guests and his empty treat bag dangling loosely from one hand. But before I could grab him to ask him what he was doing in my apartment, a friend dressed like Ross from “Friends” pulled me toward the kitchen, asking for a margarita for his date, who had made a noble effort at looking like Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel.
So I rummaged in my freezer, practically climbing inside the case looking for a can of frozen mix. After a few minutes of exploration, I hadn’t found anything. So I turned to tell Ross that he better try something else, but he wasn’t there. In fact, no one was there.
My apartment was empty.
“Hello?” I shouted into the empty living room, stunned.
No reply came. Then I felt something tugging on the back of my jeans. I turned to find the child in the white sheet looking up at me. The eyes peering from the eyeholes were glowing crimson, and the slit of a mouth opened to reveal rows of sharp teeth stained red in a disfigured, terrifying grin.
“What did you do with my friends?” I stammered, not believing my eyes.
“I ate them,” the thing masquerading as a child replied in a deep, mocking chuckle.
Horrified, I felt as if I might faint.
“Are you… are you going to eat me?” I managed to stutter.
Chuckling louder, the thing leaned closer and whispered.
“No. You’re in luck. I’m full.”
With this, the creature disappeared out my door.
Moments later, my friends returned from their hiding places outside and laughed at me for a long time. The “trick” was up.
Needless to say, I left my own party not only to get away from my friends imitating my “Are you going to eat me?” line, but also to buy some treats.
Just in case.