Yellow, orange, and red maple leaves vied for attention on our front yard tree. Our neighbour’s ginkgo seemed to transform itself from green to a uniform yellow overnight. Pumpkins and other gourds adorned walkways, stairs, and porches. Some were carved into jack-o’-lanterns while others remained pristine. Skeletons hanging from tree limbs swayed in the autumn breeze, while black cats with evil-looking yellow eyes peered from behind bushes encrusted with plastic spider webs. Seasonal banners hanging from porch roofs completed the picture of a suburban neighbourhood ready for trick or treaters.

At our house, I’d installed a candy chute, a piece of plastic downspout I attached to our front stair railing. When the hordes descended on us, we could stand on our porch and launch the sugary treats down the spout into baskets and bags. It would provide the mandatory social distancing and entertain the masked marauders.

As afternoon became evening, Mother Nature stepped up. Fog swirled around houses and trees, stirring the multicoloured leaves littering the ground. The city lights, augmented by a harvest moon rising above the eastern horizon, gave the fog an eerie orange glow.

The ambience was perfect. But we heard no screeching of childish voices and saw no black-hatted witches or fairy princesses waving their magic wands. Where were the sidewalk clogging goblins and ghosts with their pillowcases or pumpkin-shaped plastic baskets?

COVID-19’s second wave had descended upon us. The Celtic celebration of Samhain, or as we call it, Halloween, wasn’t to be. Civic governments discouraged celebration of the ancient harvest festival, and parents wouldn’t send their youngsters door to door demanding treats.

This latest salvo in the pandemic story was truly scary. When, if ever, would life return to normal?

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    musing mind
    musing mind(@musing-mind)
    2 years ago

    Great story as usual. Very relevant to the current situation.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    2 years ago

    I love your descriptions Alan, your writing is so visual that you can really picture the scene that you’ve set. Such a shame that all that work has to go to waste.

    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    2 years ago

    Such a colourful visual story Alan, I could picture the scene so vividly. I struggle with descriptions so kudos to you! I really enjoyed your story but how sad that what should have been an evening of fun was ruined by this terrible virus.

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    2 years ago

    A different take on Halloween stories, Alan, and a great one! I like the way you built up the expectations and then let them come tumbling down with the scary discovery that no witches or screaming children are in sight. You have a great way of handling the language. I loved the expression “the masked marauders”!

    Eric Radcliffe
    Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
    2 years ago

    Hi Alan, here we are still handcuffed by this Virus, still under lock down, and your story is even more relevant. When you said others can do the ”Creepy Stuff” please don’t let that take away the fact that there are other ways and means in how we express it in our writing. I thought your story expressed the horror of the Virus to a ”T”. Well written.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    This story is so relevant to the current pandemic. You bring a different kind of Halloween and gave us a clue on how to celebrate it while complying with the rules of social distancing and wearing masks.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Alan Kemister
    2 years ago

    Yes, same here Alan. There’s a different kind of vaccine rolling out, but they are following some priority list on who gets vaccinated first, that’s why still the cases are rising in number and some places are lockdown again for the third time. We are relying only on social distancing, Faceshield, facemask, and proper handwashing.

    Last edited 2 years ago by Lotchie Carmelo
    Katerina Bizirtsaki
    Katerina Bizirtsaki(@katerina-bizirtsaki)
    2 years ago

    What a wonderfully detailed story, Alan! Congratulations!

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