No Need for Halloween
When my twin brother and I were five years old, Halloween was still unknown in Sweden. October days were designed to be gray, dull, and devoid of exciting adventures.
But one evening we were in for a surprise. When we approached the street’s vacant lot, we heard some bigger and braver boys screaming. They were collecting swearwords, insults, and provocations, which they catapulted across a high fence. The offenses were aimed at an older man who was doing his best to defend his honor by promising the boys a good beating as soon as he got a chance. Anger had colored his face dark red.
Like two shy fawns, my brother and I ventured closer. Children who dared to challenge adult authority were an unknown continent to us.
Unfortunately, the thrilling entertainment didn’t last long. The man unexpectedly turned around and entered his house. The regular October grayness was back.
But suddenly, a scream was heard and a boy pointed towards the street corner. The angry man had rounded the block and was now approaching us like a threatening thundercloud.
Only two of the boys reacted with fear and started running: the two innocent, timid fawns. As a predator, the man caught on to the scent of fear, ran past the crowd of impertinent boys, and came after us.
Inside the apartment building, my brother chose our home in search for cover, while I headed for the place I most feared: the dungeon-like, dark basement. Without turning on the lights, I ran to the furthermost part where I squeezed myself in behind a cement wall.
After a short respite, I heard two men coming downstairs: the wicked man, but also my father! As their voices came closer, I held my breath, fearing that the intense beating of my heart would reveal me, and that a hairy butcher’s arm would find me and finish me off.
But just before that happened, the two men turned around and left. The danger was over and I could start breathing again.
With fear, loneliness, and darkness as my childhood trinity, who needed Halloween?