I freely admit it, I'm not a fan of Halloween. I've never seen the point of celebrating creepy stuff. Perhaps if I'd grown up trick or treating like most American children, I'd feel differently, but I didn't. My mother was adamant that none of her children would go out begging, so we didn't. Except once; she let me trick or treat for UNICEF. That year when I was twelve a large group of us went out with UNICEF jars and ID badges to collect money for poor children in foreign countries. To my surprise, but not to anyone else's, most households gave us treats as well as handfuls of change.
Trick or treaters only came to our rural house on rare occasions when I was a child and my most memorable memories of this quasi holiday are associated with teenagers attempting to get past our dog to tip over our outhouse and of my brothers collecting the green pumpkins and squash from our garden to carve into fearsome faces. These they planted atop fence posts along our long lane. Using some kind of gas to create wicks which flickered when they were lit, they created an awesome scary approach to our home
Hmm, I remember one other Halloween event from my childhood. The school held a carnival and I spent my precious few coins on a caramel apple. I took a bite and lost a tooth.
I allowed my children when they were little to trick or treat, sewed costumes, and passed out treats at the door like all of the other moms. Actually my husband usually passed out the treats and I accompanied the kids on their foray around the block. The first year I let my two preschoolers trick or treat, I naively let them knock on every door. That ended when a completely nude man answered the door at one house. My four-year-old daughter didn't notice. She was just upset because I hustled her away before she got to say "trick or treat" or collect any candy. Her more observant two-year-old brother informed me that the man's mommy should make him put on his clothes.
Over the years various malls and businesses have sponsored trick or treat, churches and community groups often hold "trick or trunk", and schools have held carnivals to keep the children safe from predators, careless drivers, and extreme weather on Halloween night, Supposedly these events make the annual candy fest safer for children, keeps them in out of the cold, and make the evening less expensive for suburban households. These efforts aren't entirely successful since most children just do both.
I won't go into spooky houses and I don't like mean practical jokes, frightening movies and other such means teenagers and adults use to celebrate(?) the gruesome side of Halloween other than to say--not for me.
My grandson left for school this morning lugging a huge bag of candy to share with his classmates--it's the last day of school before a three week break for his year-around track so his class is celebrating Halloween early, minus costumes. His joy and excitement got me thinking about the mixed feelings I have toward this day. I like the fun small children have wearing costumes and collecting treats, but I don't like being scared or scaring others. Because most things remind me of books in some way I compared this to a really good suspense novel and a gory horror book. I like the first with all of its excitement and the urge I feel to read it straight through, but abhor the ones that paint disgusting pictures in my mind and leave me feeling a little sick. I like the uplift on finishing a suspense novel and feel a kind of pride for the human ingenuity the characters exhibited in working out a solution. Horror books just leave me depressed and disgusted.
I was a little surprised to see my new book, Shudder, classified as suspense. Yes, it is suspenseful, but I intended it to stress the social problem of date and spousal abuse. I hope readers will find it covers both areas. During this contest period which will end on Halloween, please comment on anything Halloween related or on any LDS suspense novel you have particularly enjoyed. The winner will receive a signed copy of Shudder and another suspense novel of my choosing (though feel free if you are the winner to give me a list of suspense novels you would like and if I have it, it's yours).