Scary House, findingourwaynow.comNote: I had written this story about a Halloween scary house awhile back and thought it worthy enough to republish at this time.

I love Halloween. For me, it is really a non-holiday that is all about fun. We get to dress up and pretend we are someone or something else, eat our favorite candy, ooh & ah over all the little ones who are in costume and, if we’re lucky, have trick or treaters come to our door on Halloween night. What is there not to like about that.

As Halloween approaches it triggers many memories, my true treasure. As always there is one memory that always stands out from all the rest.

Here, is my story.

The Scary House

It was a beautiful fall. The fall leaves were late and had not yet turned, but everyone was anticipating a beautiful show of findingourwaynow.comcolor. The apple orchards near where we lived were heavy with a bumper crop of apples, and the newly pressed apple cider was proclaimed to be the best ever. I was eight years old and couldn’t wait for Halloween. I would always plan and prepare my homemade costume with the enthusiasm of a fashion maven. Every detail had to be just right. Much to my mother’s consternation, I wouldn’t settle for anything other than perfection. My brothers and I would plan our trick or treating route with the precision of a major campaign to make sure we hit the best places for the “Good Stuff”. The best news of all was that Halloween was on a Friday night, which meant we didn’t have the encumbrance of school the next day. It was stacking up to be the best Halloween ever.

At eight years of age, time always seemed to move at a snails pace, especially with holidays like Halloween. The big night would and did finally arrived. We deemed our costumes to be awesome and couldn’t wait to wear them. We lived in a small country town where everyone knew each other by first name. Because of that my brother and I were allowed to go out on our own with the whole evening to ourselves to hit as many houses as possible within the hours allotted. My littlest brother was going out with my Dad to the neighbors near our home, while our Mom stayed home to hand out treats to the hordes of Halloweeners. The hours for trick or treating were set from 7 – 9:30pm. It was 7pm. We were in costume, and we had our plan.

Scary House, findingourwaynow.com

It was a gorgeous night, not too hot and not too cold. The moon was full. The air had that cool, crisp feel with the smells of apples, cinnamon and evergreen that only our memories can recall. We had walked for hours and had filled our treat bags almost to the brim. In kid vernacular, “it was a good haul”. Our plan had been so successful that we had a little over an hour before we were to return home. So we decided to check out a street we had not yet visited.Scary House, findingourwaynow.com

Every small town has a Scary House that no kid in their right mind would EVER approach, much less on Halloween. I will never know what makes a house scary, but all kids know when they see one. This Scary House was on the last street; we decided to try before heading home. Most of the houses on that particular street had their outside lights on, signaling we were welcome to approach. We were now at the end of the street; the Scary House seemed to loom over us, dark and foreboding.

My brother and I stared at the Scary House for a bit discussing whether we were brave enough to approach it. We had just seen a couple of kids race off from that very house as if they were on fire. Common sense was telling us not even to think about knocking on the door of that very Scary House.

I can’t tell you why it was, but there we were approaching that Scary House, walking VERY slowly towards that black, ominous door. Just before we touched the front step, the front door flew open and what stood before us was the BIGGEST man I had ever seen. I mean he was a GIANT. We gasped and stood there for a moment, not sure whether we should run for our lives or approach so we did what any kid would do, we froze.

Scary House, findingourwaynow.com

Then the Giant spoke in a loud, gruff voice. “I SUPPOSE you expect a treat or you’ll trick me, is that right?” Wide eyed, we shook our heads affirming he was correct. The Giant spoke again “Well come on in and we will see what we can do”. My brother, and I looked at each other and then the Giant spoke again while putting his arm around us gently guiding us into the house. “Come on, come on, hurry on in, times a wasting”. Well, now we were in for it. We had no choice but to do what the Giant said.

The Giant lead us into his kitchen, where his wife was waiting. He told us to set down at the kitchen table. At that point, I was starting to think we were in a Hansel and Gretel movie, and we, the kids, were in REALLY big trouble. I remembered the other kids that had been running from the house and wondered if maybe we should have done the same. A thought flashed through my mind, ‘Are we going see our home ever again? Will Mom and Dad know where to find us?’ Then I noticed the most amazing and delicious Scary House, findingourwaynow.comsmell, confirming my Hansel and Gretel suspicions. The Giant smiled the biggest and gentlest smile with a warm laugh that seemed to defy his size. His wife, with a gentle voice and a pat on our backs, complimenting us on our outstanding costumes and then placed a cup of hot spiced cider before my brother and I along with some huge freshly homemade cinnamon donuts. Our fears instantly melted away.

The Giant and his wife introduced themselves as Harry and Mildred. As we scarfed down the donuts and cider, they asked the typical questions adults asked kids, about how we had faired with our treats, what houses and streets had we visited, did we like our teachers, our hobbies and what we liked about our town. The cider and donuts was the most amazing thing I had ever tasted. To say they were the best thing I had ever eaten would have been an understatement. They knew our parents and asked about them. We learned it was their custom to leave the lights off. Any kid was brave enough to approach the Scary House on Halloween would be rewarded with a very special treat. After all, any kid that had the courage to approach the Scary House deserved a reward. It was the best treat we could have ever imagined. They did ask for one thing, to keep their secret and hoped we would come to visit next year. We vowed to keep their secret with the cross your heart and hope to die kind of pledge. As we were leaving the Scary House, Harry, our gentle Giant, handed each of us the biggest candy bar we had ever seen. It WAS the best Halloween any kid could ever have had.

We never shared their secret, except with our parents. As it turned out we did return to that not so Scary House every year until such time where we had outgrown trick or treating and had moved on to other things.

Scary House, findingourwaynow.comAs the years pass I see fewer kids come to our door, but I still look forward to seeing the ones that do, all dressed up, pretending to be something different for that one night. It saddens me that it is not as much fun for the little ones as it was when I was their age. The fact that there are individuals who seem to get some warped sense of enjoyment in causing trouble or doing harm on Halloween is something I will never understand. I do so mourn the loss of that innocent time.

When I think of that Halloween, many years ago, I can still smell the hot spiced cider and freshly made cinnamon donuts and remember the warm generosity of Harry and Mildred. What that gentle giant and his wife taught me, on the scary and fun night, was appearances can be deceiving. We just never know what adventures or rewards awaits when we have the courage to open the door to all life’s adventures.

Happy Halloween!

What are your favorite Halloween memories?

Life’s journey continues…

PS: If you liked this, check out Fortune CookieA Father’s Advises and Fear – A Four-Letter WordWhat are some of your favorite story? If you would like to write a guest post about an experience, I would love to hear from you..

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  • Anonymous

    Susan:

    My favorite memory will be this year for Halloween. My daughter Cassie and I made her costume together. I can't tell you how much fun it is for a little one who is part of the creation process of a costume. We made a blue macaw costume and she looks like a Mardigras nightmare.I'll send you a pic when I can.
    Mel

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Mel: How fun. I can wait to see the pictures. Thanks to you both for your comments. :-)

  • Anonymous

    You know what funny. My favorite halloween memory involves the scary house in Grandview that Susie and I went up to and received cider and cinnamon donuts…how random and weird is that….

    Sarah

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Sarah: That is too funny. It would appear others have done and are doing the same, if not similar things. :-)

  • Susan Cooper

    Sarah: That is too funny. It would appear others have done and are doing the same if not similar things.

    Mel: I can't wait to see the pictures.

    Thanks to you both for your comments. :-)

  • Unknown

    Susan! What a great story :) You have such a great memory :) I love love the illustrations! woohoo! My sister and I planned out our Halloweens too! Oh…the good ol days :)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi There, They really were fun times. weren’t they?

  • shirla6960

    Susan, my siblings and I grew up in a small midwest town in Illinois where every Halloween was cold & rainy. Our spirits, no pun intended, were never doused. Quite the contrary!! We knew our evenings were met with homemade sloppy joes and "pan fried" crinkle cut french fries…that's living. Thanks for the memories!!!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Shirla, Ah, your so welcome my friend, Halloween for any kid is fun not matter what the weather. :-)

  • Elizabeth

    You know what is so funny. It doesn't even have to be Halloween to have a "Scary House" in the neighborhood that you will not dare to go to. We never really celebrated Halloween as children but I remember vividly a house by my aunts. It was red and white and there was an older gentleman that lived there. The story around the neighborhood was that if your ball went on his property and you went to retrieve it, you never returned. Supposedly he kept missing children in his basement. Well to this day I will not step foot near that house. Since I was a found child, the old man has since passed and there have many a few new owners. Funny how those little things stay with us. I know now he was probably harmless but deep down I can't let go of the what if and venture to retrieve a lost ball. Haha

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Elizabeth, A scary house exist every where doesn’t it? Some of these scary house are scarier then other…LOL. I wonder if the ball is still there? :-)

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  • Gina

    What a fun story! And almost right out of a story book too! We had some scary houses in our neighborhood growing up… for very valid reasons and we just did not go there. But I agree with you I wish more kids were out these days. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Gina, Thank you. That is true of where I grew up too. There are scary fun houses and then are really scary houses. There has been a resurgence of trick or treating in our neighborhood and that makes me happy.

  • Rebecca Rider

    Love this story – I can imagine how relieved you must have been when the delicious donuts were presented on the table! :) Thanks for the great Halloween story!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Thanks Rebecca, I really was. I believe I had been holding my breath up until that time, and I sighed a very big sigh when the donuts showed up. :-)

  • Adrienne Jones

    There was one Halloween where I dressed up as Wonder Woman in pajamas made to look like her costume (except I was fully covered). I loved those pajamas! They came with a tiara, bracelets and a lasso. Nice memories are great, aren’t they?

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      That must have the greatest of fun for you. I can just see that in my minds eye, and it makes me smile with you. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/geekgirlusa Cheryl Therrien

    That is such a great story! Courage to face your fears is rewarded in unexpected ways. Love it!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Thanks Cheryl. You are so very right. It was such a great adventure for us at that time. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/YLTL Dan Meyers

    Definitely worth the retell – that all of the new people can enjoy it too! It gets even more ready for Halloween… although I’ve already eaten way too many sweets :)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Dan, Thanks you. It is such a fun memory for me to share. I get that about the candy. I don’t buy it to far ahead of time for that very reason… LOL

  • http://twitter.com/bethanyjolee Bethany Lee

    Another wonderful story! I’m surprised you were brave enough to go near that house. And yes, it is sad that this time of year has changed, but not for everyone. I think there are still many who enjoy it with that same fresh innocense as you once did. :-)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Thanks my friend, I’m not sure why we approached that house. It’s just one of those kid things. Halloween brings out the kid in all of us and I think we are starting to see a resurgence of trick or treating at least in our area. I’m looking forward to it this year. :-)

  • Debbie – Wrinkled Mommy

    So lovely. I felt like I was there with you feeling the same things you did!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hey there Debbie, Thanks so much for your kind words. It was such great experience for us at that age. :-)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hey there Debbie, Thanks so much for your kind words. It was such great experience for us at that age. :-)

  • Liz

    Oh the memories you brought back! What a great story. You wonder how you muster up the courge sometimes. I LOVE your illustrations! Thank you sharing Susan!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Liz, I am so glad I was able to do that for you. You are so welcome and I always enjoy it so when you visit. :-)

  • Jena Isle

    Although it’s not a very common here, your topic holds poignant memories for me too. It’s fun watching the kids dress up and amuse themselves. Even adults enjoy the activity.

    Your personal experience also brought a smile to my lips. The couple must be having a grand time “frightening” children.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Jena, I love seeing the little ones all dressed up pretending to be one of their favorite characters. As you said, it brings a smile to my face. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/ShapeDaily ShapeDaily

    Love this story! The way you wrote it could literally be put into a children’s book. Even though I am still young, I definitely remember times that were more innocent than these days. Going around the neighborhood with your friends, parents stringing along but not too worried about anything bad happening. I do feel bad for kids now that don’t get the freedom we used to have. Great writing!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi there, It please me that you enjoyed my story and thank you much for such high praise.

      The loss of that innocence and these kind of fun times, is truly a very sad thing. My hope is that as time passes, we will see some of it return. :-)

  • Kevin Surbaugh

    It is fun to see the kids dress up. For me though, it is trying to find the right balance, between the innocence you describe and the underlining true meaning that a lot of people to know/understand that exists with Halloween.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Kevin, It really is fun. I do understand what you mean. Truly, finding any kind of balance with anything is never easy. :-)

  • K S Moore

    Hi Susan, really enjoyed reading this. Reminded me of my own few trick or treating nights and yes, there was a ‘scary house’ on my street too. Your illustrations are beautiful! :)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi There, It is so nice to see you here. I am so glad this brought back those memories for you and that you like my illustrations.

  • Claire Cappetta

    Thank you for such a wonderful story. I was never allowed to go Trick or Treating as my mother said it was a form of begging which she would never stoop to… I know don’t ask me to much about the theory behind it… she still behooves me to this day and I’m older now! lol
    I did used to watch movies though of American kids on Halloween and it always seemed to be so much fun.
    We would have to wait until Bonfire Night to have our fun… seems strange now how we couldn’t go out for treats but yet it was so acceptable to see a a raggedy life sized doll of Guy Fawkes being burnt on a fire…
    Your pictures are amazingly beautiful :-)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Claire, That is so interesting. I guess it a form of begging but it’s meant to be in fun not for real. I agree with you about your thoughts about Bonfire Night… LOL.

      It pleases me greatly that you enjoy my drawings… :)

  • Doreen Pendgracs

    Hi Susan: It’s always a pleasure to visit your blog & see the lovely illustrations that accompany your posts.

    How lucky you were to find Harry and Mildred! They sound so warm and caring. How unfortunate it in today’s world that children would never be able to enjoy that kind of special time with strangers. Not only would children not be allowed to venture out on their own, they would never be allowed to enter a stranger’s home or eat the food that was offered them.

    Indeed, I long for the innocence and trustworthiness of days gone by.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Doreen, Thank you for support and comment make me very happy indeed.

      I agree, it saddens me greatly that children today will never have that experience. The good news is, there has been a resurgence of trick or treaters in my neighborhood. That makes Halloween fun again for me.

  • Johnny @ Financial Freedom

    Great story!! I wish I had Halloween memories like that. Things were already starting to turn when I was that age and I believe I’ve only been trick or treating once as a kid ( and had to beg my parents at that). However, I do get great enjoyment out of seeing the smiles on kids’ faces when we pass out candy to them. And now that I have a little one, I can’t wait to take them trick or treating.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Johnny, I hope through trick or treating with your children you can experience some of what you missed when you were their age. Happy Halloween. :-)

  • http://joannerambling.wordpress.com/ Jo-Anne

    What a great story and such great memories of Halloween……………

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Thanks Jo-Anne. Aren’t good and fun memories the best?

  • A.K.Andrew

    Great story Susan – and I loved the illustration of the scary house. I think as children we always create ‘monsters’ where there aren’t any. We had a scary house where a ‘witch’ would throw her head out the window, wild hair all over the place and yell at people. I think she lived with her sister. We didn’t celebrate halloween when I was a children, so I didn’t develop the tradition. I do enjoy the kids coming to the door now though. I have the candy ready!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi A.K., You always so kind and I do so appreciate it. That is interesting story about your scary house. As a kids I am sure that was truly scary for you.

      The nice part about traditions are we have the power to create them, so by sharing treats with the kids, you are doing just that. :-)

  • Carole Jakucs

    Hi Susan, I love your Halloween article! It invokes so many memories for me also. The excitement of the holiday as a child to the fun when experiencing it as an adult either through your own children or others. Great graphics too!. Best regards to you.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Again, Me too. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could retain the child in us as were back then at this time of year? :-)))

  • http://www.facebook.com/carole.jakucs Carole Jakucs

    Great article Susan! It invoked many memories for me; experiencing the excitement as a child and the fun as an adult sharing then holiday with my own children and others at my door. Love the graphics too!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Carol, Thanks. I am so glad that I was able to do that for you with my story. Thanks for stopping by. :-)))

  • http://twitter.com/Craftyandbeast Patrick Huff

    I always loved that one scary house. They always had frightning music and black lights. Surprisingly I wasn’t a big candy eater but I did love to dress up. The carier the better.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Patrick, That is the fun of it. All the spooky music and kids in costumes. It just the best of times. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/m4bmarketing Susan Oakes

    Excellent story Susan and through your words and pictures it is easy to feel what you went through with the scary house. Love the illustration of the cat in the window as it just adds that extra touch.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Susan, How fun that you caught that little detail of the cat.

      It make me so happy that you enjoyed my story. :-)))

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Susan, How fun that you caught that little detail of the cat.

      It make me so happy that you enjoyed my story. :-)))

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Susan, How fun that you caught that little detail of the cat.

      It make me so happy that you enjoyed my story. :-)))

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Susan, How fun that you caught that little detail of the cat.

      It make me so happy that you enjoyed my story. :-)))

  • Janelle

    My youngest is counting down the days till he can trick-or-treat. It’s so fun to see the excitement and the detailed planning that he and his friend are involved in as they plan the best route and their costumes and such. Loved your story so much, Susan!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Janelle, You have to love that. Its like reliving the whole Halloween thing through your kids.

      It pleases me so that you loved my story. :-)))

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Janelle, You have to love that. Its like reliving the whole Halloween thing through your kids.

      It pleases me so that you loved my story. :-)))

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Janelle, You have to love that. Its like reliving the whole Halloween thing through your kids.

      It pleases me so that you loved my story. :-)))

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Janelle, You have to love that. Its like reliving the whole Halloween thing through your kids.

      It pleases me so that you loved my story. :-)))

  • Rosey

    This is a great story. We’re out in the country so the kids don’t come, but we go to the church for trunk-or-treating so the kids get to experience the traditions somewhat. :)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Rosey, Thanks and thank you for visiting. I can imagine that the excitement and fun still exists for your kids with this Halloween event at your church. :-)

  • Pat Ruppel

    Wanted to stop by and say hi Susan – found you by way of Wendy’s nomination for the Liebrist Award list. Love your site – especially in ‘About’ where you show how you make your illustrations. You’re very gifted and talented.
    Take care – Pat

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Pat, It is so nice to have you visit. Thank you so much for your very kind words. Come visit again. You are always welcome. :-)))

  • Lisa Southard

    I miss trick or treaters, living out in the country beyond the reach of street lights. My best halloween was the first time we got a pumpkin- before that we carved turnip lanterns which is hard work! Happy Halloween (found you via Jeremy’s blog hop btw)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi Lisa and welcome. Trick or Treaters are so fun. I am sorry you aren’t able to enjoy that part of Halloween. I agree with you, Pumpkins are allot easier to carve the turnips. :-)

  • http://www.amberrisme.com Amberr Meadows

    What a wonderful memory. There aren’t nearly as many trick or treaters these days, because of safety reasons, and I understand why the parents feel that way, but it sure has messed up the fun for a lot of adults waiting to see adorable kids in their costumes.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Thanks Amberr, I agree. I am hoping that this year I will see more then I usually have. One can always hope. :-)

  • John Barton

    A great story teller – I think “it’s the way you tell’m!” British response of Irish origin!

    Thanks for sharing the memory.

    Regards John Barton

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan Cooper

      Hi John, How kind of you to say that. I do love that phrase. :-)