Beanery Online Literary Magazine

October 26, 2010

Halloween in Bull Run a. k. a. Skunk Hollow (PA)



My Favorite Halloween

Diane Cipa

This post was received in response to the Beanery Writers Group weekly prompt:

  • Write a journal entry about the best Halloween you’ve ever had. Tell what you did, when you did it, where you did it, who you did it with, and why you enjoyed it, and any other pertinent information.


  • Some schools are banning Halloween celebrations because of the religious roots of the holiday. Do you agree or disagree with such a ban? Write a two-minute speech arguing for or against Halloween celebrations in the classroom.


    In the center of the neighborhood sat the great old church. Across the street and up on a hill stood the cemetery, over which the moon shone down, emblazoning the tombstones.

   We, the children of the neighborhood, walked up and down the street, clutching our pillow sacks or little plastic pumpkins, terrified. One eye was always on the cemetery. This was All Hallo’s Eve, and we knew that meant the dead were stirring and God help us if they arose while we were still out and about.

     Bravely we moved from door to door, joyously inhaling the smell of candles and burning pumpkins. Just how much candy could we accumulate before that dreaded hour? The hour —unknown to us though certain we were of it—in which the souls arose from their graves like little flames to twinkle and dance through this saintly night.

     My favorite Halloween is the one in which we overcame our fear, and all the children, for one joyous dark evening, entered the cemetery.

     As I remember it, the event was spurred by one of the older boys who had dressed as Frankenstein. He had spent the whole of the evening terrorizing the neighborhood. He jumped out from behind bushes and cars and with regular hilarity and screams the whole of us slowly started gathering in the street between the church and the hill.

     He was up there now. We knew he was, and we knew he was just egging us on. So it was that we left the safety of the street and stepped upon the grass and into the moonlight amongst the graves on the hallowed ground.

     I don’t recall my costume or how much candy I collected that evening, but I vividly recall the glory of the friendship, the laughs and the screams of children among the tombstones, under that moon, enthralled, and fully enveloped in the best Halloween.


     As for cancelling Halloween celebrations because of religious sanctions—for heavens sake— we have so few rituals and traditions. Let’s try to preserve those we have managed to retain. Even the early Christian church was savvy enough to combine holidays with existing druid and pagan rituals.

     Can you imagine bobbing for apples in this terrorized anti-bacteria culture?

     When I give out candy as a merchant here in Ligonier (PA), I can’t help but feel sorry for the children who don’t even know to say trick or treat. They walk up and say Happy Halloween. That’s nice but that’s not what Halloween is all about.

     I’d far rather have a child walk up and try to scare the crap out of me. Now that would be FUN!


Interviewing Casper the Friendly Ghost

Halloween Night

A Jack-O-Lantern Interview

Ghostly white pumpkins of the Lunar variety


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