A short, short Halloweeen storyThe Best Trick-or-Treat
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AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fictional story was written for the fun of it for the www.southernutah.com First Annual Halloween Story Festival (1999), even though as an InfoWest employee I was not eligible to win the contest. It is based very loosly on a real event from many years ago at a St. George, Utah theater (but not on Halloween). The names have been changed to protect the guilty. *chuckle*
UPDATE: Since this was written over ten years ago, I learned that the allegedly "real" story I based this on sounds suspiciously like something that the character "Chunk" in the movie "The Goonies" confessed, puke-in-a-jar in a movie theater hurled down from a balcony. I'd never seen "The Goonies" so I was blissfully unaware. I've since watched the scene in question on YouTube.
I'm disappointed in my source.
The Best Trick-or-Treat
by Aaron D. Gifford
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
It was already a fun Halloween night. My best friend Jed and I had dressed up as Count Dracula and Frankenstein respectively, or as best an approximation as we could dream up with limited resources, scrounging around the box of old clothes and fabric scraps in Jed's attic and pillaging the trunk of stuff my parents kept in the cellar. We had made our neighborhood trick-or-treat rounds, and had a respectable sugar stash. But that was only the beginning. The best trick-or-treat was yet to come.
We walked together, heads bent close, whispering ghost stories to one another beneath the gently swaying branches nearly bare of leaves in the fall chill of Halloween night. I would tell my best Halloween whopper in as deep a bass as I could conjur in my boyish voice, then cackle insanely until we nearly tripped, both of us laughing at how ridiculous it really sounded. Then Jed would try his best, starting in a low whisper, building to a screaming crescendo that drew stares from clumps of kids across the street. The hair on my arms stood on end, but I'm pretty sure it was just the cold. Jed's story was really almost as silly as mine.
We arrived at the town theater where ghouls, ghosts, witches, and other assorted creatures lined up for admission to the traditional annual Halloween movie. After buying two fifty-cent tickets, we entered the theater, ignored the soda fountain and concessions, and climbed the red carpeted stairs to the theater balcony. Since we were early enough, we took seats in the front balcony row where we could gaze down upon the lowly peasants of the lower realms. The movie began to a packed house. It was a perfect Halloween movie and put us on the edge of our seats.
I glanced at Jed and saw him wide-eyed watching the screen, so I elbowed him in his side and whispered, "Not scared are ya?"
"Shut up, Bruce!" he shot back with a withering glare. Then he broke into a grin and whispered, "Wanna see a trick?"
"Sure," I replied, intrigued.
Jed lifted a glass mason jar from one of the huge pockets he'd sewn into his cloak. In the dim flickering light I saw it was filled with whitish or yellowish chunks of unknown origins suspended in an almost translucent fluid. It made me think of brains or something equally vile.
"Corn. It's creamed corn," Jed whispered above the soundtrack as he unscrewed the lid and pocketed it. "What did ya think it was?"
"I dunno, brains, maybe, or... I dunno."
His impish smirk widened. "Well watch this."
With a loud moan he stood up, then swayed and moaned again even louder. All eyes in the balcony turned toward the swaying figure silhouetted by the glowing screen. A few of the peasants below looked up, their pale faces illumined. He leaned over the railing, and with a most horrific retching sound, flung the contents of the jar in a wide arc.
Shrieks and blood curdling screams erupted from spattered victims below. Other retching sounds arose both from above and below as sympathetic response drove others to hurl far more vile substances about. Instantly the whole theater churned in chaos, bodies standing and squirming to escape the barrage, others twisting around to see what was going on. Already in a tense mood from the movie, many leapt to their feet screaming or cowered in their seats whimpering, fearing the worst, letting their imaginations run wild with visions of disaster or deadly massacre.
As the tumult grew, Jed slipped the now empty jar surreptitiously back into his vampire cloak pocket, grabbed my wrist and said, "Let's get outta here."
We clambered over our seats and squirmed through the panicked crowd to make our escape. Outside the front of the theater we paused, each taking a deep breath of the crisp air, then turned toward home.
Too stunned by the reaction of the crowd to speak, we walked in silence. As we neared Jed's house, his tight lips twitched upward and a soft giggle escaped. We stopped in in front of his yard and stared at one another. I had to stifle a chuckle. Jed could hold it in no longer and broke into a gut-wrenching spate of laugher. My face twisted as I tried to retain control, then I lurched forward and fell onto the leaf-strewn grass laughing for all I was worth. It seemed like we both rolled and squirmed on Jed's front lawn, laughing for hours, but it was probably more like twenty minutes or so before we caught our breath.
It was the best Halloween trick ever, and what a treat it was!