With Halloween less than three days away, I thought I would think about all the Halloweens that I remembered, especially those from my adolescent days, the day of pranks and terror that can only make it to the Holloyweird screens, or camp-fire circles. Halloween has always being my favourite time of the year because it was the time that you could put on a mask, hang out all night with the neighbourhood friends and take over the town. The thrill of being incognito, throwing eggs at other groups, and lighting fire-crackers, becoming a different persons, usually dressing as someone whom you’ve idolized or revered, all makes for good story telling years later.
The best true moment where I can say that I scared someone half to death happened way back in 1980 when I was a young whipper-snapper. Halloween was a lot different then than it is now because the fireworks that we had were more abundant and we had firecrackers, which are now prohibited in British Columbia.
I left the home Halloween party and headed out with two of my friends who wanted to catch more homes for “Trick or Treating,” thinking that we could load up on some candy to add to our booty. We took a wooded path from our street that connected close to an convenience store a block away, and walked up it till we hit an unclaimed row of houses. My friend had an older brother who gave us a hand full of firecrackers and we were eager to light them off and enjoy the flash and boom they make when you threw them up into the air. However, as we entered the last stretch of path, the most densely covered portion of it, we heard the sound of teenagers, most of them girls. In a flash we hid along the tree line so they would pass and not see us. As the group passed in front of us, one of the girls ran into the brush, right at us, and started to pull down her pant to do her business. She had no idea that we were there! All three of us thought at once, like commandos in an war movie we each pulled out a single firecracker and lit them, then throwing them towards her as she began to squat down. All I could see was her back, then three flashes of white light as each firecracker went off in unison, then the defining sound of the explosions. Not even one second passed by when the second sound of terror rang in our ears, like a super sonic wave of glass bottles ringing out, the sound exploded all around us, then moved away with surprising speed. As our victim ran back into the light of the lamp-standard, she still had her pants down to her knees. Her friends, ruthless, laughed at her as she struggled to pull up her britches, only to fall, tripping over her own legs. Us, we ran deeper into the forest as fast as we could.
The next day, everyone was telling their stories of the adventures and the pranks that they pulled, a kind of a oneupmanship contest, boasting on who had the best story to tell. For the three of us, we kept our mouths shut on this one. And later, as I found out, for good reason too. The poor girl for whom we’ve scared half to death, humiliated her with, and forever prevented her from ever doing the natural nature thing again, was the meanest of all girls in the whole school. She was evil, mean and a fighter. She commanded armies of her minions on the playground, and teachers stepped out of her way when she entered a room–this was one chick that you did not want to get to know, cross or anger. She was looking for us! No one talked about her experience that day, only that something tragic happened and she was traumatized because of it.
It wasn’t three weeks later that I first started hearing the first rumours of that night travelling through the grapevine. I had heard many different variations of it, from a gun shot, to a man trying to rape her, but nothing of firecrackers, or that she was caught with her pants down. For me and my buddies, we singed the blood oath never to reveal that night again, and I believed that we suffered more than the poor girl did that night long ago as I still look over my shoulder when in the forest doing my business.