‘Our COVID Halloween’ by Phil Yeats

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s theme is “Halloween”. In this week’s story, Phil Yeats took a Halloween story he prepared a few weeks ago and revised the ending. He submitted the original to Voice.club to meet a deadline a week before Halloween. The story ended late on the afternoon of October thirty-first before any trick-or-treaters arrived. The new ending adds his experiences during the actual trick-or-treating during a COVID pandemic Halloween.

Our COVID Halloween

by Phil Yeats

Yellow, orange, and red maple leaves vied for attention on our front yard tree. Our neighbour’s ginkgo seemed to transform itself from green to a uniform yellow overnight. Pumpkins and other gourds adorned walkways, stairs, and porches. Some were carved into jack-o’-lanterns while others remained pristine. Skeletons hanging from tree limbs swayed in the autumn breeze, while black cats with evil-looking yellow eyes peered from behind bushes encrusted with plastic spider webs. Seasonal banners hanging from porch roofs completed the picture of a suburban neighbourhood ready for trick-or-treaters.

At our house, I’d installed a candy chute, a piece of plastic downspout I attached to our front stair railing. When the hordes descended on us, we could stand on our porch and launch the sugary treats down the spout into baskets and bags. It would provide the mandatory social distancing and entertain the masked marauders.

As afternoon became evening, Mother Nature stepped up. Fog swirled around houses and trees, stirring the multicoloured leaves littering the ground. The city lights, augmented by a harvest moon rising above the eastern horizon, gave the fog an eerie orange glow.

The ambience was perfect. But we heard no screeching of childish voices and saw no black-hatted witches or fairy princesses waving their magic wands. Where were the sidewalk clogging goblins and ghosts with their pillowcases or pumpkin-shaped plastic baskets?

COVID-19’s second wave had descended upon us. Was the Celtic celebration of Samhain, or as we call it, Halloween, in jeopardy? Had the civic government’s restrictions discouraged celebration of the ancient harvest festival, or were parents afraid to send their little darlings door to door demanding treats.

This latest salvo in the pandemic story was truly scary. When, if ever, would life return to normal?

Our first visitor, a little green creature with a long tail who might have been a dinosaur, was no more than two. She arrived long before dark. She couldn’t understand my chute and seemed baffled by the whole process. The neighbour’s bags of goodies pinned on a line made more sense to her. A yellow pumpkin and a tiger who followed the green dinosaur were equally small and equally baffled.

The next arrival, a giraffe who was about four, caught the candy falling from the chute.

The bigger ones dressed as witches and wizards and many characters from modern dramas I didn’t recognize got the hang of catching the candies that flew from the chute. Most seemed impressed.

“WHOA!!!”

“That’s so cool.”

“Awesome.”

“Wow!”

“Wicked.”

The smiles and compliments continued all evening.

By eight, when we ran out of treats, we’d entertained about as many little visitors as usual. A successful Samhain, I thought as I disassembled my chute and retrieved our various decorations. COVID’s efforts to torpedo Halloween had failed miserably.

The Spot Writers:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

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