October Changes To an Innocent Pink Flamingo
I was the last one left awake inside the darkened house. On my way to bed, I entered the kitchen. An almost full moon cast enough glow in the back pasture that as I passed the patio doors, horse silhouettes on the hilltop came into view.
Their poses stopped me mid-stride. Staggered in line, they stood all facing the same direction with their heads held high, ears pointed forward.
I mimicked their stillness. Each beat of my heart came faster than the last as I waited for them to return to grazing. I knew what their actions meant when they didn’t. Something or someone was up there.
Should I wake my husband? No, I could handle this. On tip-toes, I jogged to the back door. I grabbed a flashlight, slipped my bare feet into cowboy boots, and covered my knee-length satin nightie with a quilted flannel barn shirt.
The yard lights were already off and I didn’t touch the switch. Outside the flashlight remained dark in my hand. My goal wasn’t to scare away, what or who, intrigued the horses. I had a hunch about the goings on up there and hence a plan in mind.
Again I tip-toed, this time across the backyard. My caution worked, the horses interest never diverted my way. When the barn became a barrier between me and them my pace quickened. Now, only the hill remained an obstacle, and if I stayed low and quiet, I should make it without drawing attention.
The closer I got to the top, voices became louder and clearer in a hushed yet understandable two person conversation. Although odd for the situation, it was laced with barely contained laughter and giggles. I had figured right. I knew these culprits and what they were doing.
Familiar with the surroundings, I crept forward unseen. I waited and listened getting a sense of the person’s whereabouts.
When they sounded near, I sprung from my crouch behind a fallen tree with a roar loud enough that the snoopy horses spun and fled down the hill.
Caught in the act of innocent revenge, two of my best girlfriends almost dropped to their knees with startled screams followed by muttered curses.
On this late Saturday in October, the husband and I had arranged for these two besties to do our evening chores under the pretence we would be away. When in actuality we spent hours staging the barn as a haunt in favor of Halloween’s approach.
We strung rubber bats in the darkened paths to light switches. Rubber mice and snakes got placed and positioned in or on things they needed for feeding the hay and grain.
Dressed in dark coveralls, the husband and I hid concealed by the water-tank behind the barn. From there we heard them encounter our gags and props, and their squeals and comments entertained us. The most fulfilling reaction happened when they slid the back door into the hay shed open. We had a stuffed bedsheet rigged to fly at them like a ghost and the shrieks that caused made our efforts worthwhile.
To have this plan work, our truck had to be off the yard. That afternoon the husband had driven it up a steep trail and parked it in the bush by the back pasture. We figured it could stay the night there and so we planned to retrieve it the next day.
Knowing my girlfriends, when I saw the horses acting strange and watching something, I guessed they had figured out where the truck was.
When I jumped out and interrupted them, it already had balloons tied to the mirrors and streamer decorated bumpers. The toilet paper wrapping had just begun.
I’m uncertain how long the three of us exchanged stories, laughed and visited that night on the hill, but the sun rose not long after I went to bed.
Halloween for me, brings on fond memories like this, of fun times with family and friends.
With our young children, we did the traditional, dressing-up, decorating the yard, and door to door “Treat or Treating.” Although, being in the country meant we drove them house to house. Often a couple dads or moms rode together while the spouses stayed home and handed out treats. A get together at one of their homes afterwards usually followed.
Once our daughter and son got older, we traveled into the city for “Fright Night” at Fort Edmonton Park. Either our kids brought along friends or we met the oldest daughter, her husband and their children there.
Actors and volunteers haunted the historic buildings and sites with different levels of intensity. They handed out treats to the little ones, and had activities scattered within the park. We enjoyed hay rides, blazing bonfires and hot chocolate which warmed our chilled bodies. It was always a great time.
As a family we loved dressing-up for Halloween. It took weeks to plan and put together costumes and often we had themes for the night in the city. Here are a couple.
From “Tombstone” the Earp’s & Doc Holiday
From “The Wizard of Oz”
Have you ever decorated a homemade haunted house or yard?
Or Have you been through one?