Halloween was sort of like a community Christmas, where everyone could show their creativity and receive a sugar high all for free. For me, most of the time, the costume was something dragged from my mother's closet - almost nothing store bought. But it didn't matter. I loved seeing everyone attempts at creating an alter ego.
It was pretty simple then. Once the street lights came on, children would descend on homes with their outside lights on. In a group, we'd yell trick or treat and wait to be scared and/or given candy. The decoration would range from being very sparse, almost non existent, to over the top haunted houses.
There is one Halloween season I'll never forget. A carnival was in town and located not far from my house.My family decided to go. The sounds of the carnival and the crowd was infectious. Laughter rung in the air. I was wearing plastic princess slippers and the eerie sounds of the Halloween soundtrack blasted around us. We decided to visit the fun house.
We entered and besides the usual darkness and mirrors, there was also the occasional person popping out to scare those wandering through it. Somehow or another, I got separated from my family. Suddenly, there were large male hands wrapped around my waist, trying to pull me back into the darkness where there was no light, nothing. It didn't feel right. It didn't feel like it was part of the fun hose experience.I struggled and screamed, losing one of my highly prized shoes.
Finally freeing myself, I ran. I ran until the blackness gave way to some street lights and illumination from the carnival's rides and the sight of my mother's welcoming smile.
It didn't matter that I had to walk on sharp gravel to get home. The only thing I could think about was how these manly hands inappropriately touched me and made me lose something I could never regain.
I never told my mother about it; I never told anyone, perplexed by the experience.
I don't like fun houses and now am leery when I am around one always wondering if I enter again will I find not only my plastic slipper, but also my innocence.