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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thank you to all who entered STJ's 'Memoirs of Halloween Haunts' Short Story Contest.  There were so many fantastic submissions; it was difficult to select our favorite story!  The winning author of our contest is Sophie Anne Roberts.  We hope you enjoy her story as much as we did! 

~Halloween Month~

by Sophie Anne Roberts
In rural Pennsylvania there is never a shortage of corn stalks, pumpkins, beautiful leaves and candy on Halloween.  This is the setting where my best childhood Halloween memories took place.

October was a month long celebration in my family that started with the tradition of decorating.  Every room was anointed with black and orange.  Paper accordion pumpkins hung on doors and windows, our traditional cardboard life-size jointed skeleton was placed in a new spot every year and the “Readers Digest” black cat was a staple at our house.  His body was made from a folded Readers Digest that was spray-painted black with a round Styrofoam head, whiskers made of pipe cleaners and a tail of braided yarn.

As the month progressed we carved our pumpkins.  This was quite an event as my mom planned ahead for the mess, my dad planned ahead with a sharp knife, and my brother and I planned not only to create a masterpiece, but to feast on roasted pumpkins after the carving was complete.

The weekend before Halloween my parents would have a big party for our friends and neighbors.  We would roast hot dogs, make ‘smores and hang out by the fire enjoying the brisk fall air.  This was the highlight of my year.  Several weeks before the big “weenie” roast my dad would start saving the hard wood from his shop.  This would burn hot and slowly.   He would also do the fall clean up on our property and pile it over on the burn pile. This would burn fast and get the fire going quickly.  I remember always being anxious for the coals to be just right so we could being the “roast.”

Then the BIG day – Halloween!  We always went out on Halloween night, dressed VERY warmly with our closets friends.  Of course we had to start at my grandparents who just lived down the hill from us.  That was the dress rehearsal.  If you could walk down the hill in your costume and back you were going to make it Trick-or-Treating.  We would hit all the neighbors and friends, but never went to a home we didn’t know.  We made a haul!  We would come home and our parents would sort through the candy and discard anything that looked not right or was unwrapped.  Then my dad would take the candy he knew we wouldn’t like, you know he was “saving us”.  The rest was stored always and we were allowed a few pieces a day.

Halloween was truly a special time for my family as it was the one holiday everyone was really into. To this day It is still my favorite holiday!

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