The Days of REAL Halloween

Oh, the dark and scary Halloween evenings when we kids walked through our neighborhoods together (no parents allowed)! If we were lucky, it would be a clear night, not too cool (if the weather was cold, our moms made us wear jackets over our costumes and that was a real bummer), and if the moon was full, well; that was just a Halloween gift.

We knew our neighborhoods well, and only stopped at the neighbors’ homes that we knew. (It was considered rude to knock on the doors of people we didn’t know.) We carried our goody bags close and giggled with each other as we travelled through the neighborhood. Back then, you were more likely to be given candy bars, and homemade popcorn balls, brownies and cookies. Often we were given apples which we hated (who wants fruit on Halloween?) But we politely thanked the givers just the same; to do less would have been downright rude.

When we returned home, it was the house rule to dump all of our candy into a bowl in the kitchen. (It never occured to me to sneak some of my loot in my pockets; besides, Mom would have frisked me anyway.) I put my candy into Mom’s big wooden salad bowl, and she and Dad would pick out what they wanted. I always got a small handful of candy myself, and then the bowl would be put up on top of the refrigerator. All during the week, it would be parceled out in small amounts. I always harbored some resentment about that; after all, I was the one who walked for hours collecting those goodies!

But one of the most fun things about Halloween back then was the scary stories, especially the “classics.” Those included “The Hairy Hand,” “The Floating Coffin,” and others. Here’s a good one I found online; the babysitter story. Enjoy!

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“The babysitter story is an unforgettable urban legend, often told at slumber parties.

The tale has different variations but the spooky and downright terrifying elements remain the same. As the story goes, a teenage girl is hired by a young couple to baby-sit their two small children. They go out to a dinner party and leave the girl to tend to the kids in a somewhat isolated, large house at the end of the block.

 

When the hour gets late, she puts the children to bed and sits down to watch some late-night TV. The phone starts ringing and startles the half-asleep teenager. When she answers it, she hears heavy breathing and a man tells her he is “coming to get her”. While she is somewhat scared, she dismisses it as a prank phone call.

About 15 minutes later, the phone rings again. When she answers it, the man starts laughing and tells her that he is closer. The baby sitter is truly frightened now and calls the police.

They tell her that it’s probably just a prank phone call, but they will try to trace the call, so she must keep him on the line as long as possible if he calls another time. She once again settles down on the couch, not sleepy at all.

The phone rings a third time and the man tells her he has come for her and it’s only a matter of time. He continues with some heavy breathing until the babysitter is so terrified that she hangs up the phone again.

She quickly decides to get the children and flee the house when the phone rings again. This time it is a policeman on the other end and he tells her frantically “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!” THE MAN IS INSIDE THE HOUSE AND IS CALLING FROM THE UPSTAIRS EXTENSION!”

She runs from the house as the police arrive. The madman escapes but they find the children upstairs dead and a bloody axe laying on the bedroom floor next to an open window.

Note: The baby-sitter urban legend is as old as the hills. In this story, the man is always calling from the “upstairs extension” (in the days of the landline), but it’s unlikely that he would be able ring the phone from an extension. In most instances, he would have to be calling from a separate phone line upstairs.

Notice how the perpetrator gets away, leaving him “on the loose” to prey on other innocent teenage girls? It makes for some great storytelling, particularly when the crime is not solved.”

Happy Halloween everyone!

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