Skepticism

AI: Halloweenie

When I was a kid, we lived in a decent sized development in our little town. We’d put on our costumes, over our long underwear, of course, and set out into the cold (and sometimes snow) with pillowcases in hand for our annual candy procurement mission.

Our neighborhood had been built up gradually over time, and was bookended by two old farmhouses, both of which were considered “scary houses” by us kids. A single old man resided in the one at the point where our road intersected with the main highway, and despite his resemblance to Santa Claus and apparent friendliness, we all thought he was creepy. There were rumors about razor blades in the caramel apples he handed out to trick-or-treaters, and his garage was purple with broken windows, so we mostly stayed away, or, when we felt daring, ringing the doorbell on Halloween with the express purpose of trying to get a glimpse inside.

At the other end of the road, down the hill and near my mom’s cousin’s cow pasture, was an imposing brick house with a very long stairwell up from the road to the front door. We didn’t know anything about the people that lived there, and they had a couple of dogs that would bark and charge at anyone who approached the house. One year, I remember doing it on a dare. I started up the steps, trying not to disturb the smaller of the two dogs, some sort of mid sized terrier, apparently asleep on the grass nearby. The other dog was nowhere to be seen. As I approached, the dog, looking almost dead there in the grass, it suddenly leapt up and began barking, alerting the other dog in its position on the other side of the house. I turned and ran as fast as I could, both dogs chasing me down the stairs but stopping short once i reached the street. In retrospect, it was probably silly, but I was utterly terrified.

Tell me your creepy trick-or-treat stories. Were there any scary houses in your neighborhood growing up?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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7 Comments

  1. The creepiest house in my little Illinois town was about a block from my house when I was nine. Grey, weathered wood, surrounded by gnarled old oaks, creaky porch stairs. The old lady who lived alone there (with her entourage of cats) was white-haired, rail-thin, and as gnarled as the oaks.

    She was also my great aunt, which kinda ruined the whole creepiness quotient. And she made great homemade Halloween treats.

  2. 9th grade, we went trick or treating one last time, mostly as an excuse to walk around in costume and have a bit of fun (fun which was completely harmless… we were pretty tame kids). We went to one house, got candy… and as we left, a chainsaw wielding maniac ran out of the house.

    One of my friends more or less teleported down to the curb. Another stood there with an expression that said “I have just shat myself” before running. I, being the crazy individual I am, moved three steps back and drew my wooden sword in the face of the chainsaw.

    Yeah. Wooden sword v. chainsaw.

  3. Back in the 70’s it was really hard to get a house in California. When my parents went to look at a new development in Vacaville they learned that the agent would be selling the houses at 6:00 am in the morning to first come first served. My parents and all the people who became my neighbors spent the night in the partly built garage waiting to be first in line. They divided up the homes that night and decided who would live where. So it was a very tight group. There was only one house on the block that we didn’t know the owner. A single guy who scared the kids. On Hallowe’en he put up black lights and covered his front stoop in sheets of black plastic. When we rang his doorbell he jumped out in a wolf man costume screaming at us. I was so scared that I ran past my dad, across the street and into my house in about .001 seconds.

  4. Actually, nothing comes to mind for me. I was never a fearful child and I was always more interested in finding out things than in being creeped out by them.

    One year, though, I had a bunch of girls overnight for my birthday and after we watched “Three Men and a Baby” and “The Wizard of Oz” (for the “ghost” scenes) we all slept up in the attic (which was only accessible through my parents’ bedroom) and did some seance/ ouiji stuff (I was doing a report on ghosts for school) and everyone else got so scared and was sure the teddy bear was possessed, etc. etc. that we had to go downstairs and sleep in the livingroom. I was more scared of my parents’ rage the next morning, since NO ONE was quiet going down the stairs and out of the attic than I was of anything that the others might have seen in the attic or in the movies…

  5. @whitebird: When my parents bought a house in 77 they paid like 25K for a new three bedroom house and there were 20,000 people in the town. I just checked the website and the numbers at 425K median price for a home and 97K people. I don’t really remember the place that well we moved out in 81 and the house prices had doubled in that short time.

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