The Halloween walk homeOct 04, 2016 09:32AM ● By Jerry Ginther
The full moon was already high in the night sky as we exited the movie theater in the town square. Many of the kids had rides waiting for them, but I did not. I had walked to the theater in the evening twilight and knew I would have to walk home alone.
The walk was fairly long—probably a dozen or more city blocks—and only a couple of those were in the downtown area where the streets were well lit. Once I crossed the main highway, there would only be a dim street light on each corner.
It was the late 1950s and folks in the small town of Sullivan, Illinois were not particularly concerned for their safety on the streets after dark. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been allowed to go to the late night showing. We had no automobile, so it was walk or miss the fun.
As I started down the dark street with the lights of town behind me, I became more aware of the full moon and the poor visibility between streetlights. The moonlight was just bright enough to cast some eerie, deep shadows along the streets, making every tree and bush a formidable black form to approach.At that time it was not uncommon for dogs to roam the streets at night. I could hear their tags jingle in the darkness, but sometimes never seeing the dog—only hoping it was a dog and a friendly one. Sometimes they would run out of the shadows suddenly, causing me to freeze in my tracks until I was certain it was not a wolf.
Keep in mind where I had just come from. At 10 or 11 years of age, I wasn’t afraid of anything except the dark, strange noises in the dark, shadows, black cats, and witches and werewolves following me in the dark. A dog howling in the next block just had to be a werewolf. Uncertain, I detoured over to the next street.
Still many blocks from home, I became uneasy about my situation. It was decision time. Should I continue to walk, carefully checking my surroundings, or should I try running as fast as I could? Approaching another intersection and a welcome streetlight, I regained my composure. Then, realizing that I had to keep going, the apprehension returned.
I was passing a house in the middle of the block when I heard a low growl in the darkness. Now, two seconds from hysteria and too terrified to run, I backed down the street and peered into the darkness. It had to be a werewolf, or maybe Dracula, or a zombie. I remained under the next streetlight until I was sure nothing was coming for me.
Just a few blocks from home, I decided it was time to make a break for it. I took a deep breath and charged out into the dark street. The sound of my feet pounding the street was all I could hear, but I knew something was coming for me.
Under the next light was a cat playing with something, and yes, I knew it was a black cat. I also knew the moonlight had just dimmed because the witch to whom the cat belonged had just ridden on her broom in front of it. Stopping under that light was out of the question! Passing that light with panic button fully depressed, I knew that was just one more intersection before home. I thought I could make it.
I charged up the steps to the front porch, not noticing my granddad sitting in the swing until he spoke. “Are you in a hurry?” he asked.
“No” I answered, barely able to speak. “I made it.”
As he stood, I checked to be sure there was nothing behind me. Once inside he wanted to know if I had some reason to doubt I would make it.
“The way you ran up the walk and steps, I thought something was after you,” he said.
I knew it was worse than that. I knew there were several somethings after me, but now safely inside, breathing still ragged, I said, “No, I just wanted to hurry home so you wouldn’t worry. Isn’t that why you were waiting for me on the porch?”
Yep, we had each other’s number. He figured I’d seen at least one ghost, and I knew he was concerned and waiting up to be sure I made it home safely. Neither of us was confessing.
October 21 - Pumpkins at Dark
Enjoy a pumpkin hunt, pumpkin patch, hayrides, a movie and more free activities from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at Grand Junction Volkswagen.
October 22 - KAFM Zombie Prom
This year’s theme is “Dead Musicians Ball” and will be held at Mesa Theater. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
October 28 – Palisade Trick-or-Treat Street
Trick-or-Treat Street, Halloween Carnival and more from 4 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in downtown Palisade and the Palisade Gym.
October 30 – Pumpkin Fest
Enjoy a pumpkin demolition derby, pumpkin carving/smashing, kids’ candy trail and more from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. at Studt’s Pumpkin Farm. Cost is $8 for seniors.
October 31 – Fruita Trick-or-Treat Street
Trick-or-Treat with local businesses in downtown Fruita from 3 p.m.-5 p.m.