No, I do not put orange lights on the shrubs in front of my house, nor do I decorate a Halloween tree. But I do enjoy the other rituals of autumn, such as hanging Indian corn from my doors and carving a pumpkin.
For several years running, I played a witch at a local historical museum's haunted house. I donned my black witch cape and peaked hat and leaned on a walking stick made for me by an acquaintance. The stick has an especially witchlike bent, said Ed, as he handed it to me.
Last year, both my husband and I had the flu, so we battened down the hatches and turned off the lights on Halloween night. There were moans, but they were our own and they were caused by aches and pains, no apparitions of unexplained noises.
Like most people, I have experienced a few unexplained things in my life time, but I'm not a huge believer in paranormal occurrences. I do, however, enjoy a good suspense novel, or spooky story. My father saw to that, what with his delight in late Friday-night movies and ghost stories.
But there have been little moments in my life that I like to remember come the end of October:
- Walking home from classes at twilight and seeing lighted jack-o-lanterns in peoples' windows.
- Driving down a country road on my way back to Madison one night - detoured by road work - passing a field of pumpkins and catching a bewitching whiff of the aroma.
- Trying - with five other people - to hold a seance my freshman year of college.
- Attending the famous State Street Halloween - now known as Freakfest - in Madison, Wis.
- Encountering a self-described witch one night on - where else? - Broome Street.
- Upon locking my front door one Friday night, finding a huge pumpkin under one of my ancient maple trees.
These are the magical little things that add enchantment to the dying year. Another is the aroma of pumpkin or squash baking in my oven on a dark night. That's how I chase demons away.