Halloween – as a child, it was a day to confront your fears. Many of those fears, just like the old musty costumes, have been hidden in a box, carefully stored with other childish things.
Sometimes, however, I wish those childish fears had never been put away. As scary as they were, as real or imagined they may have been … they sure were a lot more fun.
These days, I’m afraid of adult things – car jackings, home invasion robberies, terrorism and (eek!) mortgage payments.
When I was a child, my fears seemed just as serious, but they were of a different kind.
There were ghosts, vampires, spiders and other various ghouls haunting my bedroom on any given night.
There was the giant spider that lived under my bed. The beast only existed at night and even with the brightest flashlight, I could never see it, but I knew it was there.
Outside my bedroom window was that vampire that would scratch and claw my window. But when I pulled back the blinds to confront the bloodsucker, there were only branches. He was quicker than me.
The cupboards above my closet had to be close tightly, because I was sure some unknown creature lived there, lurking in the dark night after night.
And in my closet, was some unmentionable horror – some unseen terror – Mr. Spooky. He was the creaking wall, the anonymous footsteps.
Mr. Spooky was the heavy breathing in the pitch black corner and the eyes watching me when my back was turned. He was also the cold chill that would blow across the back of my neck and mysterious noise that would wake me from my slumber.
Then, at some point, I don’t exactly remember when, but I just wasn’t scared anymore.
I knew the scratches outside my window were just branches blowing in the wind.
I knew the noises coming from the closets and cupboards were just the noises coming from a cold, settling house.
I knew the spider under my bed wasn’t there anymore, and was actually never there.
And Mr. Spooky, he disappeared, too … at least for a while.
Now, as I get older, Mr. Spooky has returned.
Now, Mr. Spooky lurks over my shoulder in the form of stress, responsibility and adulthood. He’s still at my window, still in my closet, still under my bed and he still wakes me up during the darkest part of the night.
And, man, is he scarier than ever.
by Brian Barsuglia
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