By John M. Goralka, J.D., LL.M.
When I was young – Halloween was a particularly favorite holiday including holiday costumes and trick-or-treating with my brothers (5) and sisters (3). We started going in groups as we got older. My mom would let us keep the candy overnight. We would spend what seemed like hours sorting and trading candy and treats with each other. The next day my mom collected all the goodies and would limit how much we had access to at any time. She kept the candy in a cupboard on a very high shelf in the kitchen. I am sure my mom knew that we would sneak pieces of candy from time to time. We lived in a small town and there was never ever any fear regarding personal safety.
In a few blinks of an eye, I had two (2) kids of my own. To spend time trick-or-treating with my kids, I would put a large bowl filled with candy at the front door. There was a sign that said, “Please take only one”. I am sure that the first few older kids did very well and that the bowl was emptied very soon. My daughter trick-or-treated with the same three girls from a very young age until she graduated high school. As they got older, the girls focused on creating handmade costumes. Her last year before college may have been the best costume. They were the four (4) ghostbusters from the movie. Their costumes looked just like the costumes in the movie – complete with homemade proton ray packs. Thankfully, my home was never “egged” for the bowl being empty. We were “TP’d” (toilet paper tossed into the trees) a few times when my kids were in high school.
Perhaps the most unusual memory was when the three (3) of us were on the sofa watching the original Halloween movie late on Halloween night. It was about Michael Myers’ escape from the Sanitarium where he was committed for the murder of his sister.
To understand this story in the best context, you need to understand that we knew that our home was haunted. We often would hear noises and walking upstairs when we were downstairs. Sometimes lights would be on when we knew they were turned off. While this sounds creepy, there was never a malevolent feeling. This always felt like a comforting presence. There is more to that part of the story from events that happened to the prior owner’s family.
As we are all huddled on the sofa watching the movie Halloween in the dark with a fire in the fireplace, Michael Myers is about to kill his sister…the front door flew open and slammed closed very loudly. Someone ran very loudly upstairs to the bedrooms. We just sat there for a moment in shock…then, someone runs loudly down the stairs, the door opened and slammed shut again. After a minute, I collected my thoughts and then searched the front yard outside, the entire house and the backyard – nothing was out of place. The last thing to mention about this was our front door lock has some kind of defect. Even if the door was not locked, it would not open unless you jiggled the handle just so and pulled up just a little. Most people could not figure that out and we often did not lock the front door as it was already very secure. We had two (2) golden retrievers that slept in the kids' rooms. They never barked. You could be breaking into the house and they would run over for you to pet them. In the middle of the night that night, both dogs barked loudly and my daughter heard footsteps running off. Fortunately, no future visits from Michael Myers.
We still have not watched the rest of the movie Halloween…