The prompt this week is to write a frightening story about an ancestor. Well, I have a scary story where my ancestor did the scaring instead of being the one scared. Read on!
Trick-or-Treat was a favorite thing in my suburban Vienna, Virginia neighborhood in the 1960’s and 70’s. My dad took me out when I was young, and my mom stayed home and handed out the candy.
My mom, Gladys Martin Heiser (1921-1999), should have acted in community theatre. She was funny, and was not shy about acting things out.
The Halloween that I was six or so, my mom used her theatrics in an unforgettable way.
Mom gets ready
Mom made what she called a false face. She made some dough, pie dough I would think. After rolling it out in an oblong shape, she left it on the counter to dry out some. Once it was dry enough, she ripped out places for her eyes and her mouth and put it on her face and head.
Now my sister, Joyce, and I saw her doing this so we weren’t scared by the full effect. Mom put the false face on, pulled a white sheet over her body, and shined a flashlight on her face from up under the sheet.
If I hadn’t known it was my mother, I’d have been really scared. She looked like a ghost, and she spoke in a low gravelly voice.
Mom puts on a show
Mike J. lived across the street from us. He was a sharp kid and was fearless, it seemed. He was two years older than me, and I knew he was brave from the crazy things I’d seen him do.
I was already home from Trick-or-Treating when Mike came to the door. My mom slowly opened the door and Mike said, “Trick or treat.”
Mom came into Mike’s view in her ghost costume and said in her low gravelly voice, “Trick or Treat? Give me all your treats.”
We had a storm door that had the top glass was removed so there was nothing between Mom and Mike from about mid-chest up.
Poor Mike was scared stiff at first. His eyes got big and he stared at Mom. Then he backed down our porch steps and across the landing until he fell over the short boxwood shrubs. He kept watching Mom as he got up and stumbled backwards down our slightly hilly front yard before turning and running across the street to his own house.
After the performance
My mom laughed so hard the tears ran down her face and she couldn’t speak. I expect when Mike ran home and told his parents, they knew it was my mom and they laughed about it, too.
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