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This Is Halloween: A Ghost Story

An Inaccurate Telling of the Origin of Halloween

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash.

A few years back, I was told a fable of Halloween's origin. In true fashion, it was structured like a ghost story and went something like this:

It was late October, and the harvest season was just beginning. Townsfolk were joyous and threw week-long festivals to celebrate the season's crop yields. On one particular night, a child went missing from the festival. Try as they might, no one could find him, but his father continued to look. Days later, the boy was found. Strung up on a tree with flesh wounds that could only be from a viscous monster, the child was dead. The father brought the corpse back to town where the townsfolk grieved and began searching for the monster. Despite their efforts, the gruesome monster continued to elude them and stole two more children. These children were also found dead in the forest, bites taken out of them.

Months passed and families mourned the town's loss, and Harvest Season came again. This year, it was not marked by festivities. Instead, townspeople locked their doors and guarded their children. One mother, still fearful that her daughter may fall victim to the unidentified monster, decided to dress her up in the most ghastly of costumes. That night, the mother awoke to the sounds of crashing, fearful for her daughter, she ran to the child's room. The house was in shambles, but her daughter, still in her costume, was untouched. 

Sharing her story with the rest of the town, it was decided that every child would be dressed up. It was hoped that once the monster realized there were no children to eat, he would move on. So, that night each family dressed up their children and pushed them out of their houses. The children were told to go from house to house, so families could check up on the little ones. The kids were not allowed back into the houses until they saw the monster walk the streets and leave. 

All night, children paced the streets and knocked on front doors. Parents gave small meals to the children to eat as they walked and told them once the night was over, they could have dessert. Everyone was awake, keeping watch. On the edge of the town, a monster came into view and the parents held their breath. It was a 6-foot-tall beast, scaly with fangs as long as your fingers, and claws larger than a circus lions. He was a rotten green and had moldy patches of brown and black. The creature had a pungent odor that seeped through the house's windows and made it difficult to breathe. His eyes were as black as the night and hollowed into his face. 

Children were frightened and stopped walking. They stared as the beast ambled down the street. Behind him, more creatures, equally as ugly and even more horrifying, came into view. It was a parade of Harvest Monsters. One by one, they crawled, slithered, and weaved through the children. Each seemingly unaware of the boys and girls that surrounded them. The kids saw they were not in harms way and began walking again, among the monsters. 

Hours passed, the night was almost gone, and the last of the monsters began to disappear. Children went back to their families and were greeted by open doors. Joyous once again, the townsfolk made dessert a community affair, giving each child a sweet for their bravery. 

Harvest Season came and went and, year after year, kids dressed up and went walking with the monsters. There had been no incidents for quite some years, until one family forgot why the tradition was so and sent their child out without a costume. That night, their child was devoured by the monsters and never seen again. So, this Halloween make sure to wear your grimmest costume before going out, because you never know when you might be walking with monsters. 

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