Horror House

The moonlight glistened on the white satin bustier she wore under her cloak

Damian Clarke
Nov 1 · 3 min read

“You need to get some sweets on the way home, in case there are any trick-or-treaters tomorrow night.”

“I’m way ahead of you darling — I got them on the weekend.”

Mars bars should do the trick, I had thought, and our emergency supply of fun-sized Mars bars is a little low, so I’ll get two bags. One to replenish supplies and one for the trick-or-treaters.

I raced home from work last night to finish a short story that I had to send off, and to make sure that I was in for the kids. Riding past the estates behind Queensbridge Road, I saw gangs of kids setting off loud firecrackers and running away. In our street, a more demure procession of very short ghouls and ghosts, witches and scary fairies; with some taller scary things shepherding them from gate to gate and ensuring that they didn’t stray roadwards.

For the first two hours I barely wrote a word, constantly checking to see if the slightest noise I heard was was a marauding horde of ghouls come in search of sugar.

Finally, the door knocker boomed through the house and I raced upstairs to answer the door, expecting to find a small creature. I found…

“Sorry I’m late,” said a tall, skinny man in jeans and a Bluetooth earpiece. The man from Farmaround. “I had a hell of a day!” he said, as he handed me a bag of vegetables and a bag of fruit.

We have been rather insulated form Halloween in the past, having always lived in very adult apartment buildings, with very adult security gates and intercoms. Halloween has traditionally been something we observed through the window of a passing car, or from above as we looked out over the neighbourhood from our windows on high. However, there are a few things I do know, and one of them is that a house with no children on Halloween should be a net exporter of produce. So far, we were importing. Things were not going to plan.

I returned to my desk and clicked around eBay, looking for a couch, while clattering, chattering groups of goblins passed our gate. Finally, I went upstairs and stood among the boxes in our darkened lounge, looking out onto the front street. A short witch and a tall witch descended the stairs of the house opposite. The tall witch waved her wand at me, and I raised a hand in response as the shorter witch teetered, on heels too big for her, to the house next door.

I turned on a light in the lounge and finally two witches and a ghoul stopped in the street and doubled back to our gate. They knocked on the door, which I opened to reveal one ghoul with a mask and two short witches.

A young girl in a witch costume, in a field, accompanied by a pumpkin, tends a cauldron made from an old flowerpot.
A young girl in a witch costume, in a field, accompanied by a pumpkin, tends a cauldron made from an old flowerpot.
A short witch and her cauldron in the wilderness. (Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash)

“Oh, my goodness,” I said, “don’t you look scary”, trampling all over the etiquette that I should merely look surprised as they mumbled their, “Trick or treat.” The two witches looked like they had never knocked, and the ghoul remained expressionless behind his mask. I popped a fun-size Mars bar into each of their sacks and they scooted back to a tall, and rather fetching, Snow White, standing by the gate as the moonlight glistened on the white satin bustier she wore under her cloak. She politely declined a Mars bar and they walked on.

I returned to my desk and was distracted by an auction, until 7.45pm, by which time the trick-or-treaters would have been home, squealing and bouncing off the walls as their sugar rushes peaked.

I can only conclude that the weeds, the old Calor gas bottle, the superfluous garbage bins left over from building and the pile of old skirting boards are somehow detracting from our goal of presenting a welcoming front garden to the street.

The good news is that I won the auction. We collect our new couch on Saturday morning.

It is a Victorian drop arm Chesterfield, upholstered in a dark blue brocade , from a vendor in Surrey somewhere. It looks like we’re driving to Surrey this weekend.


© Damian Clarke 2019. The original post was first published on the Our Albion blog, 21 October 2006.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old house to use them on.

Damian Clarke

Written by

I’m a writer and publisher working in Sydney, Australia and London, UK. I specialise in finance, technology, insurance, property, medicine and sustainability.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old house to use them on.

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