My love for Halloween does not stem from any affiliation with or connection to anything other than my childhood and the memories of running around my little town dressed from head to toe in costume trick or treating with all the other kids in town.
I grew up in a small town along a sleepy river on the coast of Long Island New York. My town was and still does look like a typical New England town. It is in the country and in appearance seems much more like Connecticut or New Hampshire or upstate New York. It was not and still is a sparsely populated hamlet where kids ran free and life was simply wonderful for a kid who loves Halloween.
When I was a chile we could be out at night wandering around in groups with a parent or two tagging along here or there as we went trick or treating at every single door in town until our bags were filled to the brim with candy and goodies provided by the good people of my town.
I grew up loving this tradition as it not only was great fun ,it was filled with bowls of sweets that would last for weeks after that one days haul of trick or treating.
Halloween was a time when the trees were full of color and gently falling to the ground as the air turned cold and brisk making the night of Halloween chilling as well as thrilling and the beginning of the holiday season . Soon it would be Thanksgiving followed by the Christmas season and life was filled with family, fun and love. I had a childhood filled with family tradition which I have continued all through my life. I still love Halloween and look forward to what follows as we leave the summer sun behind and travel in to a time of family tradition and fun.
I have two memories of my childhood that involve the day of Halloween that have stayed with me my entire life.
One is a wonderful experience and the other actually is horrid in nature and was terrifying for a bunch of 12 and 13 year old’s. Strangely both included old large mansions where rich old ladies lived during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s along the banks of the river in the town where I grew up.
I will start with the horrible event. It happened in the early 60s when I was in the last years of being young enough to still trick or treat. I was an older kid at the time maybe 12 or 13 and this was one of the last times I ventured out as a youth to run wild on a dark and scary Halloween night.
I was with a group of kids my own age. I remember clearly that it was dark and cold that particular Halloween night.
Along the river bank at the end of the town where only a few houses remained stood a very old dilapidated mansion that everyone called the ‘Old Crazy Witch’s House’. Everyone was afraid of the old woman who still remained living in the dark falling apart house. Sometimes when you drove by at night you could catch a glimpse of her sitting in a rocking chair on the third floor of the creepy old house in a big bow window overlooking the town. It was said she lived there with an insane son who never was seen but was said to crawl about the town in the wee hours of the night as the rest of the town’s people were fast asleep.
The house was scary, the stories about the family were frightening and I always did my best to stay far away from the place until this one Halloween night.
There were rumors around town that behind the house way down on the water’s edge where the river met the mansions old dock stood a falling down old shed that was filled with monstrous things so awful that those who saw them vowed never to speak of them once they encountered the horrors beyond the sheds old doors.
The group of 6 or 7 young teens I was running about town with this Halloween night decided it would be incredible if we could sneak down to that old shed and take a peek inside to see if anything scary at all was inside that old shed besides some old rakes and maybe a fishing pole or two.
I was terrified of the idea of going near the old mansion with the old scary lady in the window and crazy night crawler son much less look inside the horror of the old shed down by the water’s edge. I was also afraid of being called a baby and laughed at by the older kids so simply followed along with the gang to see what would happen.
My gang of brave trick or treat-rs and I made our way through our little hamlet town and found our way to the back of the old mansion. It was very dark and very cold. We were careful not to make any noise as we made our way with care to the door to the large falling apart old shed at the water’s edge. One of the older boys in the group shook the old door until it cracked and creaked slowly open. It was very hard to see inside the old building so we gathered in to a tight little group all pressed up against the other and slowly made our way inside to have a look around inside the scary old place.
As our eyes adjusted to the light we could see shelves lined against the walls that were filled with bottles of all sizes and shapes. We made our way closer to one group of shelves to see what was inside the bottles. That is when the screaming started.
The kids in front of the group were the first to get a good look at what was inside the assorted bottles. The bottles were filled with body parts floating in some type of liquid. I only saw a few bottles before I went screaming out of the old shed in to the night. It looked to me like a monkey or baby floating in a large bottle on the shelf. It was disgusting and disturbing but most of all terrifying.
On top of the terrible discovery of the body part filled bottles in this spooky old shed we were now aware that something or someone was screaming or more like howling at us as it came running down the property from the old mansion towards the shed. It was a pounding heavy sound of running with an angry howling scream that told me to run for my very life.
Along with my friends I took off running as fast as I could across the property of the old mansion and the next few houses that were built next to it along the river’s edge. We were far away from that horrid shed before we stopped running. The truth is that as we ran through the last yard in our escape from that part of town the taller kids were all clothes lined by one neighbors wash line and they were knocked to the ground gasping for air as they hit the clothes line mid neck while the rest of us were short enough to run under it. We had to collect our taller pals and limp our way home terrified at what he had experienced.
Up to this very day I do not know what it was we found on the shelves of that old shed. We dared not admit that we broke in to the shed as we were fearful of what would happen to us if anyone knew what we had done. We also we too fearful to talk about what he had seen on the shelves in that creepy old building. My mother told me years later a crazy old scientist and his family lived there and the family owned the place until it was finally sold and torn down. What was inside that shed that Halloween night will remain a mystery and one that truly left me shivering in fear and fully aware that strange things do exist out in the dark of cold scary nights!
I do not want to leave my Halloween memories on such a frightening note as I also have many more that were filled with happy times of trick or treating with groups of friends having wonderful fun with great people.
My favorite memory of growing up in that river town was of another old lady who also owned a big mansion on the river in town. This house was a beautiful home filled with flowers in the summer and fully decorated for each and every holiday during the year. My favorite time to visit this home was Halloween.
The older woman who lived in the large house decorated the front of the old mansion with scarecrows, pumpkins and mums with hay bales and a walkway to the front door lit with jack o lanterns filled with burning candles.
The kids in town could not wait until they got to this house so they could trick or treat at the big front door.
The large front door entrance was manned by the older woman’s butler who was a very kind older man. He would answer the door dressed in a costume and hand out the best trick or treats a kid could ever wish for.
Each of us were given a large bag which was filled with three full size candy bars, a dollar bill and a toy. The toy was not a cheap toy they were always nice toys like a model of little doll and we all got a comic book.
The butler would tell us all that we looked scary and told us to wave to the older lady who sat on a window seat and waved to us. To top it off we were all given a pumpkin shaped cookie and a small cup of apple cider. It was the best house trick or treat stop a child could ever have and I was lucky enough to be one of those who was able to have and hold that kind woman and those wonderful memories throughout my lifetime.
I love all the Holidays for numerous reasons however the simple fact is tradition, family and community is what makes life a joy and I hope all of you do and continue to hold to your traditions and continue to celebrate life for as long as you live.
Chris Holly of
Chris Holly’s Endless Journey with the Unknown
On my site find the best scary tales I have written about that were told to me as true events and find the link to join me with host Colin Knight for a very spooky Halloween Eve special Radio show On October 30th, on Knight Talk Radio.
All found at
Chris Holly’s Endless Journey with the Unknown