(Carolyn Masters is the main character in the science-fiction mystery Dark Side of the Moon to be published in February 2011 by Museitup publishing.)
To be honest, Halloween was never my favorite holiday. Growing up in a poor company town next to the sawmill, you never quite had enough money for a good costume, and besides it was hard for the folks to buy candy when just getting food for supper was sometimes difficult.They did their best, though, but you grow up fast in Redwood Town and Halloween is a time for children.
As I grew older, Halloween meant Horror movie marathons on the vid. As a professor of Twentieth Century pop culture, it was a time of particular interest. The scientific era had just barely begun and while treated as fantasy, a certain amount of visceral belief in ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night survived beneath the oh so reasonable surface. That tension spilled over into the cines of the time producing some of the best of the genre.
But it was when I came to the moon that I really learned to enjoy Halloween. They have a custom here called "Trick or Treating." I know you may have heard of this from your great grandparents. It was a popular custom until the early years of the Twenty-First Century. Kids go from house to house dressed up in their costumes, ring the door bell and yell "Trick or Treat" although by the fourth or fifth house it is planed down to one word "Trickertreat," Then the person behind the door pretends to be scared by the costumes and puts candy in the brightly colored bags they carried.
I know what you are thinking - How Dangerous! People could put anything in the candy. That is exactly why by the Mid-Twenty-First Century the custom died out. Before it did, another custom emerged which was taking the candy to the local hospital to be X-rayed.
But remember, this is a controlled society. Anyone immigrating goes through extensive psychological testing. Plus, we are still a world of small towns. When everyone can name every neighbor in a four block radius, it is harder for people to act poorly.
I have seen vids of old time trick or treating which are fun, but I have to say the are nothing compared to the custom on the moon. With only 1/6 g bouncing boys and girls really bounce. Most can cover the distance from the sidewalk to the door step in one precise gliding jump. And when the candy goes in their bags, they can sometimes reach the eaves of the house. More than one will do a slow somersault or back flip in mid air.
Then there are the dramatic ones dressed like vampires who sneak up on you, press the door bell jump up high out of your reach and just sort of float down holding out their cloaks.
We do have a few tricksters that keep the security counselors around the town busy. One group wound toilet paper all around the statue of John Edward Conrad, the discoverer of Conradium, the leading export of the moon. Others sit in trees throwing eggs at pedestrians two or three blocks away and giving each other points for accuracy and splatter.
All in all it isn't a bad holiday. It's a time we take a good hard look at all those things that scare us and laugh at them. No, not a bad holiday at all.
Maybe I spoke too soon. The com's ringing. It's Mike. It's a text message. "Meet me at Collins Tube station. Body found wearing cape with stake through his heart." Guess I'd better go.