Halloween The Teen Years

low angle view of man standing at night
Photo by Lennart Wittstock on Pexels.com

Last Thursday, I talked about all things associated with kiddy fun on Halloween. But, as everyone is well aware, sooner or later kiddies morph into teens. Trick-or-treating is left behind for “cooler” ways of celebrating. Like costume parties and scary movies.

Now, paranormal romance is not my genre. I have friends who write it, and I respect their craft, but parascary things are just not my bag. At least not these days. I must admit, however, years ago I was the queen of all things terrifying. I went through a period where all I would read was Stephen King then later Anne Rice. Not to mention I think I watched every single horror movie that came out in the ’80’s. Who can forget Nightmare On Elm Street? Not only horrific, that was basically our first glimpse of Johnny Depp–hot then, hot now. Yes, people under 50, that “Nightmare” recently released is a remake, and from what I understand from a reliable source of all things Elm Streetish, it doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Of course, few things do. Yes, years ago, the original Friday the 13th with Camp Crystal Lake haunted my dreams, along with the original Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis–also hot then, hot now. Apparently, things do get better with age, except remakes. I digress. What were we thinking anyway? We’d stay up until all hours of the night watching a blood and guts spookyfest and expect to be able to sleep afterward? Those were the days, weren’t they?

The days of clutching a boy feigning fear in hopes of being held and kissed breathless. The days of the original ghost hunt. No, that’s not a remake. Back then, we were the ghost hunters. There were plenty of places where I grew up that were known for strange occurrences, blood curdling noises, and ghostly sightings. One such place was dubbed Cry Baby Holler. (Yes, that’s southern for hollow.)

So, legend has it that if you’re down in Cry Baby Holler at the stroke of midnight you can hear a baby crying. I really don’t know where this rumor started or what started it. Something about an accident–you know, the usual stuff that myths are made of. The stroke of midnight. Well, that posed the first problem. Most kids I knew back home at that time had to be home by midnight and Cry Baby Holler was a good thirty-minute drive away–and rumor had it once the baby started crying the car would die rendering you helpless and stranded well past curfew. Sound familiar, boys? I’m sure every small town has some sort of scheme to this magnitude. Kind of like–oops, we ran out of gas? Exactly.

But, being young and naive, I was game to figure out a way to get to hear this baby crying. Now, what to tell the folks? The old late show in the town forty-five minutes away. That gave us until well after one, at least. Game on! Willingly I went with my beloved to this haunted spot one Friday night. At the stroke of midnight, he rolls down the windows. The better to hear the mythical baby of course. Drama, drama. Of course, the kissing part started well before the scarefest started. We listened a few minutes–nothing. I’m shaking in my shoes, and of course, lover boy’s more than willing to soothe me with more kissing. What happened next took my breath away quicker than anything he was doing. The screeching, squalling cry I heard set the tiny hairs on my arms to standing on end. I swear it by my greens recipe. It was also amusing later, when I thought about it, to know the boy I was with was equally as scared. Duh! The real scream wasn’t part of the set up. And wouldn’t you know it. The car refused to start at which a great panic ensued during which I slapped him and called him everything except his given name. Needless to say–no action for him.

Now that I’m a grown girl, I realize all of it can be explained away. What we heard was most likely a panther on the prowl. It was discovered about that time that they were re-populating in that area. As far as the car not starting, planned so carefully. The holler was at the bottom of a very steep grade. This was well before fuel injection became the norm. Park uphill long enough and eventually it takes at least three times to crank a testy, grouchy starter. Yes, boys, your secret’s out.

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