A Halloween Fable or Further Adventures in The Wonderful World of Steve
I have to confess right up front, I have never been a big fan of Halloween. As a kid growing up in Cairo, Illinois, I hated the idea of wearing costumes, and I wasn’t too fond of candy. I should explain. My father owned a supermarket and my aunt a confectionary/variety store. I was surrounded by candy and costumes all year long; no surprise that I craved neither. From the time I was old enough to count change, I worked behind the candy counter in the confectionary. The candy was sold in bulk and displayed in huge glass cases. I can’t tell you how many pounds of candy corn and chocolate-covered marshmallows I scooped into paper bags. When I wasn’t bagging candy, I sold Halloween outfits and creepy masks. Costumes lose their charm after you wrap so many skeleton suits, Cinderella dresses, and Frankenstein faces.
Then, there was the trick angle. My dad and aunt had adjoining glass storefronts that stretched out for half a block. Kids loved soaping those windows from top to bottom and side to side using huge bars of P and G laundry soap—the waxiest kind. Guess who got to help cleaning off the wax the next day? One more reason for my bah humbug attitude toward Halloween.
Many years later, I moved to Old Town, met Steve and Lucy Weiss, and was exposed to a whole different concept of what that holiday could be. Here’s what I mean.
A Halloween Fantasy Party in the Wonderful World of Steve
On October 31, Norman and I were walking the crooked streets of Old Town—our destination: North Park and Menomonee. When we got there, the landscape changed. The quaint old houses had disappeared and before us, was a ghostly Brigadoon, now called Weissadoon, aka the haunted house of Steve. (For those of you not familiar with Brigadoon, it is a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years, though for the villagers, the passing of each century seems no longer than one night.)
Weissadoon, aka The Haunted House of Steve
But, I digress. Back on Menomonee, the lovely Christina waited at the gate. She held a human skull from which a dismembered hand beckoned us inside. A dilemma. To enter, or not to enter? If we hestitated our chance would be lost, for after tonight, Weissadoon would go back into the mists of time—or more accurately into the artificial fog machine and Steve’s garage. But, what the heck. It is Halloween and we knew all along we were going in. The hesitation was just to provide a little suspense.
- Christina guards the gate to "Weissadoon"
Inside, Count Dracula, Wicked Witch Lucy W., and Innocent Child Isabel (also a W. and a refugee from the court of Marie Antoinette) were waiting to entice us with magic potions and forbidden foods. Straight away, we were given pointed sticks with which to spear hot dogs for sacrifice in the bonfire (in lieu of virgins, there being none available). We drank powerful ales and blood red wine as we mingled with various and assorted pagan revelers.
Count Dracula, Wicked Witch Lucy W, Innocent Child Isabel, and Creepy Creature
We were beguiled by the enchanting Candace, regaled with spooky tales of Halloweens past by the luscious Lucy B (not to be confused with Witch Lucy), and chased around the premises by the headless Riley. This was pretty scary stuff. And should we succumb to the terrors confronting us, the dastardly Doctor Charley was on hand to revive us.
Pagan revelers: Enchanting Candace, Plain Old Shirley, and Wicked Witch Lucy W
Dastardly Doctor Charley
Presiding over all the drinking and debauchery (albeit very tame debauchery) were the beneficent Steve--master of the world of Weissadoon, Innocent Isabel, Wicked Witch Lucy, and the evil Count Dracula, a New York import.
Scary, but Beneficent Steve. Boooooooooooo!
The Child Isabel (do not be taken in by her innocent looks, she's really a sorceress).
The Evil Count Dracula
It was a spectacular evening. Spiders crawled up silken webs, dismembered parts hovered , smoke filled the air, spirits howled, fog engulfed us. All of my Halloween dislikes went up in flames with the hot dogs. This was magical, and I wanted to stay in Weissadoon for a hundred years. But it was not to be. At twelve o'clock, Steve clapped his hands and everything disappeared--pagan revelers, bonfire, spider webs, dismembered parts, Count Dracula, Wicked Witch W., Innocent Child, Enchanting Candace, Luscious Lucy, Headless Riley, Dastardly Doctor Charley--all gone. All but two ghouls sent by Steve to offer Norman and me safe passage back to Crilly Court. (I told you he was beneficent.)
Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein
And now we wait for next October 31 , when we will again walk up North Park to Menomonee, in the hope that Weissadoon will reappear; and that Christina will be standing at the gate to grant us entry. Until then, stay safe, my friends. And watch out for pagan revelers, for we are among you.
Beware of pagan revelers. Just kidding, it's only Norman in a pumpkin shell.
Filed under: Living in Interesting Times