Halloween: A love story

moonSeven leaves whip across the street followed by a ghost, a goblin and the lion king – sheet, cape and tail fluttering behind them. Ahead, a gang of superheroes clamors from door to door, scooping handfuls of candy out of bowls and then bounding off into the lowering twilight. The ghost and the goblin know those superheroes and don’t like them; were beaten up by Superman once. The lion king – a cousin from across town – is ignorant. Ignorant of the gang and happy, ignorant of the neighborhood and hesitant. So, when the ghost and the goblin suddenly cut across a deserted lot, he follows, not caring where.

One street over is practically a different world. The long, low sheets of one-story row houses and the broad, open sky above them are replaced with high walls of three-decker apartment buildings. They cast long, inky shadows and bring night on much faster. Ghost and goblin pause before running up some steps, but when they do they press three doorbells at once. When the buzzer sounds they yell “Trick or treat!” at the top of nine-year-old lungs. Only silence answers. They do this three more times at three other buildings without success before noticing no lights are on in any of the windows on the street. Suddenly they miss the superheroes’ familiar threat. Moving to a puddle of light beneath a street lamp, they instinctively stand with their backs to each other, looking up and down the street for a threat or a hope. Then, coming around a corner far away, the lion king sees Spiderman and Batman waving bags of candy above their heads. He smiles in his ignorance and roars and the ghost and the goblin howl. Then they all dash toward the enemy in the glow of a rising orange moon.

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