Essay — Trick or treat!

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Remember when kids dressed up as ghosts and goblins and knocked on doors begging for tasty, tooth-decaying treats?

Remember when spooky tales, featuring peaked-hat witches stirring black cauldrons filled with mysterious potions, frightened the heck out of everyone?

For four centuries, Shakespeare’s famous lines from Macbeth: “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble” raised goosebumps on all but the most fearless among us.

Here in Carpenter Country we loved being scared by such hair-raising scenarios (and not just on Halloween).

Then came stick-pins in apples and bad things in candy. Times changed. Door-to-door beat a path to oblivion. Sedate walk-the-mall-trick-or-treating, in-home activities, and not too scary neighborhood block parties became the in forms of spooky entertainment.


But wait. The Halloween spirit is making a comeback. Haunted events have sprung up all over the country. And some of these spine-chilling happenings sound like good old-fashioned creepy fun.

Legends Weekends in Sleepy Hollow, the setting for Washington Irving’s grisly tale of the Headless Horseman, was one that caught our eye. We checked the web site and discovered all sorts of ghostly characters will be brought to life to transfix and thrill.

Could be fun watching the Headless Horseman gallop through Philipsburg Manor. Could be an old fashioned trick or treat event. Could be a real scarefest.


Block party anyone?




HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter duo who write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at


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