This is Halloween: every costume flame-retardant, with not so much as a button to choke on. At the well-lit houses, each no more than a block from home, the well-meaning give out healthy snacks and quarters for your college fund. Supermarkets stash the eggs, the aerosol whipped cream, and the toilet paper behind locked display doors. Your mother drives you to a more prosperous neighborhood with better streetlights. Just in case.
Out of the corner of your eye, though, a girl with unruly hair in a hand-me-down princess gown and carrying her older brother’s wooden sword is playing a drumbeat on the mailboxes and flees giggling into the night when her classmates’ parents yell. She has a fistful of candy bars acquired at a five finger discount and offers you one with chocolate on her lips. Her older brother swipes an innocuous jack-o-lantern from a front stoop and replaces it with one carved from his own nightmares.
On Halloween, they say, you can be someone else. Or maybe you can be who you really are. How does the safety leash your parents clipped to your collar before going out tonight work?
Tags: postcard stories