Susan W. Hudson
Archie and Anita were 12-year-old twins. They lived in a big house on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They were well-behaved, and they were equally curious and adventuresome. Their mom picked them up from school every day, and they usually went with her to finish up her workday at N.C. Theatre. She always had a snack for them, and if they were tired, there were plenty of places to lie down and take a little nap. All of their mom’s co-workers checked on them often.
Although they were nearly teenagers, Mom still felt they were too young to walk to their home about a block away. They would have to cross a busy intersection, and they were very gregarious. They had never met a stranger; who knew how they would react if approached by a less than honorable person. So, they found ways to occupy themselves and sometimes finished their homework before heading home for dinner.
Their dad was the cook for the family, so the twins ran into the house, plopped their backpacks down, and headed straight in to check out the good smells he created in the kitchen. They were both budding chefs so they tasted, tested, and made suggestions. They could always count on a very satisfying meal, an early bedtime, and a restful night of sweet dreams.
When the leaves started to fall, Archie and Anita saw glimpses of the old castle across the street from N.C. Theatre. They had heard horror stories about the gothic mansion, so they were afraid to venture there. Instead, they checked out the cemetery adjacent to their mom’s workplace. It was Halloween Eve, so that seemed appropriate.
Halloween day brought cooler weather with tons of bright sunshine. The twins slept in and had pumpkin spice pancakes for breakfast. They spent most of the day outside raking leaves and helping Mom and Dad with chores.
After lunch, they went for a short trip to the grocery store. Mom noticed that they were whispering to each other more than usual. “Some clandestine plot that only the twins could know.” She smiled to herself.
When they returned home, their parents helped them dress up in the costumes they had chosen. The twins, along with their parents, had been quite concerned with the Corna-19 virus. So, Anita had chosen to be a doctor, and Archie chose to be a firefighter. They all trekked out to trick or treat trick in their neighborhood for an hour.
After their Trick or Treat travels, Dad got busy finishing up a super spooky Halloween dinner, as Mom checked through the trick or treat bags for anything suspicious. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, Mom joined her family for a ghoulishly good dinner including mashed potato ghosts, braised ribs, and asparagus spears. Dad had made them a special dessert, dirt cupcakes, using crushed Oreo cookies for dirt. He decorated them with gummy worms.
Earlier in the day, the twins had concocted a plan. They would text each other from their separate bedrooms until mom and dad were asleep. They would slip out and spend the night in the graveyard.
Archie and Anita feigned tiredness from foraging for candy and eating a heavy dinner. They turned in early in hopes their parents would do the same. They did.
The twins’ plans went well. They quietly dressed in warm clothes and tiptoed down the hall. They each took a blanket. When they came to their parents’ bedroom door, they knelt down and listened intently. They heard smooth breathing and even some snores.
They tiptoed down the stairs and slipped out the door. From their front yard, they could hear the Halloween party revelers in downtown Chapel Hill, which was several blocks from their house.
They tentatively made their way down the steep hill. They were wary of the one street they had to cross. They clung together, noting there was no traffic in this area tonight. They made their way to the cemetery.
The moon was full and there seemed to be a thousand brightly shining stars. They were tired and sleepy. They huddled together, wrapped up in their blankets, propped their heads on a gravestone, and drifted off to sleep. They had completely forgotten about their stash of candy and other sweets from treaters.
They were awakened around midnight to an “eerie sight.” The graveyard inhabitants were stirring up the dirt while “Transylvania twisting” to Bobby (Boris) Pickett’s “Monster Mash.” It was a graveyard smash. The “Crypt-Kicker Five” lead the dance.
Then, all the pumpkins that loved-ones had left as memorials at the cemetery corralled into a circle around the residents and began rapping to M.C. Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”
The residents paired off and did their rendition of “Tango De Armour” from the Broadway production of “The Addams Family.” The children recognized it because their mom played it incessantly after seeing the show in New York City.
The leader of the songs and dances holds that position because he is the oldest resident of the cemetery. The second oldest is his sidekick. They both stopped and looked at Archie and Anita, and declared, “This one is for our special audience. We don’t let many people in here, you know.”
Let’s start “The Halloween Freeze Dance.” The leader started the song. “Flying, flying, the witches are flying around the room.” Archie and Anita knew this song very well. They began pretending to be flying around the graveyard. All the residents joined in. Suddenly, the second in command shouted out, “Boo.” Everybody had to “freeze in place.”
The resident in charge called out the monsters. “Monsters march.” “Ok everybody, march. Everyone started marching. The Second in command shouted out, “Boo.” All marchers had to freeze. Archie and Anita were having a blast.
Next came the skeletons doing the shake, shake, the ghosties doing the tiptoe, and the black cats doing the crawl.
The residents organized and performed their adaptation of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London.” The twins caught on quickly to the choreography and made their newfound friends very proud.
The head resident and his sidekick jumped up onto the branches of the huge oak trees. One by one; the rest of the residents followed. Then, one by one they jumped down and be-bopped to “Purple People Eater.” The twins felt no fear because there was not a purple person in sight.
Archie and Anita began to feel weary when the residents did a slow ballet rendition of “I Put a Spell on You.” Their small heads dottered, and the slower pace transfixed them into a deep sleep once again.
Just before dawn, the residents went back to their graves. Only two were left. The head resident and his sidekick grabbed the dearies without awakening them. One of them took the girl, and the other took her brother. They crossed the road, careful with their load. They slowly climbed the steep hill where everything was still. They did the “Halloween Hustle” while squeezing through the door. Once inside, they trekked up the stairs, keenly aware their bones were brittle, and might produce a rattle rattle if they weren’t careful.
They placed the sleeping twins in their beds. The residents of the cemetery’s fun night was over for this year. They needed to sleep. They were joyous that they had such precious starry-eyed admirers in the audience. They hoped to have such a wonderful experience next Halloween.