portrait of Erin smiling in yellow top with trees in the background

Erin Brown

Speculative Fiction Author

7 – Dubbaco Annual All Hallow’s Eve Fun Fest!

Do I even need to say how much I love this holiday?  I liked it before, but now, in Dubbaco?  Best day ever! This is one of the biggest city-wide celebrations we have, and the traditions are very strict but lots of fun.

10pm-12am The Night Before:

I take the fence down around the ghoul patch, plop a bunch of fake tombstones around the patch, and set a mystical fog down over the ground.  It lasts until sun-up the day after Halloween.  I will also take two or three of the ghouls to the Chippintrau City Cemetery as well, setting up magical borders so they won’t wander off.  The ghouls are very compliant on the day- kids like to throw food and candy at the ghouls as they lurch around with their cartoonishly-threatening postures and show their two or three teeth apiece. Only the older kids are allowed in the real cemetery.  The game of tag that ends up developing there each year is pretty amazing to watch.  My ghouls may be short on teeth, but they are full of guile.

9am-10:30am – Illusion Prep.  Helena, Jas, and I all work on creating the spooky illusions, phosphorescent green sentient shadows, bottled fogs and disembodied voices in jars for the evening events for the teens.  We have to make them and hide them in the areas Helena marked out on the map of the city.  Then we have breakfast, coffee, don our witchly black windless fluttering robes, take some quick selfies, and we’re off to the square, where the mayor has a raised stage built for us.  From there we shall imperially preside over the festivities.

11am to 1pm: School’s out, and welcome to the Official Chippintrau Citywide Trick-or-Treat Parade.  There are always kids dressed as witches, and some dress up like me, Jas, or Helena specifically, which is tooth-rottingly adorable!  I snapped a bunch of pictures and sent them to my mom, especially of all the kids dressed like me.  One kid, who was dressed as Helena with a big blonde afro and long fake nails, was walking her dog which was dressed as a plant of some kind.  And there were several kids dressed like Fluffers!  One of them pretended to bite me.  Fluffers clearly has a fan club that’s bigger than mine.

1pm to 3pm: Town Square Picnic, with the costume contests, games, the candy apple contest, several types of races and competitions, all judged by Helena, Jas, And I, who sits on the dais and lord over everyone and try to keep a straight, stern, scaaaaary face (and fail completely in the face of such overwhelming cuteness.) The best is the Mayoral Costume Contest, where kids from ages 8-18 dress like the mayor and give a one-minute speech that they write themselves- hilarious!  The winner gets to be assistant mayor for one day during the holiday festivities before the end of the year.  Apparently, Obari dominated the Hallow’s Eve Mayor competition all through elementary and middle school.  But I’m not thinking about him today, so strike that. Moving along!

3pm-5pm: Movie Time, where older kids go to the theatres to watch scary movies and make their evening plans, the unattached adults go have their own fun for a while and make their own evening plans, and the parents and little ones watch a kids Halloween film projected over the town square.  Some of the babies catch their naps at this time, and the parents get a moment to rest.  Helena, Jas, and I take this time to check our hidden scare checkpoints and booby trap several more areas of town where we know the teens will sneak out to.  Grasping vines, shouting street signs, pockets of powerful wind invisible on the sidewalks until you walk into them, and we animate some of the Halloween decorations people put out on their lawns.  Then we join the kid-free adults for a drink or two.  Sun begins to set.

Sundown: Everyone is supposed to go inside, but that’s one of the rules that’s set up specifically to be broken.  Adults and little kids go home with their prizes and candy, and for the rest of the evening watch through the windows for fun glowing phantoms (easy spellwork) and sneaking teens until it’s time for bed.  The older kids wander around looking for trouble, finding our traps and jumpscare spells, and end up in the cemetery where they get their thrill looking for my ghouls.  Then, just before midnight, the stars begin to wink out and the streetlights flicker and fade in the growing mists, and it’s a race home for everyone to make it before the complete darkness falls.

At this point, Helena, Jas, and I take down all of the traps and pranks and walk the sugared-up jittery ghouls home.  Then we congregate at Helena’s house and have a glass of wine, share pictures and highlights, and fall asleep watching Hocus Pocus.

It’s all wonderfully silly, and there is a reason for that.  Magic, spookiness, ghosts, and the rest get such a bad rap sometimes.  But knowledge, bravery, community, curiosity, and empathy make the world a better place.  The kids in Dubbaco grow up knowing that if a ghoul pops up outside their bedroom window, they might just want some marshmallow ghost pops, and if they won’t leave, mom and dad can shoo them away. 

Monsters do not always mean to be scary; sometimes a werewolf just wants a scritch behind the ears and a slice of crunchy bacon.  Ghosts will sometimes drop in just to make sure you’re doing okay, because they were thinking about you, and tend to worry.  Goblins love hunting mushrooms, and if you cross the path of one, continue on- you’re not a mushroom, so you have nothing to worry about.  And sometimes being a great and powerful witch means handing out glitter stickers to a class full of kittens, princesses, astronauts, superheroes, and bugs. 

Sometimes there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.  And when your whole community has your back, nothing can stand against you.  Happy Halloween! I love you all.

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