This story was written in the form of ten tweets and posted on twitter with the hashtag #TenTweetTale.
The Halloween Problem
By Gareth P Jones
“No trick or treating?” yelled Ella. “Why?”
I already knew the answer. It was the same answer to every question asked that year.
“The virus,” replied Mum.
“You can’t catch Covid from sweets,” replied Ella.
“And we’ll literally be wearing masks,” I added.
“Sorry kids,” said Mum.
“First school. Then our holiday. Now Halloween,” I said.
“Let’s be grateful for what we do have.”
Mum burst into tears.
We felt bad. We had never really known Uncle Pete, but Mum was still upset when he died in June.
“It’s OK, Louise.” Dad put his arm around her.
The funeral was on zoom so weird as well as sad. Then came the news that Uncle Pete had left his house to Mum in his will. “I don’t know why,” she said. “He used to call me Wheezy as a child but I haven’t seen him in years.”
“Don’t look a gift house in the mouth,” said Dad.
I was wondering how the death of an obscure relative was supposed to make us feel better about cancelling Halloween, when Dad said: ‘I’ve got it!’
Not what you want to hear in the middle of a global pandemic but he wasn’t talking about Covid.
“I know how to save Halloween.”
“I’ve almost finished clearing Uncle Pete’s house,” said Dad. “I’ll decorate it as a haunted house for the kids.”
“I don’t think that’s very appropriate?” said Mum.
“It is quite a creepy old place,” I said.
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Come on. It’s just a bit of fun,” said Dad.
Dad’s great at making things & I knew he’d come up with loads of creepy surprises so Ella & I happily went to work on our costumes.
We were really excited about it, but on the day itself, Dad suddenly had to take Grandma to hospital after she fell and hurt her hip.
On the night, Ella was a witch. I’d made a papier-mâché Frankenstein head. It was chucking it down as Mum parked outside.
“On the count of 3,” said Mum.
We ran to the house but had to wait as Mum fiddled with the keys. By the time we got in green paint was running down my back.
“The power must be off.” Mum flicked the switch.
The door slammed shut behind us.
“It’s just the wind,” I said.
“What’s that light?” asked Ella.
“Or maybe I’m wrong about the power.”
We approached the light.
“Where am I? What’s happened to me?” whispered a voice.
“Dad?” called Ella.
A lit candle flickered next to a matchbox.
“Brilliant,” I said.
“Wheezy? Is that you?” whispered the voice.
“Karl, this is too scary,” said Mum.
She picked up the candle, lighting up a window and we saw the outline of a face.
Obviously, we all screamed.
Ella was freaked out & Mum was furious but I thought it was great.
When we got home, Dad was back from the hospital.
“How did you do it?” I asked.
“Do what?” Dad looked at our soggy costumes. His face dropped. “I’m so sorry. I totally forgot to do the haunted house thing.”