Wearing horrible hats and warts on their noses, Melody, Jake and Veronica fidget as they wait for twilight to turn into night. They are ready to go, with broomsticks and wands in one hand, pumpkin-shaped lolly buckets in the other.
Melody jerks the cord on a dusty, broken blind and peers out. Her stiff black witch’s skirt rustles like scrunching lolly wrappers as she turns to her brother and sister.
‘It’s dark enough,’ she says. ‘We can go trick or treating now.’
As they reach the end of their stony driveway, a crowd of children dressed as ghosts, witches and zombies straggle past, chattering in excited voices.
‘BOO!’ shouts a wafting white sheet at the back of the group. The others jump and scream and then laugh loudly.
Melody takes hold of Jake and Veronica’s hands, waiting for the crowd to pass.
‘Remember,’ she warns. ‘Stay close to me and don’t talk to strangers.’
She leads them up the steps of a neighbouring house and presses the doorbell.
‘Trick or treat,’ they cry as the door opens.
‘Oh dearie me,’ croaks a man with a shiny pink head and a gummy smile. ‘What wonderful costumes! Did you make them?’
‘Yes,’ replies Melody. ‘Trick or treat?’
‘Such lovely costumes deserve lots of treats,’ says the old man, pouring lollies into each of their glowing pumpkin buckets.
They thank him politely then skip across the road, swinging their pumpkin buckets and dragging their broomsticks. At the next house, a skinny boy with a pimply face dumps three chocolate bars into their buckets.
‘You look totally creepy,’ he mumbles.
After four more houses, when it is impossible to fit one more lolly into their overflowing pumpkin buckets, Melody says it’s time to go home.
‘But nobody asked for a trick,’ whines Jake, kicking at the weeds on their driveway. Veronica sucks her thumb and drags her feet. Melody ushers them inside the house and closes their front door.
‘Great haul,’ she beams, unwrapping a lolly. ‘We have SO many lollies.’
‘Wanted to do a trick,’ he mutters, glaring at Melody.
Veronica takes her thumb out of her mouth.
‘Come on, you two. You know we are not supposed to…’ But the doorbell drowns the rest of her words. They freeze, all eyes turned to Melody.
‘Can we?’ begs Jake.
‘Pleeeaase Mellie?’ Veronica’s eyes are wide, brown and pleading like a puppy’s.
‘Oh, all right then,’ says Melody, opening the door.
‘TRICK OR TREAT,’ shout the costume-clad children on their doorstep.
Melody gives Jake and Veronica a slight nod.
‘TRICK!’ they shout back. And with a flick of their wands, the trick or treaters disappear in a fizzy, fiery flame and a puff of purple smoke. All that remains is four buckets of lollies. Melody scoops them up and ducks back inside, banging the door shut behind her.
‘Being a real witch at Halloween is just wicked,’ she cackles.
©Kate Willson 2011, photo by Luna Zhang
Bedtime Stories downloadable tales for children are an AWO initiative, run in support of the National Year of Reading 2012. We encourage you to print and read these stories with your kids, and revel in the joy a wonderful story can bring. All stories are original and have been penned by established and emerging Australian authors. Every month, we will publish four stories running to a central theme, each on a Monday morning. See here for more.