Two days before Halloween, one of Gram’s brothers died and she had to go to Potterville for five days to make funeral arrangements and help his widow settle things. She decided we were old enough to stay home by ourselves, but not quite old enough to get ourselves out of trouble if something went wrong, so she forbid us to go Trick-or-Treating that year.
We had already decided we would dress up as Icabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. We told her we could ask the neighbor for a ride when she took her little girl downtown, but Gram didn’t want us bugging the neighbors for transportation. She said she was sorry, but we’d just have to watch Icabod Crane on the TV that year.
We felt she was being unreasonable, but we also knew she might ask the neighbor if we went, so we decided to provide our own transportation. We’d still go as Icabod and the Headless Horseman, and use real horses. Though I was the one known for my daring, and The Sister Person for being timid, we decided it would look silly to have a pony chasing a horse, so she got to be Headless.
I put my hair into a ponytail and wore a white shirt with a ruffled collar and a green velvet jacket we’d found in the basement. She had found a big black trench coat and a lighted plastic Jack-O-Lantern.
Whenever a car was coming, we’d get the horses running, and then she would pull the trench coat over her head and wave the Jack-O-Lantern at me. And people loved it; they shouted and waved at us, and once we got in town, ten thousand little Ghosts and Princesses asked if they could pet the horses. Though some of the home-owners were a little worried about finding horse poop on their lawns, they got a big kick out of it. I don’t think we’d ever taken in as much candy as we did that night, and Peanut and Chariba had never eaten so many apples, because people thought it was so cool to be able to feed a horse. We paid for it big time for the next two days in barn clean-up duty.
We knew there was almost no chance that Gram would call the house to see if we’d stay home, because she’d called us earlier and said she was exhausted from the work and worry, and was planning to be in bed real early that night. But the guilt we felt for defying her took a little bit of the fun out of the evening.
Still, we had an absolute blast, which lasted until we left the lights of the town at 11:00. And then the exhaustion, the bone-chilling cold, and the worry about riding a brown horse through the dark with no tail lights, (pardon the pun) hit both of us and the horses. It took us almost an hour more than it should have to get home, and when we got there around 1:00 am, what to our wondering eye should appear? Gram’s car in the driveway, and all the lights on in the house.