Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Friday, October 31, 2008


Halloween used to be my favourite holiday. It was my one chance to dress up like a beautiful and sparkly (insert over-clichéd childish dream); the one time out of the year I could beg—and eat—all the candy I wanted with no thought of negative consequences. Halloween was almost better than Christmas for me. I truly looked forward to it every year.

Then one year…all of that changed. It was a tradition in our extended family to do our separate trick-or-treating, then head over to the neighborhood Halloween party, and eventually meet up with all our cousins at my grandma’s house down the street. My Grandpa would have prepared a pot of beans (why he chose beans I may never know, but man…were they ever good) for everyone to eat, and that was only if we had room leftover after hoarding Grandma’s stash intended for the neighbor kids.

This time, though, as my sister and I approached the front door of Grandma’s house, something seemed different. Where the door would normally be swung wide open, inviting all to enter, it was unwelcomingly closed. Usually we would be able to hear the raucous laughter of my uncles telling the latest jokes, or my granddad joining in the chaos with his booming, trademark voice—but this year, the lights were off in the house, and all was quiet. Even the jack-o-lanterns, who were glowing with the customary light of candles, seemed to droop and frown. All was not well at Grandma’s house.

Here I am around the time of the dreaded day--in the foreground {my favourite place to be, evidently}. Adell is squished in the back, wearing the gray T-shirt. Don't we look innocent and unassuming? Totally unaware of any bad in the world...

Nevertheless, we two girls approached the entry, foolishly—as two young girls are wont to be—assuming the best. Never considering foul play. Naïve along with the best of ‘em, that’s how we were.

Suddenly, as we took our last step to reach and turn the doorknob, we heard a heart-stopping wail.


The pitch was piercing, oscillating between two notes of an interval I never knew existed. It sent shivers through my spine, and I knew it was the last noise I would ever hear, for I would soon be dead—murdered by the boogeyman before I ever got to tell Daniel Wilsford of my true love for him, and that was that.

“Run, Adell!” I screamed, for—though I was the younger sister—I always worried for her presence of mind during frightful situations. If one of us should die, I was the best for the job. {I’ve always made a very good martyr, you see. It’s my gift.}

We ran. Both she and I screamed blood-clotting screams of terror, our eyes squeezed shut, as if it would make the horror disappear (though running with our eyes closed did substantially hinder our progress of escaping immediate danger).

Tripping over our fairy princess shoelaces, we didn’t make it far before we collapsed in the grass of Grandma’s front yard, damp from our own sweat along with the early-evening dew that was just beginning to form. We panted our pathetic breaths, having skipped out of P.E. often enough to know we were--neither of us--cut out for such exertion. We were doomed.

The pause gave us time to breathe, and during the break we realized the noise of terror emitting from the portico had faded into that of…humour? Humour indeed. Looking back from whence we’d shortly escaped with our lives, we saw the lights had been turned on, the front door opened, and all our long-lost relatives laughing from the entry. Jubilantly. They’d gotten us—the snot-nosed little girls who were always reading books (in Adell’s case) and beheading chickens (in my own).

A practical joke had been played, and we were the butts. I’m always the butt.

And who was the major culprit, you ask? Who was to blame for the wail of fright (and “fright” is putting it mildly)?

A battery-operated ghost hanging from the eaves of Grandma’s front porch. Of course. She’d unearthed them from the bottom of a bin at Pick ‘n Save™ the year before, at the after-Halloween markdown sale for what was no doubt “a steal.” It had a sensor—a sensor!—which detected the movement of any innocent passerby, at which signal it would flatly freak people out. This technology was ahead of its time during the mid-90s, and I had never imagined anything so horrifying. I can hear the wails to this day—probably because they are still common decorations among my relatives—and they frighten me…to…this…day.

Adell and I have gone on to live {fairly} normal and well-adjusted lives, despite the turmoil of our youth.

Strangely enough, however, I’ve never felt the Halloween fervor since then. I’ll buy my own candy, thankyouverymuch.

Happy Halloween, from everyone (all two of us) here at Archives of Our Lives.


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Blogger Cristin said...

Wow, how traumatic. This explains everything weird you have ever written...

October 31, 2008 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger ☂niki. said...

that was intense!! i was sitting on pins and needles the whole time!

October 31, 2008 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger lindsay said...

i think this is my very favorite post, ever.

good job camille and happy halloween!

October 31, 2008 at 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


For the life of me, I cannot remember that scenario at all!!! This is even more proof that I block unpleasant situations out of my memory. I am very sorry it scarred you so terribly.

And please, for the sake of all of us, take off that last picture of the two of us. The scenery is amazing, but I look pregnant. Ugh. I hate the fat days and any remembrance of them...

October 31, 2008 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love haloween and I love to scare people.

Great story.


October 31, 2008 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Mikelle said...

Oh, I miss your Grandpa's beans too. Halloween isn't the same without them.

October 31, 2008 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Whitney said...

Oh that was scary. IM surprised you werent taken to an insane assylum. I would have been. Ha!

October 31, 2008 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


October 31, 2008 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Cristin-- Aww, man. I'm not weird. You're weird. Okay...I'm kind of weird. But at least admit that you're weird too. Don't leave me alone out here.

niki (crum) worthen-- I know. Ruined my life, almost. By the way, I fell in love with your old people Halloween costumes!

Lindser-lou-- Oh, thank you! I couldn't believe how fun it was to write! Happy Halloween to you, too.

Anonymous my sister-- Maybe you don't remember because maybe it didn't happen *quite* like this. Maybe. Just...maybe. And no, I won't remove the picture. Send me one of you that you like, and I'll add it.

October 31, 2008 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

bRAD-- Well if you love being such a holy terror, I'm sure you're having a helluva time this All Hallow's Eve. Go get 'em, tiger.

Mikelle-- Oh, the beans. Not sweet, but not salty. Almost crispy with onions and celery. So delish. Too bad he's dead and he took the recipe with him.

Zach and Whitney-- Well, it was close, you know? I mean, I was in danger of the looney bin all my life. At least until I married a Canadian and moved north. (They'll let anyone in up here!) (Just kidding, Canadians.)

Anonymous-- Happy Halloween right back atcha!

October 31, 2008 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger The Verenski's said...

oh how I remember the days of Halloween with you and Adell. We would go to Grandmas then your mom would take us to the "Rich Neighborhoods" so we could get more candy. Remember when we were sitting on the back of her car and I yelled at those boys? That was so scary. Grandpas beans.... how i miss grandpa. Everything is so much different with out him. I miss you to Camille my far far away cousin. I sure do love you though.

November 1, 2008 at 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad Jo wrote that last post. That is what I thought you wer\re going to write about. That was the most vivid Halloween memory I had. Remember Adell falling off the back of the car and skinning here knees and palms to the raw bone that night? It was that same year that Jo came to NAU with us and yelled at the boys. Adell turned 16 that siummer so you must have been 14. I missed Grandpa's beans last night because last year I made them in honor of him. Tell Mikelle that I still have the recipe. The first year after his sttrokje Grandpa and I made them together. This is the last time I am not going to make a pot of chilli on Halloween. I regretted it the whole day---all because I was too tired,. IVOW from here on out to never let Grandpa's chilli bean memory die out. Every year on Oct. 31st( as long as I am alive and kicking) I will make a HUGE pot of Grandpa's chilli bbeans. I have the recipe. TRADITIONS!!!!! Traditions will NOT die. Thanks for a fun post (but like Adell, I do not remember this particular Halloween night.
Preston's Granmamamamamamamamamammam

November 1, 2008 at 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking how hungry I was for those beans myself. I'll look forward to Aunt Laurel Ann's beans next year.

November 2, 2008 at 3:22 PM  

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