My kids loved Halloween. I didn’t. Nights were usually cold, sometimes rainy. The kids wanted to start early and finish late. Instead of a cute plastic pumpkin for their candy, they took pillowcases—more room for their haul. Candy—in many shapes and forms—were strewn on the floor afterward while they picked out the “good stuff.” Sometimes they ate too much candy and…you know.
I think they liked dressing up as much as trick-or-treating. Costumes were usually homemade, or I should say “put together” by them. Some of their friends had elaborate costumes because their mothers could sew. Sewing was not a skill I ever learned, so it was do-it-yourself or find something on a store shelf. That went for me, too, because I usually had to dress up at work.
My best costume was a white nightgown (modest, thank God) under layers of white tulle wrapped around my body. My face was powdered white. I say “thank God” because that was the Halloween I had to leave work and drive to the emergency room of the local hospital. My son had cut his hand while trying to carve a pumpkin with my best chef’s knife and a neighbor had taken him to the hospital. He was okay, but I endured a few raised eyebrows and chuckles from the staff with my ghost costume.
I think my oddest Halloween memory is the year my husband and I visited his sister. It was raining and either she didn’t think there would be any trick or treaters, or she had forgotten it was Halloween. Long story short….one older kid came to the door with his bag. He was given an avocado. The kid looked at it, said thank you, put it in his bag, and trotted off.
In later years, I gave up on trying to find a clever costume and just wore the same one over and over. It was a long black dress with a black pointed hat and a stick-on wart for the end of my nose. Fitting, especially when I told ghost stories.
Years ago I wrote a book called Ghosts and Legends of San Juan Capistrano, my second non-fiction book. Research was fun. Being raised in the fifth oldest town in the state helped because I had relatives who’d grown up with wonderful stories about devil dogs, white ladies, headless monks and weeping women who wandered the banks of the river.
Not all the ghost stories in my book related to the distant past. One story was about a flight attendant who lived in a modern housing development, but who insisted she had a malicious poltergeist. When I told the story while leading a Halloween walking tour, I stopped and confessed that while I had never seen a ghost, many people believed in them, so I didn’t discount their existence. At that point, a woman on the tour raised her hand and said, “The story’s true. I’m the one with the poltergeist.”
As the big day approaches, here’s wishing all of you good costumes, lots of candy, no poltergeists, and an avocado for good measure.
Shadow of the Fox Mission Belles Book 1
War looms in Spanish California.
Sorina Braithwaite, rebellious granddaughter of a prominent California ranchero, has her own battle to fight. Desperate to escape an arranged marriage to a man she despises, she threatens to expose an American spy unless he helps her flee.
Lt. Lance Grainger, intrigued by her audacity as much as her beauty, knows if Sorina disappears, her arrogant fiancé will follow, thus distracting him from the insurgency he’s plotting. But there’s a risk. As the son of a man branded a coward, Lance has spent his entire career rebuilding his family’s honor. If he’s thought to be a deserter, his honor will be in shreds.
As the declaration of war nears, Lance and Sorina set out on a journey of danger and intrigue, but both soon discover their hearts may be in the greatest peril of all.
Author of nine novels and eight history books, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives part time in Northern California’s wine country and part time in the Nevada desert. Having spent the last three years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug with her patient spouse, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of her gran-cats, gran-dog, and gran-fish. Sadly, the gran-lizard went to his final reward.