Anticipating Halloween

I love Halloween. Always have and always will. It’s a holiday just for fun – for decorating, for wearing costumes, and everyone is a kid for the day. So I can relate to Herb in this story from Slim Randles. 

And in keeping with the anticipation of October 31, let’s share in some witches brew, which has always been believed to be a potent magical concoction supposedly prepared by witches. For Halloween fun, some people prepare their own drink to share with friends and family. You can find a recipe for making your own witches brew in a post by Sandra Lee  on The Food Network. Eye of newt and legs of toads optional.

Now, here’s Slim and Herb.

To look at Herb Collins, you wouldn’t think he was like that. A nicer, kinder guy you never met. But for one evening each year … one little slice of time … he’s downright diabolical.

Every small town has one, of course. There is always that one person who takes Halloween to its extremes of horror and fantasy. We have Herb.

Everyone knows about his penchant for decoration. Ever since he retired, his yard and house has celebrated every holiday from Christmas to Amelia Earhart’s wedding anniversary with great festoonation and an increase in the electrical bill from all the lights.

But on Halloween, Herb goes plumb nuts. It’s a good thing heart trouble is rare for the age group who go trick or treating, because Herb’s yard is a veritable booby trap of pouncing ghosts, swooping bats that swing out of the trees, loud sound effects as witches pop straight out of the lawn in front of children and cackle, and porch-side demons that shriek and leap just as the kid reaches what he considers the safety of Herb’s front porch.

It’s a running of the gauntlet that only the bravest of the brave attempt. Herb says he hasn’t had a four-year-old make it to the front door yet. But for the older kids, this is an annual challenge, and one by one they leave the safety of the sidewalk to do a broken-field run, often with screaming, until they hit the safety of the doorbell. Once that doorbell rings, they know, it’s all over but the candy.

Ah, the candy! As if to make up for all the screaming and terror, Herb gives out dollar candy bars. Some kids have been known to carry them around for several days to show off before eating them.

“It gives the little guys something to shoot for,” Herb says, laughing. “And the big guys get a different dose of demons every year so they aren’t sure what to expect.”

And Herb?

“I just have a lot of fun.”

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Brought to you by Slim’s new book The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List that features 120 “reel” great places to fish in America before you kick it. The book, as well as all Slim’s books can be found at

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Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here on the blog, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared with us.

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