Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.
When I was a child, it was all about the costume. I could be anyone or anything I wanted to be for one night. The results were often less satisfactory than the desire, but the bag full of candy made everything all better. We’d carry our pillow cases from door to door, not bothering or even caring whose house we were knocking at. We just tried to visit as many houses as possible.
As I grew older and trick-or-treating was no longer an option, I turned to the more sordid aspects of the holiday. Mischief.
I don’t see this as much in New England as I did in the Midwest, but one of our favorite things to do during the Halloween season was tee-peeing. I’d save my allowance for a month and then buy cases of toilet paper with it. Most of the time we went in groups. We’d pick someone who had wronged us in some fashion, and then we’d slip into their yards in the wee hours of the morning and would throw toilet paper into their trees.
I can remember the rush of adrenaline as I hid at the edge of the property, trying to gather my courage. There was a very big chance that we would get caught. If the person chose to, they could have called the police and had us charged with vandalism. One of us would give the signal, and we’d rush into the yard, tossing the rolls into the trees. The goal was to toss the roll as high as possible, leaving a long white streamer behind. It took a bit of practice, but I eventually got the hang of it. We’d continue until we either ran out of TP or we risked getting caught, then we’d slip away, high fiving one another for a job well done.
When I was thirteen-years-old, my family moved to a neighborhood filled with boys. I quickly developed a love-hate relationship with them. Actually, it was more of a hate-hate relationship, more than anything. A family of three boys lived next door to me, with another scattering of boys in other houses in the neighborhood. Most of the time they were very mean to me, being the only girl in the neighborhood. They’d set up a game of baseball in the front yard, but would never let me play. They’d throw firecrackers at my feet if I had the audacity to step foot onto their home turf. I wasn’t allowed in their club house, a small building they built at the border of our two properties that was used as their main hang out. As Halloween approached, I started getting evil ideas.
I stockpiled toilet paper, hiding it in my room so my mother wouldn’t see it. While she wasn’t necessarily friends with the neighbors, she wouldn’t have approved of my act of vengeance. Several nights before Halloween, I set my alarm for 2am, and then slipped from my bedroom window, armed with toilet paper.
The windows were all dark in the house next door. Not a soul was in sight. I sprang from my hiding place and spent the better part of a half hour, practicing my toilet paper throwing abilities. By the time I was finished, you could barely see the tree under the white streamers. I did my best to hide my smile as the boys got onto the school bus the next morning, but it probably wasn’t even necessary. They knew who did it.
I spent an enjoyable evening watching them grudgingly attempt to pull the paper from the trees. Every once in a while, they’d cast angry glances at the front of my house, where I sat watching. It wouldn’t be something that I’d enjoy for long, though. All six of them returned the favor the following night.
They pulled out all the stops. Instead of just papering our trees, they also used soap to draw profane pictures on all of our windows, and they dumped an entire bag of corn kernels into our yard, knowing they’d sprout corn the following spring. The biggest problem with this was their timing.
My mother had signed our house up to be on a Tour of Local Homes. It was going to take place that weekend. When she looked out the window at the flurry of toilet paper hanging from the trees, she wasn’t very happy. It would be the neighbor boys’ turn to laugh at me as I was pulling toilet paper from the trees.
One of the younger children in the neighborhood confided in me that they planned to do it again the following evening. Knowing how upset my mother would be, I jumped into action. I waited until I knew they were all home and began setting up a ruse. I had a length of twine and began running it from tree to tree in the front yard, covering the entire perimeter of the yard. I’d look up on occasion and catch a curtain fall close. I’d just smile, knowing my plan was working so far. They were curious about what I was doing.
I spent an hour with the twine, and then followed it up by bringing a car battery to the front yard. It was just an old battery that my step-father had kicking around in the garage, but the neighborhood boys didn’t know this. The last phase of my plan was to tell one of the younger children that I’d set up an electrified perimeter fence. I told her to be careful if she happened to come into my yard because I wasn’t sure what it would do to someone. “It might even electrocute them,” I said, managing to keep a straight face.
That night was my night for fun. I sat in the living room, watching out the window. It took a few hours, but they began to show up, armed with toilet paper. They walked cautiously around the property, looking at the twine perimeter fence. I could see them pushing each other, trying to get one of them to test it. In the end, they just gave up and walked home.
I could have been extra evil and repaid the favor to them later in the night, by tee-peeing their yard again, but I didn’t. I’d pulled my greatest prank yet. Just seeing them walk away disappointed, was good enough for me.
Sometimes, I think back to those memories with a fondness I can’t duplicate. Those boys are long grown. I heard that one of them died when he was barely in his twenties. The others just disappeared into the wind. In my heart though, they are still twelve and thirteen, and I am the same, and we are waiting for another chance to get even with one another.
Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com
The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare
Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.