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A Halloween story

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 10:08 a.m. CDT

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It’s a story they told when I was young. It’s probably just something older kids said to scare their younger brothers and sisters, but who knows?

Many Halloweens ago, a group of children was out trick-or-treating. There were about six of them. This was back when kids could go out on their own, without supervision.

The group had gone to all the normal places when they decided to try a new block. They entered a dark street they weren’t familiar with, with low-hanging trees, few street lights and stiff, imposing houses three stories high.

At the corner, a little girl about 6 years old joined them. Since she was younger and slower and no one knew who she was, the others didn’t want her to tag along. So they began taunting her. Nothing much at first, but more as it got dark, and she still wouldn’t leave. The kids in the group weren’t bad children, but something brought out the worst in them that night.

Even though the face of the little girl was covered with Casper the Ghost mask, you could hear her begin to weep, which made the teasing even worse. The kids called her names and took some of her candy.

After a while, the little girl had enough. Without warning, she darted out into the street without looking.

A car struck the little girl, killing her instantly.

Although they felt bad for what happened, when Halloween rolled around a year later, the same group went trick-or-treating again. They hadn’t gone very far when they heard someone following them. Turning, they saw a small figure with a Casper the Ghost mask a short distance away. When they stopped, the figure stopped, too. When the group proceeded, so did Casper, but never fast enough to catch up with them. At the end of the night, the figure mysteriously disappeared, making the kids wonder if they had really seen anything. Naturally, no one said anything about it.

This went on for a couple of years. Whenever the kids went out, they saw this figure in the Casper the Ghost mask following them, always at a safe distance.

The final year the group went trick-or-treating, two brothers decided to see who the figure was. Little did they realize they were on the same block as the terrible accident. As the brothers approached, the figure slowly disintegrated before their eyes.

A lot of Halloweens have passed since then.

In recent years, there have been several reports of a little figure in a Casper the Ghost costume roaming that particular neighborhood Halloween night. (For various reasons, I can’t name the street or even the town where this happened, except that it was in DeKalb County.) Sometimes the figure sticks to itself and sometimes it’ll follow a group of unsuspecting kids, always lagging a little behind. They say if you look hard enough, you can see the little figure reach the point of the accident, hesitate a moment, and then slowly disappear. The thing is, you have to know where to look and when.

Now, there are some who say it’s the ghost of the little girl looking for someone to go trick-or-treating with. There are more who claim it’s just a nice little Halloween story and nothing more. I personally can’t say either way. Who really knows what happens when the sun goes down and one’s imagination is unleashed?  I have heard, however, that if you should see the little figure this Halloween, you should be nice to it, as you should to everyone. That’s all the little figure wants. Like most things we don’t understand,this figure doesn’t harm anyone; just unnerves us a little.

I don’t know if this part is true, either, but I’ve also heard the kids from that group are grandparents now. They still won’t talk about what happened, because they don’t want anyone to know it was them or the little figure to know where they are, but they’ve never bullied anyone since.

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