October Prompt: It happened on October 31, just like every year.
He carved pumpkins into Mom’s image, adding devil horns or fanged teeth. In the yard, he placed rows of fake grave stones with her name and other colorful expletives. People who strolled by our home stopped and stared at the deranged decorations. On Halloween night, a news crew arrived to interview my dad. This garnered him a bit of fame, but not the good kind.
The following Halloween, reminded of the pain and embarrassment he suffered from the year prior, inspired Dad to come up with more elaborate creations. He filled the lawn with animatronics of skeletons, spiders, zombies and killer clowns and repainted their faces with Mom’s. Killer clown Mom shoved a knife in zombie Mom’s back while a trio of skeleton moms prayed to an altar looking for forgiveness of their sins. The next year, he turned the entire front yard into a type of life size diorama recreating scenes of Mom’s infidelity with witches and little pumpkin men. That was a tough year of school for me. The year after that, he hired a truck to haul and fill the full lot with dirt so he could create zombie like Mom heads popping out of the ground with crumbled up papers spewing from their mouths that said “I was wrong.”
Dad finally realized he was going too far when the following year he lit a fourteen foot effigy of Mom that blazed stronger than he thought and caught the neighbors' roof on fire. The subsequent arrest, community service, and mandated therapy helped Dad come to terms with everything. For the Halloween that followed, he turned the lawn into a shrine dedicated to Mom, complete with a wishing tree filled with messages of love and forgiveness. He carved fifty-five pumpkins each with a letter that, when arranged, said, “I can forgive you if you can forgive me. Come home, my beautiful witch.”
Mom is back at home and the front yard feels much less dramatic. The doorbell rings and I get up, ready to supply kids with sugar. I open the door and a little boy stands eagerly for a treat. I toss him a full size chocolate bar and tell him how cool his Batman costume looks.