Note: Though this day happens after the climax of The Skeleton Haunts a House, it contains NO spoilers.
I know, given the excitement the day before in the Thackery household, one might have thought we’d let Halloween slide. But no self-respecting ambulatory skeleton can let this day go by without a celebration.
So I got to work first thing in the morning. Technically, I’d been up all night, as usual. I don’t sleep, which gives me so much more time to do important stuff like working on homework for my art history class and playing World of Warcraft. But as soon as it was light enough that could move around without disturbing the sleeping members of the family, I started decorating.
By the time Dr. T, Mrs. Dr. T, Georgia, and Madison were awake, all the decorations were already up. And I mean ALL the decorations collected over the years. There was ceramic jack-o-lanterns Georgia painted in junior high school; tissue paper witches from when Madison was little; cardboard ghosts and vampires; plastic werewolves that cling to the windows; spiders made of pipe cleaners and pom-poms; and my favorite, the calaveras Mrs. Dr. T collected. I was hanging a black-and-orange construction paper chain when Dr. T came downstairs.
“What do you think?” I asked.
He looked around and I could tell he was impressed. “My goodness, I had no idea we had so many Halloween decorations.”
“When you live in the attic, you’ve got nothing better to do than keep inventory. You don’t think it’s too much, do you?”
“Not at all.” He put a hand on my shoulder blade. “Sid, after what you did yesterday, you can decorate all you want.”
I couldn’t help grinning. Really. No skeleton can help grinning. But I really meant it.
He went off to the kitchen to start breakfast for the family. The rest of the Thackerys started trickling downstairs as the scent of bacon wafted through the house. Unfortunately, that included the dog. He sniffed at me, and had the nerve to lick his lips. I didn’t even bother to engage. Some watch dog he is! When things went bad last night, where was he? Locked in a bathroom. Let him try to gnaw on me and he’ll get what the killer got.
After breakfast, Madison and Georgia headed off to get essential supplies: candy and pumpkins to carve. Being Halloween morning, it took them a few stops to find enough pumpkins, but they finally arrived with enough for each of us to carve. Mrs. Dr. T did a Day of the Dead face, Mr. T did Frankenstein’s monster again because he has a crush on Mary Shelley, Georgia made a werewolf that the Dog wishes he could aspire to, Madison did Lord Shingami from Soul Eater, and Deborah just made a face. (She makes faces at my jokes a lot, too.)
I did myself. I always do myself. Why mess with perfection?
By evening, only Georgia and I were left at home. The rest of the family had gone to work at McHades Hall at the Pennycross Halloween Howl. I was just as glad it was just us, honestly. I knew I could talk her into letting me have some extra fun. As it got dark, Georgia put out the lit pumpkins, then pretended to carry me outside to sit on the porch. Not that twenty pounds is all that heavy, but it was easier for me to do the real work. Then she set up some strings and levers so she could pretend to make me move from behind me.
That’s right: I got to hand out the candy!
I was careful, mind you. I only moved a little, as if I was a prop running on a battery. If a kid looked scared, I didn’t move at all, just let them reach into the bucket. One little girl seemed to like me, so I gave her a wink, and she giggled. But when a group of tweens mocked the “fakey” skeleton, I reached toward them! They left without their Reese’s cups.
Toward the end of the evening, Georgia had to go to the bathroom, leaving me in charge. One last party started up our sidewalk, but they looked kind of old to be trick-or-treating. They weren’t even in costume. I was trying to decide how to play it—static or scary—when I heard one of them say, “Let’s see how far we can throw the pumpkins!”
If it had been mine they’d reached for, I would have minded so much, but they grabbed Madison’s, and she was really proud of the way it had turned out. So I stood up, scattering candy, and yelled, “You leave that alone!”
They used words Mrs. Dr. T asked me to avoid, and didn’t move. Until I stomped toward them, that is. Then they took off as fast as they could, screaming like little kids.
“Yeah, you better run!” I called after them. “Nobody messes with the Thackery family, not on my watch!”
BEST. HALLOWEEN. EVER.
From my holiday to yours. . .Happy Thanksgiving!
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About the author
Leigh Perry writes the Family Skeleton mysteries feature Sid the Skeleton. The Skeleton Haunts a House, the third, came out in October. As Toni L.P. Kelner, she’s the co-editor of paranormal fiction anthologies with Charlaine Harris; the author of eleven mystery novels; and an Agatha Award winner and multiple award nominee for short fiction. No matter what you call her, she lives north of Boston with two daughters, two guinea pigs, and one husband. Visit Leigh at leighperryauthor.com.