Hudson Graham may be seventy-three, but he's the coolest old guy you'd ever want to meet. I mean, how many "seniors" will offer up their house to a bunch of teenagers to use as their Halloween headquarters? Most old people zip up their homes, shut off their lights, and hide in a back room until Halloween is over. They don't even hand out candy, let alone lend out stuff to help you transform into scar-faced zombies.
Dressing up as a zombie was new for me. I usually go as the Marsh Monster, with ratty green hair and marshy-looking clothes, but this year Casey and Billy were going trick-or-treating with Marissa and Holly and me, and they wanted to use super creepy makeup and blood capsules and fake scars and stuff, so just painting myself green seemed pretty lame in comparison. And after I jumped on the scar-faced zombie wagon, Marissa and Holly got on board, too.
Our friend Dot didn't want anything to do with our little death brigade. She said she was going to "reprise" her bumblebee costume from last year and take her little sisters around their neighborhood instead, but I think she just didn't want to risk another Halloween like last year.
Anyway, Holly, Marissa, Billy, Casey, and I all met at Hudson's house and had a blast painting and spraying and plastering scars onto each other. It got uuuuuugly! And even uglier when we put in our fake rotten teeth!
"You look hideous, darling!" Billy says to Marissa in a Count Dracula accent.
"And you're revolting!" Marissa says back with a laugh.
Then Hudson comes in with some old, worn flannels and a pair of scissors. "Seems you could use some tatters to go with those faces."
"Are you serious?" Casey asks him.
"Rip away," he says with a laugh.
So we put on the shirts, then we tear and tatter and, you know, destroy them, which really does a lot to complete our zombie look.
"Very gruesome," Hudson says as he lets us out. "You look like you're straight from the grave."
Billy hunches over like Quasimodo as we go down the porch steps, then makes a horrifying sound in his throat and says, "Let's go, my pretties!"
So off we go, racing from house to house, collecting candy in our pillowcases, and it didn't take long for Billy to really start hamming it up.
"Aaaaah," he'd gurgle when someone answered the door. "I think I'm . . . dyyyyyyyyying!" Then he'd grab his throat and stagger around, finally collapsing onto the porch. "Caaaaaaandy!" he'd gasp, holding up his sack. "Save me!"
The person who answered the door would always laugh, then give all of us two or three pieces instead of just one.
"You're the master at this," Casey tells him after about the sixth performance.
"And you, my pretty, are my slave!"
Casey laughs, "Dude, there's no way I'm your pretty."
"My pretty ugly, then!" Billy rasps. "But still my slave."
So we're all laughing and chasing after Billy as he scurries back onto the sidewalk, but we quit laughing quick when we find ourselves doing a domino-style bump-up into a cop.
It's pretty shadowy right there, so it takes a second for me to realize that it's not a real cop--it's just a guy in costume. And then it hits me that this fake cop is none other than Danny Urbanski.
Now, let's just say that Danny Urbanski doesn't need to dress up for Halloween. Anyone with two eyes can see that he's a snake. Trouble is, Marissa's two eyes don't focus where Danny's concerned. She's had a crush on him forever, and even though she knows he's a slithering sneak, she still can't seem to shake him.
"Dude!" Billy says to him. "A cop?"
Danny laughs. "Best way to stay...