Halloween is easily my favorite time of year. I always leave my porch light on during this gracious season, but I never buy any candy. But the kids don’t know that until they run screaming down the steps, usually tripping over each other as they fight selfishly for survival.

You see, I just love to put on a scary mask from my ages old collection before I open the door. I’ll look through the peephole to see my guests, then I’ll jump out and render their hearts to mush right in their chests. They rarely ever chant the whole “Trick or Treat!” before they are falling over the porch. It gives me a good laugh while I’m waiting for the next unsuspecting children.

The doorbell rings, and I hastily choose a different mask to scare this new set of victims. I look through the peephole – And what do I see?

Nothing more than a single boy. He can’t be more than 10 years old, donning a cute, makeshift ghost costume. He seems to be trick or treating all by his lonesome, no parents or friends anywhere around. Poor thing.

I take off my mask and grab a special piece of candy from the decorative table under the nearby window. I open the door and am welcomed by a stuttered “T-t-trick or treat!”.

I smile and offer him the candy. He reaches out to take it and I pull away. I tell him he can only have it if he eats it right now.

He hesitates, but eventually he complies with my request.

He lifts up the white, cloth veil, revealing flushed, red cheeks and fresh, glossy eyes. He grabs the candy, rips off the wrapper and nearly swallows it whole.

I smile. What a delightful boy. I ask him if he liked it. He nods his head.

But the nod begins to dull, and his eyes begin to close. His legs start to tremble before betraying his body and relinquishing their hold. He falls to the wood of the porch hard.

I pick him up and carry him inside.

I do love to trick the treaters, to scare them as they come to my door, but what I enjoy most of all is when they come alone.

Because, when they come alone, I get to add a new mask to my collection.

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