Ryan Trares: Scary stories take the stage

Just in time for spooky season, have I got a ghost story for you.

It’s got a spooky spectre, a mysterious bag of candy corn, and a world-class pig-out session. There’s revenge by a candy-corn army, a precipitous fall through the floor, and, at last, a ghost lifting weights and running on the treadmill.

When Anthony wrote the “The Ghost and the Candy Corn,” it was confirmation of what I already kind of knew — this kid is ready for fall.

He’s requesting “A Nightmare Before Christmas” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on the TV. He’s already got his Halloween costume all picked out. When we’re bored, he requests we go to Spirit Halloween to try out all of the scary yard decorations.

Normally, I fully resist this early-season interloping. As readers of this column have heard before, summer is my season. I’m clutching it as long as there are sunny, 80-degree days to be had. Give me pool days and barbecues until the frost settles over central Indiana.

But this year was different. Not that it was a hard year, but the loss of some special people in our lives just made it seem a little more melancholy.

So when Anthony and my wife wanted to break out the light-up pumpkins, the black-cat haunted houses and the ghostly decorations the weekend after Labor Day, I was on board. On a warm Sunday morning, I hauled the boxes from the garage, and we went to work adding autumnal touches around the home.

Anthony put on a special spooky music mix he found just for the occasion, and we laughed as we found places for everything, even with limited counter or shelf space. It felt good.

So what if the interior of our home looks like a pumpkin patch farm market, even as green leaves rustle in the trees and our gardens bloom with flowers. There’s been a happiness that comes with this time of year.

Nowhere has that been more clear than with Anthony. Every day, he pulls out sheets of white paper to make some new Halloween-themed creation.

First it was a menagerie of horror movie villains lined up in a row. Then it was a series of different ghosts with special powers — fire, ice, wind, earth.

The most recent is “The Ghost and the Candy Corn.” I credit his second-grade teacher for instilling a love of stories and writing; every day, it seems they’re working on creating multi-page tales as part of their assignments.

Apparently, Anthony likes it so much, he’s brought those skills home.

In “The Ghost and the Candy Corn,” the titular ghost finds a stash of his favorite candy, and eats so much candy corn that he resembles a snow-covered mountain. That’s when the Candy Corn Army comes, and, in retaliation for ghost’s gluttonous offenses, makes him exercise as penance.

A main character overcome by candy, with working out the only escape? Sounds like a vision of Halloween Future.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].