Halloween has never been my favorite holiday. I'm a big 'fraidy cat. I've been to one haunted house in my entire life, an experience that ended with a bleeding hand and my date rubbing my back as I sat with my head between my knees, gasping my way through a full-blown anxiety attack.
So, Halloween is not really my thing. But I do have one good memory of Halloween.
When I was thirteen, my friends and I had a Halloween sleepover at my house. Instead of trick or treating, we stuffed ourselves with chocolate and pizza while watching really bad 80s horror movies. Probably something along the lines of Sleepaway Camp 12.
At some point, my dad came downstairs to the kitchen.
He paused at the threshold to the living room where we were all piled together like puppies in a mass of blankets and pillows and motioned to the wild turkey, mounted in mid-flight over the fireplace.
"Y'all know that turkey's going to take flight at midnight."
I rolled my eyes. But, Dad kept going.
"He does it every Halloween at midnight. He'll come off his perch, make one trip around the room then go right back on there like nothing happened. Y'all just got to sit real still and not get in his way."
Yeah, right. We were in Middle School. We weren't falling for some silly story about a zombie turkey flying around the room.
I responded with a typical, annoyed-teenage-girl voice. "Goodnight, Dad."
He just chuckled and headed back upstairs.
Now, we KNEW. Knew that turkey wasn't going to fly at midnight. We were all smart kids. I'd lived with this turkey for most of my life. I hadn't seen it flap its way around a room on any of the many Halloweens we'd spent together.
But, still as my mom's cuckoo clock ticked closer to midnight, we all found ourself eyeing that turkey. The closer it got to twelve o'clock, the more openly we stopped and watched. Just in case something magical was about to happen.
At midnight, all of us were intently focused on that turkey.
The cuckoo came out.
Then, Dad barreled into the room, wailing like a demon, in a horrifying mask with the head of a DEAD FISH hanging around his neck.
You have never seen thirteen-year-old girls move so fast. We scattered like crazed squirrels, squealing loud enough to shatter glass.
I can still hear Dad laugh.