A Memorable Third Grade Halloween, poem by Bartholomew Barker at Spillwords.com

A Memorable Third Grade Halloween

 A Memorable Third Grade Halloween

written by: Bartholomew Barker



My first unsupervised trick-or-treat
as the full moon rises behind the trees
like a cheap pumpkin-shaped bucket—
me, a store-bought Batman, plastic cape
snapping in the chill October wind.

A strange kid joins me on Maple.
Turns out we have the same name.
He’s dressed up like Howdy Doody,
that TV marionette with red hair
my dad watched when he was a boy.

The kid and I bond over chocolate and gummy worms,
fart jokes and hilarious pranks we’ll pull
when we’re teenagers. He’s way too excited
about Halloween, like it was his first
and with a threadbare pillowcase full of candy

he disappears into the autumn mist.
I get home, still buzzing with sugar, tell
my parents everything but Dad gets angry
and runs to the garage. Mom asks in a whisper
if I know why he’s always hated Halloween.

Dad had a sickly little brother
who loved ghost stories and masks
but was too weak to go trick-or-treating.
It was nineteen years ago tonight
that he died— he was the same age as me.

Then she claimed I carry my uncle’s name.

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