We had always dreamed of owning the old Victorian house on the hill and could’nt believe it when it came up for sale. We immediately put in our offer and by the month of August were the official owners.
Time flew as we settled into the house and every night we listened to the sounds of the old house groaning, moaning and popping. The floors got cold and windows frosty as we fclowed into October but we put socks on our feet and wore sweaters.
It was my idea to have a costumed Halloween party. What a perfect house and time to host one. We decided to have a masked, Victorian era Halloween Ball. It would be a house warming and Halloween party together and since both of our families had lived in the town for generations we would be guaranteed a house full of friends and family.
The night arrived with the weather crisp but clear and not a cloud in sight. The forecast had predicted rain with a chance of flooding but we laughed as we dressed in our costumes. Me with a Princess sheath dress and a hand held glittered half-mask with a peacock feather attached to the right side and my husband looking very dashing in a waistcoat and a plain black mask kept in place with elastic.
While we were upstairs getting ready the band had set up in the drawing room. Coming in so quietly we hadn’t heard them I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a harp and violin as part of the enssemble. Also to our amazement many guests had arrived and were mingling around the food and drinks. Many of the women’s
costumes were so lovely it took your breath away and I secretly wondered why my friends had gone to such extreme lengths to look so authentic.
One of the guests, who I didn’t recognize, flirted outrageously with me. I tried to place him by asking questions but he evaded any direct answers. It was obvious he had added a handlebar moustache as it twitched at an odd angle when he smiled or talked. He did inform me that the house had been built in 1890 and the first party the owners had was a Halloween party which was a complete success.
By now the band had really gotten into playing what I believed was authentic Victorian era music. Guests pushed chairs and tables against the walls to make room for dancing to a lively song that I reconized as “Camp Town Races”. Next was a slow song called “Beautiful Dreamer” and almost everyone danced around the room with grace, poise and expertise. The band leader credited Steven Foster as the composer.
It was then I realized something was strange. My friends and relatives didn’t know how to dance this well and I definitely hadn’t told the band to play this kind of music. In fact, I had said to play modern soft rock. As I slowly scanned the faces I realized I didn’t recognize any of my guests. Ganted they all had masks but surely I would be able to recognize someone. My heart started pounding and my hands got sweaty as I told myself to stop being weird.
As I started searching for my husband I passed the flirting guest and he grabbed my arm to pull me closer. He told me he had to leave soon but wanted to say the party was very special and hoped we would do it again next year.
The grandfather clock started chiming twelve as I continued to the kitchen. I found my husband there directing a couple of women with food trays to the dining room. When we were the only two in the room I turned to him and asked, “Do you find anything strange?”
“Like?” he asked.
“Like not recognizing anyone and the costumes are too beautiful and just stuff,” I stammered.
He stared at me for a few seconds, took my arm and very seriously said, “It’s Halloween.”
We walked through the door together and when we reached the dining room found that our guests had left as quietly as they came. No guests, no band, nobody. Not even a sound. Not the sound of one car leaving or people saying goodbye. And oddly every piece of furniture was back in place, dishes were clear and piled and napkins were folded.
“Well, its just everyone playing a Halloween joke on us,” my husband laughed.
Hardly talking we cleaned up what little mess was left and went to bed. After my morning coffee I decided to call my Mom and talk about the evenings joke. When she answered the phone she immediately asked if we had any damage. Apparently there had been a raging storm starting at seven in the evening preventing anyone from leaving their home.
“No children could Trick or Treat. I’m sorry you’re party was ruined.”