Mom noticed the witches one morning as she drove the kids to school.
“Adrian, Alex, look at all these cool decorations. People are getting ready for Halloween.”
Looking out the car window, the boys were captivated by the sight of goblins, ghosts, pumpkins, black cats, skeletons and scarecrows. But the decoration that caught their eye most was a new one that they had never seen before: Witches on brooms that had slammed into trees.
Only a few houses in the Valley had them. They were very realistic looking. The witches rode broomsticks that had gone clear through the tree. Their black robes fluttered in the breeze, along with their stringy hair, which was vivid shades of green and orange. They wore tall pointy black hats.
“Mom, can we get one of those this year, please!” said 8-year-old Alex.
“Yeah, Mom, all we have is some lousy rubber skeletons and some spiders and cobwebs we stretched over the shrubbery,” said 10-year-old Adrian.
Mom sighed. She had so many things to do already. But she wanted to find good Halloween decorations and help her boys get into the spirit of the holiday. And it was better than eating candy.
“OK,” Mom said. “I’ll see if any of the stores carry those witches.”
For a couple of days, Mom called around but even after she described the eye-catching decorations, the stores said they didn’t carry them. She tried K-Mart, Sav-On, Party America, OSH and Target.
Each day the boys came home from school and asked if Mom had bought the witch yet. Frustrated, she finally decided to take the kids to a place called The Halloween Store in Granada Hills, which she figured must have every decoration known to mankind.
They searched and searched, and asked the clerk, but the store didn’t carry it. The boys had to settle for a pair of bloody floating eyeballs instead.
Finally, as a last resort, Mom decided to knock on the doors of people who had the witch decorations and see where they got them.
“We just walked out there one morning to get the paper and the witch was there,” said one homeowner, a young man.
Mom rolled her eyes and thought, who is this man kidding. He thinks I’m going to believe that? Maybe he thinks I believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus too!
“I hate the pranksters that come out this time of year,” said another. “But at least it’s better than toilet paper.”
Mom came back, dejected by this wild goose chase.
“Halloween is getting closer,” she told Dad that night. “I’ve already spent too much time on this wild goose chase. Could you please see if you can order a tree-slamming witch on the Internet and have them ship it to us, so that we get it in time to decorate,” Mom said.
That night, Dad said he had looked online but couldn’t find anybody selling Halloween witches slamming into trees.
Sighing, Mom told the boys that they couldn’t have the witch for Halloween.
“It’s very odd, but I can't find it anywhere in Los Angeles and I’m out of ideas,” Mom said.
The boys were very disappointed. Mom felt bad.
“I would do anything to get the boys one of those decorations,” she said the next night, as she put the kids to bed.
It was dark and Dad was working late. An orange harvest moon rose, huge and luminous, in the sky. Mom heard someone knocking on the door.
“Who is it?” she called through the door, not wanting to open it. Bangs the dog, who barked at everything, slunk away like she had seen a ghost, her fur rising on her back.
“I’ve got something for you, dearie,” a woman’s voice cackled.
Oh, thought Mom. Someone else trying to sell me something or collect money for another charity.
“No thank you,” she said.
“If you say so,” the high voice called out.
Soon Dad came home and Mom didn’t think any more about it. The next evening, after she put the kids to bed, Mom went out to sweep the fall leaves out of the driveway. Halloween was coming, and there was a lot to do in preparation for the big night. The broom seemed very heavy. Mom was tired. She wished the broom would sweep the leaves by itself.
She started as the broom shot out of her hands and in one minute’s time, raked up all the leaves. The next thing she knew, she was riding the broom around the yard. She clung on and soon she was soaring effortlessly over the San Fernando Valley rooftops, feeling exhilarated. She was zooming down the street, approaching the tree right outside her house. She willed the broom to turn away from the tree but it just kept going.
The next morning, the boys got up but there was no sign of Mom. Dad ushered them out to the car when it was time to drive to school and they saw a witch decoration on the palm tree right outside their house.
“Wow,” said Dad, smiling. “I guess Mom finally found that witch decoration.”
That morning, another Mom drove down Adrian and Alex’s street on the way to take her kids to school. The kids admired the realistic witch decoration outside one of the houses.
“That Halloween decoration is so cool, I’ve never seen one like that,” one of the boys said. “Please, Mom, will you buy us one this year?”
The mom, who was busy thinking about the work she needed to do that day, sighed and said. “All right. I suppose I can ask around.”
- By Denise Hamilton and Adrian Hamilton Garza