Getting smacked in the face with ghosts and other haunted things is something I don’t think anyone needs to pay for. Seeking out expensive haunted tours and potentially life-threatening hayrides, this time of year, is unnecessary. Just go outside and let your imagination run wild. That’s what I do, anyway, and that’s why I’m half scared out of my mind every day—for free. I also like to take my family along for the ride, which is why I create, once a year, these DIY Ghost Story segments. This is year number four—and the Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks team is not venturing very far—just into the woods in the neighborhood. The following story is part of our Halloween tradition that we like to share with others. We use our real names, but the story that follows is fictional. So, hang onto your pumpkin-flavored beer and place your candy corn six feet away from that socially distancing, but menacing Sasquatch that keeps peeking through the window. You’re going for a metaphorical ride—bareback on some kind of evil horse—through the neighborhood woods, which measure roughly about 100 yards.
Cecilia: (Banging pots and pans): This is the Craft Alarm! Whooo! Whooo! Take cover immediately! This craft will involve the following items: yoga balls, garbage bags, scissors, tape, and construction paper. Risks include cuts, falls, and suffocation.
Nate: Okay—so Alex and I will grab a pizza.
Cecilia: No, actually. I need some help. I want to make a bunch of gigantic spiders with these yoga balls. I thought we could put them in the wooded areas in the neighborhood—to scare the kids for Halloween. You see, we just wrap black plastic garbage bags around them and then make scary legs, fangs, and whatever else spiders have that’s scary.
Nate: Umm. Really?
Alex: I’m in. I could do it.
Cecilia (Straddling a yoga ball, while struggling to cover it in a garbage bag): Come on, Nate! It’ll be fun. It’s already getting dark. We can take a spooky night walk and set the spiders out.
Nate: Well, I didn’t have much else planned tonight. You do realize you don’t have to actually sit on the yoga ball to cover it in a garbage bag?
Cecilia: Yes, but it’s more fun that way—try it.
Nate: No. Let’s just get these made and set them out. I’ve had a long day of virtual budget meetings with the cat on my lap. My entire lower half is sore.
Cecilia: Stretch everything out on a yoga ball, like this—you just sit on it and rock your tailbone back and forth—oh, crap! The garbage bag fell off. I have to start all over again.
Nate: Watch out for the scissors! You’re going to fall on the scissors!
Alex: Don’t we have craft alarms for this very reason?
(Nate moves the scissors just before Cecilia falls off the yoga ball. Accordion-folded spider legs fly into the air.)
Cecilia: That was a close one. I think 20 yoga ball spiders will be enough, don’t you think?
Nate: More than enough.
(Cecilia, Nate, and Alex fill a wheelbarrow with spider yoga balls and cart it through the neighborhood to a wooded area that is next to a stream.)
Cecilia: Oooh! Isn’t this spot spooky? I once ran here at like 4:30 in the morning, and I heard loud screaming, but it didn’t sound human. I think a coyote was eating a rabbit or something—I think there are bears and coyotes here. Can rabbits scream?
Alex: You think we’ll see any coyotes?
Nate: Maybe. Your mother said there were crayfish running all over the place once, so I guess anything’s possible.
Cecilia: Oh, I have an update on that story. One of the neighbors’ parents were visiting with a cooler of crayfish, and the lid fell open, and that’s why there were crayfish all over the neighborhood. We were out hunting for crayfish for no reason.
Nate: Imagine that.
Alex: Hey, maybe we can get a spider into one of the trees here.
Cecilia: Yeah—just give it a good toss.
(Alex tosses one of the spiders into the trees. It makes it. The legs dangle down onto the path.)
Cecilia: That’s great! Now, when someone walks by here, the legs will tickle their face, and they’ll look up and. . .
Nate: They’ll be struck by a sudden urge to do yoga in the trees.
(Alex begins to laugh, but Cecilia thinks she hears something coming from the stream nearby.)
Cecilia: Do you hear that bubbling, gurgling noise?
Alex: Yes. It sounds like something’s moving around in the stream there. Maybe it’s a crayfish!
Nate: Oh, I hear it now. It’s just water falling over a rock or something.
Cecilia: That’s an awfully big rock for that water to be making that sound—and I didn’t hear it earlier.
Alex: Yeah, Mom’s right. It’s kind of weird. Let’s check it out.
(Cecilia, Nate, and Alex take a small trail down to the stream. They use the flashlights on their phones to get a closer look.)
Alex: There’s some kind of round, muddy shape at the bottom.
Cecilia: I see it! I’m going to poke it with a stick.
Nate: Don’t go poking things with sticks—that can’t end well.
Cecilia: Too late—I’m poking it! Look! I’m poking it!
(The round, muddy shape becomes more pronounced as it rises from the water.)
Cecilia: What is that?
(Cecilia rushes back and stumbles, falling into Nate’s arms.)
Alex: Just wait—it’s still moving. Let’s see what it is.
(Cecilia, Nate, and Alex watch as the round shape rises, revealing the features of a face—but not an ordinary face. This creature towers over the Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks Team. Cecilia screams.)
Nate: I can’t believe it! I’ve never seen anything like this—I didn’t know this was possible! It’s. . . it’s the giant head of a crayfish, attached to the body of a Sasquatch. It’s a CraySquatch! We need to get out of here—fast!
(The CraySquatch reaches out its sharp claws and clutches Alex in its grip.)
Cecilia: Oh, Alex! No! Nate—it has Alex! Do something!
(Nate picks up one of the spider yoga balls and throws it at the CraySquatch. The CraySquatch is quickly disoriented and drops Alex into the stream. He is able to scramble back up the trail to join his parents.)
Cecilia: Alex! Alert the neighborhood book club and Zumba group on Facebook. It’s all hands-on-deck now. We need everyone we can to defeat the CraySquatch.
Alex: What about the fireworks committee?
Cecilia: Under normal circumstances, I’d like to tell the fireworks committee to go to hell, but we might need them. Yes, Alex. Round up the neighbors who might still have fireworks—I’m sure there are plenty.
Nate: In the meantime, I’m just going to try to throw more of the spider yoga balls—help me out here.
(Cecilia and Nate throw spider yoga balls at the CraySquatch, but it just makes very defiant hooting, trumpet-like noises. It also figures out that the claws can be used to puncture the yoga balls. So now, the neighborhood has erupted in hooting noises and exploding yoga balls.)
Cecilia: It’s getting closer, Nate! Oh, where are the neighbors? How will we defeat it?
Nate: I’m just going to. . . I’m just going to throw myself at its legs and try to wrestle into submission.
Cecilia: Well, I’ve never been on a wrestling team, but tonight, I’m joining the best wrestling team this neighborhood has ever seen—probably the only one this neighborhood has ever seen—we’ll wrestle the CraySquatch together, Nate. Let’s wrestle hard!
(Both Cecilia and Nate throw themselves at the CraySquatch’s legs in an attempt to bring him down. Instead, he picks Cecilia up—swinging her high into the air—threatening to drop her from a great height, so that she might smash through an unsuspecting neighbor’s roof. Nate quickly crawls up the CraySquatch’s legs and straddles his back.)
Cecilia: Oh, Nate! Please, just save yourself! Don’t worry about me.
Nate: No, I’ve got this. I’m going to keep hitting the back of his neck until he falls.
Cecilia: But, Nate! Nate!
Cecilia: You’re getting very sweaty. You need to. . .
Nate: I need to what?
Cecilia: Just. . . just . . . take off your shirt!
(Nate tosses his shirt into the night. His muscles ripple and gleam in the glow of the moon—as he methodically and expertly beats the CraySquatch in the back of the neck over and over again.)
Alex: Mom! Dad! I’m back with the book club, the Zumba dance group, and a box of pop snappers. Now what?
(All of the neighbors gathered agree that shirtless Nate is doing a great job of taking down the CraySquatch.)
Nate: We need to create a huge distraction—the biggest distraction this neighborhood—the world has ever seen. The Zumba dance team must dance and the book club can throw the pop snappers. I’m going to continue to ride this thing until it just gives up.
(The book club and the Zumba dance group get to work. Alex passes out bottled water to keep everyone going strong.)
Cecilia: Nate! I think, from this height, I can get the garbage bag off of one of the yoga balls.
Nate: This is no time to perfect a craft project. Not now!
Cecilia: Oh, no! Perfection is shot to hell for sure. You can use the garbage bag to defeat the CraySquatch.
Nate: Yes! Yes, I can!
(Cecilia reaches for that plastic garbage bag. She takes a deep breath and passes it off to Nate, who covers the CraySquatch’s head tightly. Soon, only muffled hooting can be heard—until the giant creature falls with a thud to the ground. Everyone cheers.)
Nate: Cecilia! Are you okay?
(Cecilia looks into shirtless Nate’s eyes. She thinks she can see into them forever–and hear the ocean too.)
Cecilia: I’m not just fine—I’m better than ever!
(Nate and Cecilia share a passionate kiss next to one of CraySquatch’s gigantic claws. Nate scoops Cecilia up into his arms and carries her past a Zumba-dancing-book-club crowd. The echo of pop snaps fills the air.)
Your Turn: Do you like to tell ghost stories or go on haunted tours?