We could see our breath as we walked the sidewalks of Eldorado! The windows had candles in them and the front porches had smiling Jack-O-Lanterns with a candle in the hollowed out middle of each to illuminate their sinister grins! Parker and Chet were following closely with me, Porter, and they both were taken with the spirit of All Hallows Eve! There were the typical costumes of Frankenstein and Dracula and the Wolfman…as well as contemporary outfits depicting President Kennedy and Jackie along with Russian Premier, Nikita Khruschev. We even had a classmate who was dressed up as the bomb…the Cuban Missile Crisis had ended just 3 days before Halloween! Our parents had all feared that we were going to be blown-up by the Russians…and our bomb drills at school had been daily! The bomb costumes were little more than bed sheets or cardboard that had been cut out to look like a cylindric weapon with a warhead drawn on the top of it…where the wearer’s head was. Everyone was breathing a sigh of relief that President Kennedy had exhibited the courage to stare down the Russians and that they blinked first… We were on our way to Eldorado’s well known Haunted House! It was a large victorian style home on Illinois Avenue that was directly across from the High School. It was said that no one had lived there in 20 years. Chet commented that he often saw faces in the long single paned windows as he was walking to Hillcrest School. He noted that although he had waved at the faces…they neither responded in anyway or returned the wave. When they arrived at the desolate yet magnificent structure they noticed that there was one candle in the upstairs window.
The lights of the Eldorado High School football field created some comfort for the 3 as they walked up to the front door of the Haunted House. Parker looked thorough the leaded glass of the front door and saw a fire dancing in the living room fire place. The fire looked inviting as it had begun to snow…on Halloween. When they entered the front vestibule of the house they heard a jolly gentleman’s voice laugh and extort them to enter and enjoy some freshly cooked popcorn balls that his wife had just prepared! On the davenport was a rotund man with a full white beard and he and his smiling wife…both dressed in red… The lady of the house asked each of the 3 their names and then told them to call her Mrs. C and her husband Mr. C… She noted that they had both been busy all day in the toyshop and that this was their busy time of year! Porter asked if they made a lot of toys…and Mr. C laughed heartily as fragrant smoke curled from his Meerschaum pipe! ‘Why yes Porter we have a heavy work load all year round…but especially so… once fall arrives,’ said Mr. C. We actually are visiting my brother here in Eldorado…and his large home is more than adequate for our projects. Mrs. C referred to her brother-in-law as K and mentioned that he was upstairs and that he liked to keep to himself until Christmas gets a little closer… She went on to say that he was European and that they did things a little differently than we do.
K was often a companion of Mr. C and frequented; Austria and Bavaria and Hungary…along with Northern Italy…at times. Suddenly K called out to the downstairs throng and bellowed, ‘Do I hear the voice of children?’ Mrs. C called out for him to stay upstairs and not interfere with her and Mr. C’s visitors as they were some nice young people enjoying fresh popcorn balls and Halloween.
Peeking around the newel post of the elaborate stair way banister was a creature with the face of a goat. As he stepped into the warm living room his cloven loves tapped on the wooden floor. He smiled and his long red tongue seemed to reach half way down his hairy chest. ‘Krampus,’ said his brother with some mild irritation…’do not frighten the children…’ Krampus replied that he was out of hot chocolate and he wanted to get some more…and asked Parker and Porter and Chet to join him in the kitchen and he would pour them up each a large cup…full…with marshmallows…