I’m not a Witch, but I’ve been casting spells on October 31st ever since some of these same spells were cast on me when I was old enough to walk and pronounce those three magick words: “Trick-or-Treat.” I first got hooked on Halloween when I was five years old and living in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. We had a neighbor who went all-out in decorating his house — flashing lights, plenty of jack-o’-lanterns, and scary music playing from a boom box by the front steps. Though logic dictates that methodically going from house to house is the most efficient way to yield the most candy, we saw the lights, heard the music, and buzzed around these houses like moths around streetlights. The homeowner cast his spell, and I fell under it.
I’ve been studying ghosts and the supernatural for more than half of my life. I’ve watched Halloween or Samhain grow to Christmas-like proportions over the last couple of decades. What used to be two weeks of decorating before October 31st has turned into almost a month and a half. For these six glorious weeks, the world thinks and talks about ghosts, goblins, and the myriad of other magickal creatures of lore and myth that dance around this big day. Folklore tells us that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest on Halloween, only adding to the power of this both sacred and secular holiday.
When I bought my first house four years ago, I knew I wanted to be that house on the street. I wanted to cast my own spell. Each year, the hullabaloo grows in scope and grandeur at the Belanger house.
To cast this spell, you’ll need the following items:
-A minimum of four strobe lights. You can never have enough strobe lights-I recommend buying two a year until you reach the perfect state of overdoneness.
-Black lights. Replace your exterior light bulbs with blacklight bulbs. Everything white will glow purple.
-Tiki torches. Tiki torches aren’t just for summer barbecues anymore. Place pairs of tiki torches along the sides of your driveway. Dancing flames and rising smoke add greatly to the effect.
-Fog machine. As the fog machine billows clouds all around your house, the strobe lights will illuminate everything and achieve a wonderful lightning-like effect.
-Scary sounds and music. You can buy Halloween compilation CDs at many party supply stores, or you can make your own. Some staples of the holiday include: “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Spooky” by The Classics IV, and “This Is Halloween” from the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.
-Full-sized candy bars. You’ve dropped quite a few bucks on your strobe lights, fog machine, and other effects; don’t go cheap and buy those mini candy bars. Give away the full-sized bars and your neighborhood kids will never forget you-immortality is just another benefit of this powerful spell, as is not getting your house egged because you give out the good stuff.
-Dress up in costume. Get your outfit together early. Look the part. Be the monster.
This list offers the basics. You can and should add your touches to your own “haunted” house. Witchcraft is about customizing until you find the exact formula that works for you.
Last year I had six strobe lights flashing in different sequences onto my house. The black lights cast their purple glow on the foggy manufactured cloud at my feet, and a six-foot inflatable monster stared menacingly at those who dared to look our way (as if they had a choice to look anywhere else) as the tiki flames danced along my driveway’s edge.
I watched as the trick-or-treaters approached. I heard the cries of “Cool!” and “Wow!” But I knew my spellwork reached maximum effectiveness when a young boy of about four years old and dressed as a vampire raced all the way down my street, passed the other houses, got to the end of my driveway, and froze in his tracks. I could see a little genuine fear in his eyes. He then approached slowly as I stared at him from behind my dark robe. He never said a word. He just stared wide-eyed at the dangling spiders, the misty fog, the flashing lights, and the imposing figure now in front of him. I held out the basket containing the full-sized candy bars and I saw him smile. He took a Snickers bar, turned around, and ran back to his group of friends. No words were exchanged between us, but there was an understanding. I cast the spell. He fell under it.
Each year the foot traffic at my house has grown because I cast my spell with focused intent. It’s okay to be scared, titillated, and haunted on Halloween. It’s part of the point. We celebrate the mysterious, the occult, and when the veil is thinnest, some future Witches and ghost hunters may just find inspiration in what began in my grimoire.