I only knew Max for six weeks. He was like a ghost. The kind of person who comes into your life, and then vanishes. And you are never really sure if they were ever actually there. He would come around when everyone else left. A quiet kid, for the most part, but on the rare occasion he chose to speak, you would sit up and listen. He was not one to mince or waste words. And one night, while him and I were sitting outside my house having a smoke, he told me a story about Halloween. a story I’ve never forgotten, and never told anyone. This is the story he told me that night, right before he disappeared forever. A story that got into my bones and has haunted me since. The story of how he murdered a great deal of people and get away with it, all in the name of Halloween.

I honestly wish I could tell you the story as he did, word for word, but I can’t. There was an inflection when he told this all to me, and it will be lacking here, because I have to piece this all together to tell it to you. I will do my best, though. Understand as you read this, a scarier tale I have never been told. And it all made such perfect sense to me. That was the scariest part of all, I got it, I really did. We were in the front yard of my Father’s house, next to my car, having a cigarette, when he first began to speak of his thoughts on Halloween.

“Halloween is a funny time, Remy. It is the one time we can tear off our real facades and show who we wish we could be.” I just sat there, pressed against the cold metal of my car, listening. wondering where he was veering here.

Halloween allows us a moment to birth the demons who we normally try so hard to hide.

” We all hide demons. He all have that part of us we wish we didn’t have to stifle, but we do. Halloween is the one night in the year when there are no taboos. Is it a demon you wish to walk around as, so be it. A killer, perhaps? Even by putting on a sheet with two eye holes, you are ultimately just doing an impression of the dead. And they say that is the sincerest form of flattery, don’t they?”

I just nodded in the dark, hoping he could see me. I had no idea where he was going with this, but I wanted him to get there. He continued talking:

” The mayhem and madness that goes down on Halloween is without par. I imagine you know the story of the young man who hung himself in his front yard, and people left him there for days because they thought it was a Halloween decoration. Do you see the nihilism and anarchy in that? That type of thing would not go down on Christmas, but there is so much death and darkness in the air on Halloween, knowing even bats an eye.”

He was right, I couldn’t argue that point.

Sorry to give you snuff, but such is the nature of the article.

I lit another cigarette without thinking, and just kept watching him in the darkness as he spoken, becoming more animated the more he spoke.

” The anonymity afforded to us on Halloween is all but unheard of otherwise. Do you know why kids wear masks and get candy on Halloween, Remy?” I stuttered to answer, but was just too caught up in it all, and I think I made a grunting sound.

” Halloween was known for children terrorizing adults, and there were far too many for the adults to do anything about it. Kids would wear paper masks so they wouldn’t get in trouble. Over time, adults began bribing the kids with candy. That is where the saying came from. Trick or treat wasn’t an expression. It was a question. As in, if you have candy for us, we won’t break your windows and egg your house. And the beautiful thing? It worked. It fucking worked. Over time, one house with candy became one hundred, became one thousand, and suddenly, the gluttony of America took over. The pranking was mostly gone, but the bribery never was. And still isn’t. Nor is our inherent desire to cause such anarchy.”

I think if he could see me in the dark at this point, he would have seen my mouth hanging open. How did I not know all this?

” Give us sugary treats and we won’t destroy your downtown store fronts!”

He knew enough to keep talking at this point:

” So, like I said, anonymity. Why, over time, have people forgotten to milk that for all it’s worth? Take me, for example. Average build in a generic costume? I am, literally, invisible on Halloween. I can do whatever it is I please. And what, someone calls the cops and says a guy dressed up as a burglar did it? Well, what color were his eyes? And the person will have to tell them I had a mask covering my eyes. Well, what about his hair? It was under a hat. No suspect means no case. Well, what about his outfit. All black. With no visible tattoos and a height of five feet, eleven inches, I really am a ghost. I throw away that burglar outfit, and whoever did that crime disappears, too. We wear a false skin for a day, and when we shed that skin, we shed all we did when we wore it.”

At this point, I was starting to get a little uncomfortable. I felt this was all heading in a very ominous direction, and it was. Before I had time to redirect him or stop him from talking, he was telling me what happened. What he had done.

You let “it” into the party because you assume it’s a friend of yours in costume, but it isn’t.

” It is easy really. You just drive a few hours away from your house on Halloween night. The ONE night you can drive in full costume and not get fucked with for it by the cops. You drive to the suburbs, where the people are rich, drunk by eleven, and the houses are all spread evenly apart and hidden from view. And you pick a party. You wear your costume and you make sure ALL your defining characteristics are hidden from few, Tattoos, hair and so on. Keep a second costume in the trunk of your car. I will explain more on this later.”

It was odd he was telling me this as if I had asked him. He was answering unasked questions.

” Approach the party slowly from outside, in full costume. There will ALWAYS be people outside of parties, smoking. Just stand nearby and listen for a moment. Some idiot will ALWAYS name drop someone important from the party because they are usually drunk and talking shit. Take that name in your head, and go into the party. If people ask who you are, you tell them Steve, and you casually drop the name you heard outside. In most cases, that will get you in, as it did with me.”

If you’re charming enough, no one will even know you are a psycho.

He was telling me too fast for me stop him. He sounded empowered the more and more he talked about it. It was unsettling to me, but I couldn’t stop him. And all I kept thinking as he was telling me this was “where did I meet this guy?” For the life of me I couldn’t remember.

” So at this point, you are in. Walk the house quickly to scan for possible heroes or exits. If you think you are surrounded by alphas, don’t do it. You want weak, rich, pussies. You will also want to plan your escape. A window or door closest to your (well hidden) vehicle, perhaps. Once you have the blueprint in your head, put your back against an exit and just begin killing people.”

Believe me, killing someone is not as easy as horror films have portrayed.

I can still recall how cold and emotionless he was when he said that. ” And you just begin killing people.” I know a great deal of you would laugh in that situation out of fear or discomfort, but I didn’t. I knew better. This was not a story, it was a confession. I let him keep talking, only because I was too scared to say anything and stop him at this point.

” Depending on what you use, the situation can get very messy. I would carry a machete taped to my leg, and walk with a limp. Get my back against the main exit, and just pull it out and start cutting throats. I would swing my arms wildly, but almost every time, I would gash someone severely. I was going for throats, forearms, and thighs. Especially thighs. The femoral can be hard to hit, but when do you, you can guarantee someone will bleed out within a minute or two. People are screaming, and far too irrational to actually escape. They are liked scared animals, cornering themselves in one, screaming mass. Do you know how much easier that makes it? You can just swing your arms and you take out groups of them.”

Women who got killed by Ten Bundy got killed because they falsely trusted him because he was handsome and charming. That was a bad call on their part.

I was listening to him, and beginning to get dizzy. Pangs of nausea would rise up in me, causing my mouth to fill with saliva as I fought the urge to vomit. I was honestly thinking he was telling me this with the intent of killing me at the end of the story. Those are the kind of things that cross your mind in the presence of a psychopath. I was sweating even though it was a brisk, autumnal night.

And the scariest ones are always the most calm and quiet on the surface.

” I know what you’re thinking Rem, why didn’t anyone call the cops? And honestly, that is the best part. The big “plot twist”, if you will. Cut and maim as many people as you can, and then just bounce back to your car and change outfits. Yup, you bring an outfit change. Something nondescript. And make sure you gash your own arm pretty deep with the machete, so when you are giving your heartfelt confession, no one even questions it. And the best part? You were a victim of the Halloween massacre, too, but you survived. So you create your own legend. It’s what some would call the perfect crime. And every year, like me, you can move to a different state, and no one will know. And every year, once a year, you get to be him. The big, bad wolf, and no one ever knows.”

I stood there, in the dark, nodding and shaking.

” So you are probably wondering why I chose to tell YOU about this, huh, Remy?” And just as he said that, the door to my house opened and my Dad came out, yelling.” Why are you standing in the driveway talking to yourself? You look insane.” I looked around and started to sweat. Wait, alone? Max?!

” Wait a second, my name’s not Max….”

My pops stood there, shaking his head, and turned to go in. He yelled one last thing to me before shutting the door. ” Hurry up and get dressed, the Halloween party is in an hour.” I got chills, and stood there, alone in my driveway, laughing out loud in the dark.

This was going to be an unforgettable Halloween. The first of many, I thought to myself as I headed inside.