The Christmas Creep: A Halloween Story

I don't usually do stuff like this, but I wrote you a short bit of fiction. Read it below.

October 15th is not Halloween. Not by two weeks and two days. But it is the perfect day for anticipating Halloween. On October 15th, lawns have been decorated with foam tombstones, porches with cotton spider webs. Pumpkins grow everywhere like round orange boils. And stores overflow with masks for frightening and candy for sickening.

And that’s why the Halloween Creep was out on the night of October 15th.

The Creep slunk from shadow to shadow, scuttled from fog bank to fog bank, snuck from crevice to crevice, delighting in all the almost-Halloween. It made the Creep feel so good, he pulled out his happy mask and placed it on his face.

But what was this?

He noticed something not quite right, not quite Halloween. He skulked into a store, to an aisle full of tricks and treats, spooky costumes, candles that smelled like cornfields and candy shaped like severed body parts, plastic broomsticks and rubber bats, gruesome bric and terrifying brac. 

But the Halloween aisle ended a bit sooner than it should. Where more masks and more candy should have been were bristling wreaths glistening with fake snow, tall trees topped by glittering stars, electric strings of colorful lights.

The Creep took off his happy mask and replaced it with a perplexed one. At every store it was the same. Not enough Halloween to hold back all the fat men in red suits, snowmen in top hats, reindeer with glowing noses.

It wasn’t right, not for an October night.

His alarmed mask firmly in place, he swooped through neighborhoods, peeping into each house. He saw people huddling together watching scary movies. The relief he felt was almost enough to make him switch masks.

But then the movies were interrupted with commercials full of shopping bags instead of trick or treat ones, falling snow instead of falling leaves. Things with bows on them and people in red, white, and green sweaters.

This was Christmas…on October 15th.

Christmas was creeping!

The Halloween Creep soared off to the secret dark places where all the spooks await their turns at children’s bed times, at stormy nights, at lonely houses, and, most importantly, at Halloween.

He roused witches and gargoyles, prodded vampires and ghouls, he howled for the werewolves and screamed for the banshees. He summoned ghosts. He assembled every monster that had ever made a home within the borders of nightmare. He put on his serious mask and announced, “Halloween is in danger.”

The ghastlies were aghast.

“Christmas is creeping.”

The palled were appalled.

“We can’t let this happen,” said a scarecrow drily through the straw in his mouth.

“What are we to do?” clacked a chorus of skeletons.

The Halloween Creep replied, “What we do. We must scare Christmas away.”

And with a terrible screech, every phantom and beast, every fiend and creature, every monster and brute took off for those places where Christmas had raised its mistletoe too early. The Halloween Creep himself wore his scariest mask, the special one he used only once every 100 Halloweens.

They made men cry and women cower, old people falter and children run. “It’s not Halloween yet!” they wailed. “It’s only October 15th!”

The Creep put on his stern mask, “You are letting Christmas make merry of our holiday.”

A shopkeeper stepped forward, wringing his hands, “It’s not us. We’re only following orders. It’s…” and he pointed a trembling finger.

The Halloween Creep looked at the frightened crowd and then in the direction the shopkeeper pointed.

“North, then!” shrieked the Creep, and the mob of monsters took off in that direction, howls warming their throats and horns piercing the air. Those with wings or broomsticks or special exemptions from earthly laws flew there on the night sea. Others traveled by shadow portals or through cracks in the earth. Eventually they all bounded into the North Pole.

Santa’s Village was every color of candy, and the ground was whiter than bone. Their monstrous feet made strange tracks in the snow.

“What do we do, terrify them?” gargled a slime heap to the Halloween Creep.

“I’d almost rather have fig pudding,” said an ogre before clapping a thorny hand to its mouth and mumbling, “What am I saying?”

“Be strong. Be scary,” responded the Creep. He led them to a massive gingerbread-colored house with the name Kringle spelled out in warm lights above the door.

The Halloween Creep put on his most imposing mask and knocked a loud bump into the night.

The door opened without a single hinge-creak. A large man stepped out, his beard whiter than any sheet any ghost had ever put on, his coat redder than any devil bathed in fire. The monsters stepped back uneasily.

“What can I do for you?” asked Santa Claus in a booming voice that caused avalanches on nearby mountains.

“We’re here about Halloween,” stammered the Creep.

Santa laid a finger on the side of a nose reddened by the steam of a million mugs of hot chocolate, “What have I to do with Halloween?”

“Stores are stocked with Christmas. People are watching Christmas on TV. Christmas! On October 15th! Leave us October, all the way to the 31st.”

Santa squinted an eye and placed a pipe between his teeth. The smoke smelled like cinnamon. “I haven’t ordered Christmas early. I’ve enough trouble getting ready for it by December 24th.

Still, peace on earth and good will to man a little early? Who am I to argue? Merry Christmas, and to all…Good night!” He slammed the door hard enough to make every bell in the village jingle.

The Halloween Creep and his fellow freaks slumped grave-deep into the snow. “We failed Halloween,” they moaned.

Just then, an imp with big green eyes walked over to the Creep, who was wearing his sad mask. It was Greed, one of the seven deadlies.

“Creep, I feel the most glorious greed in this village.”

It took only the length of a dying breath for the Creep to put on his understanding mask. “Lead the way, then, Sir Greed.”

Soon the pair arrived at a small building. Inside was a desk. On that desk was a sign that read “Marketing Dept.” At that desk was an elf holding a large February calendar in his hands, every square marked with a red sleigh. He was talking into a phone, “Why a different holiday for exchanging gifts? Just add green and white bows to your red hearts, hang your cupids on fir limbs...”  

The Creep burst through the door, a mask of accusation emboldening his face. “You are the one usurping our Halloween!”

The elf calmly hung up the phone. “Dear Creep, people want more Christmas. It’s just about everybody’s favorite day. We have Halloween beat by a good 80% margin.” He held up a thick report adorned with graphs and charts. “This is generosity, not greed.”

“You must stop.”

“I will not.”

“Then you will regret it.”

The Creep fit his face to a mask of determination, and he and Greed returned to their friends.

“We have discovered the one who is tricking our holiday so shamefully. We must again do what we do.”

For the next two weeks, they haunted the elf, day and night. They leapt from his closet, reached out from under his bed. They rotted the sugar plums dancing in his head, filling his nightmares fresh every sleep. In every corner, at every shadow, behind every snow bank was a spring-loaded scare.

They spooked him and startled him until there wasn’t a yell or a jump left in his tiny body.

Finally, exhausted, the elf who tried to displace Halloween approached his tormentors. “You can have your Halloween back.”

And the monster and fiends and all the creatures and things let out a scream and a “Happy Halloween!”

“Let this be a lesson to you,” scolded the Creep, although he kept his happy mask on.

“It is, oh it is,” the elf beamed a sudden wide smile. “What fun the last two weeks have been. I get this Halloween thing now. I’m sorry I tried to tear it from the calendar.” And he gave the Creep a small jack-o-lantern topped by a Christmas bow.

Word spread at the speed of spooked reindeer, and back in the towns, the stores boxed up their wrapping paper, their holly wreaths, their inflatable Santa Claus lawn ornaments, and the advertisers pulled their Christmas commercials.

And on October 31, they celebrated Halloween properly, without a shred of tinsel anywhere to be seen.

Happy Halloween!