Charlotte….It is just not Halloween without her!

Sometimes, real life is stranger than fiction.  Sometimes, when you look back at a time in your life, you can’t believe that the experience really happened, because it was so bizarre.  When you share the story with family and friends, they think you are making it up.  But you are not.  Your imagination could never hold a candle to the real life experience….. This is one of those stories…..

Several years ago, I was across the country visiting a friend.  It was a few weeks before Halloween and she was in the market to either purchase or rent a Halloween costume.  Her husband stumbled on an elderly woman, Charlotte, who rented costumes out of her house.  Excited, we headed over.

Charlotte’s house was cute and small.  There were about 10 steps that led up to a small porch.  When you went through her front door, you immediately entered a small room that was set up as a waiting area.  When we arrived, there were already several people sitting in the room sorting through costume books.  Charlotte handed my friend a book, and we too began our search.

Fairly quickly, my friend selected a couple of costumes she was interested in.  Charlotte told her to follow her into the back where she could try them on.  I immediately got up to go with my friend. Charlotte pointed her cane at me and exclaimed, “No!  You stay here!  She comes with me! And if the phone rings, YOU answer it!”

Confused, and shocked, my friend went with Charlotte and I stayed in the waiting room.  Indeed the phone rang.  Afraid to ignore it, I answered, “Charlotte’s Costume Shoppe”.  The person on the other end wanted to check that we were open.  Then she asked for directions.  I couldn’t help it, I replied, “I have no idea… I am from New York.”

Moments later, my friend snuck back upstairs.  She begged me to come downstairs with her.  Not only was she afraid to be alone with Charlotte, she told me I wouldn’t believe what I would see….

My friend took me where Charlotte took her. First we walked through Charlotte’s kitchen.  There was a little stove, with a tea kettle on it, and a tiny table and chair set. If it wasn’t for these items, we wouldn’t even know that we were in a kitchen, because every other inch of the room was crammed with clothing racks filled to capacity with costumes.  Then we walked down a steep, teeny, tiny staircase that led to a cellar. As soon as we began our decent, our noses were attacked with the smell of mold, dust and decay.  Cats (I truly hope they were cats) scattered about.

In the cellar, there were wall to wall racks of costumes. There had to be thousands of them throughout the minuscule room.  They were hung with no rhyme or reason. There wasn’t an inch of empty space in this dark, damp room. We watched in awe as Charlotte and her cane, tried to navigate her way through them. 

My friend and I were pretty much clinging to each other at this point.  To say we were freaked would be an understatement. Charlotte somehow managed to find the costumes my friend was interested in.  She handed them to her.  “Go upstairs!” Charlotte barked, “Off the kitchen is my bathroom! Go in there and try these on!”

Holding hands, my friend and I navigated our way through the maze of costumes to the staircase.  We slowly managed to ascend the steep stairs to get back to the kitchen.  Dumbfounded and speechless we found the bathroom through the racks and racks of costumes.  We opened the bathroom door to find even more costumes!  “I can’t do this!” my friend told me.

“Good!  Me neither!  Let’s get the Hell out of here!” I replied. 

We bolted out of the house as fast as our legs could take us.  As we were getting into the car, ready to peel out of there, we took one final look at the porch.  We saw Charlotte.  She just pretty much just emerged out of the house.  We had no idea how she got up the stairs and out of the house so quickly.  It seemed to us she just “flew”.  As we speed off, Charlotte stared after us.  She had one hand on her hip and the other was shaking her cane at us.  My friend and I were convinced Charlotte was a witch and was putting a curse on us. 

Fortunately, we were wrong… But, Charlotte still haunts our memories….

Happy Halloween!

Do you have any scary Halloween moments?

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