Skip to content

October 20, 2021

Grandpa’s Halloween Ghost

NOTE:  After the end of this 1152-word short story of the Halloween season, you will understand why I selected it from my archived pieces to share with you again.  Since I first posted this short story on WORDWALK on October 21, 2015–a half dozen years ago–I decided that on this stormy, autumnal night, I would post this rare piece of fiction from me again.  Is everyone ready to dance–with a ghost?

* * *

Grandpa’s Halloween Ghost

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

            The Milwaukee airport was fogged in, so Gwendolyn’s flight was diverted to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport–on Halloween of all days.  Not just any Halloween, this Halloween was to be a command appearance by all children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, younger siblings, cousins, and other living relatives of 94-year-old inventor, entrepreneur, and architect G. W. LaPorte.  How could Gwendolyn miss her grandfather’s annual Halloween extravaganza?  Her grandfather was her boss and mentor; she was his chief spokesperson.  For the evening’s special occasion, Gwendolyn had a bright orange ball gown with matching slippers awaiting her at her Easttown apartment; she wanted to be the favored granddaughter and have the first dance with her grandfather, who was still winning dance contests, senior swimming competitions, and his granddaughter’s heart.  Having ridden many buses throughout her young life, she jumped at the chance to take a 90-minute bus ride from Chicago to Milwaukee. 

            With only a few minutes to spare, Gwendolyn, with Heather in the lead, entered the Gold Room on the top story of Juneau Hotel.  “Oh! Gwen, thank goodness, you and Heather arrived before the doors were closed.  You know how your grandfather is about any late arrivals.  Not even you–his favorite granddaughter–would have been allowed entrance after seven o’clock,” Gwendolyn’s mother whispered to her daughter who took her seat at the U-shaped table.

            At the opening of the U-shaped table was a small table with a podium and microphone, as well as place settings for two.  To the left of this smaller table was a five-piece band, including Gwendolyn’s father, his two brothers and two sisters, who were playing “Autumn Leaves,” one of their dad’s favorite tunes.  In the opening, midst the tables, was the empty dance floor. 

            “What do you think Grampy has up his sleeve on this Halloween?” Grant, Gwen’s brother, asked.

            “Since Heather and I have been in Boston all week, I have not a clue.”   

            The lights blinked on and off, the cymbals clashed, and all watched for Grandpa’s grand appearance.  He danced into the ballroom and sang “Be Our Guest” (from Beauty and the Beast) until he tapped Gwendolyn on her shoulder.  As the music continued, Grandpa, in a white tuxedo with a bright orange bowtie and vest, asked his granddaughter, “May I have this dance?” 

            Gwendolyn stood, kissed him on the cheek, and whispered, “Yes, Happy Halloween!”  Both dancers smiled broadly and put on a fine show for the family gathering. 

            After a fanciful twirl at the end of the musical number, G. W. escorted his granddaughter back to her seat and patted Heather.  As he made his way to the head table and podium, he thanked his band–his five children, all of whom were still wondering what surprise awaited the guests.

            “to my beloved children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, my sisters, my brother, and all of my family and special guests–good evening and Happy Halloween!”

            “Happy Halloween, Grandpa!” was the snappy reply.

            “Thank you, and thank you all for being here on time for this special gathering.  Would my assistants of the evening please pass out the gift-wrapped favors?  When each of you has this special favor, I will ask you to open the gifts at the same time.”

            One of the teen-aged cousins placed in front of Gwendolyn a gift wrapped in pumpkin-colored paper and a black, gold, and white bow.  Of course, the surprise had to be a book.  After a drumroll, Grandfather announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, please open your gifts!”

            The guests untied the fancy ribbons and ripped the paper to reveal the book.  Gwendolyn’s gift was the only larger one because hers was two braille volumes.  As usual, Grandpa had thought of everything.  Within a few seconds, the entire crowd gave Grandpa a standing ovation and joyous applause.  Stepping a foot away from the podium, G. W. bowed to his audience.  “Thank you, thank you.  Yes, I finally completed my book–my autobiography–except for the chapters I have yet to live.”  When the laughter ceased, Grandpa continued, “Inside the front cover, you will find that I have already personally autographed the book to you.  Chapter 25 will be a surprise to all of you, but you can read that later.  Now, I would like you  all to turn to the dedication page.  ‘This book of my very blessed life of 94 years is dedicated to my entire family  who have helped me to happily fill all the pages of this autobiography, and this book is also dedicated to my favorite ghost–ghost writer, that is–who helped me write all of these pages with the proper grammar and punctuation and who has agreed to be my bride on this Halloween of 2015.'”

            The startled audience dropped to their chairs in disbelief.  When the band did not immediately begin their next number at their father’s cue, G. W. commanded, “Music, please!”  The five adult children somehow played “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.”  G. W. continued by donning his white top hat, “Dear family members, I present to you my precious ghost … ghost writer, that is–my dance partner and soon-to-be bride Geraldine will now appear.” 

            In a long-sleeved, white formal gown with gold and light orange accents, the ghost … writer Geraldine did appear.  She glided into the room as only a former professional dancer and dance instructor could.  The couple grasped hands; then, G. W. kissed her hand and embraced his bride-to-be.  With one arm around her, G. W. lowered the microphone for Geraldine.  “Welcome to our wedding!  I do not know if your father will ever top this Halloween party!  Your father, grandfather, brother, friend tells me he has the seven-year itch.  He likes to say that I am 21–plus six decades–and that he is promising me at least seven wonderful years of marriage.  We will have several more chapters to write together, and we are delighted that all of you have appeared to share in our Halloween wedding.  In just a few minutes, my son, Judge Everett Karavellas, will be officiating.  My grandson Evan will please come forward to be best man.  G. W.’s granddaughter Gwendolyn will please step up to be my maid of honor–along with her yellow lab Heather who will be Leader Dog-of-honor.  With the judge, a harpist entered the room to provide the wedding and reception dinner music. 

            After the exchanging of vows and rings, applause echoed in the large room while the attractive married couple moved gracefully to the dance floor.  To the tune of “Autumn in New York,” G. W. and former New Yorker Geraldine danced the most memorable waltz of their lives.  With a nod to Evan, Grandpa beckoned the best man and maid of honor to take the dance floor together.  A couple of minutes later, Geraldine’s husband bellowed, “You have to dance for your supper!  Everyone, please come join us on the dance floor–or my ghost will grab you!”

* * *

PAW-Script:  On October 22, 1996, a yellow lab puppy was born in Michigan.  This pup became my second Leader Dog on April 15, 1998, and was with me until her passing on July 1, 2010.  Since October 22 is Heather’s date of birth, I had to include her in this vignette as yet another tribute to her more than ten years of service as my guide dog (before Leader Dog Zoe and my current Leader Dog Willow).

Early wishes for a Happy Halloween!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

October 20, 2021, Wednesday


From → Uncategorized

  1. joanmyles permalink

    What fun, thanks for reposting this, dear Alice!
    *children embracing*

    • Hi, Joan–What a treat to find a comment from you again on my WORDWALK! 
      I am always glad to know that readers do not mind a “rerun”!

      More soon!  Take care–Alice and Willow

  2. I enjoyed reading this today, Alice. I know I read it previously, but it seemed fresh and new as I read it this morning. Beautiful writing and lovely story. Thank you!

    • Lynda–Your comments on my blog always mean so much to me.

      Warm thanks, and take care–Alice and Willow

  3. Susan McKendry permalink

    Enjoyed reading this story again and enjoyed the note about Heather’s birthday. Am I wrong or did Willow just have a birthday?

    • Hi, Sue–We are glad to know that you enjoyed the “rerun” of this
      story.  Yes, Willow did a little celebrating on Tuesday.  Of course, she
      does not look one dog-day older!

      More soon!

      Take care–Alice and Willow

  4. A charming tale. Loved it. DQN

    • Hi, DeAnna–How wonderful to hear from you on WORDWALK! Many thanks for reading this post and for leaving such a nice comment!
      Hoping to talk with you on Sunday!
      Take good care–Alice

  5. mfanyo permalink

    Such a delightful Halloween story, Alice! Thank you for sharing it with us once again!
    Sending Halloween Hugs to you and Willow—

    • Hello, Mary–Thanks for posting a comment on this short story from the past!

      Happy Halloween to you and your five grandchildren!

      A & W

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: