Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Gotcha: A pre-Halloween scare October 31, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Three almost ghost-like faces, with undefined, haunting eyes, created by Pam Bidelman, and featured in a 2012 exhibit at the Arts Center of Saint Peter. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2012.


WHEN THE DOORBELL BINGED twice in rapid succession Saturday evening, my body pumped adrenalin. The ringing happened at the precise moment of intense drama in a psychological thriller unfolding on our DVD player.

I’ve heard this type of hurry-up-and-answer-your-door ring before, years ago when a young man appeared on our stoop seeking protection from a group of men pursuing him. In that panic of phoning 911, of split second decisions, of waiting for the cops, I felt exposed to real, definitive danger.



This time I expected a law enforcement officer at my door given the darkened hour. Instead, when I switched on the exterior light and peered through the narrow glass in the deadbolted front door, I saw nothing. No shadowy figure. Nothing.



Until I looked to the bottom step. And then my mind clicked into relief mode, to understanding that an unknown person left a Halloween treat for us. After Randy retrieved the treats—by that time he’d already sprung from his comfortable spot—we discovered that we’d been BOOed. That seems a fitting word given the pre-Halloween scare.



Once we recovered, we fingered through an oversized seasonal mug holding mini candy bars, a Little Debbie snack, two packets of hot chocolate, a mini scarecrow and my favorite, a blinking jack-o-lantern ring. You can bet I’ll sport that this evening when doorbell-ringing ghosts and goblins arrive, perhaps even the mysterious ghost who BOOed us. I have my suspicions about that spirit’s identity…


FYI: We’ve been recipients of such kindness in the past, although not on Halloween. But a cousin and an aunt have continued to haunt me each Halloween with the story of Annie Mary Twente. We’ve carried out such stealthy under-the-cover-of-darkness missions on unsuspecting friends on other occasions like Valentine’s Day.


© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “Gotcha: A pre-Halloween scare”

  1. Littlesundog Says:

    What fun! We used to do something similar for the older folks in our neighborhood on May Day, filling a small, usually handmade container, with candies and goodies, and putting them on the front porch at the door, knocking and running off to hide and watch the surprised looks on faces. These types of traditions are just wonderful.

    You’re right… that ring is the real prize!!

    • We’ve also been the recipient of May Day baskets, Christmas treats and more from this family and another. The kids love creating the baskets (or whatever) and then surprising us. It’s such fun and gives me much joy to see young parents raising their children to be caring and giving.

      I, too, have the same May Day memories as you. My flashing pumpkin ring proved quite the hit at bible study last evening.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Well that is fun! I bet you know who did it, right? Love the mug and the ring is perfect.

  3. melirey96 Says:

    Wow if someone did that here some would be spooked. We’re not use to that. But it is a cute gesture. Cute mug! Happy Halloween!

  4. Jackie Says:

    How Scary….I mean fun for you on the eve of Halloween. I’m curious what Movie you and Randy were watching?

    • After we recovered from the initial scare of a doorbell ringing at that hour, we enjoyed the surprise.

      We were watching “The Girl on the Train.” It was a difficult movie to understand initially. But as it progressed, I began to sort out the characters and story. It’s, in summary, a story about domestic abuse/violence. I didn’t know that when I chose the movie. But it’s powerful. That said, some of the content may be offensive to you (just to forewarn if you choose to watch it). Now I want to read the book by Paula Hawkins.

  5. That was so nice and what fun too! Happy Halloween – Enjoy 🙂

  6. Susan Ready Says:

    lucky you to be remembered with unexpected neighborhood kindness-love the ring 🙂

  7. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    That’s a great surprise

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