The sheer darkness of the lonely road hadn't deterred them yet—neither had the many vacant houses along the way. They had reached the outskirts of their neighborhood rarely ventured out by other children on Halloween. Shane wanted to make the evening more interesting, but his friends, Nick and Ryan, were wary. Their candy haul had so-far been sufficient and only he seemed to understand why they were still out there.
"We're close," he promised, leading the way with his Jason Voorhees mask lifted up and flashlight shining along the poorly-paved road. Crickets chirped in the distance under a blanket of tiny stars. Trees loomed over them as black silhouettes in the sky.
Frustrated and out of breath, Nick caught up to Shane, wearing a bloody apron and his latex Leatherface mask in hand. "There's nothing out here. This is stupid."
Ryan approached, his powdered face glowing under the moonlight. "Nick's right. Seems like we came out here for nothing."
Shane halted and shook his head. "I've been wanting to go to this house all year, and we're doing it...unless you guys are too chicken." He then ventured forward, leaving them behind.
Nick and Ryan reluctantly followed and reached the top of the hill where they could see a small house with a long driveway and open car port before them. Lights were on in the windows and a single Jack O' Lantern rested atop the front porch railing with a candle burning inside.
"This is it," Shane said. "I road my bike past here a few months ago. Thought it was the creepiest thing."
They hurried up the driveway, past life-like deer figures in the yard, and stopped at the door where Shane rang its glowing doorbell. A tall man soon answered, wearing a suit and a blank white mask.
"Welcome," he said in a booming but slightly muffled voice.
"Trick or Treat," the boys said in unison with their masks on and bags out.
"Of course," the man said, grabbing a nearby bowl of candy. "I almost gave up for the night."
"No other kids came?" Shane asked.
"No," the man said. "You see, I wear this mask all the time. You boys are lucky that you only have to do it once a year." He suddenly hesitated. "How about a 'trick' first?" He then lifted his mask, exposing a grotesque hairless head and face, burned and scared. He had only one eye and a small snout-like nose. His teeth were chiseled into fine points like some kind of beast.
"Do I scare you?" he asked.
Nick and Ryan ran away screaming into the night as only Shane remained. "Yes..." he told the man in a nervous voice.
"Good," the man said and slipped his mask back on. He then reached into the bowl, grabbed a big handful of candy, and dropped it into Shane's bag. "Don't be a stranger," he said, winking his one eye. Shane nodded and turned around, walking into the darkness alone as the door shut behind him.