Unfortunately I don't know who the original author is but it's a great story anyways!!
The devil on the fiery porch. He was back again that year, the same as he had been for five years running, keeping the majority of Trick or Treaters behind an imaginary line of uneasiness drawn at the edge of the curb with his Hell- red grin and burning cauldrons. It was a scene from Faust, only this was no play; this was my neighborhood.
It wasn’t just kids who lingered apprehensively in the street, but parents as well. In a place where the definition of Halloween was more like cardboard skeletons and plastic jack-o-lanterns, a guy with a penchant for fire and pitchforks could be extraordinarily scary. Really young children were hurried past the residence altogether via lawns on the opposite side of the street, hopefully distracted by candy long enough to save them from the psyche-scarring nightmares certain to result from even the smallest glimpse of him. This left only the few - the brave - to make the journey and collect one of the candy bars given out by the devil basking in the red glow of the doorway.
Trick or Treating in the 1970’s wasn’t the flirt with death that it can be today. At that time, in most suburban settings, people lived in the same house for years and made the effort to get to know their neighbors and their neighbor’s children. It was a safe haven from the malicious world beyond; a stronghold of sterile thoughts and selective ideals. That is why it was more alarming when the occasional anti-Cleaver odd balls, like the Warren family, managed to infiltrate the peaceful utopia and upset the balance of neatly trimmed lawns and Tupperware parties. Especially when at Halloween their oldest son Wayne Warren painted himself red, donned horns, and sat on a throne between two flaming cauldrons on their sunken porch.
My first encounter with him was when my father volunteered to secure one of Satan’s fat candy bars on my behalf. I watched wide-eyed at the curb while my mother yakked up the other neighborhood mothers about the sick nature of the affair. Later that night, as I spread my bounty out upon the living room floor, she snatched the King Size Snickers that the devil had given and tossed it into the trash. Only later did I understand the action, although to my knowledge no one had ever reported any ill-effects from his confectionery treats.
The greasepaint devil quickly became a milestone of bravery for the youth of our neighborhood. As we got older, our worth was measured upon whether we had Trick or Treated his house on our own. For most of the neighborhood kids, it was a confrontation with their own childhood fears; a rite of passage. But my own eventual encounter with him reckoned with more than mere cultural demonspeak. For me it was not a conquest, but a beginning; a passageway to a haunted life well beyond the October ritual. And after what it indirectly wrought upon my life and the life of my childhood friend, Dan Rutgers, I came to realize that I had more in common with Wayne Warren than anyone would ever know.
I was old enough to Trick or Treat on my own. I had been for a few years - having entered the seventh grade - but had thus far chosen to skip the devil’s house despite my Samhain freedom. And as the candy collectors stood entwined in trepidation at the end of his lawn that night, I looked on, ready to cast away silly childhood fears. In the recessed front porch of the tan-stone house, the devil sat on a black throne, pitchfork in hand and grinning like a madman. On either side of him a cauldron belched hot flames, which illuminated the entire alcove with a yellow- red glow that brought a little piece of Hell right there to our suburban street. Dark music, probably borrowed from the Omen soundtrack, boomed from somewhere on the porch like a theme for a black mass, while Sounds of the Haunted House crept out of the home’s dark windows. They were opened just enough to let in some of the autumn air, which was uncharacteristically cool for Texas even in late October. Every once in a while, the devil would bark out something to the effect of "come on up kids" or just let out a string of vein-chilling laughs that echoed off of the houses and faded into the night air like a horde of goblins. As a fan of the horror film classics, somewhere inside I had begun to admire his mastery of Halloween, but the fear of something I did not fully understand still outweighed this association. The man behind the red face was something real, and that’s what made him scary to me, even if some people simply wrote him off as a self- aggrandizing jerk.
"Are we going up there?" Dan asked me as I stood at the curb siphoning the last bits of courage from my body.
Dan was a few years older and several inches taller, but we were two boys made from the same mold. We had been best friends for six years now, both possessing a fever for Hot Wheels, Big Jims, and superheroes. I could see his own reservation just under the green skin of his Incredible Hulk face. His mother was an inferno preaching Baptist and though I could not understand at the time, he grappled with issues far deeper than my own regarding the fiendish display.