Before The Title Past

By Jeff Shelby


"Confessions of a Former Rubik's Cube"

I am not a Halloween guy.


†††††I donít like dressing up, I donít like eggs on my house, I donít like those little bite size candy bars and I donít like spooky noises.

†††††Every year, my wife becomes infuriated with me because of my disdain for the holiday.She decorates the house and I roll my eyes.We always get invited to a party that requires dress up and I regularly pitch a fit and work on coming up with a viable excuse for skipping it.Last year, I couldnít come up with an excuse and was forced to go.I did, however, stage my own rebellion by showing up in the clothes I wore to work earlier in the day.When other guests asked what Iíd come dressed as, in my khaki pants and button down shirt, I replied, ďA Gap model.Ē

†††††Yeah, they didnít find it funny either.

†††††I canít explain my aversion to Halloween.As a kid, I dressed up in all sorts of costumes.Evil Knievel and a Rubikís Cube were probably the highlights.(My buddy Mike actually went with me as Professor Rubik, wearing this goofy bald-guy-with-thick-glasses-mask.Hilarious, but you probably had to be there.And in sixth grade.)I wasnít prevented from eating all the candy I rounded up.I didnít get chased by some older kids and stuffed in a trashcan.As I got older, I just didnít have a real affinity for the day and couldnít find the point in dressing up.

†††††ďWhy?Ē my wife asks.

†††††ďBecause itís stupid,Ē I reply.

†††††She narrows her eyes.ďYOU are stupid.Ē

†††††A real possibility.

†††††Knowing that I am in the minority, however, Iíve rounded up several Halloween related books for your enjoyment.

†††††Graveís End by Elaine Mercado

†††††This is the true story of how the author and her family dealt with living in a haunted house in Brooklyn, New York.Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to read this at home on a quiet evening when you are home alone.Well written and downright frightening.

†††††Coast to Coast Ghosts: True Stories of Hauntings Across America by Leslie Rule

†††††This book features ghost stories from around the country, put together through the authorís exhaustive research and investigation.The book also contains quite a few black and white photos of the supposed haunted sites.The more you read, the more you believe.

†††††The History of Halloween: From Druids to Drag Queens by Nicholas Rogers

†††††Rogers traces the holidayís origins from Celtic and Christian lore to the current over-commercialized celebration.Rogers, a professor at Torontoís York University, provides the reader with a thorough account of how the holiday has developed and what it means within the culture.

†††††Witches: True Encounters With Wicca, Wizards, Covens, Cults, and Magick by Hans Holzer

†††††Holzer is not only an expert researcher on witchcraft, but he has also participated in a variety of witchcraft practices.Using his connections, Holzer takes the reader inside secret rituals, rites and ceremonies and explores modern day witchcraft while comparing it to popular cultural myths.Very surprising and very entertaining.

†††††Dressed for Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costumes & Masquerade by Phyllis Galembo.

†††††This one wonít scare you Ė it will just make you laugh.Galembo has compiled over 100 photos of people wearing just about every Halloween costume you can imagine from the last century.There is even a guy in a Rubikís Cube costume.(Itís not me, though.)If you are in need of some inspiration for this yearís costume, this is the book for you.

†††††May you get more treats than tricks this Halloween!

Jeff Shelby earned a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine. His first mystery, Dead Week, was released in December 2001. He and his wife live in Castle Rock, CO. His website is .


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