A Most Peculiar Celebration: A Humorous Halloween Speech from Gaia Calcaterra

It was a delight to listen to my friend and fellow toastmaster Gaia Calcaterra share her Holloween story at the recent humorous speech contest in Fort Lauderdale. I am enthralled to have her permission to share the content of her speech with you.

Have a good read, and laugh.

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Gaia Calcaterra (right) with David Desposito

With all the political turmoil in the world these days, I wanted to highlight THE most pre-occupying issue at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment……and that is…. HALLOWEEN!

Mr President, fellow witches, werewolves and most distinguished pumpkin carvers,
I have lived and travelled all over the world and have witnessed many strange rituals and celebrations, but I assure you, nothing confuses me and is more peculiar to me than Halloween in the US!

AND apparently, I am not alone….

My story started when I arrived in the US 10 years ago, from South Africa, just in time to see people taking down giant inflatable snow globes or Santas in a helicopters off their roofs.

Then a few months later the giant inflatable bunnies appeared out of nowhere in front yards, after that, lots of little US flags….all good, but nothing prepared me for Halloween!
The first disturbing sign happened one day as I walked into the Home Depot. Where the patio furniture section was is now a zombie apocalypse!  Pirate skeletons, mechanical witches, green flashing eyes, AND boxes full of body parts for $9.99.

 Bargain!

 I’ll take 4 severed feet please.

“What was going on here?”
I turned to a gentleman in an orange apron cutting keys…
“Excuse me sir, what’s going on here?” 
“It’s for Halloween, Ma’am”. 
“Yes, but what’s if for?”
“To decorate your yard!”
“Why would you pay money to have this in your yard?”
“Not sure Ma’am.  Anything else, I can help you with?”

I left the store that day, certain that there were hundreds of workers in a factory in China somewhere, puzzled by the exact same question.
Then, a few days later, I went out on my daily walk through the neighborhood, turned the corner and I came to a screeching halt! 
As if by black magic, the corner house was completely transformed into a graveyard, complete with plastic tombstones.
 I read them:

“Here lies Fred, he is dead” – Who is Fred?
“Here lies Chris P. Bacon”  – Who the heck is Crispy Bacon?

On the porch, cobwebs everywhere (finally the ones at my house didn’t look out of place).
And the biggest hairiest spider I have ever seen. 
Now, I’ve been known to buy frivolous thing. But giant plastic spiders?  No.
Swaying gently from the tree, the skeleton of a little girl with pig tails holding her starving skeletal dog!
This was SO weird and very disturbing!

More houses started to pop up over the next few days.   I kept asking, but no one seemed to know why. The answer was always the same:  “It’s for Halloween,” or “It’s for trick or treating”.  No one seemed to be clear on the “why.”

I started to give up. The night of Halloween caught me completely off guard.
I was at home and heard a knock on the door.
I opened and was met by a lady bug and a Minion.
“Yes?”
“Trick or treat!” they screamed
“Excuse me?”
They looked at each other puzzled.
The Minion said “give us candy or we’ll play a trick on you.”
“Ah! Okay…hold on.” 

I ran to my empty kitchen and found two melted, sticky mints from a restaurant and a banana that was turning brown.  I had no other choice.
I presented it to Lady Bug and Minion.
They weren’t impressed.
“I don’t think she understands,” the one said to the other. They shrugged their shoulders and left.
Victory!  They were gone.
But the victory was short lived.
There were more coming up the roadin droves!
I darted around the house as fast as possible, turned off all the lights, the TV and took a dive onto the floor by the couch, just in time for the next  group yelling“trick or treat!”
Silence…
“We know you’re in there!  We saw the lights on AND your car is outside!”
I laid silent on the carpet in the dark, heart pounding.  They finally gave up and left.

I didn’t leave my spot for the rest of the night, which gave me a lot of time to think about how and why I was on the floor in darkness celebrating the most peculiar and  confusing holiday in the world!

Happy Halloween!

Madam Contest Chair!

_______________________

Gaia Calcaterra

Division B speech Contest

District 47

Fort Lauderdale

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