Holidays have never really been very enjoyable for me, however there is one specific holiday that sticks out when I think of the absolute worst. It was Halloween 2014. I used to love Halloween, however that year kind of ruined it for me forever and I’ll explain why.
So the day started out pretty ordinary for Halloween, we had the traditional boring party at school and everyone was wearing their crazy costumes. This year however, I didn’t dress up. I was almost fourteen, so my family and I set up a small haunted house in my garage for all the younger kids in the neighborhood. There was a lot of blue plastic tarp set up as makeshift walls and all of us kids dressed up as scary as possible and tried to frighten all the people who walked through. It was so entertaining and we absolutely loved doing it. My younger cousins were over and they spent their whole night helping us be scary enough while our parents gave out the best candy after the little kids came out.
After Trick-or-Treating was over and all the kids went home, me and my little cousin Kaileigh were in my huge living room looking at old pictures. She was planning on spending the night, but I guess fate had other plans. My older brother Bryan was sleeping as usual and everything was fine. Then things took a sudden turn for the worst. My mom had gone to the bathroom that was separated from the garage by one thin wall, and she had smelled something that wasn’t normal. It smelled like thick smoke from a campfire. She threw open the garage door just to see a huge room full of bright flames and black smoke rushing towards her. Our house was on fire. My mom screamed for all of us to get outside right away. I vividly remember the extreme worry and panic in her voice. We were all terrified. Everything after that happened so fast and felt like a dream. Well actually more like a nightmare. My mom was rushing around to look for my step-dad while Kaileigh and I ran as fast as we could to get out of the burning house. My brother was still in his bed asleep. I was wondering why the smoke detectors weren’t going off to wake him up and I was banging on Bryan’s window yelling at him as loud as I could. I started to panic and I made the decision to run back inside to wake him up and get him out. My mom was mad at me for potentially risking my life but happy my brother and I were both okay. We were standing there outside in the freezing cold and it felt so unreal. We called 911 and it seemed like hours before they got there, but in reality it was a couple of short minutes.
Once the firefighters got there they worked as fast as possible to get the scorching fire under control and asked if there was anything we left in the house that was urgent they got out. My moms wedding ring was inside and so was just about everything else we owned except the clothes we had on and one cell-phone. The firefighters went inside and looked for things that they thought might be important to us and gave them to my mom in a bag. It was lightly snowing outside because the weather in Michigan makes no sense, and we had no shoes or coats on. We weren’t prepared for this situation obviously, and almost all of our neighborhood started to gather around our house. Some of them were extremely caring and helpful by bringing us hot chocolate and blankets and being very supportive, however some were just standing there recording everything and being very rude. My brothers friends picked him and I up and took us to get some food and just get away from the scary situation while everything calmed down. We stayed in a hotel for a couple of days after it all happened and luckily salvaged most of our smoke-filled clothes. I just remember how heartbroken my mom was and how hard it was to see her in so much pain. It was a rough couple of weeks to follow for all of us.
My family was very fortunate to have all the help we did. Our school community had set up a go fund me page to raise money for us and all of my teachers were very helpful and understanding. The hospital my mom works at was nice enough to even adopted us for Christmas so me and my siblings could still get presents. It took a pretty long time for us to get back on our feet but we eventually did with the help of everyone around us. Even though it was a horrible situation, I was quickly reminded of all the wonderful people I had in my life. Halloween will never be the same for my family, but we all were okay and that is what is most important.