The last Scriven Arts Colony event of the season, a Halloween haunted house, was ten months in the planning. My across-the-street neighbor, Charlie Townsend, and his son, Chas, an eight grader, dreamed up a theme--"How The Zombies Stole Christmas"--and proceeded to scour the town dump every week or so, on the hunt for broken toys they could use in a demented Santa's workshop where the elves destroyed, rather than built, toys. As Halloween approached, the Townsends enlisted the proud members of the Gilmanton School theater club, who magnificently ghouled up our barn and also put the word out all over town. A total of 172 people showed up to tour the barn. Nearly all of them quavered with fear. Not a single one died of a heart attack.