Samantha’s Witch Cookies

I want to do something really nice for Halloween, Mary Kathleen,” Samantha said to her doll as she laid her on the bed. “It’s only Saturday. We ought to be able to think of something to do by Monday that would surprise everyone.” Samantha thought and thought as Mary Kathleen seemed to stare at her with big blue eyes. “It’s harder to think of nice tricks to play on Halloween than bad ones,” Samantha moaned.

Samantha wandered down to the kitchen, where her mother was baking cookies. “Mmmm, they smell good, Mom. Can I help?”

“Sure, honey. I’ve rolled out the dough. Will you cut out the cookies?” As Samantha placed them on the cookie sheet, they reminded her of faces. Suddenly she smiled brightly and held up a big round cookie. “Mom, can I make some witch cookies and take them to all our neighbors on Monday? It could be a Halloween family home evening treat for them.”

“I thought that you wanted to go trick-or-treating,” Mom said.

“I can do that, too, if I have time. But I want to do something nice for our neighbors first.”

“I think that’s a wonderful idea,” said Mom. “Let’s get started. I’ll make an extra batch of cookie dough.”

While the extra cookies were baking, Samantha made white icing for the witches’ faces, red for their eyes and noses, and chocolate for their hats. Then she started decorating the faces. She had to work as fast as she could to be finished by bedtime.

Monday after school, Samantha took a stack of paper lunch sacks, wrote “Happy Halloween” on each sack, and placed ten cookies in each one. Then she put on her witch costume and made up her face to look like her cookies. Mom laughed. “I don’t know which looks scarier,” she said, “you or your cookies.”

It looked like a storm was on its way, so Samantha quickly put her sacks into a small laundry basket and started down the street. First she went to the Porters’. They answered the door so fast that all she could think to say was, “Happy Halloween.” She giggled and waved as she left. Samantha decided to go to the fire station next. Brother Sanchez, her Primary teacher, worked there. I’ll really surprise him, she thought as she headed for the station. On the way Samantha saw a group of her friends from school.

“Hi, Sam,” one of them yelled. “What do you have in your basket?”

“Witch cookies to give out for Halloween.”

“You must be kidding! You’re supposed to get treats on Halloween, not give them away. Think of all the fun and goodies that you’re going to miss.”

“I’ll go trick-or-treating as soon as I get these delivered,” Samantha explained. But as the other girls headed for the new subdivision, Samantha thought, Maybe I will miss out on a lot.

Just then Samantha felt a big drop of rain. Then another and another. Suddenly the rain was pouring down. Samantha looked for a place to get out of the downpour. The nearest building was a shelter for the homeless. Samantha ran through the front door.

“Look what the storm blew in,” a kind-looking man said. “A real live witch with a basket full of tricks.” Samantha looked around. The room was small but warm. Several people, including children, were sitting around a long table, eating crackers and hot soup. Some of them were shy, but most smiled at her. “Would you like a bowl of soup to warm you?” the man asked.

Samantha was cold and starting to get hungry. “Could I call my mom first to let her know where I am and ask her if it’s all right?” she asked.

“Sure. There’s a phone over there.”

Samantha called her mom, who said she could stay. “I’ll come and pick you up in a half hour. Then you might still have time to go trick-or-treating before family home evening.”

Everyone teased Samantha about her laundry basket of tricks as they ate their soup. The more they teased, the more she smiled, because she knew what she was going to do. When they had all finished eating, Samantha felt warm and comfortable. Everyone else there seemed to enjoy having a Halloween witch with them. She got up and picked up her basket.

“Before I go, I want to show you what’s in my basket. Instead of tricks, I have treats for you.” She passed out the cookies until everyone had some.

“Oh, look—witch cookies! Real witch cookies, just for us!” exclaimed a little five-year-old girl as she smiled at Samantha. Everyone thanked Samantha, and she felt happy about what she had done.

When her mom came to pick her up, it was still raining hard, and Samantha knew that she would be doing no trick-or-treating that night. But it didn’t matter to Samantha—it had still been the best Halloween ever!

[illustrations] Illustrated by Julie F. Young