Long shadows, earlier creeping darkness and the scary white stuff falling from the sky have a cast a pall over the land, meaning only one thing. It must be the end of October and time to be haunted by the trick or treaters.
The mood has been set by an abundance of coyotes howling, some nights frighteningly near to town. There was a day last week when three different cats crossed my path in my neighbourhood. Ours is more of a dog part of town, so I rarely see cats.
I've also had a couple of experiences with evil presences travelling in my car with me, chewing up clothing and bits of paper, making me feel uneasy as I drive down the highway, hoping my shoes and jeans are enough of a deterrent to keep them from biting my ankles. I understand how rats and mice have made it into literature and Halloween décor as creepy.
I saw a muskrat on our street this fall and didn't want to even get out of the vehicle.
There is no doubt it can be a spooky time of year. When I was a teenager we'd drive down country roads to scare ourselves and our friends, stopping near old buildings and someone would always have a story to tell. It would have been a tale passed down through generations of teenagers told as true for that particular location.
As the popularity of publishing urban legends grew and with the rise of viral Internet messages I found those same stories over and over again.
I do like a scary story. I don't mind watching horror movies and have really enjoyed historical ghost tours. There is something indulgent about being an adult and having people tell you the stories so gritty they don't make it into the official visitors' package.
This summer we took in a haunted hike of St. John's and as we walked the streets on a dreary night in the pouring rain, history came alive and our imaginations were stretched back to a time when the city wasn't so friendly.
My favourite haunted tour was the tour of Fort Battleford in the dark last fall when my heartbeat rushed and I was grateful I'd never have to be alone on the site after hours.
Even the sleepy little places have their stories - good, bad and creepy - and whether it's a history of deception or violence or the reality of animals just doing what they do, I'll let my imagination play and still try to get a little sleep this weekend.