There have been only two times that I've actually feared for my life.
One was when I was living by myself in college and someone tried to open the locked door of my apartment two nights after someone had been murdered in my complex. In hindsight, I'm sure they were drunk, I'm sure they thought it was their apartment ..and what on earth was I doing living in that complex after someone had been murdered there!?
The other time was when I was about 8 years old, which by default, makes it far scarier.
Each year, my cousins Patrick and Philip came to our neighborhood to trick-or-treat. Mom walked us around the neighborhood and as often as we seemed to throw down in huge fights over nothing, it was nice to have the company. ..because, as an only child, nothing is as lame as going trick-or-treating by yourself.
That year, as it grew late and dark, we began to chart a steady course for home when we saw two huge men - each over 6'0 - walking toward us. One was dressed as a clown, and one was dressed as Frankenstein.
Despite having consumed far too many R.L. Stein Fear Street books for my tender age, I had no inkling of nervousness as they approached. Neither did Mom, apparently, because as they drew closer, she addressed the revelers, "Oh my gosh! Those are great costumes!"
Now, anyone from the South would expect a "Thank you, ma'am. Happy Halloween!" from beneath the rubber masks.
We were met with dead silence. At this point, Frankenstein assumed a less approachable gait, arms outstretched, and their pace quickened to close in on us. Mom laughed uncomfortably. I realized there were no children with them and that we were the only ones on a dark street.
Mom made one last Southern attempt at small talk and when Frankenstein grunted menacingly in response and began chasing us, Mom lost all composure and, at the top of her lungs, yelled, "RUN!"
Y'all, she was serious.
Apparently Patrick and Philip had become as wary as I, because at Mom's behest, we took off like rockets, straight through General Lee Park. It was the only time in my life where I actually..gutterally.. hollered..with abandon. (Like, 'Ahhhh!' and as soon as I would lose my breath, I'd suck in and go "Ahhh!" again.) It was uncontrollable and I made no effort to squelch it, because I thought someone might hear me and save us.
Philip was way ahead. I may have seen him hurdle a seesaw. Patrick was in my periphery. He was hollering, too.
I only glanced back once and it looked like the clown might be closing in on Mom. He must have given up, though, because about 15 seconds later, we were all back at the house. Panting, and happy to be alive.
Mom was laughing. As she tore through the wet grass in her white Reebok tennis shoes, she heard the befuddled clown ask, "Is that the Mom?"
Unfortunately, we ate no candy, that night. Our brush with death was too fresh, and also, at least two plastic orange pumpkins had been thrown into the air ...either as acts of sheer self-preservation or hopeful sacrifice.