The elders of the ghost community often complained that young ghosts these days weren't frightening people. "No work ethic!" they said. "No dedication to the haunting craft! Why, back in my day..."
Caspar, the youngest ghost, thought privately that this was just griping from a bunch of has-beens. He had just earned his first haunting assignment and he was going to show all those cranky elders they were wrong - young ghosts COULD haunt.
1. Group of hipsters
He chose a brewpub downtown in a building more than 200 years old which had once housed a jail; all the beers were named after famous ghosts. Caspar congratulated himself as he slowly appeared next to a table of young people comparing notes on hazy IPAs - these drunk people were sure to be frightened by him, and he could prove to the rest of the ghosts that just because he was small didn't mean he couldn't be scary.
The first to spot him was a woman with purple hair and a nose ring. "DUDE! What's with the freaky sheet in the corner?"
Her male companion squinted up from his "Woman in White" Milkshake Double IPA. "A real ghost? That's so sick! I have to get a shot of this for my Instagram feed, go stand next to it Stacy!"
As Caspar disappeared, he reflected that perhaps the elders might have a point.
2. Other kids
Ghosting is all about self-image; you're only as scary as you feel. Caspar was feeling a little down after his encounter at the brewpub, so he decided to pick an easier target for his next haunting: children.
He chose a small bunch of trick-or-treaters on a dark street, and appeared next to them silently.
"Oh, hi," said the one dressed like a pirate. "That's a cool costume."
"Did you lose your candy bucket?" asked the one dressed like a witch. "Do you want to borrow my hat?"
"This is a great block for candy, we'll show you the best stops. Stick with us!" From the one in a robot costume.
What could he do? Caspar accepted the proffered hat and floated along - who doesn't like candy?
This was getting a little embarrassing. Not only had he failed to scare the children, but everyone in the houses they went to assumed he was another one of them!
He floated over to a tortoiseshell cat washing her face on the railing of a porch. "BOO!"
The cat put her ears back, but otherwise completely ignored him.
Caspar sat (well, floated) on the porch swing and thought about what to do next. Maybe the ghost elders were right and he didn’t have what it took to be scary. No one had been afraid of him all night; he couldn’t even scare an animal! And if he failed at this, would he ever be assigned another haunting?
The door of the house opened and an old lady came out, calling “Kitty? Kitty-cat, time for dinner!” As she scanned the porch (the cat ignored her, too), she saw Caspar sitting there on the swing and jumped.
“Oh!” she said. “Oh, you gave me a fright!”
Caspar didn’t wait to hear any more - he immediately dashed off, thrilled to have finally succeeded.
The old lady sighed. “It’s a shame how children these days have no manners, Kitty. But that was the cutest Halloween costume I’ve ever seen!”