It was just another boring motel room in a long line of motel rooms. Only this one just happened to sit on the outskirts of a haunted ghost town. Or at least that's what Dean had told Sammy to get him to shut up about Halloween. Too bad it hadn't worked.
"Can we go trick or treating?" Sammy couldn't keep the hopeful tone out of his voice.
Dean turned to stare at his little brother like he'd lost his mind. "No."
"Please, Dean! You promised!"
"No." This time he didn't even bother to take his eyes off of the television. He'd promised no such thing. Dean remembered what he had said perfectly. He'd promised that they would have fun on Halloween. To him that had meant watching a rerun of 'It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' and maybe sharing a bowl of popcorn. Apparently Sammy hadn't quite understood.
"Please, please, please."
The mantra rang in Dean's ears until he wanted to strangle something preferably Sammy. "You heard Dad, Sammy. He said to stay in the room. That means we can't leave. He'll be back tomorrow."
Sammy's face fell as his dreams of mountains of candy disappeared before his eyes. "But tomorrow isn't Halloween. Today is." His lips trembled as he spoke.
Dean glanced sideways at his brother. He could take a lot of things but the sight of Sammy's crestfallen face wasn't one of them. With a long-suffering sigh he gave in, he didn't do it with good grace but at least he did it. "Fine. But we don't have a costume for you." Dean thought for a minute before an idea hit him. "I know, you can go as a ghost." He glared at the doubtful look on Sammy's face. "It's the best we got so take it or leave it." With his fingers crossed behind his back Dean waited impatiently for his little brother's answer.
A smile brightened Sammy's face. "I'll take it."
He muttered a four-letter word under his breath as he stripped the top sheet off the nearest bed.
Why didn't that work? He'd thought for sure Sammy wouldn't go for the lame ghost costume. Obviously he'd underestimated the allure of free candy. There was no point in feeling sorry for himself. They might as well get this over with. With a quick flick of his pocketknife, Dean managed to cut three holes through the sheet before he tossed it over his little brother's head.
"Let's get this over with."
Dean glared as he caught the sad look on the little boy's face. "Now what?"
Little fingers peeked through the holes as he tried to adjust the sheet so he could see his older brother. "You're not happy."
His mouth dropped open. Of all the....of course he wasn't happy. They were told to stay put. Their dad had been adamant about his keeping Sammy safe. How was he supposed to do that while his little brother was going door to door begging for candy? Dean opened his mouth to tell Sammy exactly what he was thinking but one look at his brother's face and he changed his mind. He reached out and quickly turned the sheet so that the holes lined up with Sammy's eyes. "I am happy, Sammy. Let's go get you some candy."
With a soft squeal of delight Sammy snatched Dean's hand and pulled him out the door.
Two hours later, an exhausted but happy Sammy sat on the bed surrounded by candy, grinning from ear to ear. He'd emptied his bag the minute they'd gotten back and now sat rummaging through his haul.
Dean sank into the chair, thankful to have made it back in one piece. Who knew that the quest to get Halloween candy could be so nerve wracking? And Sammy hadn't helped one bit, going up to total strangers yelling 'trick or treat'. And the way some of the adults had kept trying to get a peek at what his brother looked like under the sheet, had made him long for the rifle he'd left behind. It had been all he could do to keep from dragging Sammy back to the relative safety of the motel room.
A garish orange and black flyer fell to the floor as he grabbed the remote control off the table. Dean started to ignore the paper as he turned on the television but the gigantic lettering caught his attention. 'Don't Forget To Check The Candy Before Allowing Your Children To Eat It' stared up at him in bright purple letters. He snatched it off of the floor and quickly read through the flyer before he tossed it away and ran to stop Sammy from inhaling the possibly dangerous sweets.
"Sammy, stop! Don't touch anything!" Dean dived onto the bed and quickly began to gather all of the candy away from Sammy.
Sammy's mouth fell open in shock as he watched Dean pull all of his hard-earned candy out of his reach. His eyes swam with tears and his bottom lip trembled. "Why?"
Dean tried to pretend that he didn't notice the tears in his brother's eyes as he gently but firmly removed the last piece of candy clutched tight in Sammy's little fist. "I have to check the candy before you eat any of it."
Sammy eyed the pile of sweets now lying directly in front of Dean before he glared suspiciously at his older brother. His brother had never lied to him before but that was an awful lot of candy.
"Listen, Sammy. I just read that sometimes people put bad things inside of the Halloween candy. And it's very important to check each piece." Dean explained as he carefully examined a squished chocolate bar, the same one Sammy'd had clutched in his hand.
"Why would anyone do that?"
Without looking up Dean shrugged his shoulders and checked the next piece of candy.
"Because some people are bad."
For a few blissful minutes the room was quiet except for the hushed breathing of the two young boys. But the silence was too good to last, as Dean reached for the last piece Sammy's voice interrupted the quiet. "Are you finished yet?"
"No, Sammy. I'm not. Why don't you go watch tv while I finish this?"
"But you just put the last one in the checked pile."
Dean rolled his eyes at his little brother's tone. "The paper said ‘check it thoroughly’."
Sammy's face scrunched up as he tried to figure out the meaning of the word. Finally, he gave up. "What does that mean?"
"It means that I have to check it again to be sure it's safe for you to have."
That was just great! He was never going to get his candy!Sammy chewed on his bottom lip. "How many times are you going to check it?"
The pile of candy was scooted over to the left side and he began to go through it again. "Three times."
"Three!" Sammy eyes flashed with anger as he yelled at Dean.
Dean paused as he reached for the next piece and looked at his brother. "Yes, three. Or I could just put it up until Dad gets back." Even as the threat left his mouth he prayed that Sammy wouldn't call him on it. He and Sammy both knew the rules. If their Dad found out they'd left the room, there would be hell to pay.
Sammy crossed his legs underneath his body, dug through the pile of candy and handed one to Dean. "You can check it."
Without comment Dean examined the candy for any telltale signs of tampering before quickly adding it to the checked pile. For thirty minutes the boys worked in synchronization until finally the last piece of candy was checked for the last time.
A huge grin threatened to split Sammy's face as Dean pushed the candy towards him. "I can eat it?"
"Yeah. Happy Halloween, Sammy." An answering smile crossed Dean's face as a half of a chocolate bar disappeared inside Sammy's mouth. Dean stood and walked out of the room, maybe if he was lucky he'd still be able to find the 'Charlie Brown Special' on television.
He turned around and looked at his brother. "Yeah?"
"Thanks for breaking the rules."
At the look of utter happiness on his little brother's face he knew he would willingly do it again. "Anytime, Sammy. Anytime."