[image description: A young girl stands on your welcome mat, costumed in three colors of seamed foam rubber as befits her name. In her right hand she holds a roll of toilet paper, in her left, a plastic pumpkin-shaped bucket for holding treats. Behind her, past the lawn and sidewalk, a toilet-papered tree is visible against the starry twilit sky. In a 3D candy-corn inflected font, the Text reads, “153, CANDY CORNELIA ~ SMALL GOD OF TRICK OR TREAT”]
Sun’s going down, and now’s where you have two choices: turn off all the lights and go to bed right now, or light the pumpkin and set it out in invitation.
Now, I know it’s been pouring for the last three days and not a child with a lick of self-preservation is going to be out on the streets tonight. What’s more, even if those children exist—and those children always exist, let’s be realistic here—then they’d need to have parents who were never really all that interested in having children, who just want plausible deniability when they get called down to the county coroner’s office. No, we’re not looking to attract actual children, or we’d have needed to buy a lot more candy.
You got them, right? Two full-sized Snickers bars, a roll of dimes, and an old Archie comic from the grocery store? Good. I know you promised, but a man likes to be sure, especially on a night like this.
But as I said, we’re not looking to attract actual children. Wouldn’t know what to do with them.
We’re going to lure in a god.
She walks the world one night a year, as solid and material as any human child, just a child who goes from city to city in the process of going house to house. She starts in Samoa and stops in New Zealand, and in-between she sees the whole world wide, like some sort of reverse Santa Claus, taking away with her. If you’re lucky, of course. Her bag is an infinity of toilet paper and raw eggs, her smile a gap-toothed gateway into darker realms. She is redemption and she is damnation and she is going to choose the second on our behalf if you don’t get that pumpkin lit before she rings the bell!
She doesn’t hold grudges, but she remembers, and her memory is the long, slow memory of childhood, which never forgets the house with the good candy, or the one with the mean dog. Her blessing will see your windows unbroken and your tomatoes untrampled by generations yet to come, and her curse…
Well. You were thinking about moving, right?
Someone’s coming up the walk. Light the pumpkin!
Rain or no rain, it’s always time for trick or treat.
Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.
Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: