Photo by Joonas Kääriäinen from Pexels
Photo by Joonas Kääriäinen from Pexels

By Molly Butler

Pumpkins on porches, foam gravestones in yards, and I saw what I really hope was a fake arm dangling from the trunk of a car. It’s Halloween weekend. Let’s talk about fear.

For a period in high school, I went through a very thorough Stephen King phase. I think I read one of his horrors every week, usually right before bed. Yes, I had some nightmares, but they were worth it. I loved the suspense, the surreal worlds, the way hours flew by when I should be sleeping but instead was bolt upright with my book, startling every time the house settled. I wanted to be a writer just like Stephen King: unique, original, prolific. I loved those books.

Then one summer I took a college level writing class. A rather intimidating professor asked the class who their favorite author was. “Stephen King,” I said.

“No,” the professor said, “I mean author of literature.”

And now as a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, I want to share my qualified opinion: They’re great books. I’m so glad he wrote them. I’m going to re-read all my favorites.

At some point our fears of zombified pets and clowns and Cujo get replaced with new monsters. Self-doubt. Insecurity. Rejection. I was afraid that, after a lifelong passion for reading, I actually didn’t know anything about what made writing “good.” If what I loved wasn’t good enough, how could I ever hope to be a good enough writer? If I couldn’t be a good writer, why would I want to put myself out there as a writer at all? And if I couldn’t be a writer, I didn’t know who I was.

Last weekend I was cleaning out some shelves at my parents’ house, and I found that dog-eared collection of Stephen King novels. Many have pages so creased and well loved, they’re permanently puffed up like angry black cats. And now as a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, I want to share my qualified opinion: They’re great books. I’m so glad he wrote them. I’m going to re-read all my favorites.

We all have monsters lurking in our unknowns. Without the questions that scare us, we wouldn’t have room for curiosity and growth. If we don’t risk failure, we’ll never have to push ourselves to overcome. If I didn’t doubt myself regularly, my work wouldn’t mean so very much to me.

So be thankful for the things that make your skin crawl, your palms sweat, your voice shake. Without fear, we can’t be brave. This weekend, let’s celebrate fear.


Tricks and treats look a little different this year. Store It Mankato is hosting a Trick-or-Treat From 6-Feet, with local businesses sponsoring storage units in the indoor facility to provide a safe and free event. Groups of up to 10 people can walk through from 2-7 p.m. Don’t forget to bring a food item to donate! The Pillars of Mankato Senior Living will host its Trunk-or-Treat in its parking lot from 3-5 p.m., and the American Legion in Le Sueur will host one from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Both are drive-thru only events.

South Central College in Mankato will host a drive-in movie night, with a family-friendly showing of Hocus Pocus at 4 p.m. and then a much spookier showing of Insidious at 6 p.m.


Christy’s Crystals on Riverfront is celebrating its Samhain Halloween Crystal, Psychic and Healing Fair, with free samples, giveaways, and a grand prize drawing! Its celebration begins at 11 a.m., and it will be open until 6 p.m. I’m so excited to see what this local shop will have in store!

From 2-4 p.m. check out Commerce Drive’s Trick-or-Treat event, hosted by Connecting Commerce. All storefronts with orange and black balloons will have treats for the kiddos. Then at 4 p.m., you can continue the candy hunt at the North Mankato Taylor Library for its Trunk-or-Treat event from 4-6 p.m. Or, sensory sensitive ghosts and ghouls can head to the St. Peter Food Shelf parking lot next to the American Legion for its Sensory Sensitive Trunk-or-Treat starting at 5 p.m.

Adults can head to the Wine Café at 4 p.m. for its Halloween Maskerade, celebrating Halloween, the full moon, and the last evening with an open patio, so dress warm and enjoy some spiked cider.


Last chance! The Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center is hosting a Halloween HustleVirtual 5k and Nov. 1 is your last chance to get your miles in. Register here. Then 1-4 p.m. is your last chance to check out the annual Halloween Exhibit at the 410 Project in Mankato.

Bonus: VOTE!

In case you haven’t heard it five million times already, it’s time to vote! Election Day is this Tuesday, Nov. 3. Make sure you know where when, and how to vote. If you are unsure of where your polling place is, find it on Pollfinder. Thank you for participating in democracy!


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.