Trick or Treat
“Er . . . hello?” he said.
“Hello!” said the ghastly apparition before him. It paused. “Hallelujah!” it added cheerfully. “Fear not! Um . . . hosannah?”
It had a large white sphere shoved over its head, and a horrible smiley face was outlined in gold paint on the front. It was dressed in suspiciously frilly white robes, sagging fake wings, and what appeared to be flip flops spray painted gold.
“Oh, bugger this. Trick or treat,” the thing said, and shoved a pillowcase in Aziraphale’s face. There was a pause. “This is the part where you give me candy,” it prompted. “You know. Sugary stuff, bad for the teeth, moonlights as a tacky girl’s name?”
“Crowley?” said Aziraphale.
The feathery monster radiated sheepishness. “Um. Yes?”
“What are you doing?”
Crowley shrugged, and the motion sent feathers tumbling down onto Aziraphale’s doorstep. He was quickly ushered inside. “It’s Halloween, angel. People dress up and get candy. It’s fun. I think. Tradition.”
“For one thing, it’s for children,” Aziraphale pointed out, severely, “and for another thing, it’s a pagan holiday. You’re supposed to follow Satan, aren’t you?”
Crowley somehow contrived to look shifty, mask notwithstanding. “According to some people, pagan gods are Satan—”
“Don’t be silly.” Aziraphale rolled his eyes. “They’re quite nice people, most of them. I had Hestia over for tea the other day.”
“Haha,” Crowley said loudly. “ ‘Nice people.’ Her pantheon alone—look at Zeus. Look at Hades. Look at Ares. Poseidon. Load of horny bastards, the lot of them. Not to mention those goddesses—‘bitch’ isn’t the half of it.”
Aziraphale said, “You’re only prejudiced against deities. You’re a bigot. Against people of divinity.”
“What?” Crowley was indignant. “I am not! You’ve just got a soft spot for them!”
“No, I haven’t,” Aziraphale said in a reasonable tone. “I’m a monotheist by profession. I’m a one god man. Angel. Now come sit down, you’re moulting all over the nice carpet. Why did you make fake wings, anyway?”
Crowley wadded into the living room and took a seat, giving his wilting pinions a mournful look. “It wouldn’t be a proper costume otherwise. It would be cheating.”
“Er,” said Aziraphale.
The demon tugged ineffectually at his giant helmet-like mask. It didn’t move. “Aziraphale,” he said plaintively.
“Oh, don’t whine,” Aziraphale scolded. He poked the head. It grinned angelically at him and refused to budge. “It’s on very securely. You won’t have to worry about it falling off, at least.”
“I want it to fall off!” Crowley said. “It’s stuck.”
Aziraphale sighed. “Hold still,” he ordered. “This won’t hurt much.” He seized the grinning mask and jerked it very hard; Crowley gasped. After a few moments of panicked wheezing on Crowley’s part and considerably calmer wheezing from Aziraphale, the mask popped off and promptly whacked Aziraphale in the nose. “Ouch,” he said. He tossed to the mask to a nearby chair, where it lolled idiotically.
Crowley gloomily touched the ruffles on his robe, which Aziraphale privately suspected was actually a nightgown. “Thanks. It was a good costume, wasn’t it? Did I fool you?”
“Very frightening,” Aziraphale said diplomatically. “I expect I’ll have nightmares.”
“All right,” said Crowley, mollified. “Can I have candy now?”
“I haven’t got any.”
Crowley sulked. Without the shades it was all the more obvious; his yellow eyes drooped pathetically and he slouched against the chair.
“Don’t be such a child, Crowley. Really. What would your coworkers say?”
The doorbell rang.
“Not another one.” Aziraphale sighed and stepped toward the door, daintily picking his way through the mounds of fluffy feathers Crowley had shed. He opened the door and blinked. “Oh dear.”
“What is it?” said Crowley, behind him. Then, “Oh. Oh god.”
“Trick or treat!” gurgled Hastur. “I’m a pretty princess!”