The Oldest House On The Block

Haunted House Kids Trick Or Treat Watercolor Illustration

For our Doodlewash prompt of “Cobwebs,” paired with the Inktober prompt of “Ancient,” I thought about going out to trick or treat as a kid and took an opportunity to use my brush pen. There was an old house in our neighborhood where no children lived so we never really had a reason to visit. It was a gigantic house, or at least seemed that way to us kids, built well before any of the other houses around it. So, we thought it must be truly ancient. We’d make up stories about the people who lived inside as we never really saw them very much. The house had not been renovated or indeed painted in years. It wasn’t run-down exactly, but it had that sense of age that comes from caring more about comfort than appearances. We were quite sure it must be haunted, so when Halloween came around, we were equal parts excited and totally terrified to pay a visit. Since we’d crafted so many stories about the house in our minds, we would sort of avoid the house when the big night game. Finally, after we’d visited all of the other houses, we’d only have one left. It was dark by that point making the journey just a bit creepier. Of course, each year, we were greeted by a lovely older woman who simply gave us candy and smiled, but we’d promptly forget all about it soon after. We simply started creating our little stories, adding bits of imagination here and there, so we could scare the hell out of ourselves again the following year.

Philippe and I live at the end of a series of row houses, each connected to the other, and directly next to a historic cemetery. This makes it the perfect Halloween environment this time of year, though we don’t get any trick or treaters.

Haunted House Kids Trick Or Treat Inktober 2019 Illustration

A few years ago on Halloween, there was actually a surprise knock at the door. Peering through the peephole we saw a little fairy and her Mutant Ninja Turtle brother. Though we love Halloween month, we’d actually forgotten it was even Halloween night. We didn’t have any candy, so we just had to pretend that we weren’t home. After that, we had some candy on hand just in case, but we never got another knock at the door. It strikes me that we might now be the creepy house in child folklore and kids are reticent to visit. Indeed, we’re quite the introverts and don’t participate in neighborhood gatherings. So, it’s quite likely, the entire neighborhood has stories about the two hermits and their barkless dog with an attitude that live at the edge of the cemetery.

We’re not completely antisocial, of course, and have met and chatted with many of our neighbors. But group gatherings are simply not our thing.  Most all of our neighbors are older or retired, so there aren’t many children where we live. When someone younger moves in and later has a baby, they usually leave before the child is school age and move to the suburbs. I miss being visited by little ones in costume. It’s fun to see them and always fun to give anyone some candy. Yet, best of all, it’s fun to remember back when I was that same age, wandering from house to house in search of sweet treasures. I’ve often wondered what that old haunted house from my childhood looks like today, or if it’s even still standing. No doubt, it’s not quite as grand as I remember it being when I was a child. Things always get so much smaller as we grow taller. But having only the memory is probably a much better thing. The story we all told ourselves was what made that place so intriguing. And even if those stories were totally meant to creep us out, it still always makes me smile each time I remember the oldest house on the block.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Gold Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Pen in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Haunted House Kids Trick Or Treat Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Mary Roff 3 years ago

    Just love this! Mystery and spookiness is what the season is all about and you’ve captured it perfectly!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕Thrilled you liked this one… it was quite an experiment! hehe

  2. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    Super post Charlie! I have great memories of small town Halloweens gone by. We don’t get trick or treated as the houses are too far apart and there are no street lights on our road. Very close by the houses are close together so they just don’t come down our street. That’s fine.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕 Yeah, the small town Halloweens were awesome when I was a kid. I loved those days!

  3. Sandra Strait 3 years ago

    I love your strong bold lines and strong composition. Black can easily overpower a painting, but you kept that strong black sky in perfect balance! I’m envious of your talent. When I was a kid it wasn’t uncommon for us to get 200-300 visits. We stopped handing out candy about 15 years ago when we were only getting about 10 kids and most of them were older. *sigh* It’s all about the parties these days.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 That’s so sweet of you to say! This was so experimental for me… wasn’t quite sure what I was doing on this one. Thrilled you liked how it turned out! Yeah, I miss handing out candy… and already skip the parties!😊 lol

  4. Zertab Quaderi 3 years ago

    This looks amazing!

  5. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 years ago

    Fabulous!!!! Love this image of going to the “scary haunted house”!!! Its awesome!!!!!! Love your story too!! Do you ever go walking in the cemetery? I am fascinated with them lots of history. Halloween is getting closer!!! Happy dance! lol 😀

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 We go walking in the cemetery all the time! It’s actually also a park of sorts… they don’t bury people there anymore. hehe But not after dark… then it’s creepy! lol

  6. Awesome post! Google maps is a great way to reminisce. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 I’ll have to try that. I did “walk” down the street I grew up on once, but didn’t venture much farther in Google maps.

  7. Cheryl Anderson 3 years ago

    Love that you kids promptly forgot the woman who gave you candy and stuck to your imagined stories.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Cheryl! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, we kids preferred some of those stories to reality. Life would be dull otherwise.

  8. Sharon Nolfi 3 years ago

    Love the positive and negative spaces in the ink drawing!

  9. Lisa 3 years ago

    Great paint! We don’t get trick or treaters either. But Joe always buys candy. And, it’s always the kind he likes. Go figure. 😂😂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 haha… Joe is very wise. I tried to do the same, but Philippe decided he was wiser! 😉

  10. Robert J. Coleman 3 years ago

    The house reminds me of the Bates Motel…is there an old lady in a rocking chair, sitting by the attic window? Don’t go up to the door, kids!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      hehe!! I almost added something in the window, but the windows were too small for my brush pen! lol 😉

  11. smzang 3 years ago

    Charlie says, ” it’s quite likely, the entire neighborhood has stories about the two hermits and their barkless dog with an attitude that live at the edge of the cemetery.” and then he launched a best selling series titled “Two Hermits and their Barkless Dog” that went on for years and years, and after an extremely long and pleasing life, when the author passed to his reward, the series was continued in both English and French by his niece Alice.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      awww… that would be amazing! 😃💕 Mostly the part of leaving a bit of legacy to my niece. That would be lovely.

  12. smzang 3 years ago

    I hit enter too soon. I wanted to apologize for responding to so many posts at once. It has been a horrendous week schedule wise, and my intent was to respond to two of your offerings a day until all caught up, but reading just one of
    your posts is like trying to eat just one potato chip…it just can’t be done. However, I spare you the timedrain of having
    to respond to each of my utterances. I know you are busy. It is enough that you j keep on filling our lives with the joy of your art and thought.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      No worries at all! I’m just so thrilled you read them! 😃💕 Whenever works for you is fine by me! I’m always happy knowing people like me showing up all the time and aren’t getting bored yet! hehe

  13. LoriCtoo 3 years ago

    Oh I love this! Both versions are cool actually .Halloween was such a fun night when I was a kid. Running around the neighborhood all on our own. Bringing home a pillowcase of candy, not having to worry about tainted candy. Ohhh the memories!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Glad you liked this… I actually preferred the black and white on this one. hehe And yay to the days of running free on Halloween. It was SO much fun!!!

  14. shawnthompsonart 3 years ago

    Nice drawing, I really like your colour choices!

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