Tag Archives: Halloween

Trick-or-treat! Smell My Heat! Give Me Something Good Or I’ll Tag Your @#$%& House!

Teen trick-or-treaters

When I was a kid, you pretty much stopped trick-or-treating sometime in junior high (what they now call middle school). Trick-or-treating was for little kids. Big kids went to parties. And as much as teenagers might like to have a bag full of Kit Kats and Snickers, the humiliation of being teased was not worth the free sugar high.

My daughter Emily is now 15, and Halloween is still her favorite holiday. Today she brought home four of her friends from high school. Were they going to a party? No. Tonight they’re going trick-or-treating.

When Emily was a toddler, trick-or-treating in her blue and white checkered dress and sparkly ruby slippers, and carrying a stuffed Toto in a basket, our neighbors loved to open the door and greet her.

“Look! It’s Dorothy! Can you click your heels three times and say, There’s no place like home?”

I’m sure they thought they were being clever, but we probably heard that line 20 times each Halloween.

Today Emily is 5’7” and has curves like Marilyn Monroe. This year she’s wearing black leather from head to toe in her authentic Cat Woman costume. Her friends are dressed as Tonks from Harry Potter, a pumpkin, Rorschach from Watchmen, and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I asked them why – if they are clearly no longer children – do they continue to trick-or-treat.

“It’s fun,” I thought they’d say. Instead:

“It’s the only time that we can dress up and act like children and still have it be socially acceptable.”

Emily and her friends go to a rigorous humanities magnet school, so an answer like this one is not so surprising.

Halloween is no longer just about the candy. Particularly in Emily’s case, candy is a bit of a hindrance. She has type 1 diabetes and can’t have a bite without an insulin injection. Most of her friends will pop a few pieces, but they plan to give the bulk of their booty to their younger siblings.

They also talked about selling it. I think they were kidding.

These teenagers love dressing up in costumes and traveling in a group. And it’s nostalgic for the good old days a decade earlier when they wanted to hold Mom or Dad’s hand when they crossed the dark street trick-or-treating, even when there weren’t any cars coming.

I’m embellishing this last sentence. I guess I’m nostalgic for the good old days. At least my 5-year old still holds my hand. And my 10-year old lets me trick-or-treat with her for a couple of blocks. Then she ditches me and joins her pack of middle school friends.

My kids: Little Lightning McQueen, Middle School Zombie & Teen Cat Woman

Emily’s teen friends mentioned that they like collecting a variety of free candy. I asked what were some of the more interesting trick-or-treat gifts they’ve received. I expected them all to say “pennies” or “an apple.” Their answers surprised me.

“Dental floss.”

“A Jesus pamphlet.”

“The guy’s phone number”

That last one was from my daughter, which really creeped me out.

I honestly don’t mind handing out candy to these kids (and yes, they are still technically kids for a couple more years). The ones I don’t like are the gaggle of teens who trick-or-treat without much costume creativity. Preschooler boys might have more facial hair than my husband, while the girls have unrealistically red cheeks and lips. At least I know it’s part of their costume. For the local teens, beards and lipstick are just part of their normal daily appearance. Do they really deserve one of my Dollar Tree gumballs for so little effort?

Instead of gratefully taking a piece of candy, they grab handfuls of the stuff. Then they go back for seconds.

“One piece each, please,” I want to tell them. But I’m afraid I’ll piss them off and they’ll come back to my home another day and tag it with their spray paint.

“STINGY HO!” will be plastered on our front door. However, no one will be able to read it since typical gang-speak graffiti is virtually illegible.

Or I’m afraid that as they’re going door to door trick-or-treating, they’re actually casing the joint. For those of you too young to know that term, it means seeing if you’ve got good stuff to steal.

The good news is, we ain’t got good stuff to steal.

The bad news is, we ain’t got good stuff to steal.

The costume-less teens also seem to be clueless on how to respond to the question, “What do you say?”

“Uh… trick-or-treat?”

“Actually, the answer is thank you.”

“Thank you,” they either mumble or shout like it’s a big joke. There’s rarely a polite “thank you.”

I’m scared that by giving these potential hoodlums a little lesson in manners, it’ll just piss them off, and they’ll be back when they see my car’s not in the driveway to teach me a little lesson in pissing them off.

So what’s the real age cut-off for trick-or-treating?

I don’t know if there’s an answer. But my guess is – if you’re old enough to trick-or-treat with your own children, you probably shouldn’t be bringing your own goodie bag.

So tonight, if you see a beautiful Cat Woman exclaiming “Trick-or-treat,” followed by a very polite “Thank you,” don’t be a creep and give her your phone number, or I’ll come back and tag your house.

And believe me, the word “Creep” on your front door will be very legible.


Filed under Anxiety, Humor, Parenting, Teenagers

It’s the Great (Squashed) Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Toy Story pumpkin limbs

My mother-in-law Lina has this extremely sweet tradition in which she invites my kids over to her home a few days before Halloween to carve and decorate pumpkins. Last year she discovered these nifty Mr. Potato Head-like decorations in which you can stick eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands, legs, and accessories like mustaches and hats into your pumpkin. It’s also way less dangerous than handing my 5-year old an X-Acto knife, and since you’re not removing the pumpkin guts, there’s no mess to clean up.

This year she expanded her collection to Toy Story pieces, so Jake created Buzz and Woody pumpkins with outstretched arms and legs that made the pumpkins look like they were shouting “Hee Haw, Partner! Let’s go wrangles us some Ghouls!”

They decorated six large and two small pumpkins, and the collection sat on our living room rug all week like a miniature pumpkin patch that had been invaded by Andy’s playthings.

Tonight, my 15-year old invited a dozen of her friends over for a scary movie night, so I decided to arrange the pumpkins around the house to create a festive setting.

I went to pick up Woody, and I noticed that he had a white mustache. Funny. I didn’t remember that being one of the Mr. Potato Head accessories. It also looked very fuzzy and life-like – something you don’t see in the animated Toy Story series, much less on plastic limbs and body parts.

I touched Woody’s mustache, and it felt a little like hair, but also a little wet.

Then reality hit.

It wasn’t a mustache at all. It was a big hunk of hairy mold, which nature (or the Great Pumpkin) had strategically placed right under Woody’s large nose.

Moldy pumpkin


I glanced over at Buzz. He had grown a big black beard not only on his chin, but also around his sunken eye balls.

Oh my God! There was mold everywhere!

In the center of our living room pumpkin patch sat the largest pumpkin of all. A few days before, it stood about 18 inches tall and was about two feet wide. Now it was still two feet wide, but it was only about two inches tall. It had flattened like a soufflé.

I ran to get two trash bags – one to salvage the Mr. Potato Head decorations, the other to get these nasty squashed squashes out of my living room as fast as humanly possible. As I picked the pumpkins up, they disintegrated in my hands. I had an image of zombie brains as they’re turning to mush.

I managed to scoop up most of the mess, but unfortunately a huge ring of giant pumpkin goo had affixed itself to our rug. I grabbed a spatula from the kitchen and started scraping it like you would a stubborn cookie that refused to leave a cookie sheet. It refused to budge.

I explained the situation to my husband who was so happy to create a scapegoat for his sudden allergy flare up this week (he’s allergic to mold). Although he’s a Virgo, he’s not your typical clean freak, but in seconds he was rolling over the gooey circle with our rug shampooer.

So now, instead of having eight festive Toy Story pumpkins decorating our house this Halloween, we have a bag full of Woody and Buzz’s limbs, body parts and accessories, and a green bin outside with grass clipping, fruit rinds, and a thick layer of pumpkin mush.

You might think that the moral of my story is to wait to decorate your pumpkins until it’s closer to Halloween – especially when you live in sunny Southern California.

No. The moral of my story is, if you see a pumpkin decorated like Woody, and he suddenly grows a thick white mustache, be sure to snap a photo before you run to clean up the mess. A picture’s worth a thousand words, and I could have posted that single shot rather than spending 667 words talking about it.


Filed under Humor, Husband, Parenting

Something VERY Scary this Halloween: FRANKEN-HITLER!

There’s a terrific family at my son’s elementary school who hosted our PTA board meeting dinner a couple of weeks ago. My husband and I arrived at their home around 6:00 and were greeted by an amazing array of outdoor Halloween decorations – gravestones, cobwebs, ghouls, and the crème de la crème – a 10-foot tall inflatable Frankenstein (technically Frankenstein is the doctor, and the guy with the stitched head and bolts in his neck is The Monster, but everyone thinks you’re a pompous ass if you point it out).

The dad proudly noted that he bought this air-filled monstrosity for the low-low price of only $10.

“Ten dollars?” we asked. How did he get such a bargain?

He just chuckled. “You’ll see on your way out.”

Later that evening we were heading to our car. It was dark, and The Monster was glowing. Well… most of it was glowing.

During the day, the Monster looked like any ordinary inflatable decoration you’d see in someone’s yard at Halloween (… or more likely at a car lot. Do these things really bring in customers? Fodder for another blog). But at night The Monster became much more sinister. Apparently the stitching on the upper lip cast a shadow, making it look like a mustache. Another shadow hit above the eyes. And suddenly, instead of a friendly monster who clumsily stumbles and grunts, The Monster was transformed into:


Although he had two flapping arms in the air, one dangled a little to the side, so the right arm looked like it was giving the neighborhood a proud “Heil Hitler!”

Our friends’ monster/dictator gave me an idea. Wouldn’t it be great to have a whole yard full of scary Halloween dictators?

I don’t have the time or the talent to create illustrations for this blog post, but if I did, here would be some of my suggestions:

  • A giant flapping dismembered tongue for Mao Tse-Tung
  • Exchange Transylvania for Yugoslavia to create Vampire Slobodan Milosevic
  • Gaddafi Ghost
  • Use Cambodia’s Pol Pot as the boiling caldron
  • Sadist Hussein
  • Malnourished Africans can be real-life skeletons provided by Uganda’s Idi Amin
  • Mussolini Mummy
  • The Adams Family’s dismembered hand called Thing can be renamed as Crawlin’ Stalin

Crawlin' Stalin

Any of these dictators would also be quite convincing as the Grim Reaper or the Devil.

Unfortunately we won’t have any witches since as far as I’m aware, there are no female dictators.

Which is probably why the nighttime hobgoblin that makes my 5-year old beg to sleep in our room is called the Bogeyman – not the Bogeywoman.

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Filed under Friends, Humor, Parenting