I Am Only Here for the Candy (#344)

I don’t like scary things. Not costumes. Not movies. Not books. Not TV.

There’s enough scary shit in real life. Why would you seek out terror?

I don’t understand people who enjoy being scared. Did they not have enough to frighten them in their childhood? I’d wake up with a full bladder and hold it until morning rather than risk running into a monster on the way to the bathroom.

I remember my father being exasperated with me as I child because I was so certain someone could get a ladder, climb up three stories, come in my bedroom window, and “get me.”

Dad explained how loud and difficult that would be. I was unconvinced. He sent me back to bed, but at least refrained from saying, “Jesus Christ, child, I probably couldn’t GIVE away you or your equally feral, troublesome siblings! Why would anyone go through the trouble of climbing a ladder to try and STEAL you?”

I loved Halloween, of course, but only because there was free candy and sparkly costumes. I was every Disney Princess imaginable (Leia included), and a fairy. Never once did I want to be anything scary.

My Chinese-American husband, on the other hand, enjoys scary, suspenseful entertainment. “The Walking Dead?” One of his favorite shows. He’s never met a Resident Evil anything he doesn’t watch. Meanwhile, I’m in the bedroom, yelling at him to turn the volume down because ANY suspenseful minor chord music will make me wonder who is being murdered. I tried to watch “Squid Game,” but had to run out of the room repeatedly. (Andy would patiently summarize the games and deaths for me later.)

Why are we so different?

I have theories.

Andy’s childhood was more secure than mine (though both our fathers were scary and strict). Andy doesn’t speculate or imagine scenarios as much as I do. Sometimes Andy will see me wiping away a tear and foolishly ask, “What’s wrong?”

“Well,” I’ll sniffle, “I was just thinking about what if one of those right wing crazies crashes into the Torrance Farmer’s Market while you’re there because he’s targeting Asians, and you get killed and then I have to tell Baby D and I was trying to figure out what to do for your funeral…”

Andy will hand me a tissue and remind me, “Remember, don’t spend money on a casket. It’s a cardboard box or nothing.”

I once asked Andy if he ever worried that something might happen to me.

He said, “No.”

“You don’t think about it at all?”

“No.”

“What do you think about?”

Andy shrugged. “Nothing, really.”

“You can’t think about NOTHING. No one thinks about NOTHING.”

Andy just shrugged again. I kinda thought he was lying, until I read an article about how some people don’t always have an internal monologue going. That was unfathomable to me (and everyone else who monologues). But while I couldn’t understand not constantly judging thinking, it immediately made sense that Andy was a non-monologuer.

I’m a little jealous. It sounds very restful and zen. My internal monologues go from 0 to DISASTER in seconds. Which means that when I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m immediately convinced that any unusual noise or smell means there’s a fire/ murder/ kidnapping happening.

This is one of the reasons I like having dogs. I’m pretty sure that my dogs will smell or hear any danger long before my comparatively weak human senses detect it. This comforting fact enables me to get back to sleep. Sometimes. (Of course, sometimes you have dogs that snooze right through impending danger.)

Throughout our son’s childhood, I’ve tried to keep him from scary stuff. I didn’t want him to have nightmares or wake up scared like I did. He would pester us to watch Star Wars or Indiana Jones and I’d think of how Darth Vader and melting faces kept me awake as a child. Baby D was on a strict diet of “Thomas the Tank Engine” until the older kids on the block introduced him to The Hunger Games.

And he was fine. Not a single nightmare, ever, not even when Baby D sneakily read the books at age eight (by the light of a ring that flashed red, white, and blue). He sailed through Harry Potter without fears of Dementors.

Baby dressed as a big orange pumpkin.

 

Toddler dressed as a skunkWhen he was little, I could pick the most adorable Halloween costumes for Baby D. Nothing scary, just pumpkins, bunnies, and fluffy skunks.

 

Once he hit preschool, Baby D insisted on being a ninja. For three years.

After that?

Kid dressed at the Grim Reaper, with skull mask and scythe

Kid is going to give me nightmares.

Candy Dispenser (#328)

Halloween candy is tricky. If you buy a bag too early, it’s hard to resist diving into it before doling it out to trick-or-treaters. Next thing you know (or at least the next thing I know, possibly my readers have better self-control) you have to buy another bag. Wait too long to buy your candy and all that’s left is the sweet orange wax (i.e., candy corn).

My Chinese-American husband isn’t a fan of holidays or spending money. We’ve compromised on the Halloween candy: one giant bag of the good (chocolate) candy from Costco. Except that twice Andy waited too long to buy it and Costco ran out. (Costco is like that. You’d better buy that ski parka in August if you really want it.) Andy was forced to buy several smaller and more expensive bags to fill my witch’s cauldron. Since then, Andy’s always gotten the candy at least two weeks before Halloween. Continue reading Candy Dispenser (#328)

Hand-Me-Downs & Halloween (#266)

There were two great things about being taller than my older sister by age five.

  • She couldn’t beat me up anymore.
  • I didn’t have to wear her hand-me-downs.

Instead, I got a new dress for the first day of kindergarten. My parents actually asked what color I wanted. I wore that dress at least twice a week until my growth spurts made it into a crop top. Continue reading Hand-Me-Downs & Halloween (#266)

Rules for Trick-or-Treating (#237)

I have exactly one rule when it comes to Halloween.

Rule #1: Everyone who comes to my door on Halloween gets candy.

I have these rules because I had a racist Southern Grandma. The worst Halloween horror story I ever heard was about that grandma. My mother once told me how her mother would keep two bowls of candy by the door on Halloween. One bowl was filled with Hershey Bars. That bowl was for the neighborhood kids.

The other bowl was filled with candy corns and cheap lollipops. When truckloads of “poor kids” came in from “more rural areas,” to trick-or-treat, they got the crap candy. Continue reading Rules for Trick-or-Treating (#237)

From the Halloween Archives

Ha, yes, I’ve now been blogging long enough to have holiday posts in my archives. So if you missed them, forgot them, or just want a little something to put you in a holiday mood, I’m offering up some less-than literary Halloween Treats.

Enjoy.

*****

If It Were Not For Pumpkins

When Andy and I first met, we were always at dance events over Halloween weekends. Once we married and all our money went into our wedding, however, we stayed home. Sort of.

The night before Halloween, I pounced on Andy the minute he walked in the door from work. “C’mon, c’mon! Let’s go!”

“Huh? What? Where?”

“The pumpkin patch!”

“For…what?”

“For an orangutan, of course.”

Andy appeared to consider this seriously. “Won’t it eat the cats?”

“No, I’m gonna train it to scoop the litter box.”

“Seems reasonable,” Andy allowed me to tow him back down to the garage. Click Here for More on Pumpkins

*****

Frenchie’s First Halloween

About a month after my wedding, my friend M got married. Surprisingly, given her card-carrying Republican status, her husband was not an American. I’m not going to say where he’s from, but she met him in Germany and we’ll call him “Frenchie.”

Frenchie and M lived in one of the mountain states when they first moved back to the U.S. M said it took a while to get used to no public transportation, dirty windows, and soft bread once more. Frenchie quickly acclimated to large screen TVs, his own car, and crappy beer. HIs first serious bit of culture shock came when Halloween arrived. Click Here for More on Frenchie

 

Frenchie’s First Halloween (#90)

American kids are out for blood candy.
American kids out for blood candy.

About a month after my wedding, my friend M got married. Surprisingly, given her card-carrying Republican status, her husband was not an American. I’m not going to say where he’s from, but she met him in Germany and we’ll call him “Frenchie.”

Frenchie and M lived in one of the mountain states when they first moved back to the U.S. M said it took a while to get used to no public transportation, dirty windows, and soft bread once more. Frenchie quickly acclimated to large screen TVs, his own car, and crappy beer. HIs first serious bit of culture shock came when Halloween arrived.

Frenchie observed a parade of superheroes and princesses move from the sidewalk to their front door. He heard the kids ring the doorbell. M opened the door. The kids screamed, “Trick or treat!” with varying levels of enthusiasm. He watched M giggle, exclaim over the cute costumes, and dole one piece of candy per child.

The next time the doorbell rang, Frenchie said, “I got this.”

He opened the door and found a mini-Batman. “Trick or treat!”

Frenchie held out the bowl of candy. “Great costume. You are old enough to pick your own candy, eh?”

Batman’s eyes lit up. “Awesome!” He grabbed an overflowing handful and stuffed it in his bag.

“Hey, hey!” bellowed Frenchie. “You were supposed to take one!”

Frenchie plunged his hand into Batman’s bag. He lifted out his own, adult-sized handful, and put it back in M’s candy bowl.

Batman stuttered, “B-b-but you just took back out more than I put in!”

Frenchie said, “That will teach you not to be so greedy!” and slammed the door.

M sent Frenchie off to watch his giant TV.  She answered the door the rest of the evening.

No word on how long it took Batman to recover.

If It Were Not For Pumpkins (#89)

Pumpkin Festival
Pumpkin Festival, Laconia, New Hampshire

When Andy and I first met, we were always at dance events over Halloween weekends. Once we married and all our money went into our wedding, however, we stayed home. Sort of.

The night before Halloween, I pounced on Andy the minute he walked in the door from work. “C’mon, c’mon! Let’s go!”

“Huh? What? Where?”

“The pumpkin patch!”

“For…what?”

“For an orangutan, of course.” Continue reading If It Were Not For Pumpkins (#89)