Friends & Family, Ugly & Beautiful

Tricks and Treats: On Fear, Bravery, and Halloween

When I was a kid, we lived down the street from our local pastor. Despite some of his congregation’s hesitations about the holiday, he absolutely loved Halloween.

I don’t remember how he decorated his house or if he ever wore costumes. I don’t remember what kind of candy he passed out. I remember two things about Pastor John’s house on Halloween night: he always looked delighted to see us, and he always made us do a trick before we could get a treat.

Apparently, this is a custom in certain areas but it wasn’t a custom in ours. As far as we knew, it was just Pastor John.

At first, the idea of performing on his front doorstep was terrifying. Should I tell a joke or sing a song? What if I wasn’t good enough? What if he gave me a rock instead of candy like those horrible adults in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?

But I did it. I was brave.

To me, bravery is what Halloween is all about.

Continue reading “Tricks and Treats: On Fear, Bravery, and Halloween”
Friends & Family

Halloween Photos

I can’t believe I waited a whole week to post these! We had a lot of fun on Halloween this year: it was both kids’ first time trick-or-treating and they had a BLAST. I was really scared that Sam would back out like he did last year, but I got him to agree to go if we went out before dark. Consequently, we were the only kids on the street for at least half an hour, but that also meant people had plenty of candy and were eager to hand it out (if they were home from work… which not everyone was). There was only one really scary house (life-size singing witches!) and though he was afraid, Sam has been thrilled to talk about it with everyone he meets.

Anyhow. Look at my kids!

Gidget, from The Secret Life of Pets. (If you’re worried she was cold with no sleeves, don’t be–I wore the same fur and it was SO WARM.)

Pops, from The Secret Life of Pets (though we nixed the wheels because they made it hard to walk).

I was Gidget’s mom. Not a character from the movie–but come on, every puppy has a mom.

If you wondered where my kids got the ham gene…

First house (I think)! And then Daddy stopped taking pictures.


Fun & Games

Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween! Bring on the candy corn, the costumes, and the pumpkins full of wine. Our plans this year are pretty low-key: take the kids trick-or-treating (if they’ll wear their costumes–they’ve both been back-and-forth on that subject though they BEGGED me to make them Pops and Gidget from The Secret Life of Pets), get them all sugared up before bed, and hope they actually go to sleep with enough time left for Mommy and Daddy to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show before falling into a sugar coma ourselves.

Pretty classic.

This will be both my kids’ first times trick-or-treating. Sam was all set to go last year but he backed out. Before that, he nixed the idea in August and would flip out on me if I even mentioned it. Before that, he was too little to know tricks from treats, anyway.

Here’s hoping it’s a magical night for all of us. Spooky and exciting, sweet and fun, with just the right amount of fear to build our kids’ characters, whatever ages they are. Here’s to venturing out after dark, ringing the doorbell of a stranger, and all the thrills that come with every trick and treat.

Fun & Games

Have the Greatest Halloween Weekend Ever!


Halloween is on Tuesday.

Of course, that means that a lot of the revelry will be happening this weekend, when people don’t have to get up and go to an eight a.m. meeting the next day. Because most of us can’t do this on a Tuesday night:

Of course, I can’t do it any night of the week. Well, I could if the babysitter wasn’t doing anything and I drank about six buckets of coffee beforehand and maybe had a disco nap. But I don’t look good as a sexy crayon.

My Halloween weekend will most likely be more like this: Continue reading “Have the Greatest Halloween Weekend Ever!”

Goals & Challenges

33 for 33: Hocus Pocus


I’m almost ashamed to tell you this, but until last night I had never seen Hocus Pocus.

What?! you’re probably saying. It’s one of the classics of our generation! I watch it six times every Halloween and constantly post .gifs from the movie on social media!

I know. It’s a thing. A thing I missed out on–until last night, that is.

You see, growing up, I wasn’t allowed to watch anything involving witchcraft or magic in general. My parents went through an extremely religious phase of life and so whenever my peers talk about Hocus Pocus or The Craft or even The Smurfs (apparently Papa Smurf cast spells? I don’t know, I’ve never seen it), I kind of smile and nod along and wait for the subject to change. I only got into Harry Potter around the release of the third movie as sort of an act of rebellion, though the rules had softened by then. Of course, nowadays, my mom is a big fan of the Harry Potter movies and keeps borrowing my copies of the books, so, you know. Things change. Continue reading “33 for 33: Hocus Pocus”

Friends & Family

My Dress-Up Dollies


I was combing through old photos and I started picking out Halloween pictures to put in an album. I quickly realized that my kids (especially the boy, who is a lot older and has therefore been photographed a lot more) might have lived through only a few Halloweens, but there are countless pictures of them in costumes, with pumpkins, etc. So I thought I’d share some with you.

Prepare yourself for cuteness overload. Continue reading “My Dress-Up Dollies”

Ugly & Beautiful

Zombie, Zombie, Zombie: A Blog Post Under the Influence

mombie*It’s fairly late at night. I’ve had a good amount of white wine. and now I have a powerful hankering to write a blog post.

I tried to go to a zombie movie in the theater once. I lasted about ten minutes.

I made it all the way through the book Zombie by Joyce Carroll Oates, more out of stubbornness than enjoyment. It nauseated me. It felt gratuitous and rambling. It made me wonder what it’s like to have graphomania like Ms. Oates does and what percentage of her total writing has gone into the dozens of books she’s published.

I have yet to read anything by Joyce Carroll Oates that I really liked.

There. I said it. Somebody had to.

I’ve seen Shaun of the Dead at least a dozen times. What’s his name?–Simon Pegg. Sexy. So sexy. If you disagree, I understand. But–Mmmm.

And whatever happened to the idea of zombies as rising from the dead rather than having been “infected” by some “virus” that makes them “zombies?” Was it that Milla Jovovitch movie? Did that start the virus thing? I guess it’s scarier that way. More “realistic.” More “plausible.” More “something.”


I love the song “Zombie” by The Cranberries. One of the few I hear on the radio and immediately stop talking to listen. Turn it up, sing along. There was a woman who used to sing at the Brass Rail in Spokane (is that the name of the bar?) on karaoke night whose voice made my whole being vibrate. She was beautiful and enormous and I heard she was part of the Spokane burlesque circuit. When she sang, people closed their eyes and listened. It was beautiful.

There’s a friend I used to do karaoke with who knows what I mean. For a long time, I texted her whenever I heard the song.

I bought my cousin the book World War Z when he was about eleven. His mom told me he loved it but I don’t remember him ever mentioning it. He used to hug me so tight it hurt–back when he was three. Now he’s unfriended me on Facebook, I assume because I’m old and uncool. I tell stories at Thanksgivings and Christmases about the summer I spent at his house when he was three, when I carried him on my back and we both held our first sparklers though I was a decade older.

I don’t know why we are fascinated by the idea of the undead. Not even the undead anymore–the diseased. What does it mean when magic is no longer scary but science is?