that we are elbow-deep in the pumpkin guts of October, I'm starting
to feel the holiday season kick-off excitement that has captured
my imagination ever since I was a young lad overdosing on Brach's
Mellowcreme Pumpkins and memorizing the Sears Holiday Wish Book
when I should've been diagraming sentences or deciphering the dark
sorcery of fractions.
But like Sears, which is currently in retail ICU, Halloween just
ain't what it used to beespecially since my three daughters
are now teenagers and barely acknowledge me as a semi-solid state
When the girls were little, one of the highlights of my year was
helping them get dressed up to go trick-or-treating, always watching
out for their wellbeing as I conducted random taste tests of their
treatsjust the chocolate onesfor safety.
For the past few years, though, instead of some innocent trick-or-treating,
my two older daughters have focused on the frightening and macabre
side of the holidaynamely teenage boys. And due to the COVID-19
pandemic spoiling last year's Halloween night, my youngest daughter
had to settle for staying home and seeing how many Kit Kats she
could consume without throwing up on her iPhone.
Even our family tradition of gathering in the garage a few days
before Halloween night to carve jack-o'-lanterns has been disrupted
by the ravages of puberty (theirs-not mine). For 17 years straight,
we would scrape, gouge and slice until the floor of our garage looked
like the Great Pumpkin just gave birth. And once the carving was
finished, I'd chase the girls around the front yard in an old sheet
listening to them squeal with delight and trying not to trip and
rupture a major organ (mine-not theirs).
Last year, nobody was interested in carving a single pumpkin, and
my wife wouldn't let me wear a sheet and run around the front yard
by myselfor chase her.
And speaking of ghosts, it's a lot tougher to give the girls a harmless
scare these days (except when I walk through the house shirtless).
I used to enjoy giving them the willies with my story of the giant
"ghost skunk" that lurked around outside, waiting to spray young
girl children who complained about their dad's jokes and fashion
choices. Since the girls all became teenagers, though, I'm the one
constantly terrified that one of them is going to come home holding
hands with some dude named Blade, Diesel or Maximus.
Yes, I understand that change is inevitable, and it's usually best
to embrace itor at least give it a side hug. And I do love
my teen daughters dearly, even if they would rather spend time with
boys who still don't have to shave their ears.
I'm not giving up on Halloween quite yet, though. In fact, since
Dr. Fauci recently released the holiday out of quarantine from his
basement, I was thrilled when my youngest daughter asked me to take
her trick-or-treating this year (maybe for the last time)if
I promise to stay out of her Kit Kats.