Monsters Mashed

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm not sure when it started-or why and how. However, I do vaguely remember a Halloween some decades ago when the boys were youngsters and their dad, a.k.a. that man-of-mine, was helping them get dressed to go trick or treating.

In those days, costumes weren't really costumes; they were an imaginative collaboration of practicality and availability. Store-bought costumes were out-of-the-question for a family with a stay-at-home mom and the modest income of a state trooper.

As he helped transform the boys into a very short Tonto and a somewhat distinguishable pirate, he chided me about my cutesy Halloween decorating, which consisted of a cardboard cutout of Casper the Friendly Ghost taped to the storm door and a very silly looking jack-o-lantern on the front porch. What can I say-I don't like scary stuff-never have-never will. Hey, my version of a horror movie is the Wizard of Oz. Those flying monkeys haunted me for years.

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The boys and I joined a group of moms and kids for our jaunt around the neighborhood. Meanwhile, back at the homestead, the hubby decided to reset the theme. Upon our return, there was an eery-looking creature sitting on the porch. He was dressed in a pair of familiar-looking brown coveralls; and, he was holding his head in his hands. Casper was hanging in the jaws of a giant spider and my mild-mannered jack-o-lantern had turned into a gory gourd.

Fortunately, the evolution to even more horrific Halloweens was rather slow. It took years of police work coupled with parenting two teenaged boys and putting up with me before he really got into the spirit. Now, Halloween is one of his favorite holidays.

Although…I have noticed his enthusiasm is waning just a bit. Here it is just a few days before Trick or Treat and there are only five graves and a coffin in the front yard and a lone mummy waiting at the door.

I attribute the slow start to two things-his propensity to procrastinate and the overwhelming number of Halloween props he has gathered over the years.

An old henhouse, which, by the way, is located way behind the house near a small cemetery that dates back to the 1800s, serves as his Halloween shed. I call it the morgue. Opening the door yields the graveyard crew, fake tombstones, Frankenstein, the Grim Reaper, and numerous masked dummies dressed in hand-me-downs. Miss Witchie-Poo, who is usually positioned to look like she slammed into a tree during a midnight flight, hangs from the rafters.

Plastic skeletons and a collection of fake bones are stacked from floor to ceiling. Several very scary-looking bats loom from the loft. Trunks filled with rubber rats, hairy spiders, and creatures that should be in the dark lagoon wait for opening day.

Decorating for Halloween had to be easier when his Ghoul Club fit into two of those trunks. Now, when the door to that shed opens, it's like stepping into a scene from CSI, Green Acres. Okay, so maybe its more like CSI meets the Adams Family.

It's a ghastly thought but I think the hubby may be suffering from Halloween Overload Syndrome. According to my research, it can be brought on by way too many after-Halloween sales and a barrage of DYI Fright Night How-To programs. Maybe I should check to see if there is a self-help guide or rehab facility that could help him get back on track. Naaah.

Hmm, perhaps I could find another cardboard Casper. And, I've got two large pumpkins on the front porch that have the potential for looking really cutesy. I could surround them with clusters of sunflowers and some fall foliage. Aaah yes, wouldn't my little stuffed scarecrow look adorable propped next to the pumpkins? And, maybe, just maybe, that man-of-mine would let me do a Cinderella makeover on Miss Mummy.

Reckon there's any chance this won't spur him to get his ghoul on? KNOTT MUCH