To Fright or Not to Fright
(Originally posted at The Mess That Is Me October 2012)
These final three months of the year are my favorite. I love the weather, the sense of family that surrounds the holidays, and the abundance of decorations that fill yards and businesses. And the food, I love the food. There are plenty of parties and gatherings to keep a calendar full. As a matter of fact, as I write this, the girls are putting the finishing touches on our Halloween party tonight and our costumes are laid out, ready to be donned. The food is simmering and the house is all decked out.
That was my job, decorating the house. It’s not so much my job as much as the girls simply surrendering and allowing me to have my fun. You see, part of my enjoyment of the holidays is plastering the house with festive ornaments and statues, lights and banners. There is no doubt by anyone who passes by that we celebrate these months with total gusto.
While Christmas is full of the cutesy, cheerful decorations, Halloween is the month for the macabre. Dark. Sinister. Scary. That’s the point, right; to make the place have that ghostly feel of attacking monsters? I have skeletons hanging from the front oak tree as if fresh from the gallows. Between the garage and tree hangs a giant web with a spider perched in the middle ready to pounce and eerie green lights threaded throughout. A morgue sign hangs on the wall screaming its death cries to those who pass by. There are witches, ghouls and a werewolf reaching out of the ground with a beating heart. Scary stuff and I search out even more every year.
The girls just shake their heads. “You do know kids are the ones coming around to get the candy, right?”
“And that matters because…?” I’m already chuckling at the witch’s scream device I’m putting under the front doormat. When the little buggers step on the cute Halloween mat a loud cackle will make them pee their costumes while they’re ringing the doorbell.
“It’s supposed to be fun, not cause nightmares.”
“I am having fun.” A hanging bat is staring with red eyes that flash off and on in the dark. “Are you having nightmares? What are they about? Can we use them out here?”
They are right, however, even though I won’t tell them that. I need to be careful how far I go into the fright direction. I mean, as much as I love scaring other people, I hate being scared. The girls despise it as well, but that doesn’t stop me from jumping out from behind doors or around corners every chance I get. It’s that rush you get as you’re setting up your moment of fright that makes you keep doing it, and some people are just too easy to scare. Sometimes, I can already picture their reaction, visualizing it in my mind, and I’m already laughing even before I put the scare in motion. Several times, I’ve given myself away, ruining the prank.
So, how far is too far? I gauge it by how pissed off the girls are going to be once they’ve calmed their racing heart. If it’s a punch in the arm and an “Oooo, I so hate you right now,” I can live with that and go through with the fright. Now, if they’re going to pee themselves and reach for a knife, then I’ll hold off and put the scene in one of my stories. And that is where I draw the line. It’s worth it up until the point their revenge equals bodily harm or me cooking my own meals.
When it comes to scaring the kids that ring my doorbell mooching for treats, I believe the scare is a fair price of begging for free candy. It’s a twisted version of the barter system. If you’re going to bring your child to my house with an open bag expecting me to put quality candy inside that you’re going to “sample” when you get home, then I’m going to exact my price of sending him back to you shaking with fright. It’s a trick for a treat exchange which I find extremely fair. After all, have you priced candy these days? Unless you’re one of those cheapskates who buy the generic sweets that no one really likes, a decent bag of candy runs six to ten bucks and one bag of candy is never enough.
The girls, of course, think I’m being mean, but I call it just rewards. I believe they should enact a similar policy for those on welfare. Scare those who just want something for nothing with work and they might stop expecting free treats. We should get something for giving them a free handout, at least.
While I am not a traditional type of guy in many areas, I am traditional when it comes to holidays. Part of that is October is the month of fright and scares, blood curdling screams and things jumping out at you. That is, of course, me doing it to others. No one scare me, please. No, really, no scaring me. It’s a one way tradition. Here’s your candy. Now, go away.
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Until next time, keep chasing your fantasies!