Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I love scary. Scary movies, scary TV shows, and best of all, scary books. There is nothing quite so cozy as hunkering down on a cold night, all alone, with a scary book.
Of course by all alone I mean with my two dogs, my two deaf cats, my two kids, and my one husband somewhere in the house. The girls are teen and pre-teen age, so I don’t see them much when they are home. We live in a split level. The second story was designated the Barbie suite when they were younger, two bedrooms painted pink, a bathroom decorated in cherubs and angels, and a foyer full of shelves with books, games, arts, and crafts. Back then they used to insist I go upstairs and play with them, help them drag out doll houses and Barbie hotels and paint and chalk and baby doll beds.
Now, I’m not quite sure what I would call the upstairs suite. They’ve gotten rid of most of the toys, but not all. The Pepto pink is now light lavender in one room and cream in the other. The angels and cherubs were replaced once with penguins, and now the bathroom is in a neutral state of Waiting to See What’s Next. The teenager has walls with collages of alternative musicians, posters, mementos, a shrine to Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, and dozens of strands of Christmas lights. She no longer has a footboard or headboard on her bed, but does have a cluttered desk, a full bookcase of books, vinyl albums nailed to her walls as decoration, and a record player like the one I used to have. My old Rocky Horror Picture Show souvenirs are glued to her wall next to her ticket stub from the musical Wicked and the stubs from the Fall Out Boy and Imagine Dragon concerts we missed school to go to last month in Houston.
The pre-teen, just turned twelve, wants to get rid of the old queen sized bed, which is still newer than the bed I sleep on myself, for a futon bunk bed. She has just cleared her room of her old toys and wall hangings (included some we got from Disneyworld years ago) and now has one memory wall, which consists of a picture of the new Miley Cyrus, a program from Wicked, and a photo of herself with Clifford the Big Red Dog from when PBS visited the Pre-K class at her school several years ago. She has a bigger flat screen TV than her sister, but wants an even bigger one for Christmas.
Neither one of them will bother with me while I curl up on the sofa with my whipped cream-topped hot decaf with peppermint cocoa creamer and read my newest scary book. Neither will the hubby, who will fall asleep around 8:30 because I’ve intentionally made a honey-do list for him, knowing it will make him sneak off to to sleep earlier.
Our big deaf cat will stay upstairs with the girls, because he doesn’t like our smaller dog playing with him. Our small deaf cat will curl up on the chair with me. The big dog will sleep with my husband, probably in my spot, because she can’t seem to get enough attention from him. The little dog, she’s about 20 pounds, a mix of Schipperke and Pomeranian (not a good mix necessarily) will move around because she has a crazy metabolism and will not sit still for too long. She’ll lay on the sofa next to me, then move to the chair, then go behind the chair, then next to the chair, never for more than twenty minutes. At some point, she’ll scare the life out of me by popping up in my face and barking at me, her sign for she wants to go outside. She’ll then sit at the back door when I open it, jump in circles, and force me to trick her or push her to get her outside, because she just won’t go on her own.
But then, when she’s finished, and everything is quiet, I’ll get to read, uninterrupted, until I feel like stopping. If it’s really scary, I’ll read fast, trying to get through the scary parts quickly. If it’s too scary, I’ll put it down for a minute, make myself a snack, get another drink, and then force myself to read it.
At some point, I’ll hear a noise I can’t account for. I’ll check to see who is still awake, which animals are where. I’ll sit back down and continue reading. If the little dog barks at the door or the window, I’ll assume it’s an animal, or maybe a lizard. She does that.
If she growls, I’ll get nervous, because she usually only growls at people, and by the time I’m reading, it’s way too late for people to be hanging around outside my house.
If the big dog comes out of the bedroom and barks or growls, I’ll get up and see what it is, because she only barks at people. Twice she growled and barked and I ignored it, and both times someone ended up stealing a gun out of my car. (I know, I’m stupid for leaving my gun in an unlocked car twice.) The driveway is almost outside my living room window, so that is a real reason to fear, especially around Halloween time where people around here are crazy anyway.
But if nothing else happens, I’ll settle into the deliciousness of reading a terrifying novel, one that keeps me awake and keeps me checking the door locks the rest of the night. A perfect ending to my favorite holiday.