Nightmare on Apel Avenue

October 4, 2020

Getting a jump on Halloween around here, gang!

And no, I’m not (just) talking about the relentless parade of hellish events and realities we’re all dealing with the past six months.

I’m talking about living in a house with two imaginative little guys, both of whom LOVE everything about Halloween. By my reckoning, we still have 28 days to go, right? But Aiden has already decided on a costume (he will be a giant eyeball), and Peter is quickly deciding on his attire as well. And for a couple of  children who have been out of school since March, and who have very infrequent contact with other kids (AND they don’t watch commercial TV), the boys are amazingly well versed in the creepy, from skeletons to goblins to mummies. Aiden just arrived in my home office with his latest artistic masterwork: a very detailed drawing of the home of someone named Mister Hat who is, in fact, just an empty hat (no face, no body). The picture includes a witch on a broomstick, and several creatures that appear to be below ground. “They’re dead,” Aiden told me cheerfully.

Now, lest you think we’re raising the Addams family, I hasten to reassure you that Aiden and Peter really are the most pleasant and peaceable pair of boys you could ever meet. Apart from their gleeful (and sanctioned) slaughter of the spotted lanternflies in the yard, they wouldn’t hurt any creature. Most of their fascination with the spooky comes from repeated views of Curious George’s Halloween video, a pretty tame affair featuring the lovable monkey’s Harvest Time hijinks. They have recently graduated to The BFG and a few other, edgier films, but we haven’t introduced them to Freddy Kreuger, nor to Jason in Friday the 13th. We don’t read them scary books (because even scary children’s books are enough to frighten me greatly).

This will be a drastically different All Hallows’ Eve, in keeping with the Theme of 2020, which has been: “You Think This is Bad? Just Wait Til Tomorrow!” In our town of Oreland, trick or treating has been strongly discouraged. I don’t imagine bobbing for apples in the time of COVID is the best idea either. Ya-Jhu, the kids’ clever Mama, who really enjoys Halloween, is instead devising a little tour of our house, which will be decorated with cobwebs (I’ve got those ready to go as always:-). In each darkened room one of us grownups will be in costume, manning a table with ghostly games and candy treats for our small resident ghouls. The whole shebang will be brief I’m sure, and so to bed.

But I am heartened by the boys’ incredible resilience throughout this pandemic. They NEVER ask to go anywhere or do anything off limits, and are truly happy with our neighborhood as their temporary universe. I have no doubt they will have a ball on October 31st with whatever slightly spooky fun we cook up.

A lesson for their cranky, impatient Nana for sure.


    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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