Wish You Were Here: The Shape of a Pumpkin

Our house is haunted. I’m sure of this, so sure in fact that two years ago on Halloween after hearing what I’m still convinced were footsteps and a gunshot in the vicinity of the attic, I stayed awake the entire night, waiting to be killed.

I have a vivid imagination (to put it mildly), so whether it was really some hocus pocus on the night of the haunting or one too many monster margaritas and marathon M&M mastications on my part, I really can’t say but Halloween has always held the title for favorite holidays on my (very short) list of things I actually like.

I don’t know if it’s the costumes or the candy or the idea that I’ve always felt more comfortable in a cemetery than the land of the living. True Fact: the dead? Don’t talk back so much … can’t recommend it enough if you ever just need someone to listen … really, top of the line in their field.

Headstone crashing aside, when those so-fun-to-put-up-not-so-much-to-take-down cotton cobwebs, candy apples and (can I just say, there’s nothing better than a) Reese’s in the shape of a pumpkin come of age, I’m as ready as Wednesday Adams with her guillotine and girl scout cookies (made from real girl scouts, of course).

I don’t feel too guilty about gorging myself. We don’t get many door-to-doors over here on Hurlbutt St. and, it’s funny, I feel like it’s so pedestrian-friendly, especially if you wear reflective gear and wave your arms frantically as passing cars approach, perhaps with some desperately loud diatribing not to hit me with your Hummer “hey, man!”

Anyway, I still put the candy out. No one ever comes and I’m not so secretly relieved to sit on the couch with my Riesling and Reese’s, binging on not-so-scary movies because, seriously, I’m not sure I ever fully came back from watching the actual Hocus Pocus as a kid, which wasn’t so much scary as it was hokey, but there was, like, a whole six months to a year there when I was surer than shit that Sarah Jessica Parker was going to break into our house and eat me.

This moderately mentally disturbing “double, double, toil and trouble” image was still not enough to put me off of bobbing for apples (before germs were real), trying to eat a donut off a string (still not sure what the attraction is here), or sticking my hand into a vat full of spaghetti snakes and olive eyeballs, thinking it was a snack and eating it in front of a rather large group of children who leered on in a healthy mix of disgust and fascination. I grew up in a small town. There wasn’t much in the way of entertainment unless digging up a dead body to “relocate it” (very “Pretty Little Liars”) was your idea of a good time. This actually happened. I can’t remember if it was around Halloween or just somewhere in the vicinity, but let’s just say if the whole SJP thing wasn’t enough to push me over the edge, seeing some 200-year-old townie exhumed all “Tales from the Crypt”-style was sufficient to send me straight for that great pumpkin patch, Charlie Brown. Ah, the 80’s.

As an adult (and I use that term loosely), most of my focus has really fallen to the Costume Committee, and when I say ‘fallen,’ I mean I’m not quite sure how much more rock bottom (like six feet under) I can get. Girl, I have no shame.

I think my oldest was around Junior’s age when I decided the thing that would really put the howl in Halloween was this (mortgaged my mom van) glitter witch costume from Pottery Barn, complete with black velvet, rhinestone-studded pointy little hat I think she kept on for a grand total of two seconds before hurling it across the room in a fit of “how dare you make me wear this, mom?” center stage at her playgroup party.

Clearly, I learned nothing because just a few years ago (or maybe a decade … it’s all kind of a blur to me now), I fashioned my younger daughter to look like some sort of (in hindsight) Holy Madonna quickly turned, um, real Madonna when she decided all that lace and satin had a higher calling and it had nothing to do with the Good Lord.

I’m at a loss for Junior’s costume this year. After scouring pages and pages of Pottery Barn and missing the boat on that fun little costume exchange, he may have to bring back the glitter witch.

Usually, by the time we get our act together with the costumes (like most other events), Halloween is over and I realize, not only did we never carve the pumpkin, which works out well because the candles are nowhere to be found, ditto on the matches … probably best because I frequently forget to extinguish the whole operation and we wouldn’t want to go burning the house down or anything. You can finish my next thought. I won’t say it.

What I will say is that if you happen upon our humble abode without its great pumpkin or any candy left (orange is the new Reese’s), maybe you know SJP’s address? I think I would just feel better knowing her whereabouts or a place one might find a good costume for my sweet little Pugsly Adams over here. Nevermind. I think I just figured it out, probably best to just keep driving. There’s a shot in the dark, and something’s still lurking up the attic.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.