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I love this time of year, when the leaves change color, the air gets cooler, and everything gets spooky. It’s a time for bonfires and hard cider; a time for carving pumpkins and seeing how many cats we can fit inside of them.

No cats were harmed in the making of this photograph

It’s an old Gilbert tradition. It never works, but it’s fun to try.

This year we had an extra huge pumpkin grown from radioactive seeds in the in-laws backyard. It was a bit warped and it would only stand upright when upside down, and it’s far too heavy for the neighborhood kids to bother with. Other houses have already had their gourds demolished on the road, but our huge pumpkin is too imposing for the little neighborhood punks. Smashing pumpkins just hasn’t been as thrilling since that shitty band forever tainted the name. Kids just don’t put any real effort into it anymore.

Halloween came and went. Jen worked that night and so I was in the awkward position of having to hand out candy to kids all by myself. I lasted about a half hour into it before it just got too creepy. Not the good, spooky kind of creepy. More like I was a creepy version of Mr. Rogers, alone in my house handing out candy to the neighborhood kids. It’s fine when my wife is there and it’s a team effort, but I’m just not into it enough to go it alone. Piper and I fled to a nearby park so she could run free in the grasses at dusk, and I could stumble around blindly, tripping on branches and ruts.

Halloween brings out the best in people

I love this time of year. We’ve been devouring every cheesy scary movie we can find on Netflix. A few weeks ago, we went to Pittsburgh to visit my brother and his wife, and went to one of their haunted houses, which was much bigger than anything we’ve had here in West Michigan. Now, my wife and I have a different view on these things. I love them but I’m not sure why. I scratch my head, wondering how anyone could be truly scared in one of those things. I mean, you pay people money to have them jump out at you, and you know they’re not allowed to touch you. Knowing that dulls my flight or fight response and I just walk through the thing with a stupid grin on my face, commending the actors on their great performances. My wife, on the other hand, is one who will forever be freaked out by people jumping out and banging on walls, even if she pays them money to do exactly that. I don’t get it. So then she just tails behind me, yanking and stretching my shirt with her little claws and when I scold her for that, she grabs onto my hands and twists my thumbs in directions nature never intended. She may have been the scariest part of the whole ordeal.

It’s November now. Halloween is over and we’re rolling into the holiday season, where we’re all expected to bend over and get sodomized by Father Christmas yet again. Bah-humbug. This year, Jen’s got some time off at the end of November, and we’re going to swing out to Steamboat Springs for some skiing, assuming that it snows. In the meantime, I have a picture of Piper wearing vampire teeth that will be my buffer against Christmas for the next few months.

She's not one of those lame sparkly vampires, either. She'd tear out your throat just as soon as look at you... er, no, she'd probably lick your hand and smell your butt until you petted her. The plastic teeth and scowl are just for show.

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