Just Here For The Boos

It’s been a decade since COVID-19 reached our shores, ushering in 45 years of hand sanitizer, remote learning and face mask protesters sporting apostrophe-addled signs like “Your an idiot” and “Parent’s against masks”.

But now it’s October. Halloween is at risk. S*** just got real.

Nothing could be scarier than 2020, with its earthquakes and hurricane-force winds and rising COVID infection rates and elections, but Halloween isn’t just about fear. Halloween is the one day conservative moms can buy push-up bras and dress like lusty dog catchers, guilt free. It’s the day Snickers for breakfast and Reese’s for lunch are appropriate meals. It’s the day politically inappropriate celebrities get tagged on social media.

But COVID changed everything. Los Angeles prohibited trick-or-treating along with haunted house venues, Halloween carnivals and other spooky activities. After a swift and furious backlash from parents who need to give their kids ONE thing to look forward to this year, the city backed down and “recommended” common sense. Like that’s a thing.

Even then, it’s gonna take a lot to scare our children anymore in 2020. They spent months locked in the house, learning fractions online and wearing face masks to the grocery store. Their stress levels are sky-high and adrenal fatigue has caused weepy breakdowns and heartbreaking acceptance.

On the bright side, COVID-19 ushered in a whole new series of costumes for the holiday, including coronavirus outfits, teachers in hazmat suits and the very funny Elsa in a plastic bubble.

I think I’ll dress up as a mail-in ballot since that seems to be the most terrifying thing in the country today. (Sidenote: Vote on Nov. 3. Vote by mail, vote in person, drop your vote off in a ballot box. I don’t care how you vote. Crawl through a lake of spiders, a graveyard of zombies – just vote!)

The CDC issued COVID-19 risk categories, pertaining to Halloween activities. The lowest risk is a virtual festival where celebrations are held on Zoom because we just can’t get enough of Zoom, can we? (Sidenote: Has anyone investigated the connection between the coronavirus and Zoom? Hmm??)

Moderate risk includes small gatherings where individuals stay apart from each other and wear those Halloween masks from the ‘70s because there is no way germs (or breath) will get through that thick plastic.

Higher risk activities will be your social distanced haunted houses where vampires and witches stand six feet away and snarl the horrible things they’d do if they could just get a little closer. That horrifying thing breathing down your back is the local Karen, screeching into her cellphone and looking for a manager.

Posing the highest risk are large, in-person, no-mask gatherings made popular in places like Utah and Washington Counties. (Sidenote: Idiots.)

People have tried to ruin Halloween for centuries. The latest attempt was the introduction of Trunk-or-Treat, which should be banned in all 50 states for its mediocre contribution to the holiday, so I don’t think COVID will stop Halloween enthusiasts. Some people find Halloween offensive, with its glittery bats and baby werewolves. But everything is offensive this year. If something didn’t offend someone in 2020, did it really happen?

I guess we’ll see if people party safely this Halloween when COVID results start rolling in two weeks later. I’ll stand outside your hospital room with signs like, “I wish youd listened” and “Your an imbecile”.

Originally published in the Davis Clipper

Social Distancing Activities for Fall

Tomorrow is Another Day in Quarantine

ScarlettAs soon as COVID-19 hovered in the air we breathe, I went into full-on “Gone With the Wind” Scarlett O’Hara mode, ripping up bedsheets to make toilet paper and stockpiling moonshine for antiseptic. Of course, Scarlett was useless in an emergency. For the majority of the Civil War, she whined and married rich men.

I’m also pretty useless in emergencies. When I knew the shelter-in-place edict was coming, I didn’t stockpile food, I scurried to the library to check out all the books.

After hoarding four months of library books, I told everyone in the house (my husband, my daughter and her two children, ages 3 and 8) to check their 72-hour kits.

They responded, “What 72-hour kits?” Not a good start.

In the shed, I located an emergency essentials bag that looked like it had housed a family of weasels. Along with 10 years of dust, it contained an expired can of roasted almonds, a box of matches, a pair of underwear and a spatula.

We were doomed.

Tossing my hair like Scarlett, I tied on my shopping bonnet and sang out “fiddle-dee-dee” as I headed to the grocery store for provisions. By the time I got there, options were limited, unless I was keen on making a casserole with canned asparagus, creamed squid and buckwheat flour. I figured we’d just be creative with dinner. (Lesson learned: 3-year-old granddaughters don’t like creative dinners.)

Our meals usually consist of some type of egg for breakfast, leftover Easter candy for lunch and something with hamburger or chicken for dinner. Could be spaghetti, could be soup. Hard to tell.

This has been the worst staycation ever. I do not recommend.

Both my husband and I can work from home, so we take turns sharing the home office space. One person works in the office with a comfy chair every other day, while the other person sits on a workout ball at a TV table in the bedroom. It’s . . . complicated. And we’re adjusting to each other’s work behaviors.

Husband: Can you not leave dozens of half-empty water glasses by the computer?

Me: You silly scalawag! Are they half-empty? Or half-full?

Anyway, our attorneys are working out the final details.

My puppy, Jedi, is over-the-moon excited to have me around, LITERALLY sitting on my feet all day. She got even clingier when the earthquake rattled our home (not funny Mother Nature) and she made me carry her 60-pound furry body from room-to-room for the next week.

As life was boiled down to its necessities, I realized how often (in the before-times) I would bored-shop, bored-Starbucks and bored-TV-binge. Since March, I’ve narrowed that list down to bored TV binging. (Between “Better Call Saul” and “Ozark” I definitely know I should avoid the Mexican drug cartel.)

As warmer weather approaches, I miss shopping for new spring clothes. Looking back oncurtains how Scarlett made dresses out of her velvet draperies, I tried channeling her creative spirit again. It was tough to made clothes out of our window coverings since we only have wooden blinds. But I did my best. Pictures not available.

We’re still in lock-down mode. I replenish our milk and produce once a week. We walk the dog a dozen times a day. We work and eat and read and play games and get on each other’s nerves and fight and makeup and write hopeful messages on the sidewalk in colorful chalk.

Like Scarlett, there are lots of things I’ll worry about tomorrow. But if we have books to read, food to eat and our family is safe, I’m very content in my little corner of the world.

Originally published in the Davis Clipper

A Woman’s Place

susanbAs the mother of four daughters, and grandma to several granddaughters, I’m frequently asked (okay, twice) what advice I’d give to young women. Women are stronger than ever before, yet many men try to drag us back to the Victorian Era.

Men keep gettin’ up in our bizness, drafting regulations about our bodies, creating rules about everything from prom wear to breastfeeding, and making sure we’re slut-shamed if we behave out-of-line.

We’re called hysterical. We’re labeled as trouble-makers. We’re branded as unreasonable. We’re given a warm glass of milk, a pat on the head and sent to the kids’ table.

Men have had thousands of years to run the world – and I’m not impressed. Maybe it’s time they step aside and let women do the heavy lifting. (Which we can totally do.)
Here’s what young women (of every age) should know:

Own your voice. Don’t waste time explaining yourself and don’t apologize for being a smart, confident, breath of fresh air. Shout your brilliance from the rooftops and ignore those grumpy old men who slam their windows to block out the noise.

Live an authentic life. Travel. Get educated. Eat what you want. Drink what you want. Wear what you want. If a man’s morals are compromised because he caught a glimpse of your shoulders (or ankles, or earlobes) – not your problem. Instead of adding layers to our wardrobes, how about men get their minds out of the damn gutter?

Raise your standards. Life’s too short to be with someone who doesn’t appreciate your greatness. If your partner is fighting with you instead of for you, time to show them the door.

Think big. Remember that amazing idea you had? Remember how you set it aside because you thought you had to be something else? Dust that idea off. Shower it with love and attention. Don’t be afraid of big ideas. The world needs your creativity.

Plant yourself at the table. We’re tired of being dismissed. We’re sick to death of being talked down to (mansplaining, anyone?). We’re capable, functioning adults and we have something to say. Ladies, don’t back away when you’re described as “shrill” or “harsh” or “bitchy” or any other words men use to slap us down.

Give yourself permission to be human. We’re not robots who smile 24/7, tidy up after meetings and schedule luncheons. Don’t feel self-conscious if your expression isn’t “happy” enough. Look serious. Who cares? Men certainly aren’t smiling, cheerful androids.

Stand your ground. When you’re being pushed aside, refuse to budge. There are generations of women who fought for your right to stand tall, raise your voice and share your truth. They’re cheering you on. You can feel their energy, right?

Embrace your goddess self. The Greek goddess Athena is my go-to deity. She’s not only the goddess of wisdom, but the goddess of war. There are times you need to sit back and listen, and there are times you need to put on your kick-ass shoes and, well, kick ass.

Lift other women. Like a rising tide lifts all boats, a rising woman can lift an entire generation. Don’t gossip, it doesn’t serve you. Don’t be envious, it sinks your success. Link arms with the women around you and march forward celebrating each other’s triumphs. There is strength in numbers and our numbers are vast.

Listen up, men. We’re tired of playing small. Either join with us so we can move forward together, creating a world where our granddaughters and their granddaughters can thrive, or slink back to your Victorian mindset. There is no more middle ground.

 

Originally published in the Davis Clipper and The City Journals.

 

Scent of Mystery

I blame Love’s Baby Soft for destroying my archeological career. Up until I started spritzing the perfume popular with the seventh-grade girls in my class, I’d never given any thought to how I smelled. My mom was lucky to get me to shower, yet, here I was, dousing myself in baby powder-scented toilet water.

luvsThe perfume’s slogan should have been a warning, “Because innocence is sexier than you think.”

Seriously? Who came up with that? Hustler magazine?

My mom saw the signs and tried desperately to distract me. Basketball practice. Dance lessons. Piano lessons. But it was too late. I’d discovered this scent could lure 12-year-old boys to my locker better than a steak sandwich (which I also tried).

But this wasn’t me! I didn’t care about boys! I had planned a life of adventure!

In first grade, I decided to become an author. I read “The Little Princess” until I absorbed the ability to write through osmosis. I spent the day in my room, penning stories and jotting down poems then submitted my siblings to “a reading” where I’d share my work and they’d complain to mom.

Becoming Nancy Drew was my second-grade goal. I was ready to uncover ridiculous clues to break up the den of bank robbers living somewhere in Murray, Utah.

As a third-grader, I checked out library books so I could learn hieroglyphics. When the call came to go dig up tombs in Egypt, I’d be ready. I would trek near the pyramids, wearing khakis and a cute pith helmet, encountering mummies and warding off ancient curses.

Fourth and fifth grades were spent honing my dance skills. Ballet, tap, jazz, hokey-pokey – I did it all. I’d practice every day, secure in the knowledge I’d perform on Broadway. Or at least the Murray Theater.

In sixth grade, I discovered Paul Zindel’s “The Pigman” and my desire to write returned full-force. It was decided. In the future, I would be a writing, dancing, detective archeologist who spent equal time on the stage and the Amazon rainforest.

But seventh grade! Boys! Gah!!

Suddenly, I wanted to smell good. I became obsessed with every pimple, every pore and studied the beautiful girls who made glamour seem effortless.

I read teen magazines. I learned I needed glossy lips and thick eyelashes to attract the opposite sex. (I tried to no avail to create the perfect cat’s eye, which turned out fine because I’m not a cat.) I had bangs so high and hairspray stiff, they were a danger to low-flying birds.

shaun-cassidyI fell in love with Shaun Cassidy, which was crazy because, as a writer, how could I marry someone who sang “Da Doo Ron Ron”? Those aren’t even words!

I earned money for Levi’s 501 button-fly jeans and Converse shoes. I bought Great Lash mascara, with its pink-and-green packaging – and Love’s Baby Soft.

Sure enough, the glossy, smelly trap I’d set began attracting boys who were just as confused as I was. Just last summer we played baseball in the street and now we circled each other like strangers, unsure of what the hell was going on. Hormones raged.

Thanks to the distraction of the opposite sex, I never deciphered hieroglyphics. I never performed under the bright lights of a New York stage. I was never asked to solve the Mystery of the Secret Bracelet.

I blame Love’s Baby Soft. If it hadn’t been for that innocent aroma, I’d be a world-renowned expert on ancient Babylonia, accepting Tony awards for my depiction of Eliza Doolittle.

Seventh grade! Boys! Gah!!

The Prince’s Pride

vizzini

Are we laughing or crying? 

Over the last three years, I’ve often felt like Vizzini from “The Princess Bride” where he constantly says things are “Inconceivable!”

Trump pays off a porn star with no consequences. “Inconceivable!”

Trump ignores requests for stricter gun control laws. “Inconceivable!”

Trump is bringing back coal and destroying EPA regulations. “Inconceivable!”

Trump asks a foreign government to investigate an opponent. “Inconceivable!”

Trump blocked a rule that would cut industrial toxic pollution by 90 percent. “Inconceivable!”

Trump bullies a 16-year-old environmental activist/rockstar. “Inconceivable!”

Trump continues to insult public figures without remorse. “Inconceivable!”

Trump is impeached and Republicans bend over backward to justify his behavior. “Inconceivable!”

Trump has a Rodent of Unusual Size living under his bed. Okay, that’s conceivable.

Tom finally said to me, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

I think he’s right. The inconceivable has become commonplace. Trump’s rants, antics, lies, disrespect and behavior have been normalized. No more are we surprised by the horrible things he says daily.

Just like “The Princess Bride”, good stories need a revenge plot. Trump has it covered. He threatens revenge against anyone and everyone who crosses him. He trolls his Twitter feed calling out the Fake News Media, former staff members and, hopefully, his stylist.

But no one cares. Inconceivable!

Social status is another theme of “The Princess Bride” – and the Trump Administration. In

humper

“I always think everything could be a trap, which is why I’m still alive.” –Trump or Humperdinck

the movie, Prince Humperdinck avoids the “commoners” while raising his status by trying to marry the most beautiful woman in the world. Trump also chooses status over leadership, cutting corporate taxes and avoiding places like Puerto Rico. Appearance is everything. If it’s not shiny, he doesn’t see it.

Nothing happens. No consequences. Inconceivable!

I’m sure he tucks his administration into bed at night with “Good night, staff. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

The REAL Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Unless you’ve been living in the Gobi Desert, hiding from the toxic political atmosphere, you’re well aware that Bravo will air the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” in 2020. As if 2020 wasn’t going to be terrible enough.

photo-of-woman-wearing-black-dress-beside-horse-2090704

Just a housewife. In a dress. With her horse. They’re so like us.

If you’re not familiar with the intellectual and thought-provoking series, executive producer Andy Cohen flies to town in his invisible helicopter, rounds up glamourous white women, tells them to act like idiots, then throws a diamond necklace into a swimming pool to watch them jump in wearing slinky evening gowns.

It started in 2006 with “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and then spread like the plague through New York, Atlanta, Beverly Hills and other unsuspecting cities. In any given episode, you can expect nanny drama, coiffed eyebrows, white woman problems, plastic surgery cleavage, mean gossip, pouty lips, cats, jewelry for cats, catty behavior and lots of big hair.

But why Utah? Well, the series tends to be overwhelmingly white, so I guess Utah makes sense. And I’ve heard that some women in Utah live glamourous lives in upper-class communities. That rules me out. My glamorous life consists of digging through laundry for a pair of matching socks.

What I want to see is “The REAL Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”

Episode #1: Judy is late for church. She’s wrangling her seven children into their Sunday best while her husband spends the morning in church meetings. He calls to ask why she’s late again and she throws her phone into the garbage disposal and takes all the kids to Denny’s for breakfast.

Episode #2: Carol has been asked to plan a girl’s camp for a swarm of 12-year-olds. She hates camping. And 12-year-old girls. She reaches out to her friends to create a fun week-long adventure in the Wasatch Mountains. Carol hides a flask of “Holy Water” in her scriptures.

Episode #3: Brittany sewed matching pajamas for her entire family but no one wants to wear them for the family Christmas picture. Brittany locks herself in the bathroom to cry while her husband insists he loves the purple-plaid, footed pajamas that he’ll wear for the photo if she’ll JUST STOP CRYING!

Episode #4: Shelly is a wonderful cook. She makes cinnamon rolls to DIE for. Her best friend asks Shelly for her recipe. Shelly happily obliges, but changes all the measurements so her friend’s cinnamon rolls will taste like s***.

Episode #5: Alexa is in love. At 18 years old, she just wants her returned missionary boyfriend to propose so they can live happily ever after. There’s a lot of seductive hand-holding, late-night scripture reading and even a sleepover, which is actually just a New Year’s Eve party with six other couples playing Skip-Bo and drinking sparkling cider.

Instead of all these genuine Salt Lake City scenarios, the new show will feature your basic Housewives’ dilemmas. Boo. Here’s Stefon from Saturday Night Live to explain what we’ll see during the show (because I miss him and want him to return to SNL so much).

stefon“If you’re watching ‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ you can expect hysteria at the highest levels. There will be screeching, low cut gowns, pygmy goats directing traffic, Aquanet toothpaste, a jewelry heist, several cans of Pillsbury pizza crust, a lusty affair with a diesel mechanic, Spam, cabana boys with cowboy hats, Golden Retrievers wearing red pumps and a gala at Salt Lake’s newest club, Spork.”

Actually, that might actually make 2020 bearable.

Son of a Nutcracker

shallow-focus-photography-of-wooden-nutcracker-1697234It’s the time of year people pretend “The Nutcracker” ballet is a fun holiday activity. If you’re one of the lucky few who never sat through this weird production involving multi-headed vermin, living toys and one unsettling old man, here’s a recap.

Picture a festive house in the late 1800s with dozens of dancing guests, skipping children and happy servants, basically, it’s the “12 Days of Christmas” come to life. Young Clara and her obnoxious brother, Fritz, are the ballet version of little kids crazy-excited for Christmas. (The ballet version differs from real life because ballet dancers don’t speak, where real children don’t shut up from Thanksgiving to Christmas morning.)

Dr. Drosselmeyer, Clara’s super-creepy godfather, appears at the party dressed like Count Chocula and presents her with a wooden nutcracker. Clara is over-the-top ecstatic, for reasons I’ll never understand. I guess children had a different relationship with nutcrackers in the 19th century.

Clara’s brother is SO jealous of the gift (right??) that he flings the nutcracker across the room, because really, what else can you do with a nutcracker? Clara’s despondent. She wraps his broken wooden body in a sling (like ya do) and falls asleep on the couch, snuggled to her nutcracker.

During the night, the Rat King and his minions sneak into Clara’s home, because why not? She wakes up and freaks out. The nutcracker turns into a handsome soldier and wields his sword to defeat the rodent army.

“Nutcracker! You’re my hero!” screams Clara, if people in a ballet could talk.

“That’s Prince Nutcracker to you, peasant,” he sniffs in pantomime, before taking her to the magical Land of the Sweets ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy who has an unclear but definite sexual relationship with Prince Nutcracker.

While in the Land of Sweets, Clara watches dancers from Russia, Spain, China and Arabia (?) as they perform in a culturally stereotypical fashion. Prince Nutcracker sits next to Clara cracking walnuts with his jaw like some football jock.

Mother Ginger shows up in drag with a skirt full of tumbling children, then there’s a flower waltz and dancing pipes and tons more pirouetting before the Sugar Plum Fairy takes the stage to make everyone else look clumsy and insipid. It’s all performed to Tchaikovsky’s musical score that stays in your head through January.

In the end, it turns out it was all a dream, as most stories involving young girls and adventure turn out to be.

I told you that story to tell you this story.

group-of-girls-doing-ballet-exercise-1638734When I was a gangly 11-year-old, still full of hope, I auditioned for Ballet West’s “The Nutcracker.” As the audition drew nearer, I practiced every spin and arabesque I’d ever learned. I played the music all day until my dad walked into my room, removed the album from the turntable and smashed it into pieces with his bare hands.

I showed up at the audition with my hair pulled into a bun so tight it closed my eyes. An elegant dancer performed several steps that we practiced for a few minutes, then we performed for the judges. It was over so quickly. As dancers were given roles as soldiers, party goers and mice, I held my breath.

But my number wasn’t called. I was heartbroken.

Maybe decades later I’m insulted that the ballet judges couldn’t see my awkward talent. Or maybe I’ve endured enough versions of this tale to see it’s craziness. And if “The Nutcracker” is your family’s favorite holiday tradition, ignore my opinion. It’s all a dream anyway.

Don’t Forget November

pumpkins-on-a-table-3094075Sandwiched between October and December, November is the bologna of months. Everyone pulls it out, gives it a sniff, then tosses it in the trash. Once Halloween is over, we blast into a frenzy of Christmas shopping and decorating, forgetting all about this beautiful month full of autumn leaves, crisp apples and carb overload.

We need a marketing team to change the perception of November from “Brownish month when we count our blessings” to “A kaleidoscope of excitement. And pie.” Okay, maybe “kaleidoscope” is overkill, and it’s hard to spell, but you get the idea.

Thanksgiving continues its reign as the best holiday between Halloween and Christmas but even the cherished turkey day has its opponents. It’s almost impossible to tell the origin story of Thanksgiving without pissing someone off. Let’s just say people living in America (probably not its original name) in the 1600s created the first Chuck-A-Rama, minus the carrot-filled Jell-O.

In the U.S., any holiday that has the tagline “An Attitude of Gratitude” is doomed from the start but what if we created a terrifying mascot? People like threats and merchandising. What if Gerta the Ghoulishly Grateful Goose (sold as a freakish Beanie Babies stuffed animal) flies into your bedroom on Thanksgiving Eve to make sure you’re being thankful. Not enough gratitude? She pecks your forehead and flies off with your pumpkin pies. Instead of Elf on the Shelf, how about Goose on the Loose? You read it here first, people.

What else happens in November . . . ?

Election Day! The first Tuesday after the first Monday when the moon is full and pythons are mating, is set aside for foreign nations to measure success by screwing up election results with fake social media content. As opposed, to genuine social media content. Consider this year a dry-run for the 2020 Apocalyptic Election to End all Elections.

Black Friday is also in November. What if we protest Black Friday sales and refuse to shop or decorate for Christmas until, call me crazy, December 1? Christmas is sneaky. Once you allow Christmas tree lots to set up in November, it’s an easy slide into year-round Christmas where everyone is miserable and broke. Charles Dickens could (posthumously) pen a story where we learn Ebenezer Scrooge was right all along, perhaps titled, “A Christmas Peril.”

Movember is also a thing where men are encouraged to grow mustaches to raise awareness for the importance of shaving – and men’s health issues. A group of women have also sworn to stop shaving for the month. That group is called Europe.

The first Wednesday in November is Stress Awareness Day, created by parents who realize Christmas is weeks away and their children are reaching frenetic levels of idiocy. Maybe November needs its own alcoholic beverage that we start drinking on this day. How about a mulled cider with a tequila chaser called the No No November?

Veteran’s Day is cool. World Kindness Day is super nice. But let’s tackle the real meaning of November. Pie.

Pie is the reason for November. With harvest foods like apples and pumpkins and close-up-of-tasty-looking-baked-goods-2955816.jpgpeaches and pears and banana cream, pie in November is as necessary as breathing, especially if breathing is slathered in homemade whipped cream or served a la mode.

So instead of treating November like it’s some type of disgusting mystery meat, can we agree it’s at least hamburger, maybe even a sirloin? Who knows, if we keep slapping Christmas back to its own month we might even enjoy the leaves, the apples – and the pie. Always the pie.

The Witching Hour

calendar-carved-carving-1480861

We all know Halloween is funded by Big Dental to create more cavities but it’s also true that Halloween traditions started long before lobbyists destroyed the planet. Black cats, pumpkins and ghosts existed at least 50 years ago, and probably longer.

So how did Halloween customs get started? Lucky for you, I researched this topic on the Internet contraption.

Did you know Bobbing for Apples was actually a dating game in ancient Rome? Kind of like Tinder, only with more drowning.

My elementary school did a dry version called Bobbing for Marbles. Teachers filled a plastic pool with flour and mixed in a few dozen marbles. We had to use our mouths to find the marbles. The two most likely outcomes were a) Inhale flour and die or b) Inhale a marble and die. Not even joking here.

Jack-o’-lanterns have a weird backstory that involves a guy named Stingy Jack, the devil and wandering spirits. I guess ghosts are afraid of gourds and root vegetables.  Who knew? Originally they used turnips, not pumpkins, but who’s ever heard of a turnip spice latte? So they had to start using pumpkins.

Black cats became associated with Halloween because witches have black cats. Duh.

Costumes date back to Biblical times when Jacob dressed up as his brother to trick his blind father into giving him keys to the donkey. It was also the first trick-or-treat on record.

When I was a kid, costumes included plastic masks, made from asbestos and glue, that would slowly asphyxiate you if you didn’t walk into a ditch first because you couldn’t see s*** through the pinpoint eyeholes.

Bats get a bad reputation. They’re not inherently evil, except for vampire bats that turn into the bloodsucking undead to hunt humans for food and eternal life. But originally, people would sit around bonfires (the 1780’s bug zapper), wishing for things like penicillin and electricity. The fires would attract insects and the insects attracted bats and people freaked out. As we are wont to do.

Handing out candy has several origin stories, including buying off zombies with snacks, bribing the dead, and kids going from house to house asking families for dinner because they didn’t want to eat what their mom had spent hours making for them because they’re ungrateful little . . .

Anyhoo.

Treats handed out to children have also evolved. It’s gone from apples and boiled carrots (boo) to king-size Butterfinger bars (hooray!).

Here’s what my Halloween bag contained when I was a kid: 8 dozen rolls of Smarties, 17 types of rock-hard bubble gum, 38 Bit-O-Honeys, 422 Pixie sticks, 25 pounds of saltwater taffy, 14 spider rings and one mini Snickers bars. It was the ‘70s. Don’t judge.

adorable-animal-canine-1564506One element of Halloween remained a mystery to me. When did we think dressing dogs in tutus was a good idea? I assumed the whole pet costume fiasco was started by rich, white girls with too much time and money. Turns out, in the 19th century, dog costumery was a thing – with the animal fashion industry churning out traveling cloaks, silk jackets, tea gowns and . . . wait for it . . . dog bikinis.

What Halloween traditions do you observe? Knife throwing? Handing out real goldfish to trick-or-treaters? You never know what your customs will become centuries from now.

Whatever you do, don’t sell your candy to a dentist. Big Dental just sells it back to grocery stores to reuse for the next Halloween.

Originally published in the Davis Clipper