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    Frumpy Mom: It’s almost Halloween. Gulp.
    • October 18, 2023

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s nearly time for Halloween. I can tell by the purple-and-orange lights appearing around my neighborhood along with the occasional random bloody ghost hanging from a tree.

    In the past, this was my most dreaded holiday, because the kids would bring home all this chocolate from trick-or-treating that they promptly forget about, allowing me to steal and eat it all while they were at school.

    When my daughter was young, she didn’t like Reese’s peanut butter cups. So I didn’t even have to steal those – she’d just hand it over when she walked in the door. Good girl.

    The problem, of course, is that afterward your jeans don’t fit. Of course, my jeans haven’t fit properly since 1992, but it’s a metaphor. Roll with it.

    I do miss the exciting build-up to Halloween, which is something we Americans have over those snooty Europeans, who never put on a Cowardly Lion costume in their lives.

    For years, we had a family tradition that involved going to the ginormous Halloween Club outlet off the 5 Freeway in La Mirada in late September before it became a writhing madhouse.

    Typically, we’d go to church on Sunday – the only day that didn’t have baseballsoccerfootballsoftball games or practices – then get in the car. The advantage of driving all the way there is that not only do they have costumes for every occasion, including the besting of your mother-in-law and the triumph of your favorite political party,  but they actually let you try them on, as long as you’re accompanied by an eagle-eyed staff person ensuring you don’t ruin anything.

    This was an hours-long, fun-but-grueling ordeal, to be perfectly honest, because the rugrats demanded to try on at least 10 costumes before they picked one – and of course they always wanted the most expensive one on the shelf.

    Looking at the price tag would always temporarily spike my blood pressure when I contemplated that they would wear it for one night and then forget about it forever.

    But I comforted myself by considering that I only had a few years to enjoy this ritual, and then they’d no longer want to see me, particularly on Halloween.

    This actually has come to pass, now that they somehow aged into their 20s while I was looking the other way.

    My days of dressing them up like bumblebees and ladybugs and ninjas are over forever, I’m sad to say.

    But I do have the consolation of my new grandson Floyd, who will eventually need a costume when he can do something besides drool and spit up.

    Hopefully, his mother will allow Grandma Nana to buy it for him. I’ve discovered that offering to pay for things is an excellent way to bond with my daughter and her child.

    These days, the decision of how much candy to buy for trick-or-treaters is a truly vexing one, because it seems like so many kids now go to parties or “trunk and treats” or anything other than ringing my doorbell and demanding for me to fill their bowls.

    I live in one of those neighborhoods where some people even give out entire full-sized candy bars, so we used to get lots of kids, which seems to annoy some people for reasons I don’t understand. Personally, I liked it, although if there were any chocolate bars at my house, sorry, kids, I would have already eaten them or hidden them in spinach boxes in the freezer.

    I only buy Halloween candy that I don’t like, to increase the chances that it might actually make it intact until Oct. 31.

    This year, I don’t have to worry about handing out candy, because I’ll be in Oaxaca (pronounced wa-ha-ca) Mexico, enjoying the Day of the Dead.

    This holiday originated with the ancient Mexicans before the Spanish conquerors, celebrating the belief that your dead loved ones come back to earth one day a year to visit you. So it’s a happy time, not a ghoulish one, even though everyone’s seen the decorative skeletons and sugar skulls.

    People build altars, called ofrendas, decorated with marigolds and sugar cane and stock them with things that the loved ones liked, to tempt them to come back. So you’ll see a lot of tequila, favorite foods, unfiltered Camel cigarettes and the like on display.

    There’s also a special “bread of the dead” baked only at this time, which has tiny skulls baked into it.

    I’ve been thinking about what people should put on my ofrenda, after I shrug off this mortal coil. Definitely chocolate. (See above). A fine sipping tequila would also be welcome, along with some gourmet cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery. I would say my favorite book – but how to decide which one? Whenever anyone asks me that question, it crashes my brain just like a computer, because how could I possibly pick?

    What would be on your ofrenda? Meanwhile, I’ll probably be telling you more about my trip, but until then, buy those big bags of chocolate bars. And then send me your address.

    Related links

    Fisher: Halloween scares can’t compare to frights of daily life
    Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: The problem with having kids is that they grow up
    Frumpy Mom: Oh, no. I have another boy to raise.
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    Frumpy Mom: Ho, ho, ho, it’s almost the holidays

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    ​ Orange County Register