Halloween Die-ary: September 5, 2018


My family was having a quick dinner right after work, when my youngest slipped me a Cadbury Screme Egg, straight from the freezer. Instantly put me in the Halloween mood. So we went to the Christmas Tree Shops.

Hold on. Before you hoist me on my own candy cane, this is just the name of a general home goods and groceries shop here in New England. I’ve written about the Halloween sections of these stores before, so I’ll skip further introductions. But what I love about this place right now is that its Halloween section hasn’t been spoiled online for me.

Stores start stocking Halloween in July-August, and photos start appearing on the socials shortly thereafter. So, because of all the awesome people I follow, I generally know the coolest stuff before I go. Which is during the pre-season. You kind of have to go that early or all the good stuff could be gone.

But nobody spoiled the Christmas Tree Shops for me. And maybe that’s why we went home with a basket full of stuff. According to my receipt we bought:

  • Sparkling Pumpkin Spice Apple Juice (It came in a nice Champaign bottle. I figured Lindsey and I could share it since her pregnancy means we can’t share bottles of better stuff than that). 
  • Sparkling Caramel Apple Juice (Ditto.) 
  • Bigelow’s Caramel Apple Tea (I’ve been trying and failing to pick up a tea habit, and this might be exactly what I need). 
  • Bigelow’s Apple Cider Tea (Ditto. And if this works out, I’ll have to stock up for the rest of the year). 
  • Mallow Crème Pumpkins (I mean, have to.) 
  • Sour Patch Candy Corn (Which I thought was just Sour Patch Kids shaped like candy corn, but was literal candy corn coated in sour patch dust…ugh) 
  • Yankee Velvet Cream Pumpkin Candle (see previous entry where we’ve already burned our three-wicks down to glass). 


Later that night, I tucked a rubber spider the size of a dinner plate into my bed.

For the past three nights I’ve been hiding a rubber spider under my wife’s pillow. To scare her. Sounds juvenile, but it…works…every…time. I could be sitting on the couch with my wife, lean over to her, and whisper, “I’m about to say boo,” and then do so in a middling-to-quiet tone, and she’ll still jump up and scream. It’s automatic. And glorious.

I mean, it’s the Halloween Season. Everyone’s entitled to one good scare. My wife’s just entitled to like 20. And since I’ll never top the Year of the Shower Skeleton, I keep it humble with things like rubber spiders.

I haven’t yet told my kids—who are asleep by the time the screaming starts—about this brand new rubber spider tradition in the house. That’s because I want to get them at some point with it, too. So when my four-year-old asked if she could fall asleep in our bed while Lindsey and I were downstairs watching TV, I immediately said yes, realizing that this would be the perfect opportunity to get her with the spider I’d already planted in the bed for her mother.


Beaming at her fortune, she ran down the hall, jumped up on the bed, and threw the covers back—exposing the massive piece of black rubber against our pale sheets—before snuggling right in. Didn’t even see it. From my vantage, it was like a shot in a movie that simultaneously reveals the bomb under the restaurant table and the two oblivious diners eating charcuterie above it.

I shrugged my shoulders, accepting defeat, but consoling myself with the Bible knowledge that it would totally scare Lindsey later, and went back downstairs. After about half an hour, I heard my youngest calling for me. I went up, fully expecting that she’d scared herself with the spider, her tiny toes probably brushing against its jiggly legs under the covers. But she was lying there all cozy like tomorrow was Christmas morning and merely asked me, “Can you get me a drink of water?”

I did and after her Cindy Lou Who act was over, I dramatically threw back the covers to expose the spider that was bigger than both her hands put together to see if it would make her jump and scream.

The spider wasn’t there. Just a plain, pale sheet.

“Where’s the spider?” I asked. “Did it scare you? Did you throw it out of the bed?”

She looked at me, totally confused.

It turns out the confusion wasn’t over the spider, but over the fact that I expected her to be scared of it. She deftly flipped back the covers on the other side of the bed to reveal the fake arachnid and said, “I found this spider and put it there to scare mom when she comes to bed.”

It’s going to be a fun season.

Also in the Christmas Tree Shops. Now you know why this post is so tainted with red and green.