Hallowasted and Halloworn-out

October 17, 2023 —
I’m exhausted. Like all the time and for a lot of reasons, but at least this past weekend exhausted me for mostly good reasons. The girls were around, and we squeezed in a lot of Halloween into those two and a half days together.

You could say, and you won’t because you have standards that I don’t, that it was Hallowall-to-Hallowall Halloween.

The Halloweekend started with a massive seasonal scare package from a sympathetic friend. That box of goodies stocked us up on candy and other sundries to last us through a few days of spooky shenanigans. It also included a pair of earrings made to look like tiny versions of two of my books (Poe-Land and A Season with the Witch), complete with back covers and individual pages. Really cool. And really thoughtful. I feel like I need to ping the marketing teams at my publishers about them.


We devoured all that candy—chocolate lollipops shaped like bats and gargoyles and skulls, candy corn and Mellowcreme pumpkins, chocolate covered Oreos and pretzels, Halloween Peeps and Hershey’s white chocolate fangs—as we devoured all the episodes of two shows: The new Goosebumps on Disney+ and a new animated spookshow called Fright Krewe on Netflix.

We went to Jurassic Quest, which is not Halloween-y in the least, but sometimes you just want to be surrounded by dinosaurs in a hotel event space. Especially if they’re mildly animatronic. And your kids get to ride them.

We went to Haunted Overload, which I wrote about already on this blog and would have made it a successful weekend all by itself.

We hit up Dunkin’ to get a spider donut. But only because there are no Krispy Kremes up here in New England. Not only do the Double-Ks have better tasting donuts than the Double-Ds, this year they did a whole series of Scooby Doo-themed donuts.


We made a fire in the pit out back and luxuriated in the autumn atmosphere. When one of them asked me to tell them a scary story, I went inside and grabbed all three volumes of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I skipped all the ones that ended with just me having to yell and jump-scare them and focused on the creepier ones. Then I passed the books to my middle child, and she read a few.

We made Hallowaffles shaped like skulls, cobwebs, and pumpkins—the tiny waffle irons were part of the scare package—although we didn’t leave them in long enough so they were somewhere between spooky pancakes and spooky waffles.


At the request of my youngest, we jumped in the car each night and drove around looking for Halloween decorations. One house on my block has gone all out, with mini-scenes spread across their yard that includes a pet cemetery and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, a pirate ship full of skeleton pirates, other monster mashes. In a Halloworld where decorating has become merely displaying a collection of figures from Home Depot and Lowes (Hal-Lowes-ween?) on your front lawn, it was nice to see all the effort they put it, even if I’m jealous that they live at the much-more-visible base of the cul-de-sac and me and my decorations are hidden away at the end of it. By the way, the Dead End sign that inspired the title of The Smashed Man of Dread End is staked into their yard. My middle child is always trying to get me to spraypaint a backwards R on it.

Eventually, our Hallowallowing was all over. Sunday night I tucked the two youngest into bed, visions of sugar pumpkins dancing in their heads, and watched a few episodes of Hannibal with my oldest (we’re kind of having a Hannibal-ween here in the Ocker house).

And then I Hallowent-to-bed.

All weekends should be like that one.