“From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go ‘Momma! Momma!’ in the night, Good Lord, deliver us.”
— Modified Scottish poem
Nov. 1 will be a red-letter day in the Tyree household.
That’s when preparations begin for Halloween.
Yes, Gideon Lewis Tyree (who turned 3½ years old in September and recently started attending day care) has a year-round obsession with Oct. 31. Just a year ago, he was traumatized by a benign ghost display in a hobby store; but now, whether it’s a Halloween catalog or a “Ladies’ Home Journal” cover about pumpkin pie, he carries mementoes with him everywhere.
He wanted to shower in his Darth Vader costume. He walks up to complete strangers and with arms wide open announces, “Welcome to my haunted house!” Potty training elicits comments that the “Poopy Family” goes to the theater in the potty to watch scary movies. I had to play him a YouTube video of the old Saturday morning “The Groovie Ghoulies” show until my brain was so mushy even a zombie would turn it down in favor of tofu.
Even though I try to convince Gideon that there’s more to life than the undead, he lets Halloween dominate other aspects of his life. Melissa and I delivered science lessons about night and day and the earth’s rotation, but they got misapplied by the lad. One day he deduced, “It’s not Halloween here — so it must be Halloween in China!” I hope Homeland Security wasn’t eavesdropping. (“Did you hear what the Chinese are trying??? We need to bomb them back to Arbor Day!”)
Gideon is quite proud of the pumpkins he and the babysitter’s husband planted in the spring. Unfortunately, in this drought year, it’s not exactly what the Great Pumpkin would judge to be “the most sincere pumpkin patch in the world.” More like the most dehydrated pumpkin patch in the world. If a decent-looking pumpkin “magically” appears in the patch one morning just in time to make Gideon’s holiday complete, you didn’t hear it from me.
Gideon knows Halloween is a time for super-heroes as well as spooks and goblins, so he pores over his map of the planet Krypton. I tried to explain to him that Krypton was blown into a trillion pieces right after Superman was rocketed to safety, but he insists he’s going to travel there when he grows up. I guess Century 21 convinced him it’s a “fixer-upper.”
In spite of his fascination with the macabre, Gideon very seldom experiences nightmares. He seems to be very selective about his dream topics. He explained to me, “I keep my dreams in my pocket, and when I need to sleep, I push them into my head.”
Gideon is so endearing when he jabbers about Halloween plans, I sometimes wish I had a witch’s potion to keep him this age forever. But then I realize that, if he was frozen in time, he would never grow up to enjoy little Halloween fans of his own. Mummies, vampires and chainsaw-wielding maniacs I can handle. But a future like that is too scary to imagine.
This column was originally published in 2007. Contact Danny Tyree at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Facebook fan page, “Tyree’s Tyrades.”