Clair McFarland: Lobotomized Pumpkin Pirates and Albino Undead Leave No Room for Ghosts

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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
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I didn’t let ghosts in.

The nights devoured the days; Halloween was approaching. It galloped toothily through the trees and rolled through the puffy sky.

I was hoping that no one would notice Halloween and that my four sons and I could go on a hike, stay home comfortably, and avoid diabetes. But the reminders were everywhere, from pumpkin carols at school to roof-sized tarantulas around town.

Although I tried to distract him with lasagna, the husband noticed on October 30 that we hadn’t bought any pumpkins to carve.

“Come on, let’s get some,” he said, shutting off the air with his truck key.

“But I just cooked this lasagna,” I protested.

The husband lowered his key, holding back the drool. He looked at the cheese dish. “Perfect,” he finally said. “That will give him just enough time to cool down.”

We piled into the truck.

Walmart had no carving pumpkins, only tiny white gourds.

“Let’s go,” said my middle-aged son. “We’ll all make ghosts and albino undead.”

I frowned at the clothing department, where a thousand Christmas sweaters were spewing sequins.

“No, we’re going to Smith’s,” The Husband said with a dad nod.

We went to Smith’s. They didn’t have pumpkins to carve either, but their baking pumpkins were bigger and orange.

The Husband sighed. “Don’t you have big water bottles at home?” He asked.

I bit my lip and thought about the misshapen spaghetti squash I’d given, sneeringly, to the boys as a gun target.

– No, I say.

Meanwhile, our four sons were waddling through the fruit section, holding baking pumpkins under their shirts and saying “WATCH OUT, I have a baby!” »

I chased after them, hissing, “Absolutely not. NO fake births in the store.

“It’s going to work, mom” hissed the feisty little twin, giving birth to a pumpkin. “We can turn them into monsters.”

The four pumpkins rang up $11. It was the cheapest Halloween since 1996, when I went on the corncob for the third year in a row.

Back home, four boys brandished knives.

They collected pumpkin brains and put them on newspapers spread out on our kitchen counter. I plunged my hands into the glop and crushed the satiny seeds in a colander.

The firstborn sculpted a cheerful Count Dracula.

Middleborn sculpted a pirate with Bell’s palsy and an eye sewn in with toothpicks. The tall, gentle twin sculpted a possessed troll that dangled a toothpick in its toothless mouth.

Little-Feisty also sculpted a pirate. This one had a jolly-roger flagpole gouging his skull and piercing his bare, unbalanced gums.

I splashed cinnamon and nutmeg on their gaping faces. And on the faces of pumpkins too.

After Big-Sweet used the matches and tried twice to burn down the house, I lit four candles inside the gourds. The Husband turned off the lights.

“Ooooooooooh,” the boys said, marveling at their own artistic depravity.

Gutter shadows swept across the boys’ orange-lit faces. The heat and the spicy, toasted essence of wasted crusts seeped into the hungry darkness, softening its edges.

I closed my eyes. Red whispers snaked across my eyelids.

We have trolls, pirates and vampires. But in this fiery darkness with four sticky-fingered boys, no Halloween ghost can reach me.

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Dora W. Clawson