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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zombie Waffles

  Sometimes the purest joys of fatherhood are all about being cruel.
  For lots of reasons, Halloween is our family's favorite "fun" holiday.  There is no travelling, no temporary invasion of the home by distant relatives, and until recently, none of the frantic, crazed last-minute shopping that makes Christmas such a beating.  And so it came to pass that we recently made the first of many treks to the local Halloween headquarters.
Some participants not as happy as others
about breakfast being used as future blogging
material.
  For the youngest member of the tribe, this was the first year that she would be able to remove herself from perceived threats, and communicate her displeasure.  She was going to be a busy girl on this particular trip.  As with all of the important family trips, we started the day with a hearty breakfast from a local cafe.  Everyone took turns discussing their favorite and most-hoped for holiday costumes.  The oldest boy tried to guess as to the latest innovations in fright technology.  My wife looked forward, with giddy anticipation, to the beginning of our annual "Scare Contest", which in recent years has been marred by controversy and angst.  Once breakfast was consumed and paid for, we were off to the land of fake blood and jellied gore.
Spends a great deal of time in the
Principal's office.
  Upon arrival, the youngest child started to sense right away that something was terribly wrong.  The soundtrack that looped hours of screaming and and scary music might have been a giveaway, or it might have been the full size, animatronic collection of skeletons, werewolves and serial killers greeting shoppers at the front of the store.  Whatever it was, she immediately climbed the entire height of her mother, and perched atop her head.  This was gonna be fun.
  The other children immediately separated to their assigned sections of the store.  The teenage daughter zeroed in on the costumes that seemed to get racier and shorter each year, just to hear me yell.  The boys raced off to see who could find the coolest, newest, most realistic looking props.  The wife disappeared with the baby wrapped around her head like a turban.
Child-care facilities were outstanding this year.
  I perused the big ticket items including the pop-up mummies, the digital mirrors with the green pixilated specters and the like.  Although I have had a life-long aversion to demonic possession (thanks to the Church of Rome) I did chuckle at the poorly engineered version of Linda Blair that was supposed to pop up from a flat surface and engage in animatronic horror.  But the torso was too tall for the base, so the base harmlessly popped up in the air while Linda Blair made seemingly empty threats to disappointed shoppers.
  The leading trend this year, much the my daughter's distress, is the zombified infant.  The line was greatly increased this year, and is nothing short of just creepy and disturbing.  I tried to find a fully articulated model that I could wrap around my head like a turban so that I could show my wife I am as much of a nurturer as she is.  Nothing doing though because as extensive as the line is, the technology has just not caught up to my needs yet.
Poor girl, had to use her butterfly wings
to fight off the zombie baby. Just shameful.
  Then I found the Holy Grail: a zombie duct taped to the top of a Roomba. This thing lurched around the room chasing whoever was closest, and the louder the scream the more aggressive the chase.  If I had the resources, I would employ an army of these beasts at the office.  I must have burned through twenty dollars worth of batteries letting this thing chase the youngest daughter across the store.  Neither my wife nor the store manager were pleased.  My daughter finally managed to take refuge behind the now motionless Linda Blair while the store manager suggested that we make our final selections and move on down the road.
Always looking to be helpful, my son
tries to show this nice woman how
the jumping spider works.
  My daughter is not someone to cross, and I knew that eventually there would be retribution. I just didn't know how soon.  At home that evening, the tribe disappeared while I took my usual late afternoon nap.  I was jolted awake by a small set of teeth gnawing on my forearm.  With crazy eyes rivaled only by those of her mother, my daughter looked up at me and in a guttural, Linda Blair kind of voice growled, "Brains! Give me brains!"  Then she paused and smiled and said, "Brains or candy!"  It took me twenty minutes to climb down off of my poor wife's head.

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