Defending Against the Undead (or "Headless Bleeding Bunnies")

Halloween came and went, and I didn't take any pictures. This is because I was underwater for a good portion of the evening, trying to tip my kids off a blow-up floaty. I'm getting an idea here in Saudi for what life is like for people in Arizona -- just varying angles of sunlight and varying smells of air conditioners.

The mercury hit about 95 on Halloween, and had only sunk to the high 80s when the sun set, which for some reason made Halloween night less scary. I don't know why this is. I think maybe it's because there's just something un-scary about the smell of B.O. Musky, yes, but scary, no. Pungent, yes, but scary, no. Kind of stale, yes, but scary, no. Perhaps this is the wrong place to pontificate on all the adjectives that might describe B.O.

Halloween, six years ago. Ugh, what was up with that hat.
We had a barbecue out by the pool, and I played my first ever game of Cornhole, which is like horseshoes, but without the horseshoes and the little metal stake and the clanking and the whole geriatric vibe. Instead, you toss beanbags into a hole, which is clearly a game for younger, less country club-ish men.

Later, the kids insisted they wanted to go to the housing compound's haunted house. I'm kind of scared of haunted houses, ever since I went to one up at Judson College in my hometown when I was in first grade and a guy swung an honest-to-goodness operating chainsaw at me and I swear he cut the top off my cowlick. Either that or it was a cardboard cutout of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre kind of leaning up against the wall in the lobby and I started crying when I saw it. One of the two.

So I tried to make excuses to avoid taking my kids to the haunted house. Stuff like "I'm tired," and "The haunted house is too lame for adults," and "The haunted house is too scary for kids," and "Will you let this whole thing go if I buy you each three Snicker's bars?" But we nevertheless ended up standing in line for like 45 minutes to get into the house, and Arab teens were crouched in the dark alley behind the building, only the glowing tips of their cigarettes giving them away.

Halen started to get cold feet when some pre-teen came rushing out of the house crying and moaning something about "Nickelback songs on repeat." But by then we'd been in line for like 20 minutes, and I said to Halen, "No way, man. You're going in that stupid house." And he could tell by the look in my eye that if he chickened out, when we got back home I'd whip out the chainsaw on him. Spare the Stihl, spoil the child, I always say.

The haunted house ended up being kind of cool. Savannah bravely blazed the trail and only screamed a tiny scream when they tossed out a headless, bleeding bunny. Just kidding about the bunny. Grace made me carry her the whole time and buried her head in my neck and nary saw a thing. Then, afterward, she beamed and bragged how it wasn't scary at all.

I actually had the biggest problem with Halen. Not because he cried and wanted to leave, but because he started beating the holy crap out of the guys manning scaring stations. Like a couple of them kind of creeped along behind us at one point, reaching out their scary arms toward Halen, and I looked back, and I could see in Halen's eyes he was scared, but instead of recoiling against my legs, he stopped and screamed at the monsters, "STOP SCARING ME!!" And then he just started punching and kicking. The guys managed to block a few blows, but I heard Halen's foot smash against a shin and the dull slap of a fist sinking into the fleshy part of an arm, and the ghouls wisely fled. I thought about scolding my son for, you know, committing assault and battery. But, really, you don't want to disincentivize your kids from defending themselves from the undead. I think that's kind of an important skill, don't you?