If failures in life make you stronger, I should be superhero level strong by this point. My latest failure: Halloween.

It all started with the decorations…

Every year, come the end of September, I have lofty goals of covering my house in cobwebs and installing scary purple up-lighting. It never seems to happen. Weeks filled with travel, a child’s busy schedule and that thing called work tend to get in the way of my decorating ambitions.

But this year, I had a plan.

I wanted to get two skeletons and put them on the front porch. Of course, I also wanted to dress them in strange hats and have them reading some sort of ironic book, A Short Guide to a Long Life or Lovely Bones… I can’t just have normal people decorations. That’s crazy.

skeletons reading
Not my house. (Just my inspiration!)

But, sigh, having a plan didn’t seem to matter. I have not had time to do this. To be honest, I probably could have run out to the store instead of plowing through the sequel to An Ember in the Ashes or working on my current books, but a girl has to have priorities. Books first, everything else second. (Sorry family.)

Keeping up with the Davy Jones’…

To increase the pressure, my neighborhood takes Halloween very seriously. There are more lights and decorations on houses than during the winter holidays.

People set up extremely real-looking graveyards and hide under fake leaves so they can spring up like monsters out of the ground and terrify kids. (OK, not just kids. I’ve yelped like a little girl once or twice.)

A really creepy guy walks around with a candelabra all night staring at people and not speaking a word. And, to take it over the top, one house rolls out a giant barbecue contraption complete with bar stools. It’s here where the parents’ party while the kids roam around threatening people with vandalism if they don’t give them candy. It’s kind of awesome.

Needless to say, in this kind of neighborhood, it feels like my house, bereft of even a pumpkin, is being judged. It might not be true, but I feel like people walk by and look it up and down like it’s covered in dirt. (It’s not, it’s just painted brown. Not my choice.)

Needless to say, in this kind of neighborhood, it feels like my house, bereft of even a pumpkin, is being judged.

The sounds of silence (from Alexa)…

So, what to do now? Well, I may not have time for scary decorations, but maybe I can play scary sounds when a kid comes to the door asking for candy. I read an article that Amazon Alexa plays spooky Halloween noises. But I can’t figure out how to make her do it.

Whenever I ask her to play “Spooky sounds,” she just keeps playing “I put a spell on you.” She’s rather infuriating sometimes, especially when I tell her to stop and she ignores me. Although, it’s usually my fault because I’ve called her the wrong name, like my daughter’s or dog’s name. I’m not sure what that says about my relationship with the glorified speaker on my kitchen counter.

So, to recap, let’s see how I’m doing: No skeletons and a petulant machine. Verdict: I’m seriously failing at Halloween.

So, to recap, let’s see how I’m doing. No skeletons and a petulant machine. Verdict: I’m seriously failing at Halloween.

But it is only going to get worse. My next error is so grave (sorry can’t help it) it’s almost unforgivable.

The costume nightmare of Halloween 2017…

My daughter had a plan too. She thought for a long time about what she wanted to be for Halloween. It couldn’t be something like all the other kids. She wanted “irony.” Since Halloween is about death, she wanted to be something that reflected “life.” She discarded the idea of a plant costume and finally settled for being an egg. BUT, even that was too simple. She added some devil horns. (Get it? Deviled egg. Seriously, she’s hilarious.)

So we searched Amazon and found a fried egg costume and devil ears. Then we had a great idea, what if our dog, Cupcake, were a chicken. (Chicken, egg, you understand.) Wouldn’t that be funny? We agreed it would and tacked on a cute little doggy chicken costume to the order. Sounds great.

It wasn’t.

What’s the most important thing for Halloween if you’re a kid? (Answer: Candy.) But what do you need to get candy? (Answer: A costume.) Yes, a costume. And what happens if you order a costume and don’t bother to check when it will get delivered? Well, you ruin your daughter’s Halloween.

If I’d bothered to check the Amazon order, I would have realized the costume pieces, despite being part of Amazon prime and ordered a full week ago, would not arrive until November 1.

Note: I realize this only 2 days before Halloween. Verdict: I’m the WORST.

My husband and I search the internet to try to find a new egg costume on Amazon that will be delivered in time. There are none. So we do something crazy, we go to an actual costume store. (I know, they still have them!)

Two Party City stores, a baby head and strange bunny mask later, we find something close our original idea: a couples costume of eggs and bacon.

Maybe as punishment to myself or because it seemed funny at the time, I agree to be the bacon to my daughter’s egg. We also decide to buy angel wings and a halo so that I can be angel bacon since my daughter is a deviled egg. At the time this seemed hilarious.

It turns out, PetCo is right next door to the costume store. My daughter and I think this is fortuitous. The costume gods are finally going blow the winds in our favor. PetCo must have a chicken costume.

They don’t.

The only chicken-related costume is a magnet with little chicks on it. (Chick magnet. Yep, I know. It’s dumb.) We settle for the next closest thing, an Ewok. (Listen, we didn’t have a lot to work with.)

When we get home, we try on our costumes. Cupcake hates hers. She always does. Every year, we dress her in some crazy costume and coo over how adorable she is. She stands there, looking miserable. (But she’s so cute!)

After taking a hundred pictures of Cupcake with multiple cameras, I reach into the bag of people costumes and pull out the bacon and angel. But something is missing. There’s no halo and the bag clearly says “Angel wings and halo.” You’d think I’d learned my lesson about checking things I purchase. (I haven’t.)

So, I grab the wreath of flowers I picked up the Renaissance Fair in September. It’s about as close to halo as a chicken is to an Ewok. But I don’t have a lot of options.

If anyone asks, we’re a deviled egg with Elizabethan era angel bacon and an Ewok. At least I can say it’s doubtful anyone has ever uttered that sentence before. (And you wonder why my husband refuses to participate in dressing up for Halloween.)

Sometimes failure turns into fun. (Just not for Cupcake.) Happy Halloween!