I’ll Take High-Fructose Corn Syrup Fuelled Candy, Thanks.

Even Gaga, the Queen of costume, feels the pressure.

Somebody should rename Halloween, Hell-o-weed; that’s what the Mums need to get through it. The PRESSURE. Especially in the United States of Constant Reasons to Decorate The house. The kids start talking about who they’re going as in July. Then there’s the changing of mind period which lasts all of August, September and most of October: Luke Skywalker, R2D2 or Yoda (for Bob). Princess Leia, a frog or any princess (for the ‘Dactyl). And you’re not really a proper Mom in Mendocino unless you make costumes for the whole family. Even better if you crack a theme or politically astute idea, like going as Monsanto with mutating GMOs.

Our theme was not clever or unique, yet still stressful. Bob put on my first Luke Skywalker shirt – looking freshly woven from Planet Tatooine – when he broke into frantic scratching. “Too itchy.” Then there was persuading the Dimple to get into the short-legged, quite tight Darth Vader costume I picked up. “It’s meant to be snug,” I said, as he surveyed his lop-sided package. He needed bribes.

If the ‘Dactyl had to be a princess then Leia, Leader of the Rebels was my kind of royalty but white, glossy fabric is hopeless on a three-year-old. Especially one that insists on wearing it immediately .

As for Chewy? The hair. The groan. And particularly challenging for me: the height.

Fortunately, the Dimple saved me with an original idea.

Darth Vader ruled an Empire and owned his own Death Star. Some up-for-it chic would have looked beyond the heavy breathing and plastic forehead. Surely. Power’s an aphrodisiac.

Mr and Mrs Dark Side were often baffled how their kids ended up so good.

Introducing Mrs Darth. She had an annoying habit of dressing like her chap but she was quite good with a lightsaber.

Gluttonous Halloween all happens on one street here. Residents of the aptly named Wall Street hand out between 900 and 1000 pieces of candy per house. We found this disturbing until we experienced the alternative. The trick.

After completing a game at the Fire Station, Bob was not given chocolate, but a real live goldfish. In a cup! Of course the Dactyl had to play and soon she was handed her own goldfish in a zip-lock bag. Instantly christened Luke and Leia they excitedly showed off their winnings.

“Great trick,” muttered the Dimple, holding the cup, while I got the bag. Crikey, give my children sweets full of food colouring, genetically messed with wheat, aspartame, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, additives, palm oil, pig hooves. But not fish!

Darth Vader does not look formidable holding a goldfish. His new wife – not the kind to carry a handbag – cannot strut powerfully next to him sloshing a zip-lock.

Shit, where are the fish?” became our line along Wall Street.

Utterly brilliant trick. And it got worse.

Luke and Leia were the kind of fish that are fed to other tank fish. Disposable. Easily killed. Not being big on marine biology we didn’t know that. They made it home and into a bowl. Bob was thrilled. He’d been dying to get another pet since the chickens’ massacre. Unfortunately Luke didn’t make it to breakfast; we found him in the morning upside down in the bowl. Bob was so upset he cried all the way to school.

The trick that never ends. Give the small unsuspecting children fish that will DIE!

Leia joined Luke 48 hours later generating more tears.

I read somewhere that people without pets shouldn’t be trusted. Too selfish. What about people who keep killing their pets? Narcissists?

The Dimple and I joked that night about being bad parents – pigs, chickens, fish; all dead – and unfortunately Bob overheard. Now he’s repeating the line and the ‘Dactyl’s chiming in. “Mummy and Daddy are bad. BAD PARENTS!”

Will this trick never end?

At least we can say that we completely got IN character for Halloween. That’s right, Jedi children, Daddy and Stepmommy are on the Dark Side of The Force. Never trust us with your pets. Next year, please, just take the firkin’ treat!

PS. That Mrs Darth is a bit of a publicity sniffer. It’s disgusting how she pushes her famous step-daughter. Here they are in the local rag. Pre-fish.


  1. Ange, every time I read one of your posts I want to get on my computer and tell you how much I love reading them. Today I thought fuck it, I will tell her. I hope you’re taking loads of photos because you’ve got the makings of a really good book there. Keep it up, I love your writing. Gabrielle McKone xxx


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