A truly scary month

by Debbie Carini

Did you blink? Because if you did, you may have missed the chance to buy your Halloween decorations. We’re halfway into October and it’s easier to find a candy cane than a bag of candy corn.

I always feel it’s a good thing that the “holidays” (as my family designates the period between October 1 and January 2) start with a candy holiday—Halloween. I need the sugar rush.

Whatever is left of the econo-size bag of Smarties that my husband purchases to supplement the chocolatey things I prefer will, after October 31, serve as my energy pills for the ensuing months. They’re the right shape and size—a tablet candy—and each piece is only 0.6 calories, virtually a diet pill!

October truly is a scary month. The impending doom of the upcoming (but still far away) holidays of Christmas and New Year’s weighs heavily on each outing to literally any retail destination. The other day, I was in a home improvement store and those Macy’s parade balloon-sized lawn inflatables were roaring aggressively—Santa, Rudolph, a giant Christmas tree. I shook my head. When I go to the hardware store, I want to be intimidated by power tools, not a flailing, inflatable tube man, dressed like a pilgrim, especially one who seems poised to collapse on my shopping cart.

October marks the beginning of the final quarter of the year, the time to wrap-things-up, literally. But, I haven’t lost those 25 pounds yet. I haven’t written my novel. I haven’t even taken down last year’s Christmas lights.

All spring and summer long I imagined the handicrafts I would fashion for my friends and family for the holidays. Now I’m wondering if there is some multi-pack item from the big box store—ramen noodles or tube socks—that can be split-up and doled out to family members whom I love dearly.

At least there are no costumes to worry about. No more dashing around to find the last Pikachu (Pokeman character, circa 1998) or any one of the Spice Girls get-ups (also circa mid-90s). The drama of missing out on the popular guise, then me trying to fashion one out of supplies from the craft closet (a real place in our house that accommodates glue guns, googly eyes, pipe cleaners and more) was more frightening for my children than anything they were going to experience out on the sidewalk while trick-or-treating.

Right now, I have anxiety that I’ll coast right into Christmas and forget about Thanksgiving altogether, and it’s my holiday—the one I picked to host because it’s relatively finite. There’s no “eve,” no gifts, it starts at 4 p.m. and is pretty much over by 9 p.m. And you know what that means, all this worrying has made me so nervous, I’ve started binge eating; and not fruits and vegetables.

There don’t seem to be enough Smarties “pills” in the world to stave off the panic of the pending spending and festivities. Maybe I should start pretending those Smarties are less like power pills and more like tranquilizers—that could be a big help during the most wonderful time of the year!


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