On Monday, a day when my children and I have only one scheduled activity - an hour at Soccer Tots - I hauled up two storage bins of Halloween decorations in a weak attempt to provide meaningful entertainment for their impressionable, but never satisfied, young minds. They were into it for awhile and then moved on to colored bendy straws with lunch and fights over who got which lane on the Matchbox car racetrack. I however, did not. Get over it, that is.
Like finishing a home improvement project for the tiniest room in the house, say, the broom closet, I was determined to really fix up the front porch fancy like. Problem was, we didn't have enough fake spider web, or styrofoam tombstones, or flickering lights.
The next day, I found all of those things and that night, talked my Hub into playing the part of Igor to affix them all after the kids went to bed. If there's any holiday that puts a skip in the step of my work-a-day Hub, it's Halloween. He loves those corny (he-he, get it?) haunted mazes and laughing at the teenage ghouls behind the strobe lights at the local dead mall. He'll even pay good money for the experience, at least the experience of laughing to tears watching me scream in horror when the fifteen year old dressed as the angel of death gets within three feet of me at "Terror in the Corn!!!" or "Nightmare on Your Street!" I'm always the scaredy cat target, dammit all.
Anyhoo, this year I channeled that energy into creating a mood. It was dark by the time Chris and I got to fake silk stretching. When we first started, he was on the phone with his mom and I recall him saying,
"Wow. That is the biggest spider I have ever seen. Wow." Cool, I thought. That big Walmart spider is really making an impression. Even Mr. Halloween likes it.
When I actually got out there to help him, I learned different. Turns out, the "spider" Hub was referring to was a real spider with a huge ominous spider butt not hanging on the front door to scare trick-or-treaters, but crawling across Chris' hand in retreat. That big butt spider actually touched him!
Chris was in the unfortunate process of tearing down her real web in his attempt to put up the fake stuff. Big Butt wasn't buying it. She quickly scurried away from our fake web into places that were hard to see. I worried that Big Butt was a Hobo spider, a dangerous type found in the Northwest that can bite and create a sore like this:
|(Not Chris' hand.)|
My friend Megg, who's father is an entomologist, warned me of these creatures. She even made the effort of sending a cautionary email early in Hobo season with detailed pictures of the dreaded beast and warned us of basement and front porch sightings. At the time, I went all head-in-the-sand about it. Last night, I begged Hub to cross reference what we were seeing on Wikipedia. After some panicked research, we couldn't be sure about Big Butt. She could be a Hobo. The dangerous kind that goes from house to house with a handkerchief on a stick, biting people.
I was torn, my obsession with creating a realistic web scene was at odds with my genuine fear of Big Butt taking a bite outta me. Chris decided it wasn't worth it and retired to the living room. For me, the web's siren song was too much. Like a fly drawn to gossamer, I hung on for a bit, gingerly pulling strands of fake web from nicks in the brick to a finial in the banister to the rose trellis just beyond the porch. There was a genuine thrill to it. Scary for sure, but not as humiliating as running from those costumed teenagers.
P.S. Surprise, surprise. We survived.