10 November 2007

Fright Night

A few Halloweens ago, the Male Offspring and I took a little trip to Value Village, that Holy Grail of Halloween, on a quest for a cheap costume forged from the castaway clothing of others. With an old choir robe, a witch's hat, some reflective tape and some scissors, Male Offspring was magically transformed into a wizard.

Aww. Isn't he cute? He looks so little-boy here; it's amazing what a difference a couple of growth spurts can make.

Mystical symbols of wizardry, or reflective armament against idiotic drivers? Both! It's all about multifunctionality when it comes to cheap Halloween costumes.

These were the pumpkins from that year: Teen Demon's frog, my cat, Male Offspring's tree spirit, and the Bohemian's witchy symbology.

This was Teen Demon's costume. Even cheaper. She's a thrifty kid. The Bohemian put on a Nordic looking hat, a big knitted poncho, a scarf, and some funky boots and went as some type of ... I don't know, someone who lives in a cold place.


So anyway, all of that is backstory for today's subject, which stems from that fateful trip to Value Village with the Male Offspring. We were commending ourselves for keeping down the cost of costumery, when Male Offspring stumbled across the perfect Halloween item.

It was a rat. A giant, rubber devil-rat, long yellow fangs bared in a silent shriek of rage, revealing the angry scarlet portal to his despicable rat gullet. A monster rat. The kind of rat that would come flying across the room at you in a Stephen King novel, the kind of lurid beast that would just as soon rip your throat out as skitter through city sewers with his normal-rat brethren.

This was the Beelzebub of the rodent world.

The son and I cooked up a plan. The rat would come home with us, concealed until Halloween night, when he would make his appearance. He would appear on the back of the toilet, which, in that house, was tucked back in a recessed corner of the bathroom. Nature eventually calls. The girls were guaranteed to find him at some point.

Except they didn't, because we forgot to bring the archfiend out from his lair under my bed, by the time the fated night rolled around.

We were so disappointed! I couldn't believe we forgot. No matter; we could wait. The hell-rodent would remain our little secret for the next year.

Mostly he gathered dust, but not too much - there was a dust-ruffle around his lair, after all. Every once in a while though, Male Offspring or I would stealthily take him out. I'd hide him in the son's bed, or he'd put him in my bathroom sink and turn my dimmer way down. It scared the bejeezuz out of us every time. And each time the victim would silently plot revenge, biding time until the rat's next appearance.

We never have remembered to put him out on Halloween for the girls. He's become our own private fright night. Sometimes half a year goes by with no sign of the rat, then one night, I'll pull back my covers, unsuspecting, to discover its hideous. foul visage glaring up at me from my bed. Every time it makes me jump and scream like a girl. And curse. Last night I let loose a string of vilification scaring even the dogs, upon finding this in my bed:

wait for it....


The son is so going to pay.


  1. Oh, and that rat is wicked frightening.

  2. I really should be in bed by now, but: 1. your kids were/are just adorable. 2. Honey, those pumpkins are seriously Martha-Stewart fabulous! 3. I grew up with big brothers, and the stuff we pulled on each other was just so fun. I miss the pee-your-pants-with-fright practical jokes. My girls don't go there for some reason. So it's just me, lurking around corners and jumping out at people around here. Maybe I'll get me some plastic pests....

  3. That is so hysterical! Can't wait to hear how you get him back- vengeance being a dish best served cold and all ;)

    Yeah, a couple of growth spurts and they aren't your little cuddly baby any more *sigh* But on the up side, the still put rubber rodents in your bed- because they just love you like that.

  4. I write "LOL" a lot, but I was truly laughing -- audibly -- when I got to the end of this post. That's a very touching tradition you've got going there, made moreso by its sick-and-twistedness. Ha! Love it.

    You rock, Cool Mommy.

  5. That's a rat? It looks like a rabid wendigo.

  6. As beyond creepy as that rat is, I love the idea behind it. You two have a great not-so-private-now joke going. The fact that it stems from such a disgusting thing makes it all the better! What about putting it in his school bag or inside the sleeve of his coat? Underwear drawer? Middle of the night on his pillow? Wow, this is addictive.

  7. Fiendish in it's conception...Diabolical in it's execution..I LOVE it!..

  8. That was hysterical. I done laughed me socks off!

  9. I can't imagine where that poor gets that evil cunning from; can you?

    Love it.

  10. Aren't holiday traditions based on deviousness and terror just the best?

  11. It's the little things (and sometimes the scarey rubber things) that weave together a relationship. Reading this didn't have me laughing, but remembering all those little things that let me know I was loved and that I loved in return. The little notes in my lunchbag, the times I made an I love you card for no speceal holiday or anniversary. Thank you for sharing one of your little moments with us, and giving us back the gift of our own sweet memories. You do indeed rock.

  12. Java: Welcome - as you can see, it's all about insanity here. The ice cream idea? Genius. Nothing like a few hairy legs in your dessert to keep things fresh.

    E: 1.Thanks - they don't look much like that anymore! 2.THank you again - this nearly brought me to tears (OK, not literally, but still) because it is the first time anyone has ever used the term "Martha Stewart" in reference to anything I've done. Wow. [holds head a bit higher] 3.It was my dad in my childhood - in fact, I'll post about that next.

    DL: Yeah, I'm sure hiding that fanged horror in my bed is definitely because he loves me. With love like that, who needs heart attacks?

    Red: Oh you know we're all about sick and twisted in this house!

    Allan: hahahaha! OMG, I had to look up Wendigo, and laughed my ass off - the rat could so be a wendigo. I learned something today!

    KA: Oh I should've taken the pic with a dollar bill in the shot, for scale, like they do on CSI. The rat is much too big to fit in a coat sleeve, not to mention that no self respecting Seattle area teen ever wears an actual coat. It would only fit in a backpack if all the schoolbooks were taken out ... and that wouldn't set a very good example, else I'd have already gone there, ha! The rat is a giant rubber beast of horror.

    Sling: Exactly. You understand.

    Hat: Not so hilarious when you're pulling back the covers at midnight, but in general, yeah, pretty funny. Afterward. I wish I'd have thought to atually post it on Halloween. But you know me, if i was ever on time with anything, the world would stop.

    Willym: yes, to a son from his mother, and her father before that, the gift flows down through the generations.

    Lex: That they are, dear Lex, that they are.

    Tater: See - sweet just like comes through in your pics. You're right, it's the little things that are fondly remembered. Glad this heinous creature brought some happy memories for you today.

  13. When we used to visit my grandparents, on home leave, my Granddaddy used to put life-like plastic flies on our grits. Ah, the ways we learn to say, "I love you."

  14. Elizabeth: Your gramps sounds like a riot. And you've made me miss grits -- they're very hard to find here, and when you do find them, they're expensive and in a teeny-tiny box. What happened to the big round many-serving container, like on hte east coast?

  15. Pittsburgh is about a half hour North of West Virginia. Our local grocery store carries big ol' tubs of grits, slabs of fat back, piles of greens, and, for dessert, Moon Pies. It's a hard, sad life you have out there on the Pacific coast (I said, sqint-eyed with jealousy).

  16. I'm seeing quite the well developed sadist streak in you! I'm sure your sister was never the same again.

    I love the Got Milk? costume!

  17. Girl - What thread count are those sheets?

  18. E: Oh I could do without the fatback and moon pies. but I do miss me some grits!

    Al: Yes, that was just one of many incidents in which poor Sis was the victim. Might have had something to do with how she suddenly flipped one day while we were doing dishes, and she came flying at me with a handful of butcher knives.

    L: Yeah, it hurt trying to keep from busting out laughing when Sis saw me in the hallway.

    RG: YOu know, I can't remember, but they are Costco sheets - $59 for a king sized set, and they are the BEST sheets. Deep pockets too, they fit way under the mattress. The comforter cover is flannel, so that might blow the image. ;-)

  19. Did our recent chat about family pranks help inspire this?

  20. Evil-G: oh no, the son put that rat in my bed all on his own. THat's what I get for asking him to clean his room -- he found the rat under a pile of crap in his closet, and thought he'd show me just what he thought of cleaning his room.

    The next post however ... I did have dear old dad on my mind after our chat. He sure would've appreciated that little contraption you all built for Christmas.


I've got a fever ...