This weekend, after attempting to take in a matinee of Hereditary only to have the projector fail so we had to settle for readmission tickets, my mom and I went shopping for some extra supplies for a bridal shower I’m throwing next weekend.

And, at a home decor/housewares store near the local Regal Cinemas, I found an item that made me stop dead in my tracks, turn to my mother, and say, “Holy shit, that’s me.”

So here I am, in a picture:


There are multiple ways to interpret this quirky piece of Halloween decor.

Trying to project a sparkly optimism and remain calm while internally remaining at least partially dead inside. Trying to restore a glittery view of the world through calmness, introspection, and meditation. Trying to prove that you are placid and happy against expectations, but not totally convincing everyone.

Regardless, there’s a little bit of me in all of the above interpretations. I felt a kinship with this skeleton. A little bit of horror slathered in glitter – scary, but trying to be chill.

And then, after I posted a picture of this skeleton on my facebook, a friend asked where I had found it… and then she went out and bought him that same night. And there’s a lesson learned there, too.

Even when you’re a little dead inside, someone will still want to buy you. Or something like that, anyway.


If you’re in need of a new read, check out my YA novel, I’m With You! The ebook is only $1.99 or (£1.55) and paperback is $9.99 (£7.99) on Amazon Amazon UK.  Nook book is also $1.99 and paperback is $9.99 on

A Strange Thing to Fear

Fear is a common conversation topic this time of year, as decorated pumpkins take residence on porches and stoops, season lattes feature on every coffee shop menu, mainstream and hipster alike, and Freeform starts airing Hocus Pocus seventy times in a week.

Personally, I’ve got a couple of common fears. Spiders/insects. Open ocean. Mascots. The potential for an alien invasion. Clowns, for the most part. Talking on the phone. You know, the usual. One, however, might not be considered so… normal.

I just recently found out it has a name: kosmemophobia, the fear of jewelry. I’m reluctant to officially say I have this phobia, because I’ve never been formally diagnosed, but jewelry really does skeeve me out, to the point where it occasionally infringes on my life. I don’t want to touch jewelry, I don’t want it to touch me, I would prefer to be nowhere near it, and if I do have to touch it for whatever reason, I wash my hands numerous times afterward. Shaking hands with people who are wearing rings makes my skin crawl. Hugging people who have earrings on freaks me out. Just the word “earrings” makes me want to gag. I also don’t like little pieces of metal like paperclips, but that is far more manageable. My sister is getting married next year and I’ve already told her that, although I’m in the wedding party, I will not be wearing any jewelry.

This has been the case since I was a child, which is corroborated by my mother. I briefly had my ears pierced (thanks, peer pressure) and that was a traumatic experience I hope to never re-live. I will go the rest of my life without wearing any jewelry and I will be 100% a-okay with that. I lived a good portion of my life thinking that this fear is “weird” and I should grin and bear it for the sake of appearing “normal,” but now, I don’t really apologize for it. It’s not so extreme that I can’t handle it on a daily basis and I’m not really crippled by it, but I’m also not going to put myself in situations where I am massively uncomfortable just to keep up appearances. Honestly, I could have it a lot worse. I truly feel for the folks who have a strange fear who can’t function in certain situations or environments because of it.

I think people with uncommon phobias can at least take comfort in the fact that they are not alone, and someone somewhere out there likely endures the same type of spine-tingling apprehension they do toward the root of their fear. This time of year might be tough for some who fear the thought of Pennywise in the drains or Freddy Kruger in their dreams, but I have no fear of ghosts, goblins, or ghouls… unless they’ve got a necklace on.

Scary Neighbor Lady

A few years ago, the trick-or-treat night in my neighborhood fell on an evening in which my last college class for the day ended at 6:30 PM. I lived alone at the time, and, as bad as it makes me sound, I had no interest in participating in trick-or-treat. I usually just turn the lights off so the folks walking around with their kids will know not to ring the doorbell. But, since I’d forgotten that I would be pulling into my driveway right smack in the middle of the event, I feared that I would have to suffer through being pestered by eager children hankering for some sugar. Plus, I had no candy in the house, though I did have plenty of carrot sticks, which are not generally a hit with the youth.

Nevertheless, I heated up some microwaveable macaroni and cheese for dinner (I was the pinnacle of health in those days), set up camp in my kitchen, and started to pound out my homework for the night. My computer was located in my kitchen nook, which was, unfortunately, positioned right next to a window. Therefore, from the right angle, the passing groups of ravenous candy-seekers could likely see me sitting there. I was absolutely certain that my doorbell would ring at least a few times and I would either have to ignore it, or tell the poor little ghosts, witches, and Iron Men that I had nothing to give them.

I sat, ate my dinner, and worked on an essay about the movie I’d just seen in film class. Through the window, I could see the kids walking about, going door to door, their laughter and cheer muffled through the pane. Reveling in their Three Musketeers, Hershey Bars, Skittles, and my personal favorite, Bottle Caps. Yet, though I expected it, not a single child rang my doorbell.

My porch light was on (I used to turn it on before I left the house for late classes, and had done so out of habit earlier that day) and I was plainly visible through the kitchen window, eating mac n’cheese and typing away at my desktop, and still, no one rang my doorbell.

In an attempt to pinpoint the reason why the neighborhood folks would be avoiding my house, since I was a relatively reclusive neighbor and spoke only to the people who lived to the right of me and the family across the street (the family across the street were GREAT neighbors and gave me free firewood during Snowtober in ’11,) I remembered an instance where, after seeing some of the neighborhood kids playing in my yard without permission, I yelled at them out the window to, essentially, “Get off my lawn.” There was a sort of “drop-off” in the yard marked with stones that was all-too-easy to tumble off and cause injury, which I did not want to be held accountable for. I mean, I could have been nicer about it or chosen some gentler phrasing, but if you’re gonna get kids who aren’t related to you and who are blatantly ignoring your property line in the first place to listen to you, you gotta be firm. At my behest, they scattered like the soot sprites in My Neighbor Totoro, and I never had to yell at them again. 

I suppose, at that time, I did not realize the toll my reprimand would have on my neighborly reputation. On that chilly October night, as all of the trick-or-treaters avoided my stoop, I came to realize that I had, in the eyes of a humble New England neighborhood, become the Scary Neighbor Lady.

But, instead of lamenting this, I decided to embrace it. So what if I could strike fear into the hearts of children with one bellow of “GET OFF MY LAWN!”? I’d never actually harm a kid, so I figured I might as well embrace my new reputation and use it to my advantage instead of trying to change it.

Although I never had to yell at the neighborhood kids again, they did end up fooling around in my yard one more time that I can recall, only it was the front yard instead of the back. My car was in the garage at the time, so they likely thought I wasn’t home. There’s a stone-lined drop-off onto my driveway that, if a child had fallen off, could cause pretty serious injury, so I definitely didn’t want them playing out there unsupervised. But before I could open the window to say anything to them, I met the gaze of one of the kids through the windowpane, and saw his eyes go wide with terror. I sharpened my glare, and that was enough. He motioned to his comrades to flee, and they sprinted away from my house and down the street, to play in some other neighbors yard, I assume.

I’ve since moved away, and have no such reputation in my current residence, but I like to think I’ve become an urban legend at my old stomping grounds, and that on trick-or-treat nights, the neighborhood kids still refuse to stop at “Scary Neighbor Lady’s” house.


If you’re in need of a new read, check out my YA novel, I’m With You! The ebook is only $1.99 or (£1.55) and paperback is $9.99 (£7.99) on Amazon Amazon UK.  Paperback is also $9.99 on

Hoppy Halloween

During my childhood, my mother was a master at creating Halloween costumes for my sister and I to wear for our annual Halloween Party at school and trick-or-treating excursions.

My earliest recollection is having twin bunny costumes. I was a white bunny, and my sister was a pink bunny. We were, in a word, adorable. A couple of years later, my sister was Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and I was a cow. In third grade, I was a zebra, and I loved the costume so much that I was a zebra again the next year. Fifth grade, I was a wolf. You might be sensing a theme with my costumes, which was broken in sixth grade, when I was Paul Revere, colonial hat and all. Long story. Most recently, I don my Batman mask whenever I participate in Halloween activities. I also have the proper pieces for a makeshift panda costume but so far, the opportunity hasn’t presented itself.

My costume from second grade, however, was the highlight of my repertoire. I told my mom what I wanted to be, then she made the pattern, got all the materials, and crafted a true masterpiece.

I was a kangaroo.

I’ll say this up front; no photographic evidence exists of this costume. At least, none that I’ve been able to scrounge up, and this was back in the olden days before cell phone cameras. But you’ll have to take my word for it; this costume was bomb. Besides, how many kids do you see walking around in kangaroo costumes during Halloween? These days, it’s mostly Marvel characters, Pokemon, and whatever Disney Princess is “in.” I think I counted twenty Elsas walking around my neighborhood last year.

Anyway, I was extremely pleased with the kangaroo costume. My mom did an amazing job. I couldn’t manage a satisfactory Australian accent, but whatever. I was seven.

I couldn’t wait to show off my costume at the Halloween Party at my elementary school. I was absolutely certain that, at the very least, I wouldn’t have to deal with a doppelganger situation, because I highly doubted that someone else in the K-3rd grade had the same costume idea. And I was correct – not only was I the only kangaroo, I was the only marsupial! Score!

The party proceeded like normal. I hung out with some friends, probably talked about Pokemon cards or Sailor Moon or whatever was cool back then (Tomogatchis, maybe? I think they were a thing in 2000? Was Yu-Gi-Oh around yet?) but I also spent a significant portion of the late afternoon (the older kids got to have an evening party held after ours) avoiding people in costumes that I thought were frightening. Someone in an alien costume kept following me around, so I had to pick up my tail and sprint away to avoid them. I found out later it was one of my friends who just wanted to tell me they thought my costume was cool, but my paralyzing fear of aliens wouldn’t permit me to return the sentiment. At this time in my life, I was also terrified of people in ‘Scream’ costumes, and there were a couple of them at the party, even though I doubt any of my classmates had even seen Scream because we were all under 10. It doesn’t affect me now, but back then, just seeing those masks freaked me out, and I was hyper-aware of them throughout the entire party.

Near the end of the party, the “DJ” hired for the event (it may have just been a parent volunteer, I’m not sure) got onstage to announce the winners of the “costume contest.” I didn’t even know there was a costume contest, so I wasn’t really paying attention. Knowing me, I was probably stuffing my face with M&M’s. They are my kryptonite.

However, I was sucked back to reality when the DJ announced that the winner of the contest was “The Kangaroo!” Everyone around me started clapping and ushering me toward the stage, but seven year old me didn’t quite comprehend what was happening, so I got up onstage looking completely perplexed, and I’m pretty sure I was holding my tail in one hand like a security blanket. The DJ said something to me, or maybe he asked me a question, the details are all a bit fuzzy. I was suffering from severe stage-fright and I don’t think I said anything back. I remember standing up there, staring out at a sea of monsters and fiends and Disney princesses, and the DJ presented me with a plastic pumpkin full of candy corn as my prize for winning the contest. I actually held onto the plastic pumpkin for a few years after that. It was an effective storage container.

I shuffled offstage to a burst of applause, and the party resumed. My friends all crowded around me and we shared the candy corn. I don’t even like candy corn all that much, but this memory is a fond one, regardless.

I’m not a Halloween person, these days — and, admittedly, I haven’t put much effort in over the past few years. This year I’m not celebrating in any fashion, and don’t even have an opportunity to don a costume. But thinking back to that amazing kangaroo costume makes me smile. I’m sure many people have memories like that, of a costume that was particularly special, or one massive haul of the best kind of candy, or a trip to a haunted house/ themed attraction that was super terrifying.

Even if some Halloweens turn out to be a dud (like Charlie Brown and his infamous “I got a rock” trick-or-treat excursion) I’ll always have one special, hoppy Halloween.