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John Lamb, Published October 25 2011

Lamb: Halloween terror is shopping with pre-teens

Do you want to hear a story filled with bone-chilling horror, blood-curdling cries of terror and acts that make you question the future of humanity?

Here it is: I took my three pre-teen nephews shopping for Halloween costumes.

My sister “suggested” this as bonding-time with her sons, but what’s truly terrifying is she “suggested” it to them before confirming with me.

Of course, erasing a notion from a child’s memory, not to mention the memory of three children, is a lot harder than telling another adult, “Forget I ever mentioned it.”

So before I even welcomed them to town, I was greeted with, “What are you going to buy for us?”

Before we get too far, I feel obligated to state that I love my nephews, blah, blah, blah.

But, keep in mind: I am a child-less bachelor. (I also answer to “childish bastard.”) I am used to a life of quiet leisure and asking, “Can I get another beer?” rather than raising my voice and blood pressure with a series like, “What are you doing? Why would you ever do that? Hey, where is your brother? He did what?”

My sister sold the date by pointing out the boys didn’t need entire costumes, just accessories. More precisely, weapons.

My nephews are like warring factions in an unstable country, each building up his own toy box armory to defend against Halloween candy bandits. This makes costume stores the equivalent of gun shows, without the waiting period.

They went in to the store wide-eyed, picking up every sword, dagger, spear, machete and switchblade as the perfect accessories for their costumes. I indulged the ninja and the vampire warrior, but suggested the five-year-old Harry Potter look elsewhere for props.

And that’s when I got into trouble.

A stroll through a costume store with pre-teens is something like a field trip in the Garden of Eden. It’s not just opening Pandora’s Box, it’s like pulling out her underwear drawer.

“Why is that firefighter wearing a dress and heals? Why is that nurse’s shirt unbuttoned? Wouldn’t that cop get cold? Where does she keep those handcuffs?”

I couldn’t round them up fast enough. I only had two hands and three sets of eyes to cover.

“That’s funny! He’s dressed like a plug and he’s hugging her outlet!”

While I think uncles should teach valuable lessons, learning about the

birds and bees via models from the Halloween shop would leave them emotionally scarred. So I yelled, “Hey, look at that bloody chainsaw!”

By the time they got back to grandma’s, the ninja had a new set of swords (“These go on my back!”), the vampire warrior had converted to a warrior of the night (don’t ask) thanks to interlocking sickle knives and Harry Potter got the first tie I’ve purchased in years. And a sword. You know, just in case one of those sexy, scantily clad dementors comes for his candy.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533