Posted by jdg | Thursday, October 23, 2008 |

The days leading up to Halloween haven't been this much fun since I worked at that haunted house next to the handjob parlor. Mostly it's all this talk of ghosts---which isn't necessarily related to the holiday---but is enhanced by all the ghoulish decorations and tsotchkes she sees everywhere she goes. I'm sure the age will come where all this stuff is annoyingly terrifying, but right now in her mind ghosts are just slightly-scarier cousins to the fairies and mermaids she loves so much (sweet little Georgie has helped). I do see a bit of the same sort of thrill in her that I've always enjoyed in a good ghost story. And Detroit is a pretty great place to make up ghost stories. So lately I've been telling them all day long.

Almost every story I tell her involves some adventure in what she calls "the broken buildings": a ghost I've encountered in the main concourse of the train station or the little kid ghosts in an old orphanage or abandoned school. The other day I made the mistake of sitting down with her in front of youtube looking for "ghosts" and we accidentally watched one of those "concentrate on something for 20 seconds before we rush a screaming corpse face at the camera in the last moment" videos. Note to parents: do not do this.

After that, she now prefaces every story with the question: Are these NICE ghosts, not mean like the one on the youtube? Fortunately you can still tell a good, creepy story about nice ghosts. Her favorite lives in the train station, waiting for a train that will never come, and the other day we drove past the old ruin and she pointed up to where someone had hung a ragged sheet from one of the highest windows. "I see her," Juniper said coldly. "She's waving to me." I had goosebumps. Little kids are kind of creepy sometimes.

Last year, I was in charge of the Halloween costumes, but this year my wife is trying to outdo both Medusa and the Robot. We let Juniper choose the costume idea for herself and her brother, and Wood has been sewing away in the basement for several nights. I swear I heard the ghost of Tim Gunn down there fastidiously inspecting the costume and telling her to Make It Work. Last night she emerged from the basement, sobbing,"It's like the time Denise tried to make Theo that designer shirt," she said, holding up her garment.

"Nah, it's more like the Seinfeld puffy shirt."

Dejected, she returned to the basement.

But this morning, with a squeal of delight Juniper crawled into bed to wake me up, wearing her costume. She loves it.

Next week: pictures.