It’s Halloween and in America this is a big deal. Brits will no doubt be giving derisory tuts as they read that but that’s because in the UK we are the victims of marketing pressure to adopt yet another artificial holiday just so that retailers can sell more junk to us. But over here it’s different. OK, every retail outlet is choc full of plastic, light-up, spooky crap, but it feels different. Mainly because here, everyone buys into it. Kids really love it, and it’s been said many times that it’s their favourite holiday of the year – and that includes Christmas! Here it means, dressing up, having fun and getting hold of buckets of sweets. For the adults it’s the same but with drink instead of the chocies.
So we’re now sitting outside on the front porch rocking benches, tapping away at our laptops like a 21st century Ma and Pa Kettle. Michele is hoping that the armies of dressed up children will suddenly descend and demand sweets…like it was in her day.

But evidently things have changed. Daily Mail culture (or rather Fox News culture) has made everyone believe the streets are crawling with child molesters and general nonces. Sad really.

Oh wait! Here comes one now. There’s loads of them! Oh yeah – over here the costumes don’t necessarily have to be scary – in fact some of them are just plain old fancy dress; consequently all the little girls go round as princesses and all the little lads go as ninjas, superheroes or corpses.

In the UK, all you get is a bunch of teenage delinquents demanding money with menaces.

Last night we went with Michele’s brother and his wife to a Haunted House called “Bate’s Motel.” We were bought tickets in advance with the added enticement that “they’ve got a corn maze too!” Obviously, I haven’t got a sodding clue what that means or what the whole thing was about so we went along.

Thousands of people drive to this big field in New Jersey the middle of Pennsylvania, park up and then join astonishingly long queues to enter either a scary house, a scary corn field or go on a scary “hay ride” – nope, me neither.

Let me tell you, the scary house and the scary corn field were genuinely frightening. Each was pitch black, full of “actors” dressed up as terrifying things, willing to jump on you in the dark, and all sorts of other nasty stuff in there: giant robotic rats, hanging meat (mainly fake), and people with chainsaws. My heart was racing for about an hour afterwards.

Afterwards, Michele and I were absolutely shaking with hunger and so we all went to a massive diner and ate much too much food, whilst laughing at the ludicrous wigs on the customers which may, or may not, have been Halloween costumes.

Today: lovely cycle ride along the creek again.
My favourite quote of the day is from Helen, Michele’s mum:

Martin, you look like a freak.

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