My Scrambled Nest

An Almost-Empty Nest Journey of "Letting Go" With Laughter and Love, By Cathy Free

Just as I was debating this week whether to put up Halloween decorations this year since my son is away at college and my daughter is off doing her own thing as a busy high school junior, I received the following text from my university freshman:

“After my chemistry test, I guess I’ll come home for fall break. I’m exhausted and need some R and R.”

And then…”Did you put up the Halloween decorations?”

After I was done laughing, I trudged downstairs, carried up our black-and-orange holiday storage boxes and stacked them in the living room. “Halloween! Yes!” said my daughter when she came home from school. “I was thinking you’d forgotten.”

When my kids were younger, it wasn’t uncommon for us to hang skeletons and spider’s webs in mid-September once they’d finally twisted my arm far enough. While the neighbors were putting out autumn wreaths and raking leaves, there we were, trimming the front porch with “caution” tape and orange lights and staking tombstones in the grass.

“Everyone thinks we’re nuts anyway,” I’d explain to my husband, “so why not prove it?”

Now for the past several years, the decoration date has inched forward a bit, to Sept 24th, then Oct. 1st, and now, Oct. 7th, when my son comes home this weekend. But no matter. I’ve promised my daughter that we’ll leave up her favorite musical haunted house, my favorite Halloween mice and my son’s favorite life-sized witch for an extra week, even though Helga is motion-activated and cackles incessantly whenever anybody walks by. At least two or three nights every season, we forget to turn her motion-detector switch to “off” at bedtime, and when our cat slinks around after midnight we’ll suddenly hear loud thunder, a menacing laugh and “Come closer, my little victims! Hand over the treats and nobody gets hurt, heh-heh-heh-heh!”

Ahhh, yes. Family tradition. During the week that he’s home, I plan to hide our collection of realistic tarantulas between my son’s sheets, just for laughs. 🕷💀🎃








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