Friday, October 09, 2009

Dirty, Rotten Tricksters… by Melinda Wentzel

NOTE FROM SUSAN: I’ve always loved the writing of Melinda Wentzel, aka Planet Mom. Melinda defines herself as a “freelance writer—humor columnist—wife—Chief Boo-Boo Eradicator—and Mom Extraordinaire who strives to connect with readers who live deep in the trenches of Parentville or in the suburbs of Insane Land just down the road. Her circus includes: Seek and Destroy (i.e. twin third-graders), the Womanchild (i.e. co-ed daughter) and Captain Quirk (that manly man who thinks labeling the piles of clutter he creates is normal). The daily chaos that exists within her world is virtually without limit. Basically, she writes because she can’t afford good therapy.” But, seriously, Melinda Wentzel is a very talented writer who has been published just about everywhere and has a regular newspaper column, "Notes from Planet Mom," that reaches nearly 60,000 readers per week in the largest geographic county in Pennsylvania via the Webb Weekly of Williamsport. That’s why I am SO thrilled that Melinda has agreed to contribute regular columns to Susan Heim on Parenting! I know you’re going to love her just as much as I do. Today’s piece is about finding just the right costumes for Halloween! And, yes, those really are her twins in the photo!

My youngest children recently informed me they weren’t at all interested in being cute, cuddly or even remotely adorable this Halloween. Instead, they’ve opted for the embodiment of all that is wicked, evil and downright horrifying. Forget the plump pumpkins, whiskered kitties, floppy-eared puppies and the most endearing little lumberjacks I ever saw—the ones my husband and I painstakingly adorned with pointillism-inspired beards (read: charcoal eyeliner) and then hauled from porch to porch in his red, wooden wagon, its rugged wheels rumbling over hill and dale, filling the night air with a symphony of sound.

Apparently those days are over. My charges have turned the proverbial page as worldly second graders. They’ve gone from charming to chilling, from harmless to haunting from droll to dark. Seemingly overnight. Indeed, they would rather terrorize the neighborhood as a green-faced, broom-wielding witch (“…because witches are scary, Mom!”) and her vicious beast-of-a-pet cat (“…because that would really creep people out, Mom!”). A black cat, of course. With a rubbery and decidedly dead rat dangling from its maw.

It could be worse, I suppose. I could have caved to their incessant pleas for costumes that made my skin crawl (read: the vat of horribleness that featured bloodstained fangs, impaled heads and severed limbs). I drew the line at gruesome this year, knowing full well I will lose that battle someday. My concession was agreeing to the purchase of black lipstick and nail polish. I figured I could tolerate at least that much macabre nonsense—as long as they promised not to go goth on me as teens.

Yeah right. That’s a promise they’ll soon forget.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.
Visit me there at,
and, too.

Copyright 2008 Melinda L. Wentzel


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