“I would like a skull for Halloween,” Jessica says to me.
A skull? This from the queen of pink, sparkling Halloween decorations?
“And the ‘Beware’ sign.”
She points at a black sign with ravens perched on it. What happened to the cheerful light-up pumpkins and the adorable little black cats and the plump smiling ghosts she used to love?
“Are you going Goth?” I ask.
“I do not even know what that means,” she sniffs.
I open my mouth to explain, then stop, daunted. I am not often daunted, but trying to explain Goth to Jessica seems beyond my powers at this moment.
“So you’re not being Goth.”
She shakes her head. “This skull,” she says, handing it to me. It is a deeply creepy skull.
“This is so not like you,” I say.
“It is like me today,” she says. “And that black candle fits inside.”
“The black candle?” I say. There are purple ones, orange ones, and, yes, pink ones.
“Well, get the one with the glitter if you have to,” she says, exasperated.
“Me?” I say. “I’m not the one obsessed with shiny things.” This is a bald-faced lie and she doesn’t dignify it with a response.
“And that spider,” she says, and I turn to look, barely repressing a shriek. “I think that will all fit in the budget,” she adds serenely.
“The spider? That spider? It looks … real.”
“Yes,” she says happily.
“I hate spiders.”
“It is not a real spider.”
“Can we get the one that’s made out of beads instead? So I don’t have a heart attack every time I see it?”
“You will not have a heart attack,” she says, rolling her eyes. “You are being sarcastic.”
“No, I think I may actually have a heart attack if I have to look at that thing all day.”
“Whatever,” she says and picks up the beaded spider.
“Thank you,” I say humbly. I eye our purchases. “You’re sure?”
“This is what Halloween looks like.”
“It’s never looked like this before at our house.”
“It is the real Halloween.” She gives me a look. “You know what Halloween is.”
“Yes,” I say, and don’t add, but how do you?
“Then that is fine,” she says.
“Will we be telling ghost stories later?” I inquire.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she says.