Home of the strange

Note: This post is a re-blog that I wrote for my friends over at The Smart Domestic. I was asked to ruminate on the question: “What makes home feel like home?”


“Oh, give me a home
Where the boogie men roam
Where the ghosts and the green goblins play”
-Song lyrics to “Home of the Strange” from the book “Sipping Spiders Through a Straw: Campfire Songs for Monsters”

Halloween is, hands down, the biggest holiday of the year for my family. It completely takes over the months of September and October, and is celebrated in spirit year round.


We transform our yard into a cemetery in late September, with tombstones bearing the names of ourselves, our friends, and our loved ones. My husband, Dave, and I have one that says “Happily Wed and Newly Dead.” We usually have multiple costume changes and every weekend is taken up with some sort of Halloween activity – from family fare like hay rides and pumpkin carving to grown-up stuff like horror conventions, metal fests and masquerade balls.

You see, we’re a creepy family. Dave and I are huge horror genre fans, and through that glorious process of osmosis/parenting/indoctrination (whatever you want to call it) our kids have come to love and appreciate the things we love.

My 4-year-old daughter, Wilhelmina, is the most knowledgeable toddler Godzilla enthusiast on the planet. And yes, her namesake is the lovely Wilhelmina Murray from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” She can name all the Toho monsters – and a good deal of those from the Gamera universe as well.

My 2-year-old son, Corbett, is probably the only little guy in his day care class who asks to watch the 1987 cult classic “Garbage Pail Kids.” He just calls it “Kids.”

Of course, they were introduced to all of these things, and more, by me and Dave. But I like to think weirdness is in their genes.

There are a million quotes out there about how the worst thing you can be is boring. I won’t dig up any of those, but I always believed this to be generally true. I never really tried too hard to fit in, and when I did I usually failed. So at some point, I just decided to be me. And I tried to fill my life with people who were strange and interesting.

If I could, I would wipe out “small talk” completely. It’s so dull. At home, we don’t really ever do “small talk.” I get to talk about things I love with people I love. And never have I been more at home being me, than I am at home with Dave, Wilhelmina and Corbett.

After dinner we can run around the house pretending to be vampire bats, then grab some popcorn and watch “Hotel Transylvania 2.” We can read comics as bedtime stories, and tuck the kids in with Japanese robots.

Then, Dave and I can snuggle up and watch VHS classics, now re-released on Blu-Ray – like “Ninja III: The Domination” or a classic Italian gore-fest like “The Beyond.” We can drink craft beer and talk about serial killers or obscure death rock bands. We can be ourselves, and be loved all the more for it.



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