RICKTER SCALE: Ghoulish bride finds fun in Halloween

Obsessive Halloween Disorder puts spouse on alert high for All Hallows Eve

As we roll into October, the bride’s OHD flies into high gear like a witch on a turbo-charged broom.

For those not familiar with the syndrome, OHD stands for Obsessive Halloween Disorder, a quip one of Joan’s co-workers cleverly crafted, much to my perverse delight.

Some of the symptoms of OHD include starting to put up collections of ghosts, skulls, witches and other otherworldly items in September.

And that’s only because I’ve managed to hammer out an agreement that she refrain until August is behind us so we don’t spoil the last barbecues of summer by turning our courtyard into a graveyard.

Another sure sign OHD has taken hold is the need to keep one or two Halloween decorations up throughout the year.

I’ve backed off on that futile fight because it’s almost a relief to see the bulk of the black mass of decorations come down grudgingly around mid-November.

I will admit though, it is easier to find the keyhole after dark with 20 or 30 sets of glowing eyes sunken into skeletons, plastic pumpkins and other lost souls illuminating the yard. Whoever came up with the idea of battery-powered glow in the dark devices certainly had Joan in mind.

She actually gets an additional spring in her step the first time she spots the Halloween displays starting to adorn the windows of the various loonie stores she passionately peruses every year in the hope that something new has come onto the market.

If it was up to my little bride of Frankenstein, the holiday world would be turned on its skeletal ear, with Halloween becoming a month-long festival of fright. To compensate, she would gladly turn Christmas into a one off limited to muted family gatherings.

When we first moved into our comfortable cluster of townhouses 16 years ago, Joan would dress up to hand out treats at the door of our over-decorated domain. I used to love responding to the parents who said “Your kids  must love this!” with “actually, my kid is 22 and he lives in Vancouver.”

Although the lure of Sunriver has caused the 30-odd kids we used to get to dwindle to less than a handful, Halloween is still a full-tilt boogie event in our home. For now, and the foreseeable future, as nauseam.

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Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist.