Trick or Treat | Halloween Jokes

Happy Halloween everyone! Instead of candy (which is difficult to enjoy digitally), here are some Halloween jokes. And as with all terrible jokes, please enjoy them responsibly.

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What did one ghost say to the other ghost?
“Do you believe in people?”

What did the boy ghost say to the girl ghost?
“You look boo-tiful tonight.”

What do birds give out on Halloween night?
Tweets

What do ghosts add to their morning cereal?
Booberries

What do ghosts drink at breakfast?
Coffee with scream and sugar.

What do ghosts eat for dinner?
Spookgetti

What do you call a ghost with a broken leg?
Hoblin Goblin

What do you call a witch who lives at the beach?
A sand-witch

What do you call someone who puts poison in a person’s corn flakes?
A cereal killer

What do you get when you cross a vampire and a snowman?
Frostbite

What do you get when you cross a werewolf and a vampire?
A fur coat that fangs around your neck.

What do you get when you cross Bambi with a ghost?
Bamboo

What does a skeleton orders at a restaurant?
Spare ribs

What does a vampire never order at a restaurant?
A stake sandwich

What does the papa ghost say to his family when driving?
“Fasten your sheet belts.”

What is a ghost’s favorite mode of transportation?
A scareplane

What is a ghoul’s favorite flavor?
Lemon-slime

What is a skeleton’s favorite musical instrument?
A trombone

What is a vampire’s favorite candy?
A sucker

What is a vampire’s favorite holiday?
Fangsgiving

What is a vampire’s favorite sport?
Casketball

What kind of cereal do monsters eat?
Ghost-Toasties

What kind of mistakes do spooks make?
Boo boos

What kind of streets do zombies like the best?
Dead ends

What type of dog do vampire’s like the best?
Bloodhounds

What would a monster’s psychiatrist be called?
Shrinkenstein

When does a skeleton laugh?
When something tickles his funny bone

Where do spooks water ski?
On Lake Erie

Who did Frankenstein take to the prom?
His ghoul friend

Why did the vampire go to the orthodontist?
To improve his bite

Why do mummies have trouble keeping friends?
They’re so wrapped up in themselves.

What do skeletons say before they begin dining?
Bone appetit!

Why don’t angry witches ride their brooms?
They’re afraid of flying off the handle.

Why don’t skeletons ever go out on the town?
Because they don’t have any body to go out with…

Why was the mummy so tense?
He was all wound up

Jokes courtesy of Ink Stains with Roni

And of course, a clip from the animated version of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree (with voices by Leonard Nimoy!)

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My Halloween Present

This past Friday, I got to get out of work a bit early so I could pick up the girls from Grandma’s daycare to visit my wife where she works.

The company that my wife works for goes all out for holidays, and Halloween is no exception. Every department was given money to decorate their area in spooky decor and buy candy to hand out. And then from 3pm to 5pm, workers were encouraged to bring their kids in costume through the haunted halls to each office, cubicle, and workstation to trick-or-treat, where the costumed staff would hand out candy. Some departments were even giving out full-size candy bars.

I love where my wife works.

Not just because of the candy that we got (that my two-year-old isn’t going to eat by herself), but because they really seem to value family. This was our daughter’s first Halloween where she participated in some way, and though it wasn’t a huge thing, it was a special way to spend an afternoon together.

We learned a few things too: Our oldest might be afraid of giant bananas. She is definitely afraid of people in alien masks. But she is even more afraid of the semi-trucks that were driving in and out of the shipping department as we walked into the building.

Now, let me tell you about the costume. In accordance with the challenge issued by my friend Jessie Clemence over on her blog, my wife and I chose to make a costume for our daughter for under $5.00. My original thought was to make a book costume modeled after one of her favorite board books, but we didn’t have the time to pull if off well. My second thought was to somehow use one or more of the many, many baby shower gift bags that we’ve been hanging onto for far too long. When I told this idea to my wife, she told me that she was thinking along the same lines.

So, we made our daughter into a present for Halloween at a total cost of zilch. We found an appropriately sized bag, cut a hole in the bottom for her legs, had her put her arms through the handles and tied the handles together with a ribbon behind her back so she wouldn’t be able to take it off. For finishing touches, we stuffed tissue paper around her (and I was surprised that she didn’t even try to remove it). She even carried around another smaller gift bag to use for collecting candy.

Look at how happy she is!

And for anyone concerned that little sister didn’t get to participate, she did. But since her costume is essentially a pair of fuzzy pajamas with ears on the hood and required absolutely no effort on our part, it might be considered cheating as far as Halloween costumes are concerned. Also, she’s 3-months-old and has no concept of holidays yet.

Anyway, here’s wishing you and yours a happy and safe Halloween!

I am one to take offers literally.

I was a freshman in high school when my church got a new youth pastor. Pastor Alan Moody had me pegged as a quiet, shy, innocent boy when we first met, perhaps because I was a freshman and my older brother was a senior. It didn’t take long for him to realize his mistake.

Sometime in those first few weeks, he said to the youth group, “My door is always open. If you ever want to come by, feel free. Come over anytime. No exceptions.” Quite a statement.

Two years pass. We go on some mission trips, do some outreach things, and the youth group grows to love Pastor Alan.

During that year (my junior year, by which time I have my driver’s license), Pastor Alan arranged for four of us in the youth group (two guys, two gals) to take part in a weekend leadership seminar that was taking place at some Christian college a few hours away. We had signed all the necessary paperwork to be able to leave at the end of the school day in the church van in order to get down to the college in time.

But then the snowstorm hit.

Pastor Alan came to visit us during lunch to tell us that the seminar had been cancelled.

“That’s okay,” I said. “We’ll just come over to your house for the weekend. We’re already packed.”

It was true. Since we were planning on leaving from school, we all had packed bags sitting in our cars.

“Ha ha,” said Pastor Alan.

“You did say that we could come over anytime,” I said.

“Anytime,” he said, one eyebrow starting to lift.

“Great,” I said. “We’ll see you later.”

“Uh huh,” he said, eyebrows now knitted. “Later. Enjoy your weekend.”

That night, instead of leaving for the trip, the four of us attended the school’s varsity boys’ basketball game (three of us because we were in the jazz band that played at these events, the fourth to watch the game and the jazz band play). After the game, near 11:00pm, we left the school and drove over to Pastor Alan’s house and knocked on the door, arms full of luggage and convenience store snacks. His pregnant wife answered.

“Hi,” I said. “Pastor Alan said that your door is always open. So here we are.”

“Let me get Alan,” she said quietly, so as not to wake her four other kids.

Within about a minute, Pastor Alan came to the door.

“What are you doing here?”

“I said we were coming by.”

“The leadership thing was cancelled,” he said.

“Right,” I said. “Which is why we’re here instead.”

“…”

“Can we come in? It’s cold out here. You did say once that we could come over anytime.”

“Um,” he said. “Fine. But stay downstairs and try not to wake up the kids.”

We all went downstairs.

We played Nintendo games, ate junk food, and ended up waking at least one of the children. We stayed up to the wee hours and when we deemed it time for bed, the girls slept upstairs in the living room and the boys slept downstairs in the family room. I get the feeling that for the next week, Pastor Alan slept on the couch.

After my senior year, Pastor Alan took another job, becoming a camp director. The church got a new youth pastor. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in passing, Pastor Alan told the new youth pastor to avoid the phrase, “Come over anytime.”

Stephen King | On Writing

For my birthday this year, I got two copies of Stephen King’s “Memoir of the Craft”, On Writing. I didn’t keep them both, but I did keep one. The other, I exchanged for a newly released book of Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories. So it goes.

I asked for On Writing initially because so many writers and friends have read it and learned a great deal. I didn’t ask for it because I am an avid Stephen King reader. In fact, here’s the sad admission, aside from On Writing, I’ve never read a book by Stephen King. Oh, I’ve seen some of the movies based on his works (I especially enjoyed “The Green Mile”, mostly because I’m a big Tom Hanks fan), but that doesn’t really count. That said, I had no basis for whether or not I would enjoy Mr. King’s approach to writing. No expectations.

Stephen King in his finest duds.

You’ll be glad to know that I’m enjoying the book thoroughly. King’s mix of story, advice, and experiences with the craft come across as genuine. These are the tips picked up on the way to becoming a millionaire author, not the high-minded notions of a millionaire who happens to write. I appreciate his candor and would recommend this book for anyone who wishes to understand the world of writing a bit better, including those who are affected by the written word while not being writers themselves.

I’ll include a warning here about King’s salty language. He has a tendency not to mince words or play to the church crowd, thus his language may be too crass for the gentle-hearted among you. But as King himself says:

You must tell the truth if your dialogue is to have the resonance and realism that Hart’s War, good story though it is, so sadly lacks–and that holds true all the way down to what folks say when they hit their thumb with the hammer.

King is himself, and his advice is good. On Writing is quite a resource.

And here is the man himself, talking about short stories (a subject near to my heart).

Balancing Family, Marriage, Chores, and Writing. Oh yeah, and the Unexpected too.

My wife loves me.

I value my wife above all else.

But sometimes I struggle with managing my time in such a way that she feels that she’s number one. The last few weeks and months have been very busy. And although all of the things that we are busy with are either good or innocuous things, we are left with little discretionary time. My wife and I both work full-time. Her mom watches our girls while we are at work, and in order to get to work on-time after dropping the girls at her mom’s house, my wife needs to be out the door by 7am, so we are usually up by 5:30am to begin the morning routine. This is especially hard after our 3-month-old decides that she doesn’t like sleeping at night.

After my wife leaves at 7am, I have until 8:30am to write on my blog and take care of a few small chores around the house (taking the dog out, making the bed, etc.). Usually, this works out just fine, but problems arise when my morning is usurped by the unexpected. When that happens, I wait until evening after the girls go to bed to write. But back to the schedule.

After work, I get home and start making dinner, usually having it ready by the time my wife has picked up the girls and arrives home. We eat dinner as a family and enjoy some time with our girls before it is the oldest’s bedtime at 7:30pm. The 3-month-old doesn’t understand bedtime yet. I take the dog for a walk, my wife packs our lunches for the next day or does the dishes from dinner, and we head to bed at an embarrassingly early hour so we can try to get some chunks of sleep in-between our baby’s wakeful times.

Our goal for each weekend is to have at least a little time together where we aren’t running around like headless fowl, but for the last couple months, things keep coming up. First, our only car that holds both car seats broke down and we had to buy another. Then family stopped by. Then a friend needed help with some projects. So, while each other these things aren’t bad in and of themselves (except for the car thing, that could have been better), our time together is chipped away by the unexpected.

The thing about all of this is this: my wife feels most loved through quality time spent together. When we don’t have time together, her love tank starts to leak. And when I choose to spend time writing instead of spending time with her, I pretty much knock the tank over. And in the last few weeks, this has happened a few times. Why? Because I like writing, I take pride in knowing that other people are reading what I’ve written, and I haven’t missed a day of blogging since I started quite a while ago. Though, looking at those reasons in light of the fact that I wasn’t taking the best care of my wife that I could, I can only conclude that I was being selfish. Not that doing what I like doing is selfish, but that I was choosing my desires over my wife’s and without her consideration.

This all came to a head recently, and I hate when I have to admit to being selfish, but after talking it out, my wife and I have a new plan where my writing is concerned. In theory, in a few months, our baby will be sleeping a bit better. We’ll still have the daily grind to deal with, but that’s just part of life. I’m going to try to get a few blog posts in the hopper so if I need to miss a day of writing, I’ll still have something to post. And I’m going to be savagely protecting our weekends from the good things (like extended family time) that aren’t the best things (like quality wife time).

Things will improve. Our marriage is strong. I love my wife more than bears love outdoor defecation.

I am a writer, but I am a husband and father first.

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Are you a married person who has dealt with these issues? I’d love to hear your ideas for balancing life in the comments.

On the Publishing Process

I attended the Baker Publishing Group Sales Conference yesterday.

One of the perks for working for an indie bookstore that is owned by an indie publisher is that a few of us from the store get to sit in on these quarterly events. If you are scratching your head as to what a publishing sales conference is, let me start at the beginning.

An author writes a manuscript (okay, that isn’t the very beginning, but let’s start from there). The manuscript is submitted to an acquisitions editor at a publishing house. Sometimes manuscripts are submitted by authors, sometimes by agents, and sometimes they are requested from authors by publishers. Once the editor has the manuscript, he or she reads it. Of the many manuscripts that are read, only a few are selected to be presented at a pub-board meeting. Of the few presenting, fewer are approved by the pub-board. Those lucky few are given a good editing, cleaned up by the authors, and placed in the publishing queue. The art department starts designing the manuscript’s interior and cover. The marketing department starts getting to work on endorsements, reviews, ad placements, book tours, social media promotions, and print promotional materials. Once designed, the finished manuscript is sent off to the printer. The number printed is estimated by similar projects. All the bills are paid by the accounting office. Sales people sell the book into the retail channels (online retailers, big-box retailers, chain retailers, and indie retailers). The books are delivered to the publisher’s warehouse, where they are separated into the quantities ordered by the different retailers and shipped out by the publisher’s shipping department. The books find their homes in stores (etc.) where booksellers like me hope someone will pick them up off the shelf, read the back cover (written by a copywriter from the marketing department), and buy the book. The reader reads the book and lends it to his or her friends who all decide that they need a copy of their own. Books that don’t sell at retail are returned to the publisher and resold to select retailers (like the Bargain Books chains) to be sold as remainder copies for a fraction of the original price. Once all book sales are tabulated for a given time, royalty checks are cut to the authors. Sometimes this amounts to the equivalent of a low-paying job, rarely it amounts to much more (for every Harry Potter, there are ninety-nine books that don’t sell).

So, I kind of went off there about the entire publishing process (and even then, I’m sure that I missed quite a lot), but I wanted you to see all of the hands that touch a book before it even gets to the store bookshelf. The sales conference that I got to sit in on yesterday happens after the manuscript is sent off to the printer but before they are sold into the different retail channels. The conference exists to showcase the publisher’s offerings for that quarter to the salespeople so they can knowledgeably sell their products. The books that were presented yesterday won’t be showing up in stores until next summer and fall.

Why do I go to these sales conferences? I go because I work in marketing and church relations for the bookstore. By being there, I can make plans as to how to market them in my store and which books I will make sure to present to my church accounts. Plus, it is fascinating to see the publishing world from the inside. And it is encouraging. I have confidence, after seeing some of the things that are being published, that my writing stands a chance. I know that there are many rounds of elimination before publishers settle on which books to publish, but even then some stinkers sneak through. I just need to be better than those, right?

I love working for the bookstore, and I love being a step in the process to getting good books into people’s hands. I can’t wait until one of those books being presented in meetings like yesterday’s is mine.

100 Word Challenge | And winter will bring…

Will Holbrook was in love with his Latin teacher, Miss Hough. So even though he hated Latin, he signed up for both semesters, fall AND winter.

“Will!”

“…”

“Bring me your class schedule,” said Miss Hough. “Will?”

“Um,” said Will.

He was normally a good student, but in Latin, all he could study was his teacher. Her tousled hair, the way her glasses caught the light, her smile.

Handing over his schedule, Will sighed. Why must she be a teacher?

“Mmhmm,” she said. “Will, my sister just transferred in. You have a lot of the same classes. Would you show her around?”

Will smiled.