I am not, in any way, trying to keep up with the proverbial Jones’. I do not, in any way, feel obligated to participate in the Official Halloween Inflatable Club of my neighborhood, even when my children desperately want to adopt an air-filled dragon or ghost or tree or cat or, really, anything inflated.

Yet I fumble, in the front yard, with freezing cold fingertips, to assemble the newest addition to our parcel of land on planet Earth. The twelve-foot tall ghost inflatable is dragged from the cardboard box and loosely positioned in the grass. Stakes, securing lines, power cord. I plug the giant ghost into the garage outlet, watching the magic of rushing air, minimal excitement (in broad daylight) follows.

Telephone rings. Impromptu dinner plans form of fajitas, salsa, and chips. When we return from the restaurant, under the cover of full darkness, collective Oohh’s and Aahh’s rise from the backseat of the van. Our gargantuan tribute to Halloween can be seen from many houses away, glowing all boo-like from the internal flickering lights. In the moment, I’m happy that I agreed to the clearance-item purchase. It is really cool, even if I now belong to the cliché Official Halloween Inflatable Club of my neighborhood.