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I confessed weeks ago to buying Halloween candy the moment it appeared on the commissary shelves and have done a pretty good job of keeping my paws out of it.

Other ghoulish items have somehow made their way home with me in the meantime. For instance, a Frankenstein piñata, already loaded with candy, practically leaped into my cart at Costco last week.

It was a bargain! How could I resist? Everyone needs a fully loaded Frankenstein piñata, right?

Little did I know at the time that Frankie would come in handy, as would the big plastic jar of gummy eyeballs I bought to keep him company. That’s because I made those creepy purchases before Jimmy somehow talked his father into allowing him to have a Halloween party at our house.

I’m still not sure exactly how Jimmy did it, but I think his appendectomy in mid-September gave him a bit of leverage.

The conversation probably began something like this: “Hey Dad, now that I’m off the operating table, can I have a couple of friends over?”

“A couple of friends” has grown into a list of nearly 20 eighth-graders. When I took a close look at the names, I received my first scare of the Halloween season; there were as many girls’ names on the list as boys.

Jimmy hasn’t invited a girl to his birthday party since he was in first grade, and something tells me this is a different kind of party altogether.

What if there are zombies holding hands in my basement?

Ewwwwww. That is so much grosser than any Halloween gag I can think of.

I’m going to be prepared for such ghoulish behavior by having Tommy on patrol in the basement, with instructions to report any bodily contact of a friendly nature.

That means the usual pushing and shoving that goes on around here is OK.

Ronnie will have the same assignment on the main floor, and Ron will be the roaming patrolman, making sure no one is brave enough to sneak upstairs or outside.

Glory will be out of the way somewhere that she can’t snarl at the guests or steal their food.

I won’t have to bribe Tommy and Ronnie to spy for me because they are dying to see how their big brother acts around girls his own age. Who am I kidding? I’m dying to see how he acts.

Does he really have female friends who are brave enough to enter our testosterone-filled home on a Saturday night? Don’t they know that all sorts of things lurk in the shadows that are much scarier than fake spiders and screaming skulls?

The pile of smelly sneakers at our front door is enough to make me want to run for cover, and I live here!

I hope for Jimmy’s sake that everyone on the guest list shows up, girls included. If a coven of warty witches is waiting on my porch that night, the lights will stay dim in keeping with the Halloween theme.

But if I open the door to any pirate wenches or vampire vixens, every lamp in the house is getting switched on.

Jimmy may be able to face the operating room on his own, but does he have any idea what he’s getting into this time?

I’m going to keep that piñata ready just in case those teenagers need something to keep their hands busy.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or find the Zichs online at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.

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