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Dadostein's Monster(s)

Bringing my children into the the creepier side of the Halloween fold was something I wanted to do the moment they crested. But I had to wait. I had to be patient. Starting them too young could mean a lifetime of avoidance, and waiting too long to show them the wonders of haunting could leave them missing out on a lifetime of incredible October evenings. I wanted to expose them to all the opportunities of the holiday; from the obvious trick-or-treating in cute costumes, to the full blown, artistic side of haunting.

I will never forget the first time I airbrushed makeup on my daughters' faces. Ellie was 5 and Lila 7. Their mom was out running errands, and it was just the three of us home together. They were both a bit leary, but since Dado was the one doing it, they were willing take to partake in my experiment. To be truthful, they didn’t have much of a choice; Halloween was going to be a huge part of their lives one way or another. I had also learned at an early age from my father: the best and only time to get shit done was when Mom wasn’t home.

I started by painting their fingernails so they could see how harmless and silly the blown makeup felt on their tiny digits. We then graduated to their faces, but without spraying makeup: just the cool air gently hitting their features. It made them giggle, especially when I worked my way around their ears and foreheads. It was a brand new experience between a father and his little ladies, exciting and sentimental. {For me, this memory came in a close second place, trailing behind the time Ellie first tried (and liked) pastrami. It was so cute watching the New York Style, thinly-sliced slabs of pig dangling from her tiny mouth - brought a tear to my eye}.

Once I stopped the nostalgic revisits of my past, I quickly loaded the makeup, and prepped to get to work. I was like a surgeon, but also not at all like a surgeon. There was no sterilization or fancy layout of tools; no assistants to hand me instruments of precision. As I remember it, this scene painted us smack dab in the middle of our filthy garage, surrounded by a bunch of dirty tools, containers holding a variety of expired fuels, and the walls plastered with posters from my past.

Time was of the essence, Mom would be home soon, and if she saw me desecrating the faces of our two adorable children, there was no telling the emotional spoliation that would reign down. The younger one was first, and her sister nudged her closer to me. I began sweeping left to right, as slowly as I could without her flailing and ruining my intentions. I talked as I went, telling her to hold still, close her eyes (not too tight!) and hold her breath. Looking back, it was probably a bit scary for my 4-year-old to do this, but I was, and still am to this day, honored she trusted me.

Lila was next, and her trepidation was palpable, but she held very still, eyes closed and breath held.

Within a matter of moments, I was able to stand back and admire my work(s). They were absolutely gorgeous! I had single handedly taken my two beautiful little girls and transformed them into beastly masterpieces. I looked away as to not have them see the tear of delight strolling down my face. I had done it, we had done it! My chuckle turned into a full-blooded roar as I raised both my arms in reenactment.

“They’re ALIVE!!”

Neither one of them got the reference - they were too young.

Written by Chad Zingales on 4/15/23 while shopping for spaghetti sauce online.

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