It used to be one of my favorite holidays, except for carving pumpkins. I had five kids gathered around a table covered with newspaper and pumpkin goo in my hair, but the end result was always worth it – a collection of ghoulish and sometimes goofy jack-o-lanterns all aglow at the front door. Gone are the days when body parts and tombstones littered our front lawn. No more oversized mechanical spider lurking off the walkway ready to pounce on unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. My kids are grown, and some have flown the coop, but this Halloween still managed to be terrifying!

The day began like any other. I was rushing around throwing lunch together for Haley when I noticed a puddle of water on the floor beneath the refrigerator. I opened the freezer drawer.

A gallon of ice cream looked a little lopsided. I picked it up, and it collapsed in my hand. It had completely melted! Everything in the freezer was going soft. I opened the doors and reached for the milk. Luke warm at best! I screamed, and Maury came rushing in. He was getting ready to leave for a business trip to Oregon.

“Our fridge is dead!” I yelled. 

I began emptying things out of the freezer into a laundry basket and then transferring them to our spare fridge outside. Unfortunately, that refrigerator is just as packed with even more food but mostly beer. Haley came downstairs, running late as usual. I instructed Maury to keep the transfer process going. I put a meat thermometer in the fridge. It read 65 degrees. I was frantic! I called Sears and begged for a repairman. They had a repairman in the area, but I was informed our fridge no longer had a warranty. I could purchase a one-year warranty for $299. It would cover parts and labor up to $500. That was a fraction of the cost of the all the food I stood to lose! Who would say no?

“Send him over!” I pleaded. 

I dropped Haley off at school, and when I returned, Maury had three ice chests set up. The outside fridge was packed, and the freezer was bulging with frozen food. Some things I just threw away. When in doubt, throw it out. I personally hate food poisoning, so out went most of my dairy items and other questionable food. Oh, and of course it was 85 degrees – one of the warmest Halloweens in history!

The doorbell rang. It was the repairman. We showed him into the kitchen. He pulled the refrigerator away from the wall and got down on the floor with a flashlight. “Umm, do you have a broom? There’s a dead rodent under here.”

“Are you kidding me? Oh my gosh, I am so sorry!” I said, mortified. “We have seven cats. What a bunch of slackers!” 

Maury got the broom and quickly disposed of the carcass.

“I’ve seen worse,” the repairman said calmly. 

Gee, what could be worse than a decaying rodent? I don’t want to know. After inspecting the fridge, he delivered more grim news. The fridge needed a new compressor. It would be at least 10 days to get the required parts, and the cost would be more expensive than the $500 max covered in our one-year warranty. Maury was eyeing the clock. He had to get going to the airport. I had to make my move.

“We’re buying a new refrigerator!” I blurted out. “We cannot live out of ice chests for 10 days!”

Maury is not an impulsive guy. He usually likes to research big purchases and take his time, but we were playing beat the clock, and he knew it.

“Go online. See if Sears can deliver tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll get the emergency credit card.” 

I love that guy.

The doorbell rang. It was UPS. After years of watching those Omaha Steak commercials, I finally decided to try it. Of course, the enormous box of frozen meat, franks and apple tartlets shows up on the one day my refrigerator breaks down! Thankfully, my neighbor had room in her freezer, and she kindly stored my steaks. I owe her a big sirloin and a couple tartlets.

Maury rushed to the airport and barely made his flight. Our new fridge was scheduled to be delivered the next day. I almost forgot it was Halloween. My kids had plans with their friends, and as dusk fell, I found myself sitting alone in the kitchen with Chance, our new puppy, sleeping by my feet.

My freaky Halloween finally came to an end. It was such a crazy day, I barely had time to miss the sweet Halloweens of years gone by when my kids were little, and maybe that’s a good thing. On the upside, one of the ice chests outside was full of cold beer. Trick or treat!