The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

Breaking sad, part 1: a very CVS Halloween

Sandra Tsing Loh's has a new TV show to watch this fall.

I'll admit that this time of year is challenging.  As November edges into the holidays and darkness comes earlier and earlier?  It's all one can do to fight off the approaching gloom with one's own bare hands - Or to lock oneself in an RV and hysterically fire a gun at it, as one would at The Walking Dead.  Which is unfortunately the new show I've started on NetFlix, now that the Breaking Bads have run out.

It's not a relaxing TV combo.  I kid you not, the other night I had this dream where I was playing a zombie extra in a movie being filmed in the New Mexico desert and I had but one line: "I've come to save your life through capsaicin.  Yummy, yummy capsaicin."  I have no idea what that even means.

So sure, one could blame a haunting sense of impending darkness on my irresponsible viewing habits.  But, I also blame the increasingly long shadow of Halloween.  Perhaps I'm mis-remembering how it was when my girls were littler, but it feels like what was a PG or PG-13 holiday is trending increasingly R.

Take those creepy Halloween stores - I mean, those rubbery masks are becoming wa-a-ay too realistic - It looks like people-shoppers, perhaps - actually really did die in there, and they just slapped a wig on them, and maybe a necklace of candy corn.

So I avoid those, but still, near my house, every year they put up a pumpkin patch with bales of hay and a petting zoo IN THE PARKING LOT OF THE CVS.  Because nothing says the holidays like the parking lot of the CVS.  Where young men in Raiders caps pause their texting long enough to sell me overpriced and slightly bruised pumpkins.  Nice!

Meanwhile, even the snacks at those kid Halloween parties have become ever more unnecessarily graphic.  From my own childhood, I remember cupcakes with orange frosting and maybe chocolate chips to suggest the season's colors.  But no.  This year, I saw plastic skulls teeming with gummy worms, grapes on toothpicks that looked like eyeballs, blood red Hawaiian punch with dry ice, and a severed hand in it (it was a surgical glove filled with jello) - And, new creative twist, a head of raw cauliflower with a knife through the top spattered with red food coloring to suggest a bloody brain.  Even Oreo cookies come now with hallucinogenic orange filling - what's up for next year?  Pepperidge Farm goldfish with carefully severed little heads-?  Caught in a commercial fishing net made of licorice?

But the scariest adventure was yet to come.  Next week: Fear of High School.