Halloween is my favorite holiday, hands down. Christmas and Thanksgiving are not without their charms, but both involve stressful family get-togethers with their attendant mind-numbingly tedious mealtime conversations. My brother’s gag concerning the whereabouts of the gravy boat ("I think it ran aground!") got big laughs the first time he said it—back in 1974. Now it’s a teeth-grinding, anticipatory nightmare, like an imminent tax deadline or waiting for a physical...

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