World without bugles

Gather around the newspaper, I have a Halloween story to share. Now this is a very scary Halloween story, so if you’re in the habit of reading the newspaper out loud you might want to send any small children out of the room. Are they gone? Check to be sure.


Gather around the newspaper, I have a Halloween story to share.

Now this is a very scary Halloween story, so if you’re in the habit of reading the newspaper out loud you might want to send any small children out of the room.

Are they gone? Check to be sure.

Sometimes kids will leave the room and then sneak back in when they don’t think you’re looking. You know what? Just to be on the safe side, I think you should read this to yourself.

OK, here’s what happened. This Halloween my husband and I were invited to a party. A very special sort of party. We were asked to dress up and to bring along a scary dish to contribute to the potluck snack table.

What a conundrum. It had been ages since either of us had dressed up for Halloween. What to be or not to be, that was the question. The answer?

We would be a bee of course! Or one of us would. The other would go as a bee keeper.

After a quick debate it was decided that I would go as the bee and Darcy as the bee keeper, not because he wanted to be in charge, but because he refused to wear black tights. Everyone knows you can’t be a bee without wearing black tights.

Next we had to decide on a scary snack dish. This shouldn’t have been a problem, especially for me, since most of my cooking is pretty scary. However, if I was going to panic the crowd I would need to do more than just burn the stew or make lumpy gravy.

I played around with olive eyeballs and cold spaghetti guts, but it just wasn’t working.

That’s when I came up with a brilliant idea. I would make the family’s secret cheese dip and accompany it with a big bowl of bugles. Bugles are a corn snack shaped into miniature cornucopias. How perfect is that? They also look a bit like that musical wind instrument — what do you call it?

Oh yeah. A bugle. The dip would be orange to honour autumn and the bugles in their harvest cornucopia shape could be stuck onto the tips of the feaster’s fingers to look like claws. How seasonal and scary would that be?

I found the ingredients for the cheese dip and smugly tossed them in my shopping cart. My plan was coming together beautifully. Then I turned the cart down the snack aisle past the nuts and popcorn, past the nachos and dip, past the potato chips and cheese pleasers.

At the end of the aisle I frowned at the pretzels, spun the cart around and headed back the way I had come. Past the cheese pleasers and potato chips, past the dip and nachos and past the popcorn and nuts. (Warning! The scary part is just ahead.)

Not a single bag of bugles could be found.

I shook my head, took a deep breath and tried again. I found hickory sticks, Doritos and even gourmet vegetable crisps made from sweet potatoes, turnips and beets — pretty scary — but no bugles.

I gripped the handles of my cart and tore like a mad woman through the store.

In the cracker and cookie aisle my heart jumped at the sight of a red foil bag, but it turned out to be rice crisps.

The lights overhead dimmed and surged. A loudspeaker crackled out, “Clean up in aisle five.” From somewhere in the depths of the dairy aisle a baby cried.

The nightmare repeated itself at a second grocery outlet, two department stores and too many gas stations to count. Dawson Creek was out of bugles.

With trembling hands I phoned my husband who scoured the streets of Fort St. John, only to come home shaken and empty handed. No one could explain it. Aliens? Bugle monsters? The quiet man who always kept to himself next door?

In our panic and desperation we did what anyone in our situation might have done. We bought a bag of corn chips instead.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can email her at

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