This is an opinion piece.

One night last week, my 7-year-old son, James David, climbed in bed beside Malarie, his mother and my beautiful bride.

Malarie got up and walked James back to his bedroom, where she laid down with him until he fell asleep again. We’ve made a practice of not allowing our children to sleep with us, because we know it’s difficult to break once it becomes a habit.

On the drive to school, I asked James why he woke up. “Because I was having a bad dream,” he said.

Before James could describe his dream, my 5-year-old son, Brady, started telling about his dreams. Sometimes he has funny dreams and sometimes he has scary dreams. Sometimes he dreams about superheroes, including every member of our family being a different superhero.

And then Brady said, “One time, I dreamed about shooting a chicken with a Nerf gun.”

I laughed then, and I laughed again when I wrote that sentence. However, it makes me wonder if he used the Nerf gun at his Poppy and Nana Haven’s home to actually shoot one of their chickens.

Brady can be a mischievous boy, so I’m not surprised by anything he does, such as wanting to be a zombie for Halloween. Trust me, I didn’t teach him to like zombies. He came up with that on his own, because I’m not a fan of scary stuff. I never have been.

Brady doesn’t want a zombie costume. Instead, he wants Malarie to paint him like a zombie. I’m interested to see how that goes.

Unlike his brother, James is taking the traditional route and going with a costume. He’s dressing up as Darth Vader. Malarie ordered James’ costume, and it’s already arrived at our home.

I just hope the costume, and the two lightsabers that came with it, survive until Halloween.

Our almost 3-year-old daughter, Maggie Jo, told me she wants to be a witch for Halloween. Chances are she’ll change her mind a few times before then. If she doesn’t, she’ll make the cutest witch I’ve ever seen.

In case you’re wondering, life’s never dull around our house. 

Shannon J. Allen is publisher for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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