In less than a week, the once-a-year collection of ghosts, goblins, witches and warlocks will be parading around town trying to scare the bejabbers out of us.
There's scarier things out there, baby.
We mean gut-wrenching, earth-shattering, split-your-eyeballs scary.
We figured we'd put things in perspective for you. Let the kids (no matter their ages) parade around dressed like Bill and Hillary.
We'll scare you more.
COME FLY WITH ME
With a little help from our friends at the Statistical Assessment Service, we give you reason to fear modern
They tell us our odds of dying in a plane crash (based on flying 100,000 miles a year on large commercial jets) are about 1 in 500,000. Those of us left on the ground have a 1 in 25 million chance of being killed by a plane falling on us.
In 1994, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were only 723 air and space transport accident fatalities. On the other hand, there were 42,524 motor-vehicle fatalities.
"Since far more of us drive than fly, should our drivers licenses denote next of kin?" asks the Assessment Service.
They know how to make people feel good, don't they?
Scientists have called them "the ants from hell" and "urban terorists" spread- ing through the southeastern United States at a rate of four to five miles a year.
That would put them in Colorado roughly by the year 2409.
That is, unless they hop a train or ride in with someone from Texas, where fire ants have spread into the eastern two- thirds of the state. (Don't scoff; they hitched a ride from South America to the States on cargo ships.)
They're nasty little critters, with bites that cause itchy, painful pimples. Animals and people alike have died from fire-ant bites.
The little pests are so good - uh, bad - that experts say the only way to eradicate them is to stop egg production by the queen ant.
Maybe you can invite her to dinner and fix her up with a killer fly.
Smaller than the size of a pin head, the fly keeps the ant in check by laying their eggs in the ant's head or thorax. After the eggs hatch, they feast on the ant's head tissue. Eventually the head falls off and the ant dies.
If you think killer ants and flies are scary, wait 'til you encounter killer bees.
These swarm-happy critters buzzed into the States in October 1990 and have since made themselves at home in Arizona, Texas and California.
These guys are aggressive and have killed animals and people.
OK, so they're not in Colorado. But they're in Arizona - a state that touches Colorado. Scary.
They never go away, no matter how tacky, because people can't resist the birthday jokes.
Like Jay O'Rear in East Calais, Vt. His sister and daughter decided to plant 50 of the plastic things in his yard in celebration of his 50th birthday.
But what's worse, ol' Jay decided to share his story with the folks at Gardener's Supply Co. So what do they do?
They're making it EASIER for people to play a tacky joke on their loved ones by selling a SET OF 40 of the "genuine plastic" birds for $149. If that isn't enough, get a set of 50 for $175.
If you simply can't resist, you call the catalog at (800) 863- 1700 or on the Web at www.gardeners.com.
THE DOCTOR IS IN
You don a flimsy gown and wait on the table for a stranger to come in and poke and prod your body, then prescribe you drugs you cannot pronounce for ailments you don't necessarily understand.
How about the doctor in Tijuana who willingly amputated a man's healthy leg purely to satisfy a sexual fetish.
The fetish, known as "apotemnophilia," is the sexual desire to remove a limb because the person doesn't believe it should be part of his body.
BUILD IT; THEY WILL COME
Need we say more?
Yes, we do. About 120,000 vehicles drive I-25 through the Springs each day. In 20 years, that number could climb by 60,000. Rest assured at least half of them will be tailgaters.
Don't look now, but there's a nasty little animal with eight stubby legs hanging on your face.
It's the microscopic face mite, and it lives on just about every human in the world. It doesn't do any harm, but doesn't it give you the shivers?
SPEAKING OF GERMS
Go ahead and plan your shopping trip.
First, you grab the cart, which has been touched by people who don't wash their hands, by children whose diapers have, well, leaked, and sprayed by people coughing, hacking and gagging their way through the produce line.
You examine melons that have been squeezed by the guy who is not quite over the flu. You pick up the box of cereal that feels sticky.
The 1996 Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy learned that people don't wash their hands as often as they should.
To learn this, they observed people's public restroom habits. Nearly a third of those folks did not wash their hands after using the bathroom.
Not washing hands results in the spread of germs that cause infections "ranging from the common cold to diarrhea," say the experts.
So imagine the meat cutter, the mother who just changed a dirty diaper and the sickly office worker whose runny nose is controlled by swiping his hand across his face.
You should be.
ARE YOU A PHOBIA PHREAK?
If you suffer from testophobia - a fear of taking tests - then you want to turn right away to the Hints from Heloise column. But if you're brave enough, take our test on phobias. The source: The Phobia List, from Fredd Culbertson's Web site (www.sonic.net/ fredd/ phobiz1.html
a) fear of rain
b) fear of radiation
c) fear of frogs
d) fear of humidity
a) fear of being tickled by feathers
b) fear of flying
c) fear of pterodactyl fossils
d) fear of skunks
a) fear of rubies
b) fear of RuPaul
c) fear of dirt
d) fear of floods
a) fear of bees
b) fear of beets
c) fear of smiling
d) fear of failure
a) fear of depth
b) fear of bathing
c) fear of death
d) fear of dishwashers
a) fear of cheating
b) fear of hair
c) fear of staring
d) fear of cheetahs
a) fear of dentures
b) fear of dentists
c) fear of driving
d) fear of trees
a) fear of work
b) fear of hairspray
c) fear of beer
d) fear of pins
a) fear of gymnastics
b) fear of nudity
c) fear of rubber
d) fear of laughter
a) fear of firearms
b) fear of lameness
c) fear of grasshoppers
d) fear of forests
PHOBIAS IN DEPTH
Just in time for your Halloween giving, here's a book that's billed as "the perfect gift for every neurotic on your list." It's the "Pop-up Book of Phobias" (Rob Weisbach Books, $24.95), a creative approach to portraying some common fears. Open up the page to "ophidiophobia," and a bunch of snakes come leaping off the page. The "coulrophobia" page pops up with an evil-looking clown that could trigger an epidemic of coulrophobia.
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