Haunted-house decor causes fright for neighborhood kids

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DEAR ABBY: We have a neighbor who “decorates” his yard for Halloween in the worst way imaginable. Every year it becomes more macabre. He has “bodies” hanging from tree limbs, gravestones with RIP on dirt mounds and other unbelievable atrocities. He thinks it’s funny. It is despicable and it scares the children who must walk past his yard.

When we ask him not to put such deplorable items in our neighborhood, he doesn’t take it seriously. I’m thinking about taking up a collection and bribing him not to put his growing, vulgar display up this year. What can we do? — SPOOKED IN TOPEKA

DEAR SPOOKED: What you’re describing is a feature of Halloween that many children enjoy. However, you can’t “protect” your children forever. When they’re old enough to understand, explain to them that this is all done in the spirit of fun, and it’s not real or dangerous.

DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I were 18, we decided to have each other’s initials tattooed on our ring fingers. His tattoo included the initial that one day became my last name. It’s been 10 years and our marriage is still solid and beautiful.

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I have worked hard at a nursing career, but I feel self-conscious about my tattoo, although I now wear rings as well. I still like my tattoo, but I don’t want people judging me because of it. My husband says I’ll only hurt myself if I remove something I love having. Do I express my love the way I wish or succumb to nasty stares from patients? — INKED FOR LOVE

DEAR INKED FOR LOVE: I agree with your husband. You are entitled to express your love any way you wish. Many professional people sport tattoos that are far more flamboyant than the one you have. If you catch a patient staring, smile and share the story behind it. I think it is sweet and rather charming.

DEAR ABBY: I am friends with two women who dislike each other. Neither one has family, so I usually invite them over for holiday dinners. Over the past 10 years they have tolerated each other and been cordial. But this summer they had a big row, and the divide is even wider.

I love them both, but how do I now handle Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, knowing how they feel about each other? Should I extend the usual invitation and hope for the best? Or should I not invite either of them to avoid the possible conflict?

I will not take sides. I think both of them are being petty and childish, but I also don’t know what to do. My family is quite large, and these two have always blended in nicely. — IN THE MIDDLE

DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: Because you feel that having them together in the same room would cause tension for you, my advice is to have them over on alternate holidays.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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