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Halloween 2005 losing to competition - Ed Brock

Scary masks and imaginary hobgoblins just don't scare me this year.

You want a scary costume? Dress up like a bird.

I will say, however, that the old Cosmic Comedian really outdid itself when it made a parrot the carrier of the bird flu in Great Britain.

A dead parrot, get it? Somebody call John Cleese.

“This parrot is dead. If it wasn't nailed to the perch it'd be pushing up daisies. This parrot is no more. This – is an ex- – parrot!”

So as H5N1 literally wings its way around the world I also learn that we are grossly unprepared for its arrival and possible mutation into a mass killer pandemic.

As a parent, I am truly afraid of this. It worries me much more than the possibility of a terrorist attack because the chances of being a victim of a pandemic are far better than being in the wrong place at the wrong time for a dirty bomb.

But now that we're on the subject, what about the report that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has apparently increased his strength to the point that he rivals Osama bin-Laden.

And by the way, aren't we still fighting a WAR!

No, Halloween just can't compete with reality this year in terms of scariness.

Of course, it's not really supposed to be truly scary for grown-ups, anyway. I find it much more appealing as a sort of mockery of fear. After all, that's the only thing we have to fear, right?

Fear, I mean. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, remember?

Just another British reference for you.

Anyway, despite it's lack of terror, Halloween is a week away and I am looking forward to it. Alas, my daughter Emily is a little young for trick-or-treating this year, though we have bought her the obligatory baby pumpkin outfit to wear to daycare.

Later this week I'll be carving jack-o-lanterns and hanging cob webs in my bushes. I even have one of those inflatable things to put in the front yard.

It's time for the first festival of the fall and winter season, and with all the horrors that surround us, we need it.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipal governments for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or at ebrock@news-daily.com .