Their chorus of “Trick or Treat!” stuttered to a halt when George opened the door. The children gaped at the wirey hair all over his head, the huge, multifaceted sets of eyes that stared, unblinking, at their tiny forms and soaked in the shadows cast by their flashlights. George splayed his fangs in a disarming smile and leaned forward to offer the bowl of candy.“What do we have here?” he said. “Batman. Princess. Vampire, classic.”

The parents laughed nervously and nudged their kids, reminding them not to be scared. Noticing the candy, they lunged forward to scoop handfuls of chocolates out of the bowl.

“That’s a hell of a costume,” one of the adults, a man dressed as Luke Skywalker, told him.

“Thank you!” George said. He adjusted his bow tie and then brandished his toy sonic screwdriver. “The younger kids don’t get it sometimes.”

The Skywalker smiled, tentatively urging his own child forward. “I’m a little behind on the series, I guess I haven’t see the episode where Dr. Who turned into a spider.”

George laughed, perhaps too loudly, mandibles jerking back and forth. “Yes! Episode! This is definitely an elaborate costume and definitely not a horrible experiment in genetics gone wrong!”

The mob of trick or treaters retreated quickly from George’s porch and he slumped back onto his couch. Doctor Araneae emerged from his lab to swipe a Kit Kat from the bowl and clucked at George.

“I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go out in public, Doctor,” George said. “I’ll be stuck in this house of yours forever.”

“I told you to go with the Tom Baker version,” Dr. Araneae croaked. “Everyone knows the scarf. You can’t go wrong with the scarf.”