I was watching a nature documentary, and it might as well have been called "This Disgusting Planet and the Revolting Things That Infest It." It concerned a nightmarish parasite that inhabited the body of a snail, took it over and made it pulse a variety of colors to make it look alive. After a while, it departed, leaving the empty shell of the dead inhabitant.

To my surprise, the show was not sponsored by Spirit Halloween Stores. That's pretty much their business model, no?

I passed a Spirit store the other day. It had set up in the space left by a store that sold ... well, spirits, but the kind that doesn't haunt you, at least until the next morning. The spirits store had moved into another empty space a block away. If it hadn't, that space would have sported a Spirit store. I'm surprised that all the empty shops in the skyway system aren't filled by Spirit stores, cheek to jowl. I'm surprised that when our garage is empty when we leave for a while, we don't come back to find a Spirit store.

It would make a great nature documentary.

"We've been sitting in this camouflaged blind, a nondescript 2014 Dodge that blends in well with the surroundings. Our binoculars have been trained on the empty store for a week. For many years, scientists believed that the Spirit stores arose from spores borne by the wind. Now we have proof that it is, in fact, a complex series of events that calls to mind the mating of birds. And finally, our patience has paid off."

(Film of two people approaching the store.)

"The leasing agent, genus tenpercentus, species commercialus opendoorus, has arrived, and is doing the mating ritual with the clientus spiritus. This begins with broad gestures to indicate the size of the parking lot, as you see, and then, if the clientus is impressed with the display, the agent produces a key, and both enter the building, where we believe the mating occurs.

As you can see, the clientus spiritus accepts the proposal with a shaking of hands, and then devours the head of the leasing agent, assuring it will have no competition."

Anyway. The Spirit store had its motto on the doors: "So much fun ... it's scary."

How does that work, exactly?

"Hey, you love Halloween. Would you like to accompany me to the store where everything relates to your particular sense of the macabre? Where the boundaries of the celebration are tested with certain outre items that may shock more delicate souls, but there's a general sense of playfulness that pushes aside the underlying dread of inevitable mortality?

"No! I won't! You can't make me!"

"What? I thought you enjoyed this sort of thing."

"I do! The idea of being immersed in the ghoulish stew of items both transgressive and yet socially sanctioned has given me a galloping heart rate, and I must breathe into a bag! The very idea of that much fun has awakened a nameless terror I cannot endure. Please, I beg you, speak of it no more!"

Last point: Why don't they turn into Christmas stores on Nov. 1? You could even keep the word Spirit. It might mean "remnant emanation of the dead" in the Halloween context, but slap some ivy and red berries on the logo, and you have the Holiday Spirit, with all its warm gingerbread-scented festive emotions.

"So much fun ... it's merry!" At least that makes sense.