Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My love affair with Halloween

I think my first recollection of Halloween came at about age 5.  My sisters were busy at the elementary school with their Halloween preparations.  They could talk about nothing else.  I knew that there would be trick or treating and spook alleys and the annual Halloween Carnival.  And then the unthinkable happened.  I got sick on Halloween.  I couldn't go to the Carnival, couldn't do anything.  I was heartbroken.

So I did the only thing I could think of and made my own haunted house.  It wasn't much, but it did have a tunnel with cobwebs which I made from a child's table with string taped down on one end, and an electric chair.  My Dad came home from work and I had him go through my haunt.  He was a theatre teacher at the local college, so everything was a production with him.  He made a big deal about the tunnel and acted scared, then I asked him to sit on my electric chair.  He did and then he stood up really fast, because my electric chair consisted of a child's chair, a washcloth, and a straight pin stuck up through the washcloth.  When he stood up, the washcloth was attached to his bottom.

The next year, Mom and Dad dressed me up like a hobo and I went to the Halloween Carnival.  Dad, being a theatre teacher, applied a beard and mustache to my face with spirit gum.  It looked very real and a kid came up to me and yanked on the beard.  When it didn't come off, he was dumbfounded.

When I was in college, I was a Psychology major for awhile, and one of the cool things about the area I lived was that the State Hospital was in our town and every year they had a Haunted Mansion.  This hospital was in an old Gothic Victorian building, so it was already scary, then add to that the fact that all the ghouls were mental patients.  I was okay until the very end when a very big ghoul wearing a hockey mask and a trenchcoat came at me with a chainsaw, and it was going.  When he brushed it across my legs I thought I'd wet myself (for the record, I didn't)  Obviously, the chain had been removed, but the blade was still there. 

My wife has been very good over the years to make really cool costumes for the kids and we've always liked Halloween together.

In recent years I've gotten into extreme  pumpkin carving.  Sometimes I carve portraits, sometimes I carve a pumpkin in a pumpkin.  Usually we have between 8 and 10 carved pumpkins on our porch. 

In the last couple of years, I have been designing the Halloween Concert for the Music Department at the University I teach at.  They have offered to pay me, but I only take a portion of what they offer and take some of the props I built in lieu of full payment.  That's how I ended up with two corpsed skeletons and 4 of my skulls.

It's June 9th and I'm already starting getting my haunt done for next Halloween.

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