Thursday, October 13, 2011

more newspaper fun, this time regarding Halloween

This week's column from the St. Clair Times is about Halloween; specifically, the extraordinarily bizarre and sick people who carry it way too far (for more info, listen to this Patton Oswalt routine about life in the suburbs).
Love for Halloween can go a bit too far sometimes

I’m almost certain Halloween is not an occasion dreamed up by demon worshippers who wanted an excuse to celebrate their faiths. But some of the people who throw themselves into “the spirit of Halloween” make me question that statement.

Take a quick walk around my own neighborhood — and mind you, most of the people who live in my neighborhood are either retirees or parents of young children — and you’ll see the following: a window etching that looks like a tortured spirit trying to get out; a skull resting on top of a mailbox, grinning at the world; and what appears to be a 100-pound spider attempting to attack someone’s front door.

Oh, and also there’s a skeleton in a front yard that looks like it’s trying to escape from a grave. I see this one every day. Because it’s at my house.

Look, it’s not just us that do this. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit with some of the folks at Leeds’ Atrox Fright Factory, in advance of their opening.

One of their prized attractions in the waiting area: a display that shows an animated zombie devouring a human carcass. Even better, the zombie appears to recognize the presence of a human, comes crawling after the person watching … only to take a shotgun blast to the back of the head.

One of the organizers at Atrox, after nearly causing me to lose control of my body with this display, made a disappointed face at the device.

“My shotgun noise doesn’t work like it’s supposed to,” he complained.

Whaddaya mean, “like it’s supposed to?!!” Was I supposed to have a heart attack? Jump through the ceiling? Run away crying?

I’m not sure at what point Halloween became a contest to determine who could build the most authentic crime scene, or whose costume could make them look more like an escaped patient from an asylum for criminally insane people. My mom’s Halloween decoration was a silly-looking ghost popping out of a jack-o-lantern — it’s kind of funny, but probably not the kind of “funny” that gives anyone nightmares or anything.

By the way, the shotgun blast is fixed, according to the folks at Atrox.

“You could hear it outside right now,” he said. “It’s epic.”

So … there’s that.

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