Where The H-E-Double Toothpicks Did Halloween Go?

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When I was a kid, Halloween was different. It was about freaks, fetishes, and trembling with fear as Mom and Dad searched through a pillowcase full of candy in search of the ever-elusive razor blade. Deep down inside, I always wanted to be that child who’s parents actually found a Smith & Wesson 6” serrated knife hidden in the center of a Marathon Bar, because then I’d be on the 11:00 o’clock news, could totally skip school the next day, and would get to sit in the back row of the bus as the newly minted star of Crosby Middle School as soon as I was finished with all of my speaking engagements.

Finding a military-caliber knife in your Halloween candy is cool. Image via midwayusa.com

Back then, Halloween meant sleepovers and Ouija Board séances in the creepy basement with your besties. It was all about ditching your parents to trick or treat with friends and hoping you wouldn’t cry like a big, fat baby every time some high school kid jumped out of a bush in a Freddy Krueger mask in a sincere effort to make you pee in your pants. It was anchored around ghost stories told in pitch-black darkness, and slinking single-file with a flickering flashlight through that abandoned house in the woods.

Image via epagini.com

In other words, it was the real deal.

Fast forward to October 31, 2012, and let’s take a quick walk down my street. Here’s what you’ll find:

This blow-up pumpkin dude should be banned from our subdivision. It’s clear that he’s subsisted on a diet of marshmallow fluff and fried twinkies all of his life, and totally decimates the outdated food pyramid posters hanging on the walls of the school cafeteria. Plus he’s just too freaking happy. Image via my neighbor, who doesn’t know I took this picture.

Are you kidding me? A tombstone propped up next to some kind of metal flower lawn art, a dog leash, and smiling, dancing ghosts on a string? Please. Image via another neighbor, who also doesn’t know I took this picture.

This neighbor is suffering from Holiday Confusion Syndrome. You’ll see her today at Hobby Lobby cleaning out their entire stock of pre-lit LED Christmas trees so she can start building an eco-friendly forest in her front yard. On November 1st. Image via yet another neighbor who doesn’t know I took this picture.

Until, that is, you get to my house.

Tonight, in the spirit of The Shining, liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti, and the ghost of Michael Jackson, my family has made it our mission to scare the s*** out of your kids. It’s a holiday tradition in our home, because a politically correct All Hallows’ Eve just sucks.

So Happy Freaking Halloween, and if your kids don’t want to come back next year because we sent them away crying and made them pee in their pants? Good.

American Girl Doll Felicity on our front porch: right where she belongs. Image via my 10 year-old daughter, taken against her will.

82 responses »

  1. Home run as usual Stacy! I was thinking the same thing about Halloween..it seems like it is for little kids anymore. Except the haunted houses I guess! Great pics too, thanks for sharing.

  2. First, you were a star at Crosby Middle School. Ms. Bethel just told my son about you yesterday in class. Second…you must watch Modern Family from last week (free at abc.com if you missed it.

    • I missed it! For some reason, our DVR is only taping reality singing shows this season. No Office, Parks and Rec, or Modern Family.

      It’s great to know Ms. Bethel thinks she remembers me. I’m pretty sure she has us confused. =p

  3. To put kids through a scare like that for a piece of candy, you better be giving out FULL SIZE Milky Way bars! No stinkin Dum Dum pop is worth nightmares for a week if I am the father on escort duty to your house!

    • How about three small candy bars (but not the minis, those things are worthless) of choice strung together to look like a full bar? It’s like a mix and match sugar rush! I promise to keep the Dum Dums for the high school kids who steal all of our Heath bars every year and try punch the poor American Girl doll in the face.

      Thanks for commenting Kevin. Hope you and your family have a Happy Halloween!

  4. I’ll have to come back and watch the video–my phone is not cooperating. But I’m with you. It seems the fun has been sucked out of Halloween. I’m all for child safety, of course, but it seems the whole affair is just not the same any more. It’s gotten too wussy.

      • Just got back to my laptop and watched the video. Is that really your house? You have always been cool in my book, but now you’ve managed to up your cool factor even more. Now that’s what Halloween is about. And I approve your slogan…

      • It really is. Video was taken last year though…contrary to my protests, my husband bought a lot of 100% not discounted stuff to add this year…I’m an after-holiday shopping kind of girl. =)

  5. OMG! You’ve made it look like Miss Havisham’s rotten mansion in Great expectations! Seriously, you should have one of those offers where the kids get their entry fee back if they come out not crying!

  6. Stacie,
    As usual, I can’t stop laughing! My brothers every year tried to scare the hell out of all the young ones as they didn’t go out until later. Last weekend, Jake and his friend had a scary movie marathon. Unfortunately, they didn’t watch—“When A Stranger Calls,” one of my favorites back in the day!!! Loved it!
    Sue

    • Absolutely. My husband will dress as Jason this year and will jump from the bushes to scare the wee ones. My son is an evil clown and will stand stone-cold still in the shadows until he…jumps from the bushes to get the toddlers. I, on the other hand, will dress as a hooker and drink my way through the neighborhood while pretending to supervise my girls.

      Cheers El Guapo!

  7. Happy Halloween Stacie! Just the other day Griffin said the holiday was lacking the thrill factor with princess costumes and happy clowns. This is why he chose to be a bloody clown this halloween. He would love your house display this year. And wait til the neighbors find out about those pictures.

    • The good news is, no one on my street (or my neighborhood for that matter), reads my blog.

      Taylor would be right there with Griffin.

      I miss you Maura. Thanks for reading and commenting!
      xoxo

  8. Dear BB,

    OMG, you are the best mom, EVER! Your kids must be so proud right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you for preserving the Halloween of the Seventies for the world. Don’t forget to hire Wolfman Jack to DJ tonight! If he’s not available, consider playing anything by The Carpenters. They terrify the fuck outa me.

    Happy Halloween!

    xo

    Miss Snarky Pants

  9. Before the rain came and washed it away, my neighbor had a handwritten sign that said, “Trick or treat” taped to his door. A white piece of paper and black Sharpie.

    Thank you for trying to keep our dying holidays in check!

    • You’re the second person to say that, Kimberly! I’ve watched every Modern Family up until this season, so now I’ve gotta see it. I don’t want anyone accusing me of ripping their stuff off. Thanks for commenting…see you tonight!

  10. Very cool GG. Heh, heh… messing with little kids’ minds… You are doing your small part to keep the psychotherapy industry in the black for years to come!

  11. Oh GG! I wish you lived here or I lived there — I feel like I’m the ONLY one sometimes who really gets into Halloween — it’s like my Christmas! What fun your house is! I love it. We’re in the same club. I’ve got all kinds of stuff going on in my apartment as well. I should take a picture of it. Your house looks great! It’ll be Halloween for me through my birthday in the middle of November…

    Happy Halloween!

  12. All I can say is…wow. Your house must be the highlight (or lowlight, depending on whether or not one has run away screaming with permanent emotional scarring) of the entire neighbourhood. That must have taken you hours and hours to set up. I’m so impressed.

  13. LOVE your house! My son will want you to adopt him because every year he asks to make our entire house feel haunted. This year Halloween got away from me and we ended up with some moldy sinking pumpkins because we carved them too long ago, and the decorations are sagging from all the rain lately. My house now looks like that girl we all were/knew stumbling around at 3 am with mascara running, a rip in her nylons, and one heel missing.

    • I love the comparison. If your house looks like that girl we all knew (but of course, never were), then the inside of mine looks like her arch enemy…the one who always talked WAY too long to your boyfriend and had a chest that looked like it was chiseled from an endangered elephant’s ivory tusks.

  14. There’s this house in our neighborhood that can compete with yours – maybe next year, you should stop by and compare notes They also have the best candy. I trust you did in your neighborhood as well…
    That all said, I am a sissy when it comes to horror. I visited 13th Door with my friends a couple of weekends ago, and I ended up sleeping with the lights on that night!

    • Is it the 13th door or floor? Either way, my son only made it up to 12 before he and his friends ran screaming from the building. I’ve heard that place is suuuuupppeerrr scary.

      Scot was decorating last night right up until the little goblins came knocking on the door. I’ll have to take a video of what he added and challenge your neighbor to a duel.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, Stella!

      • You’re right – it is 13th Floor (sorry, I’m confusing it with one of my favorite tapas places – the 9th Door).

        I drove past the scary house last night to see if decorations were still up, and they were. Thought of snapping some photos for you but thought maybe I was violating someone’s privacy (not as brazen as you who snapped photos of your neighbors’ homes!)

        G&M do have AG dolls but no, they don’t worship that church. But I’ve always had something with dolls (story that has to be told over drinks, which we are overdue for!)

        Happy Friday; have a good weekend!

      • You’re right; it is the 13th Floor — sorry, I was confusing it with one of my favorite tapas places, the 9th Door.

        I drove past the scary house last night and the decorations were still up. I thought of snapping some photos for you – but thought I was violating someone’s privacy (not as brazen as you!)

        G&M do have AG dolls but they don’t worship that church. I’ve always had something about dolls (story which has to be told over cocktails, which we’re overdue for!)

        Happy Friday and have a good weekend.

  15. I agree, Stacie. Even Halloween — the only scary, disgusting holiday we’re allowed to have — has become safe and sanitized, and pretty boring. As Maura said, way too many princess costumes. And the girls were just as bad.

    Great post, as always, and I loved the video. Your house was decorated for Halloween, right?

  16. OMG! My kids would never come back to your house. They’re little and still scare easily. I really wanted to but these bloody zombies at the drugstore, but instead I took a picture and showed it to them. All three of them freaked out. Guess it’s good I didn’t buy them…

  17. Thank you!
    And thank you for properly administering the fake cobwebs. NOBODY on our block knows how to do it properly. Looking at bushes with balls of what looks like teddy bear stuffing on top like some sort of inedible Halloween sundae rubs me the wrong way. It’s down right embarrassing.
    Also, can we move past the young-girls-in-slutty-costumes age? I’m tired of every costume base being a bustier and a tiny skirt.
    Yours truly,
    Halloween Curmudgeon

    • The first “tween” costume my 10 year-old picked was titled “Miss Demeaner.” It was supposed to be a robber but it looked full on like a hooker to me. We redirected.

      Thanks for the cob web shout-out sista. I have to give credit to my better half for that.

      I’d love to write something mind-numbingly witty right now but I’ve had two beers and it’s past my bedtime so, you know, my reply kind of sucks.

      Looking forward to your next post, which will definitely not suck. =)

      • There was a day when two beers down was just the beginning of my night. Now they’re the punctuation mark at the end.

        Your next post won’t suck. You are an incredibly talented writer…laugh out loud talented. Enjoy your bevies and have a great weekend Kellie! =)

  18. First: Your house is like the houses I LiVED for during Halloween! Definitely too safe now – getting the bejeebies scared out of you – that’s what it’s all about! Did you guys hide around outside and jump out at people?

    Second: My brother found a switchblade once! It wasn’t in candy, it was actually in the ball pit at McDonald’s, but definitely just as scary 🙂

    • My 12 year-old son would rather scare innocent toddlers than get Halloween candy. That says a lot. He loves candy. =)

      Finding a switchblade in the ball pit at McDonald’s make my stomach turn. Actually, just the ball pit part makes it turn…the switchblade is just plain creepy.
      Yikes!

      • Well, my brother did learn a good lesson: all the parents that go into the ball pit? They tend to lose things out of their pockets, like money! So he used to go into the pit, jump in the middle, and collect whatever change came his way ^.^

  19. oh, yeah! That video was awesome. It did remind me of the Modern Family episode. It’s such a shame now, how boring Halloween is, in general. Back in my day, all the houses used to be decked out like yours. Good for you for putting the horror back in Halloween.

    • OK now you’re the THIRD person who’s ref’d Modern Family and I still haven’t seen the episode. Know what that says to me? I should be writing for the show. =p

      Thanks for the visit, Darla. Nice to see you.

  20. And what’s the deal with Halloween being from 5pm to 7pm, when it’s still totally light out! Didn’t it start off in the dark and then end at like 9pm when we were kids? And now we don’t even trick or treat on the 31st! It’s always the Sunday before the 31st. God forbid we blow off our homework on a school day to have a little bit of fun. AND, our school won’t even call it a Halloween party. It’s a “fall festival”.

  21. I am with you!
    I love Halloween. Love it! But it’s not supposed to be about the “cute.”
    One year, my dad dressed in a grim reaper mask and a black, hooded robe, sat really still in a chair on our black-lit porch, and moved his arm out at the kids to scare the crap out of them. It was awesome.
    My son’s birthday is right after Halloween so we have an excuse to have a costume party every year (or at least until he’s old enough to shut it down).

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