October 20, 2014


          Halloween is beginning to make me sad.

            Last year, I transformed my entire abode into a walk-through haunted house.  I spared no expense—just ask Stij, he’ll tell you.

When the van from ‘So Scary You’ll Puke’ pulled up, Stij took one look and asked, “Does this mean you’re making that tuna casserole again?”
“No, it does not.  And what do you mean, ‘again?’  I haven’t made that in nearly five years now.”
“It lives on in song and story. I heard that Zantac made an ad campaign around it.”
“Tee hee.  For your information, I decided to make this into a haunted house for Halloween.  Isn’t that a great idea?”
“And this van would be carrying everything you need to do this?”
“I’m going out for a drink.”
“But it’s 7:30 in the morning!”
“It’s five o’clock somewhere.  See you later.”
On my own, now, I directed the two men in the unloading then offered them lunch, upon which they turned ashy white, jumped in their truck and left two slabs of burnt rubber in the driveway.  Oh, well, it saved me a tip.
I immediately set to work, draping, hooking things up, and plugging things in.  I only had one day to get all this done, because Halloween was that evening; but at last, all was in readiness.
I’d do a test run with Stij when he got home.
I curled up on the sofa, with my crossword puzzle book, to wait—and that’s when things began, as the British say, ‘to go all pear-shaped.’
I heard a muffled wailing from the bathroom.
I went to investigate.  That’s where I put the monster that snaps at your butt when you raise the toilet seat cover.
I pushed the door open all the way, and discovered that the thing in the toilet had been activated…by the cat.  It had snapped at him, grabbed him by the head, and was now drowning him in the toilet. 
I think he kept the wailing low-key because he didn’t want to be found in such an undignified position.
I snatched him from the jaws of the toilet demon, but rather than being grateful, the little wretch’s eyes glowed blood red, and he began speaking in tongues. I put him down and he set off for parts unknown, leaving cat curses and toilet water in his wake.  I would have been pleased that he had been frightened by one of my props, but he was also scared of the vacuum cleaner, so it hardly counted.
I heard Stij pull up.  Great!  A real test subject!
I had locked the door after he left, and when he knocked on it, scary sound effects screamed out of the small speaker above the door.
“Hey, not bad!” Stij said, when I opened up. “Let’s see what else you’ve got.”
There was Jack the Ripper in the closet, a skeleton in the kitchen that seemed to move on its own, and a life-size Leatherface sitting on the sofa in the den.  He looked like a prop until, by remote control, I turned his head, started his chain saw, and made him stand and walk. I had ghosts coming through the walls, demons dancing in the living room, and Dracula hanging from the ceiling with eyes that opened with a remote.  There were bats and cobwebs and spiders and snakes everywhere.
“This is really great, hon,” Stij said. “Those kids are going to wet their pants!”
“As long as they do it outside.”
The sun had just about set, and before long, there was a knock at the door.
Cue scary music.
I opened the door to two moppets with exasperated expressions on their painted faces.  One was a hobo and one was a ballerina.  Parental units were standing off on the sidewalk.
“Ooooooooooh, scarrrrrrrryyyyyyyy,” the hobo said with as much sarcasm as someone who has occupied the planet for only five years can muster.
“Okay,” I said, “then come on in and see the rest of the place!”
“It’s a haunted house.  Don’t you want to walk through it?  Your parents can come if you’re scared.”
“Yeah, right,” the hobo sneered, elbowing past me.  The ballerina followed. “Let’s get this over with.”
They walked past everything with nary a shudder, but I’d get ’em with Leatherface, I just knew it.
Into the den.
“Who’s that?” the ballerina asked, pointing at Leatherface.
“That’s Leatherface from ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’” I said.
“We saw that last Halloween, Karen.  'Member?” hobo said.
“Oh, yeah!” And with that, she ran over and planted a big kiss on ol’ Leatherface's cheek.  I made his head move.  I started his chain saw.  I stood him up and all they did was laugh.
They laughed at the cobwebs.
They laughed at the demons.
They laughed at the ghosts.
And they laughed so hard at the toilet monster that I thought they were going to pass out.
As they walked out the door, candy in hand, the ballerina turned to me and said, “Lady, it’s Halloween.  Things are supposed to be scary, not funny.” Then, her fount of kindergarten wisdom drained, she ran to join her brother.  They laughed all the way down the street.
This happened all evening long.  The only one I actually scared was the damned cat!
Well, these kids may think they’re unscare-able, but this Halloween, I’ll have them all shaking in their boots, screaming and crying for their mommies.
I'm handing out tuna casserole instead of candy.