When I was a young boy, I didn’t like anything scary. If I saw an advertisement on TV for a scary movie I would have nightmares for a week.
This was not to my advantage during a time when there was only 3 channels on the television. On friday nights we had the choices of the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson on one channel, “Nightmare Theater” on another and “Frightmare” on the other.
Being the youngest in my family by six years and back in the day when families only had one television, I had little to no choice as to what was going to be watched. I would hide in the other room but could still hear the haunting music and blood curdling screams filling the house. (No they weren’t coming from Johnny Carson.)
We lived in a beautiful home on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and our backyard was over a half acre of rough terrain mountain scrub oak with a creek running through it.
One day my friends decided we should build a spook alley in our back yard and charge the kids in the neighborhood to come to it. I wasn’t so keen on the idea until we started working on it.
My dad was a commercial artist and he helped teach us how to make some scary paper mache masks etc. and we began our quest of building a haunted forest.
I was buried off the side of the trail and when the kids walked by I slowly emerged from the ground, groaning and reaching for them. The kids ran screaming all the way to their homes.
I think that was the only feature in our haunted forest and we made a whopping 50 cents, but I learned a life changing lesson that day; “Scary isn’t scary if you are the one creating it.”
Now I have so much fun creating spooky things. I right now have 9 grand kids and I try my best to make their Halloween experiences, memories to last a lifetime. Give me a break, I don’t mean memories as scars, but fun filled memories that make the holiday just the more mysterious and magical.
Some of my grand kids are just like me and scare very easily. It is from them that I get most of my best ideas as I try and include them in the creation process and instead of the uneasy fear, it becomes replaced by a knowing sly smile aimed at their unsuspecting cousins.
Halloween, what a wonderfully crazy, creepy, silly holiday. Let’s have some fun!