There is a house not too far from us that has it’s whole yard FILLED with tombstones and gross looking goblins and witches and what look like mutiliated bodies. And, I do mean — FILLED. There are probably at least 100 items in that yard, with all kinds of webs and fake smoke draped all over the front of the house itself. It is all in dingy colors — black, gray and gross!
I’m sorry. I’m probably old fashioned, but I liked it better when that sort of really scarey/gross stuff was saved mostly for “haunted houses,” and homes were decorated with FUN stuff (Casper the Ghost comes to mind) and jack-o-lanterns.
So, in the spirit of this “Fun Halloween” that I advocate, several years ago I bought a little guy at Cracker Barrel (Don’t they have the best stuff?) who was about 3 feet tall, and looked like a little boy in a costume with a cape. He was motion activated, so that when someone walked in front of him he spread out his arms/cape and said “Happy Halloween!” in a little-boy voice. I LOVED it! So, I bought him and brought him home. And, on Halloween night, I set him out on the porch, beside the front door so that he would welcome our trick-or-treaters.
Well, he was a busy little fella! He DID do his job when little groups came to the door, but I kept thinking I heard someone out there at other times too, and then when I would open the door, no one would be there! My hearing isn’t great — so it SHOULD BE the other way around — I should MISS hearing someone — NOT hear them when they aren’t there! Welllll — it was a WINDY evening, so can you guess what was happening? My little fella was being activated sometimes by the WIND — so he was out there talking to HIMSELF! Needless to say, his battery BARELY made it through the evening. But I loved him anyway. And, frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with talking to yourself — I do it all the time in the grocery store — until I see someone looking at me funny. I am going to be so much fun in “the home.” (Be sure to bring me your leftover trick-or-treat candy when you come to visit me!)
My all time favorite costume is — (drum roll) — a BAG OF GROCERIES! When Gunny-to-be was in 7th grade, he needed a costume for the costume competition at the carnival at school, and our niece, who was in her 20’s, told me about this costume that she had been a hit in at a party the previous year. We did it and he won! Although, he had a little trouble carrying the prize off the stage because, he didn’t have arm-holes, so his prize had to pretty much be put in his “bag of groceries!”
What’s great about this, is that it isn’t hard. You get a cardboard box that pretty much covers the person from neck to knee, and cut a hole in the top for the person’s head to fit through. Then you use brown paper grocery bags to cover the outside. Around the top, have the edge of the sacks stick up a couple inches above the top of the box, so that the look is of a very large grocery bag. Use a mesh bag that potatoes come in to put over the person’s head, and empty boxes of different products you have in the cupboard (of course, you can put the contents back in afterwards) and put them around the person’s head “in the bag.” With a little imagination, you can make this look really realistic (Some plastic fruit or vegetables stuck in would be great too, or even a stalk of REAL celery. As that wilted during the evening, it would be a great conversation starter!) One note: Because of Gunny’s experience with the inconvenience of not being able to use your hands, you might want to put a hole in each side (maybe covered with a loose flap of the brown paper?) so that the person COULD put a hand out if they had to, but the grocery bag looks more realistic if there aren’t arms sticking out the sides. So, that’s it! I hope some of you might be able to use this idea.
By the way, the next year, Gunny and DD both needed costumes so, we made him a giant rural mailbox, with the door open and a couple of giant pieces of mail sticking out, and we made her a grandfather clock with her face as the face of the clock! They both won prizes that year. I remember that thinking up and making those costumes was great fun for all four of us.
May you all have a HAPPY, safe Halloween. Don’t eat too much candy!