26 October 2009

Dusting off the cobwebs and ....

...chasing out the ghosts on this blog to actually respond to a tag. Emily has tagged me for her Haunted Halloween meme and I thought I'd do it rather than risk being cursed by spurned spirits.

1) Which urban legend ghost scared the bejeezus out of you when you were a kid? One could have scared me with any of them, but the one that frightened me the most was a local one: The House of Blue Lights. Living only a few miles away, I was both excited -- and terrified -- by the thought of a nearby haunted house, illuminated with blue strobe lights where some crazy old man kept the mummified corpse of his wife, buried in her wedding dress, in a casket. There were many versions of the story of how she died and none of them were pleasant. The land was donated to the city many years ago and is now an urban nature park with forest and prairie plantings. I still live nearby the area, and I have no idea if school children still tell tales of The House of Blue Lights, but if they went on a walk through Skils Test Nature Park, I'm sure they could make some up when they came across the occasional reminder that there was once a house on the property.

2). Which horror movie has the best premise? Hands down, the best is Hitchock's The Birds. Scared the birdcrap out of me the first time I saw it. And the second. And the third. And many times thereafter when seeing a flock of nasty, cackling crows. The only time seeing the movie didn't scare me was when I watched part of it through a store window on a foggy night in Lucerne, but that probably had something to do with the beer I had consummed.

3) What is the most disappointing "treat" to receive in your bag on Halloween night?
Necco Wafers. I detested the chalky circles that always reminded me of an old granny's handkerchief drawer. It was such a disappointment to find them in my trick-or-treat bag. I was always suspicious that they were tainted with some foul-tasting substance that was probably good for you, like cod-liver oil. I'd always grumble about who was the cheap old meany that passed them out as treats. The mother of a friend loved Neccos and at her wake a few years ago, her granddaughters passed out wafers to everybody. A few weeks later, another friend and I were walking along the greenway and I realized that I had them in my coat pocket. As an odd memorial to our friend's mother, we opened the pack and popped some of the dusty wafers into our mouths. A few seconds later, we both spit them out, laughing at how horrible those nasty smelling things are.

4) What's the best non-candy item to receive? The smiles on kids' faces when they're having fun on Halloween, especially the little ones when you remark about their costumes. Or when you tell them you weren't expecting trick-or-treaters so you'll have to give them money. I guess that might be the best non-candy item to receive. It's worked the few times that I've been caught without candy.

5) Did a monster live in your closet when you were a child? I sometimes thought that the monster that lived in the hallway in my aunt's house sometimes visited my closet, but I was quite happy when he would return to her house and the creepy long, windowless hallway that lead from the front door to the butler's pantry. I didn't know what a butler was, but his ghost frightened me. Worse, we weren't' allowed to go through the living room in the morning, so the hallway was the only way to get to breakfast. If you made it to the end of the dark hallway, you had to open the creaky door with the stubborn doorknob quickly, because the butler's ghost might have made a trip to the basement and catch you by the stairs before you escaped into the safety of the kitchen. No wonder I started drinking coffee at an early age: needed it to calm my nerves!

6) Which supernatural creature sent chills up your spine when you were ten and still does? I had enough fears embedded in my young brain by the nuns and I so feared vengeful angels would scatter my sinful soul to the four corners of the earth that those other creatures didn't faze me. Come to think of it, maybe the nuns were the supernatural creature that sent chills up my spine!

7) Which supernatural creature makes you yawn? Vampires and werewolves.

8) What's your favorite Halloween decoration? I don't decorate for Halloween, but the best decoration when I was a kid was my neighbor's house. They would have candles lining the driveway and walk, a coffin on the front porch, and a gigantic spiderweb about 10 feet across, reaching from gutterline to front walkway that you had to walk under to ring the doorbell. The neighbor would dress as a witch. Creepy music would play. Unsuspected trick-or-treaters would be startled as she slowly raised herself from the coffin, or jumped out from behind the bushes to deliver candy. She always wore ghoulish costumes. Her daughter was always dressed as a fairy princess. Is it any wonder that I occassionally have dreams where I'm running through suburban yards and suddenly realize that it is that house?

9) If you could be anywhere on Halloween night, where would you be? At home. If not there, somewhere where nobody teepees your trees, smashes your pumpkin, soaps your windows, graffittis your car, or drinks beer as they escort their kids through the neighborhood. That describes my old neighborhood and it makes me happy that we've only had a handful of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood in the last 10 years.


Emily Barton said...

Great answers! (And I finally got you to write a blog post.) That hallway where the monster lived would have scared me to death. Glad I never had to walk down such a place to get breakfast.

Cam said...

Emily -- it would make a great scene in book. Long, dark, creaky floorboards. There was an old style lock -- the kind that would take a big key to open -- and you could see light streaming through from the kitchen, but not enough to illuminate the hallway. You could hear the adults in the kitchen, smell the odor of the gas stove, but it all seemed so far away. :)