Every year, I buy something new to add to my annual Halloween display. The picture above was last year’s display, which was also my first attempt in the first Halloween at our house, and I’ve been determined to top it all year. More cobwebs! More ghouls! Less fall mums on the porch in the background!
I’d recently made forty bucks on Craigslist selling some crap, and after briefly considering putting it in savings, I knew I had to use it towards this year’s display. I could use it to get a big ticket item! Even though I usually scoff at the prices on those large, fancy Halloween decorations at stores like Spirit and Party City, this time I was going to allow myself to drop forty bucks on something special.
Well, the first thing I learned is that forty bucks doesn’t go very far. If you want to talk big ticket items at Party City, you better start talking around one hundred bucks. Whatever. I don’t need some life-sized eight-foot-tall inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man anyway. Okay, well I do need it, but let’s face it, that’s more of a year-round decoration than a Halloween one.
I was about to resign myself to getting a bunch of smaller, cheaper Halloween items when something caught my eye: a flying monster. Specifically, the word “flying.”
Yes, this is exactly what my Halloween display needed: a crappy aninmatronic. And not the big kind that costs an upwards on two-hundred dollars, but this sad little one that only costs twenty-five dollars and barely worth a single penny of it. They had it on display in the store, the little ghoul motoring along a cable back and forth. Even though the box described it as three feet tall, what that really meant was a couple extra inches of raggy material hanging off the feathery papier-mache body.
It reminded me of something you might see in a rinky-dink makeshift dark ride at the county fair—you know the ones where the local church youth group puts on a better haunted attraction. Nevermind that those kids save up a year’s worth of pent up evil to act out upon every October.
People, check out these specs:
3 foot tall! Makes creepy sounds! 25 foot cable INCLUDED. Thank god I don’t have to rig up my own thing messing around with twine. Twine is the WORST.
I know I’m making it sound like this thing is complete crap, but that’s exactly why I fell in love it. I envisioned years and years together with it: the beloved annual Halloween tradition of tying up the depressing little animatronic across the posts on the front porch. And then on Halloween night, I could relish it as those smart-ass trick-or-treaters would point at it, look directly at me, and inform me, “that’s not scary. I’m not scared of that.” I have at least two or three kids that do that to me every year. They’re my favorite ones because that’s exactly the kid I was. I know then that secretly, those are the decorations they love most of all.
But honestly, this is the true thing that sold me on my purchase:
LOOK AT THAT AMAZING ILLUSTRATION! It completely assured me that the contents inside of this box would most definitely not be any better than I thought they were. That this thing would be every last bit of crappy as I could dream.
My dreams came true:
The cable isn’t a cable at all, but rather more like a hoodie pull string. In fact, that’s exactly what it is. The skull is so light—a piece of foam around a ball of wadded-up paper—I’m afraid I might tear it with too much handling. The creepy sounds it makes are more like a buzzy groaning from the tiny plastic speaker.
I don’t have the patience or batteries to string this thing up across the porch just yet, so you’ll have to check back later in the season to see the ghoul in action when I put up my annual art installation—er, Halloween display. Which is totally gonna rule this year.