October 31st is more than just Halloween in my family. When we lived in Edmond, OK, my dad would decorate our house throughout the whole month of October leading up to Halloween. He had servos and strobe lights and miles of fishing line. All this added up to moving decorations in the windows: witches floating up and down and skeletons dancing. But the real excitement was taking place on the inside.
The foyer was transformed into a seating area for ghouls, gorillas, and giants, but the famed "Bonesy" was the one who lead the show. The kids would line up down the front walk and on to the sidewalk to wait to get in on the action-- and by action, I mean "get the piss scared out of them." Upon entering the house, there would be a monster and a gorilla seated in front of you. A 7 foot tall monster was standing off to the left. Dead in the center was the candy pot and not so dead behind it was Bonesy, a talking skull. Bach's Toccatta and Fugue in D minor would be playing in the background. Once the door was closed behind the kids, Bonesy would begin the show. Introducing them to each of the monsters around them. The older kids would play it cool, sitting on the various monsters and exclaiming inexhaustibly how they weren't scared. Eventually a rhyme came that they had to solve. Their attention would be directed to the stair landing where a strobe would reveal a gruesome scene and capture their attention long enough for the youth pastor in the gorilla suit to stand up to his own 6' 8" with his hands raised above him and styrofoam peanuts to blow out of the 7' monsters mouth. Blood-curdling screams would emit from the "coolest" of kids. Many moms that came through tinkled themselves.
I remember wanting to go in the front door after a night of trick or treating and my dad was still dressed up. He came out to greet me, using his own voice, rather than the digitally processed one. I had nothing to do with him and countered his approach with my own retreat. I wasn't cool. I was scared. And I didn't care who this man said he was, I'd been witness to what happened throughout the night. I wasn't going to fall for it.
But my dad didn't put on the production just for the pure joy of scaring hundreds of kids and adults throughout the night. It was also his birthday. And still is. So Happy Birthday Dad. Here's to many more years of scaring bowel movements out of both the young and the old.