This is Halloween...

Welcome to our nightmares and fantastical dreams.

Each year for a few we've done something over the top in our garage on Halloween while tying in a snapshot of the story of God Himself from some pretty unique angles. Preachy? Not so much. Bizarre? Sure, why not?

I learned from the best long ago, generosity gets attention. (No matter where you lived in my neighborhood growing up, on the last day of October you visited the guy handing out Happy Apples.) We also know people love a show. So we try to go big with both.

Here you'll see what a classic rock couple with a taste for the creepy and strange can do with a regular garage, a little imagination and a lot of time.

10.31.2012

2012: Picture If You Will

Early in October, teaser text appeared on the site as:

> Coming Soon... Picture If You Will
Submitted for your approval on October 31 a night gallery of sorts. But even if art is not your thing, we guarantee something intriguing in store for each and every visitor.


> The Backstory
Entering the gallery, guests were greeted by a curator in suit and tie, who began, "Submitted for your approval this Halloween, a night gallery of sorts featuring portraits of our past. But this is not your ordinary gallery. And even if art is not your thing, we guarantee something special for each and every visitor. Now let me be your guide inside our gallery. Follow me for a tour, please."

Moving along from one frame to the next, the curator explained each painting...

"Showing here... Some of our most loyal visitors may recall the strange affair of the Phantom of the Opera and the eerie sounds of his pipe organ.

"Here we have a portrait of one Mister Dracula. Greetings in his castle home always had a special kind of bite.

"Featured in this spot, a unique likeness of The Showman, who always had a trick to share or story to tell. His motto, 'The show must go on... Forever.' Some even say he's still around.

"You see here a creature known simply as Spiney, a rather musical friend of ours who was only ever halfway there.

"Here we have a couple of washed up pirates who had roughly 200 years to think about the curse of their greed and couldn't wait to give away their loot.

"And here, a mummy named Amenhotep, a restless fellow who simply couldn't be bothered to stay in his grave."

Pointing to the entry way the curator noted, "As you entered our gallery, you may also have noticed some artifacts of years gone by, including the Showman's ticket booth..."

At this point the power appeared to die and lights began to flash. Much to everyone's surprise, the portrait of The Showman came to life! Following his trick, he kindly handed each visitor a treat.

Watch the slideshow. (A 404 may pop up, but it still plays.) On mobile, click "View all" below.:


> The Trick
Ironically, none of this was originally intended for this year. (However, we'll keep the first concept under wraps in case it should ever be given life.) Yet shortly after the idea was introduced that we might do something with pictures, we nearly tripped over a DVD collection of one season of Rod Serling's "Night Gallery" at the local library. With a love for all things Serling, it wasn't long before a variety of "Twilight Zone" and "Night Gallery" tie-ins began to emerge, including his lines from various shows and our own twisted variations on the music.

Additionally, one may have noticed the direct references to the opening of Andrew Lloyd Weber's "The Phantom of the Opera." Even the words "showing here" were used to draw attention to items during the auction.

All of the frames were scavenged or borrowed from relatives and friends.

The Curator was intentionally dressed in black, white and grey, a feminine version of our dear departed Mr. Serling, and an homage to his start in black and white. The tie she borrowed from dad.

Much thanks to mom, our gallery "docent," who again this year helped with much needed crowd control.

Try though we might to keep things small on a mid-week night (assuming fewer people would visit), this again got just a bit bigger than we anticipated. Backstage wiring and lighting were adjusted down to the night before, and scripting actually woke us in the wee hours of the morning. It had to be written. The show must go on!

Freaky Fact: The Showman's ticket booth really has been collecting dust (and spider eggs) in various parts of our home lo these many years. While we reuse many pieces of our displays, this is the single largest prop we have actually kept intact thus far.

> The Treat
Our treat bag was slightly difficult to theme this go round (and we were sad to miss the purchase of some sold out chocolate eyeballs), but most bags included an "eye on a stick," something like a large Sweet Tart. Both this and the image on the card were nods to the slowly opening eye which appeared in the intro of certain Twilight Zone episodes. We also included a miniature glow-in-the-dark ducky and some chocolate jack-o-lanterns along with the infamous bag of pretzels and Wonka Mixups. A few received some little boxes of Halloween stickers. We also included a card with a link to stopzombiemouth.com for a free a limited time download of the game Plants vs. Zombies.

We very much enjoyed putting these bags together while watching the original Dark Shadows series as we neared episode 210... Barnabas Collins would show up soon. :D

It was certainly a good thing that we put together our typical number of bags. We were very surprised to give away 80 this evening, which may have been a record. We were glad to meet so many new neighbors and be reacquainted with many more.

The card this year tied the concept of the art gallery pictures to the image of Jesus painted throughout Scripture. These cards were printed on "Stardust White" card stock for a more "starry" look:



> A Special Treat for Us
This year one young lady bestowed upon us a special award for the best place her group visited. The Curator humbly accepted a paper rolled in a scroll, which was later opened to reveal the smiling picture below along with the words, "Have the best day ever." And, indeed, we did. Thank you!
Our "Best Day Ever" Halloween Award

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Thanks for stopping by. And, hey, go easy on the candy. ;-)