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.


2015: The Return of Spiney & The Backbones

Mysteriously appearing on the blog early in October:

Roll up! Roll up! See the show!

...A show 7 years (plus 100, give or take) in the re-making. Or did it ever end?

For those brave enough to venture out, and lost enough to find us, we bring a return to our twisted little theatre of the mind, a place where tortured souls do epic battle with temptation, and some of us are only half there.

October 30 for a full concert & party experience
October 31 for the trick or treaters

Welcome back, my friends, to the rock 'n' roll sideshow.

> The Backstory
Sideshow #9, featuring Spiney and the Backbones, first appeared in this location back in 2009. The bizarre show is a remnant, a memory hearkening back to The Carnival of Souls, which strangely popped up again on Halloween 2008 after a mysterious disappearance 100 years before. Stories range from them having been run out of town to even burned to the ground.

The old carnival used to come to town via a railway just up the street from this spot, which was then just a field. Power lines now run along that old railroad right of way, but the ghosts of trains past still roam the landscape, and the Carnival of Souls comes and goes in much the same way.

Read up on Spiney's first appearance: 2009: Spiney & the Backbones
Revisit the original Carnival of Souls: 2008: The Carnival of Souls Presents "It's A Circus"

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

> The Setlist
The set was similar to but modified from the original, with some additions we discovered I'd previously considered ("People Are Strange" and "Twilight Zone"). Spiney was this time less evil and more confused, being constantly tempted to do wrong things and finally realizing things had gone too far. It was time to fight back! But the clowns continue to be a nuisance.

• People Are Strange - The Doors
• Karn Evil #9 - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
• Sideshow - Alice Cooper
• Welcome to My Nightmare - Alice Cooper
• Gimme - Alice Cooper
• No More Mr. Nice Guy - Alice Cooper
• Nothing’s Free - Alice Cooper
• Twilight Zone - Golden Earring
• Unholy War - Alice Cooper
• Cleansed by Fire - Alice Cooper
• Run Down the Devil - Alice Cooper
• Can’t Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me - Alice Cooper

Freaky Facts: For those curious, Sideshow #9 has nothing to do with order at all, but references the songs "Sideshow" and "Karn Evil #9."

Some may also recall "The Carnival of Souls" is a double reference to a classic horror film and a lyric in Alice Cooper's song "Stolen Prayer" from his "The Last Temptation" concept album. Based on a graphic novel written with Neil Gaiman, this is the story of a young boy tempted by a Showman whose theater, once burned to the ground, mysteriously reappears around Halloween. Several songs in the setlist come from that album.

October 2014 was the 20th anniversary of "The Last Temptation," celebrated by a special Deluxe Edition release.

> The Trick
Spiney is our most popular event, but also our most difficult to pull off. With a huge build and set, plus a whole lot of music and even a script to arrange and learn, this full carnival only comes out when we get 2 days on a weekend to show it off.

Not only was Spiney back, but with a fresh new look to the old box. Spiney was now propped up on top of a crate... perhaps even the one it was shipped in on the train. Some other additions included "The Strange Thing," an oddity in an antique stroller we still can't explain, and a new skeletal drummer named Skully (kindly lent us by our pals at Pale Night Productions.)

Some old familiars did, of course, appear, including Yorick the skull and the original Carnival of Souls ticket booth.

For our first night, a new character also appeared before the show, a somewhat sinister Lady Ringmaster seeking souls that might want to participate in Sideshow #9. By this means, we obtained two guest Backbones known as The Sinister Sisters to sit in that night on bass and drums while Skully just hung out. Much thanks to the girls for filling out the band, and a hearty спасибо to their father for loaning them to us, despite much trepidation. (Poor guy is just terrified we're gonna turn his kids into carnies. But, hey, you can trust a randomly appearing Carnival of Souls with your kids, right? Besides, he also happens to work with me in "real life." Keep your friends close, and all that...)

Freaky Fact: Our Sinister Sisters and our primary inspiration, Alice Cooper, all have something in common... They're all PK's. That is, pastors' kids.

Thanks once again to mom for making sure all the kiddies got their treats on Halloween proper. Thank you to all who brought food to share on Friday night. And thanks to our church family for the loan of some canopies, a drum kit and drink dispensers to treat our guests. This was a huge undertaking with plenty of moving parts, so all help and loans were much appreciated.

> The Treat
For this year's theme we gave out carnival ducks (the two-headed one was kinda freaky), and quite a lot of them at that. This was probably our biggest year for visitors, perhaps in part to the weekend, but also to some pretty great weather, relatively warm with just a bit of drizzle. After 2 nights, we only had about 20 treat bags left in our possession (out of a solid 102), and those were quickly spoken for by friends. These bags also included our classic pretzels and Wonka mix, along with a Twizzler, a rock star temporary tattoo, and some candy bones, which were really quite tasty.

We were especially excited when an entire haunted wagon stopped by and a whole hoard of people piled out. Instant party! You guys know how to rock! Thanks to everyone for stopping by and enjoying the nights with us. You make it fun.

Oh, and how do you tie in God's story to a wacky rock 'n' roll carnival side show? By showing God as the ultimate Showman, that's how! This was a fun card to put together, and on some attention grabbing, carni-style bright green paper even.

This was also the first year we started using our very own hashtag. Thanks for tagging your shared photos on Facebook and Twitter with #HallowsGarage.

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