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Terrified Beyond the Capacity for Rational Thought

Your 401K sits shivering in some back room in a New York bank, covered in a blanket.

A grief counselor tries to console her, but the camera flashes in the hallway outside make her jump. The lights reflect in her haunted eyes.

September 29 is going to be remembered for a long, long time. You can bet that in the coming weeks the voices will be shrill and angry as the talking heads try to out-scare each other and the politicians and partisans brawl over who’s to blame. If there are no fist fights over this by the end of the week I’ll be very surprised.

A lot of people are scared. If you’re one of them, then take a deep breath and go eat some pizza or fix a nice big lasagna with garlic bread and lots of cheese. Watch your favorite movie, pet the dog, go make a zombie. Relax.

Just because the “professionals” are terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought doesn’t mean that we have to be.

If that doesn’t make you feel any better, then here are a few pictures to help take your mind off of things.

Dave Lowe is Para Abnormal

You owe it to yourself to visit Dave Lowe’s Para Abnormal web comic.

I’ve been a fan of Dave’s work for a while, and he promises 31 days of Halloween cartoons starting October 1. Hooray!

In addition to the comic, Lowe maintains a separate blog where he shares ideas, sketches, silliness, and a general love for life and art. I’ve added him to my list of people I would most like to have lunch with someday. You just can’t help but smile at a blog post that starts, “The other night I was dusting off one of my Star Wars toy shelves.”

This guy is talented on so many levels it’s scary. I especially like the mock-up sketches he does to prepare for a real-world project. From a crashed UFO on the roof to a witch stirring her cauldron in the side yard, it’s amazing to see his charm and humor escape from the page and into reality.

Dave’s career includes 20 years in television as Art Director and Set Designer for such networks as NBC, MTV, Discovery Channel, HGTV, DIY and SCI FI. He also builds custom props for special events, trade shows, theater, and private commissions.

And he’s a super-nice guy. Seems like we haunter types are always saying that about one another. It might be all the pumpkin juice we’ve absorbed or candy corn we’ve nibbled over the years. In any case, thanks, Dave, for sharing.

Dave Lowe Design! ..The blog

Pumpkin Shock

A grinning Jack-o-lantern sitting on top of a corn shock is to Halloween as Cassandra Peterson is to a Google Image search.

In a recent email, someone complained to me that he didn’t have time to build a scarecrow. Now, having time and making time are two different things, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and began exploring ways to speed things up a bit.

What I discovered, however, was that simplifying a scarecrow without sacrificing essential scarecrow-y-ness just wasn’t possible. Arms are necessary. Some kind of body is necessary. It’s a scarecrow, not a vacuum cleaner. But I kept pondering. I do that alot.

What would we, in the bottom of our kettle, end up with if we distilled a scarecrow? Assuming it was even possible without having to sacrifice anything or give an indian medicine man a station wagon. What would be the final essence? I suppose that would depend on the nature of the scarecrow, but let’s assume a Grumble or a Bruno. Reduced to its barest form, I think we would simply see a grin of fire.

From that point, this idea sort of builds itself. How many plastic Jack-o-lantern-sitting-on-a-corn-shock lamps are there in your house? We have many. They’re so cheery and warm. Let’s build a full-size one that’s scary and on fire.

This could be very, very cool, and it would be much less technically challenging for folks who might be a little shy of all this artsy-fartsy paper mache stuff. You would still have to build a head, but the head is the easiest part of a scarecrow (to me, anyway).

Drive a tall tomato stake into the ground about 12-16″. Or use an old broom stick, or any sturdy post. You’ll want something about 6 or 7 feet tall. Next, get a couple of corn shocks and tie them together with twine or string. Set this super corn shock over the post. You might have to wrap some string around the post and then tie it around the two shocks. The post will help to keep the whole affair from blowing over.

Mount your pumpkin to the top of the post. If your post is short or your shocks are very tall, then just wedge the pumpkin in amongst the stalks. Secure it with string or wire by drilling holes in the back and sides of the pumpkin and threading it through. Make sure he won’t blow away!

And there it is. The Jack-o-corn … corn-o-lantern … junk-o-puke … Um … Pumpkin Shock!

Okay, I have to say this. Do not set your corn shocks on fire. Unless you’re planning on making some kind of stand, don’t try to mount a real pumpkin. Use an electric light or flashlight to light your Jack-o-lantern. Don’t use candles. Don’t try to pour a cup of ice through a hole in the rusted out floorboard of a VW Beetle at high speed. Don’t taunt a cornered possum.

Of a Melancholy Sort

Sometimes you just want to go to your favorite cemetery and be alone for a while.

A little bag of donuts is nice too.