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The old guy in the parlor

Snug Harbor is a real place, and not that hard to locate. You’ll find it on city streets where corn shocks rustle in store windows. In neighborhoods where jack-o-lanterns and orange, yellow, and purple mums line driveways, where bed-sheet-ghosts hang flapping from lamp posts. In kitchens and on front porch swings where neighbors visit over coffee.

It is where people gather to share friendship, warmth, stories. Friend of SpookyBlue Robert Holland writes of Snug Harbor…

My mother-in-law loves to give out candy at Halloween, so each year we bundled her up and set her on the porch in a comfortable chair, like a live prop. And that old woman scared the devil out of a lot of our visitors, sitting in a darkened corner of the patio.

This year she’s suffered a third stroke, and it would be cruel to sit her outside. So we decided to open our front doors and put the ol’ gal in the parlor. Kids will have to venture inside a few feet to get the goods. And of course the entry is fully decorated (flicker lights in the chandelier, creepy pix in the electronic photo frame, and various lamps with altogether too-little wattage).

And, of course, a booming, raging thunderstorm outside…

The thing is, I’m not around much for the haunting. I’m usually out traipsing the neighborhood with my daughter. Ah, but soon she will be too old to go door-to-door, and I’ll be the old guy in the parlor. The future looks bright as a 25-watt bulb, and for Halloween, that’s ideal.

We couldn’t agree more, Robert.
Do you have a Snug Harbor story to share?

Spooky Hollow 2007

Spooky Hollow 2007Snug Harbor is crisp this October, but not the type of crisp you normally associate with a frosty mid-October evening. After an insanely hot Summer, we’re glad to see Autumn finally come strolling down the road. Except that it seems to have stopped to look at something lying in the ditch along the way. And now it’s chatting with crazy old Mr. Richardson who likes to sit on an old milk crate on his front porch and chew on ginseng roots.

Oh, great. Autumn just pulled up a crate and chomped down on a root of its own. Nevermind that it’s late for work and Summer is starting to get ticked off. There were a couple of tornado touchdowns just a few miles away from Snug Harbor last week. That’s what happens when Summer has to stick around late (four weeks now) because the guy who’s scheduled to close hasn’t shown up for work yet. Somebody needs to say something to the Boss.

Anyway, the undead don’t care if it’s 93 degrees. They’re just glad to be out terrorizing again.

Click here for the Spooky Hollow 2007 Gallery

You should always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise they won’t come to yours.

Zombie Lineup

Zombies awaken from their dusty slumber and muster out for roll call as Autumn arrives and Snug Harbor morphs into Spooky Hollow.

Everything outside has been baking since May and is a nice golden brown. The grass is so dry and dusty that every time a grasshopper jumps another one sneezes. And there, down the road in the neighbor’s front yard is a pumpkin. Two houses in the otherTrailer load of zombies direction is a light-up skeleton and some plastic ghosts fluttering around in the tree.

And then there’s our house.

You know how every neighborhood has that one house that everyone talks about at Christmas or Halloween. I’m pretty sure that’s us. We build character for the rest of the neighborhood, or bring down property values depending on who you talk to.

Spooky flamingo

New additions to our happy haunt include a pair of ghastly gourds named the Moth Brothers. They’re a terrible team, a dreadful duo, twin traumas with orange eyes and saw blade teeth. And the flamingos are attracted to them for some bizarre reason. Unbelievably, none of the pink birds have gone missing.

It has been a hot summer, and I mean hot!


But it was worth it. The time and sweat that is invested into these stupid lumps of paper and glue every summer is paid back in full when a kid, riding by on his bike, turns around and comes back to stand at the end of the driveway and stare.


Maybe that will be the magical moment when he realizes that even though he’s going to be too old to trick-or-treat someday, he doesn’t have to leave Halloween behind with his Legos and Star Wars action figures. Halloween doesn’t have to end.

Or he’s gauging how far he can chuck the egg in his pocket and whether he’ll have time to get away before the crazy people come running after him.

The Halloween Tree

“What is Halloween? How did it start? Where? Why? What for?”

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is one of my all-time favorite books. A group of boys is whisked across the horizon to the Undiscovered Country in pursuit of their pal Pipkin. They tour the dark history of Halloween and their guide is none other than Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, a menacing, but ultimately friendly figure of Death who… well, read the book. If you like Halloween without a safety switch, read the book. If you remember what it was like to jump over neighbors’ fences, face covered in greasepaint, a bag filled with candy, read the book.

Now… in 1992 an animated version of The Halloween Tree appeared. If Bradbury’s book is a glass of cherry Koolaid, whoever mixed the cartoon used about half the sugar. Standing on its own, it’s a pretty good story about Halloween, but it doesn’t have quite the edge that this story deserves.

Even so, a Halloween cartoon is a Halloween cartoon. Enjoy!

Hallowen Tree – Part 1
Halloween Tree – Part 2

Halloween Tree – Part 3

Halloween Tree – Part 4

Halloween Tree – Part 5

Halloween Tree – Part 6

Halloween Tree – Part 7