Real Halloween horror stories

Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s that time of the year when my thoughts turn to all things creepy. I love Halloween despite the best efforts of the cosmos to ruin it for me. I’ve had my share of strange and rude Trick-or-treaters,  One of the most unusual had to be what I call the midnight creeper.

I turn out the lights between 9 and 10 on Halloween night. I enjoy the kid’s in costume but I draw the line with intoxicated adults and street-people. About 30 years ago, I sat watching a marathon of old slasher movies in the dark (the best way to watch those movies). To my surprise someone knocked on my door, I looked at the clock and it was slightly before midnight.  Thinking that only a friend would pop in this late, I answered the door flamboyantly with a quote from Poe.

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

I flung open the door to find a HUGE man in his mid-forties with a pillowcase in his hands. “I’m trick-or-treat’n for my kid.”

I gave him a fist-full of candy only to have him ask for the rest of the bowl — “since it’s so late and your done with Halloween.” I dumped the rest of the bowl in his bag as he added a polite “thank you.”

Damn, that man scared the crap out of me. He was probably harmless, but I learned to check before answering the door late at night.

The empty bowl: I decided to play a little trick on the Trick-or-treaters by placing an empty bowl in a chair on the front porch with a sign “Happy Halloween, Do Not Disturb, Please Take One.” I sat on the couch and listened to the frustrated Trick-or-treaters complain about dishonest kids. Some were only frustrated that they didn’t get to empty the bowl first. While a couple kids rang the doorbell to inform me that my bowl was empty and “they didn’t do it!”

It wasn’t long before one kid had a complete meltdown and flipped over the bowl and chair. The disturbing part was that a parent was watching the hissy fit and did nothing to stop him. Only after the boy wreaked the porch and I yelled at him did his mother step forward to tell me how stupid I was to think children wouldn’t steal all of the candy. At that point her son added, “that’s what I would have done.”

halloween (Photo credit: molito66)

More often than not, it isn’t the greedy little kids that are the problem, it’s the adults. I had one well-dress woman ring the bell and ask for a “refund” on some candy. She complained that my Tootsie-rolls were stale.  I let her pick out what SHE wanted from the bowl.

Another lady chewed me out because her child burned herself. It seemed that the lady put a “real” candle in a plastic pumpkin pail and I tossed candy into it thinking it was her bag. At some point the child tried to retrieve the candy and burned herself. The lady returned to my house and threw a fit. I said, “Lady, kids are using those plastic jack-o-lantern pails to hold candy. You put a flame in a plastic pumpkin and I’m the bad guy?” Of course, the other parents tore into her and I wondered if the police would show up.

There you have it, a small sample of my real Halloween horror stories. I wonder what will happen this year.

In my mailbox


I won a beautiful prize from Immortal Visions Paper Crafts and it arrived yesterday. It arrived in perfect condition despite the best efforts of my mailman to fold, spindle, and mutilate it (my mailman hates me). It is my first Halloween decoration to go up this year. I guess I should say intentionally go up this year — not counting the decorations left over from last year — lol.

If you are unfamiliar with Immortal Visions Paper Crafts, check it out at: You can also find them on Facebook (link).

Melissa Walker Castro is a fantastic artist and I am thrilled to own one of her creations!


Immortal Visions Paper Crafts can be found at …

The monster food of my youth

These were among my favorite cereals in my misspent youth. I would methodically pick out the marshmallows and eat them separately.  I can’t wait to share these artificially-flavored clumps of sugar with my nephew,  and like everything else from my youth, he’ll hate it.

A bowl of Frute Brute and Scooby-Doo on TV was the start of a perfect Saturday.

General Mills says…
Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy are returning to store shelves this fall. They’ll join our three other signature Monster Cereals – Franken Berry, Boo Berry and Count Chocula – for the first time, in our annual seasonal, limited time run of the cereals to celebrate Halloween.

Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy 2013

– See more at:

Ghost Hunters: S09E04 Permanent Residents

This week the GH gang visit a beautiful location The 1890 House in Cortland, NY. It is now a museum and I wonder how long it will be before it has it’s annual ghost tours? I guess we will know by this Halloween.

The reports of  haunted activity are pretty much what you might expect from a house of this age. I liked the test by Britt of the pool balls making noise by vibration caused by heavy traffic. While the experiment was a good effort, he failed to remember (or perhaps that info was not passed on to him) that the witness said that the pool balls were not set out. He should have tested how the balls were stored and if improper storage and gravity might have caused the sound. They had a strange sound around the cue rack and I wonder if they should have spent more time there? I wasn’t impressed with the Rim Pod going off on the table because it was probably KJ approaching the pool table.


ghdebunkAs for the debunk attempt of the alleged ghost photo, I wonder why Britt and KJ didn’t pull the trigger and say that the picture was a person with a camera. I couldn’t help but think that season 1 or 2 Ghost Hunters would have tossed out this photo.

Adam reports that his leg was touched (not getting enough airtime Adam?) and I couldn’t help but laugh. Interesting place, I can see why people think that it’s haunted.

The second portion of the show was an investigation of the Ashmore Estates. Michelle and Tango propose that a rocking chair may be a source of knocks and for once I came away happy with the debunking efforts. Having said that, I think that Ghost Adventures (season5) did a much better investigation of the location. I couldn’t help but wonder if GH’s efforts to debunk were a salvo aimed at GA. It makes you wonder about the motivations of rival paranormal TV shows.

Monday musings

My Big Fish Mahjong review and giveaway is over and Big Fish has drawn a winner. We will announce the winner October 19th during the Virtual Zombie Walk. In a shameless effort to boost visitors to my Scifi/horror blog “Attention Earthlings” (link), the good folks at Big Fish will host another drawing there via rafflecopter. By the way, I will review Plants vs Zombies (link).

Both Gnostalgia and Attention Earthlings will participate in the Virtual Zombie Walk. Big Fish games to give away, zombies, October, Halloween, people it doesn’t get better than this!

Carrot cake and coffee

Pondering Halloween

We are on the cusp of my favorite season of the year. I sat on the back porch with carrot cake and coffee, and enjoyed watching the leaves starting to fall. I’ve brought out the Halloween decorations and Peppy had his annual battle with Wolfie. I shot some footage of Peppy’s fit but it was too dark see. He barked at Wolfie, then ran away only to return and attack my trouser-leg when I acted as if I would pet the Wolfman decoration.

Spooky movies will be playing  and I should have a few interesting movies posted on my “Attention Earthlings!” (link) blog.  I may not have as many book reviews, and I may be a little distracted by the season, but fear not O’ Gnostalgia readers I will have a little something special for you.

I will have some reviews and giveaways of some Big Fish games! Keep an eye open for more news.

Review: Halloween Woodcarving

Halloween Woodcarving: 10 Frightfully Fun Projects for the Beginner
by Cyndi Joslyn-Carhart
Paperback: 117 pages
Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing
ISBN-10: 1565232895
ISBN-13: 978-1565232891

(Barry’s score 4 stars out of 5)

Product description:
From learning how to use and maintain basic woodcarving tools such as knives and chisels to understanding the benefits and drawbacks of working with various types of wood, this spook-tacular carving guide will delight crafters. Novice carvers can take their turn with 10 detailed patterns of popular Halloween-themed figures, including a mummy, a witch, ghastly ornaments, a black cat, and a ghost trick-or-treater. Instructional chapters also explain how to transfer patterns and provide a presentation of painting and finishing pieces to add creativity and color to carvings.

My thoughts:

I can imagine what some of you are thinking. Barry is reviewing another Fox Chapel product??? After my last Fox Chapel review, and the “snotty-gram” from FC in response to my review, I didn’t really think that I would ever review another Fox Chapel product. But, there is a slight chill in the morning and I feel a little Fall in the air. I am in the mood for Halloween and I thought that I would share my thoughts on some of the Halloween books at the bookstores.

Halloween Woodcarving is a fine introduction to woodcarving with a Halloween twist. I really liked the Mummy pattern in the book. Basically, the book starts with a nice introduction to woodcarving tools which I found very easy to follow. It provides several wood carving patters. As I said before, I liked the step-by-step pictures of the Mummy and I think that I might like to give this project a try.

All in all, I enjoyed it. I think that I would like to have seen more than just 10 projects and the price seems a little high for the size of the book (shop around – don’t pay full price). However, if you learn a new skill and make a few of these projects, it’s a good bang for the buck. I recommend the book and give it 4 stars out of 5.

New books just in time for Halloween

When the air turns crisp and school is back in
session, everyone starts to plan for one of their
favorite Fall holidays: Halloween. Our friends at
Gooseberry Patch provide hours of frightening
fun in this brand new collection of ghoulish tricks
& treats, spooky crafts, clever costume ideas and
devilish decorations. With full-color photos on
every page, easy step-by-step instructions for
craft projects, oodles of tempting recipes for the
whole family, and so much more, this book will
be a must-have for every Halloween lover.

These 30+ costume, pumpkin, and home-decorating ideas are not just beautiful–they are scary beautiful. From unique pumpkin decorations to a “blood”-splashed dinner-party centerpiece to a Yard Specter made from two poles, a string of lights, and torn, draped fabric, these creepy but stylish Halloween projects will give your home a spooky, sophisticated look . . . with gothic flair!



No GH Halloween special this year?

I wondered if there would be a Halloween special without Grant. Jason Hawes just tweeted, “I’ve chosen 2spend this Halloween with my family. 2many years apart on R favorite holiday.Plz retweet! TY 4understanding! #MuchLove

Circling the drain …

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