Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Halloween has always held a special place in my heart. Even as a middle-aged man with no children, I still get a kick out of the decorations and the costumes and the horror movies on TV. I feel sorry for those who shun the holiday as promoting devil worship and such nonsense. To me, Halloween is a celebration of that dreaded emotion: fear. I say celebration because we have to recognize that we as human beings all fear something at one time or another. Overcoming fear is a challenge we all face, so having a holiday that revels in the emotion and, in a way, belittles it is one way of breaking its hold over us. Besides, it’s all great fun!

I always feel creative right before Halloween. When I was little, I loved creating costumes, carving pumpkins, and decorating the front yard with scarecrows and ghoulish stuff. One year, my brother Craig, the electronics geek, rigged up a speaker device in our pumpkin. He situated himself in the basement so he could look out the small window next to our front steps. With the cord from the pumpkin hidden under a towel, Craig could talk through his mic and his voice would come out of the pumpkin. Since Craig couldn’t see much from his vantage point, I would whisper to him which kid was coming up the walk, and he could greet them by name. One kid in the neighborhood really believed the pumpkin was alive and kept coming back to talk to him. It was only after the blanket slipped and the wire became visible that he finally realized what was going on.

This year, the holiday had snuck up on me and by Sunday, I realized I hadn’t done anything creative this year. As I sullenly watched the football game, I remembered that I had some old action figures that I had always wanted to do something with, but they had some really ugly headsculpts. I then thought about the old monster action figures that Mego put out in the mid-70s, and I got an idea. In a burst of activity, I repainted one of the figures to look like Frankenstein and the other one I transformed into Dracula (he already had a widow's peak). Scrounging around my boxes of doll clothes, I put together a gray-and-black outfit for Frank and I used one of my James Bond tuxedos for Dracula. I also remembered that my wonderful wife had given me a cool action figure cape for Christmas, so Dracula was complete. Frank just needed a couple of bits of plastic glued to his neck to create the electrodes.

The next day, I went to the crafts store and bought a Styrofoam platform to use as a diorama for my figures. The graveyard decorations from last year came in handy, along with the mulch and sand I had from another diorama project. Now I have a little display for the porch while I sit outside and distribute candy!

Happy Halloween Everybody!


Anonymous said...

I always thought Ted Danson resembled Frankenstein somewhat...and that ugly headsculpt, painted green, is a dead (heh) ringer!

Deleted said...

Great job on these horrors! My son (3 yrs) would like to know who the chap with the exposed brain is..? Thanks

Neal P said...

The blue fella with the exposed brain is Dr. Evil, an action figure villain created in the 1960s to cause mischief for Captain Action, another 1960s action figure competing with G.I. Joe. The figure in the blog is actually not a vintage Dr. Evil, but a reproduction produced in the late 90s.