We go a bit overboard on Halloween.
Maybe more than a bit. The yard in the video is mine. As I write this, I’ve got 40 tombstones, more than 200 skulls, and half a dozen life-size props in my yard. The coffin leaning against the tree was bought used on the secondhand coffin market.
I have a motion-activated monster whose eyes light up as his head turns to watch you as you walk past. He just happens to be the exact size in all dimensions as my son was 4 years ago.
A few years ago, I built a beautiful zombie who–not so coincidentally–had the exact height and proportions as my wife.
Last year, a few days before Halloween, somebody came into my yard and stole my bride. They also tried stealing the small coffin, but only managed to get away with the lid, leaving the coffin itself behind.
I hate thieves.
This year, I was at the Financial Bloggers Conference the weekend I traditionally set up for Halloween, so I was getting a late start.
Every time I’ve tried to get out and set up my yard, I just keep thinking about the irreplaceable pieces that were stolen. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a child-sized coffin lid dating back to 1863? Or how impossible it is to get the 100 hours of my life I put into my zombie?
I think about how hurt I would be if somebody stole my son-sized animatronic ghoul or the demon who shares my measurements, but is two feet shorter. I’ve spent hundreds of hours per year, over 10 years building my yard full of one-of-a-kind props, and someone felt it was acceptable to tear down a section of my skull fence, come into my yard, and steal a little piece of my life.
Motivation has been difficult this year.
Last night, while I was out arranging my much-reduced yard haunt, a neighbor came by to let me know that he was disappointed with the smaller production. He wasn’t upset, but he–like the entire neighborhood–love watching the gore grow in my yard while anticipating the evening full of screams as the kids wander through every Halloween.
I can’t do it.
The thieving punks stole not just two of my favorite props, but a huge piece of my desire to scare the neighborhood kids.
Maybe I just need a year off, so I can come back with better ideas and a security plan more detailed than “my neighbors love this, none of them would steal anything!”
I would love to find the thieves. Post-beating, I’d explain how stealing from anyone is stealing a small and irreplaceable part of their lives. Stealing their handcrafted treasure is ripping out a piece of their soul. Stealing their motivation is stealing the memories for every visitor who would ever benefit from their craft, if the motivation is dead enough to kill the production.
I hope I’m not to that point, yet, but I can’t promise anything. Maybe next year.