Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Memories #1 "The Weapons of Halloween"

Back in the late 80's, when I was around eight or nine years old, my mom took us to a department store. I don't remember the name of the store and I don't believe it even exists anymore. (Places like Wal-Mart and Target were still years off, at least in our town).  It was in the month of October and as we walked into the store my eyes were immediately drawn towards the unusually dark corner of the store on my left. In that corner, all of the store's Halloween decorations were on display. Whoever set up the displays was a fan of Halloween because it was clearly evident in their work. It appeared as if every decoration for sale had a completely assembled representative lurking somewhere amongst the merchandise.  Ghosts floated just above my head, strung from the ceiling above, strobe lights flashed and a fog wafted along the linoleum tile below. A cassette of Halloween sounds played from some unseen stereo hidden in the shelves.
Out of all the Halloween stimuli, my attention was directed to a cardboard display in the center of the area. Inside the box were all sorts of sinister looking plastic weapons. I had never seen Halloween props like this before. There were battle axes stained deep with crimson, the blades were nicked and jagged. There were swords, bigger than most children could even wield, with vampire skulls fused into the hilt. Pitchforks that looked like they had been manufactured in some hellish underworld toy factory.
       Impressive as this was, what truly seared itself into my memory was the two-color mural emblazoned upon the cardboard armory. The sky was orange, a Halloween sunset was the impression I got. Below the sky where the silhouettes of an army of evil, grotesque creatures. Hundreds of them equipped with the weapons from the box. They were marching across what looked like a harvested cornfield. I just stood there looking at the box wondering how horrifying it would be to encounter this army of Halloween in the last minutes of dying sunlight. The image had a medieval feeling to it. Perhaps there was a Halloween that looked much like this long ago before the Halloween we've come to know.
       Many of the image compositions I create today depict spooky sunsets. This is directly inspired from the feeling that has always been with me ever since I saw that display. One day, I will recreate that image for the Haunted Gallery...

1 comment:

The Gill-Man said...

I, for one, look forward to seeing this realized here in the Haunted Gallery! It's amazing all of the things that stick with you from childhood. The smallest things can make such a big impression on a child.