October 31, 2004
Colleen and I went to the scariest house in Clinton, Iowa on Halloween night.
It was cloudy and cool but warm enough for a great turn-out. Tinker Bells, miniature firemen, ghouls and ghosts were in evidence on 11th Avenue South as we climbed the hill toward Cari and Brian’s house.
Cari is a numbers person by day, but for the last seven years on Halloween night, she turns her house into a place of horror. We could see it from a block away: tombstones throughout the yard, a coffin leaning up against the fence with a forlorn voice repeating, “help me”, fog billowing from beneath the porch and throughout the yard, a half dozen talk, dark, undead bodies in various states of decay. The effect was chilling and delightful.
The creatures stood stone still while the trick-or-treaters came up the long front walk and then silently began to follow them toward the Star Trek Captain who was handing out the candy. True Halloween Terror.
It was too much for some. There were a few who gave the house a wide berth and a couple who actually ran screaming from the porch.
Cari was having way too much fun. I should have guessed it. One of her prize office portraits is of three witches. She is one of them, leering at the camera with the same joy Margaret Hamilton brought to her role in the Wizard of Oz. I wanted to get into the fun and lie on the ground next to the walk, a recently dispatched corpse, grabbing at the feet of unsuspecting children. Perhaps next year!
(Cari Fenzel grew up to be Mediacom’s Region Vice President for Illinois / Iowa / Indiana. People tell me she can still be scary when she wants to.)