What exactly is Monster For Rent?

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What exactly is Monster For Rent?

He’s a stilt-walking monster, standing at just under 9’ tall.  In his younger days, he worked at various “haunted houses” and “haunted hayrides”.   Now as a more seasoned monster, he spends the Halloween season, hiring himself out to deliver balloon-a-grams, entertain at birthday parties, Halloween parties, grocery stores, farm markets, and different companies who want to draw some attention to their business during the Halloween season.

Originally from Rochester, NY, the monster spent a number of years residing in West Palm Beach, FL.  Currently, he resides in the quiet town of Athens, OH.

 So what does the monster do?

Really that depends on the specific event.  The overwhelming majority of the time, he’s called into action to shake hands and pose for pictures with party-goers and customers of the various events that he’s hired to perform at.

At company functions, he’s been used to pass out advertising literature, march in parades, draw attention to certain displays within a store, or even stand by the side of the road to help draw in business.

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Can the monster talk?

Sadly, no… The mad scientist who created the monster neglected to give him the ability to speak.  However, he’s become quite adept at communicating with folks through hand gestures and head bobs.

There will be lots of young children at my event.  Will the monster be too scary for them?

While it is true that a 9’ tall monster might seem pretty intimidating, the monster very rarely scares any little ones.  In his experience, children who are afraid of Santa Claus, clowns, or the Easter Bunny may also be afraid of the monster.

The monster has become quite adept at scanning the crowd for signs that any of the little folks are looking a bit uneasy.  When he detects this, he avoids eye contact and focuses on the folks who are close by, shaking his hand and posing for pictures.  Generally, this allows any timid youngsters to move along and not suffer any frights.

The monster is so big.  Will he fit in my home or business?

Aside from being just under 9’ tall, the monster is able to fit just about anywhere that an event might be held.  He’s easily as maneuverable as any “normal” person.  As such, he’s able to duck through regular doorways, climb stairs, and pretty much go anywhere required, doing what needs to be done.

There will likely be big crowds at my event.   Will this be a problem for the monster?

Not at all.  The monster is very sturdy on his feet and has full peripheral vision.  Whether he’s indoors with merchandise displays or outdoors in a throng of people, the monster is very adept at moving about in tight spaces.

Could the monster hold a sign to promote my event/business?

Yes, absolutely.  The monster would be able to hold/carry any sign that any other “normal” person could.

mfr3Any chance we could dress the monster up in one of our uniforms?

Sure.  Aside from being rather large, the monster would be happy to.  Over the years, he’s worn t-shirts, aprons, hats, & buttons from those who have used his services.

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HorrorHound Weekend comes to Columbus, OH 3/23-3/25 2012

HorrorHound Magazine brings its mid-west Horror Convention to Columbus, Ohio from March 23rd-25th 2012. The event will be located at the Crowne Plaza Columbus North, 6500 Doubletree Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43229, (877)-270-1393. Visit their website for full details.

Fans will be able to meet some of the biggest icons in horror history. A list of special guests for the event may be found here.

Vendors will be on hand, offering the opportunity to shop for some of the newest or rarest classic horror toys, t-shirts, posters, displays, dvds, masks and other assorted goodies.

Movie premieres and screenings will be included, as well as special celebrity panels, and much more.

I’m planning on sending my monster to cover the event. If you plan on attending, please leave me a message below or say hello at the show!

Haunted Attractions

As a child, I was scared of my shadow.  While I loved Halloween and spooky things of all sorts, I had no stomach for them.

Every Saturday afternoon, Rochester had its own version of a “Creature Feature” after the children’s cartoons were over.  Each week a different monster movie would be featured and each week I would faithfully tune in.  However, also each week, I would turn the channel within moments after the host would introduce the movie.

I guess my first experience with a “haunted attraction” was the annual “haunted house” at the Dome arena in Henrietta, NY.  I must have been about 5 or 6 years old and had seen the signs along the road as we’d head off to get groceries at Wegmans.  Like a moth to a flame, I begged my folks to take me.

They agreed and off we went.  I was fascinated by the decorations and creepy sounds.  However, when it came to enter, I started to get weak knees.  Ultimately, the “good witch” at the “Scardey Cat’s” exit was my savior and I was back in the safe, light of day.  This ritual played itself out for at least the following few years.

My fortunes started to change when I was around 11.  That year there was a haunted house held at Gillette elementary school in Henrietta (where the School of the Holy Childhood is now).  I successfully managed to make my way through the gauntlet along with a couple of my little buddies.  That little victory changed everything.  lol.

From that point on, I threw myself headfirst into any scary attraction I could find, with great glee.  Ultimately, I guess that’s what lead me to starting to work for the Cobblestone Arts Center’s Haunted House and wearing the Frankenstein (err, monster) suit.

At any rate, I’ve made it into quite a hobby over the years.  As a matter of fact, back in ’97, my ex-wife and I spent a week touring some of the best “haunted attractions” in the country.

One of the best haunted attractions I’ve ever encountered is up in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Open all year, Nightmares Fear Factory is not for the faint of heart.  Don’t be fooled.  It’s not one of the cheesy haunted houses on Clifton Hill, with static displays from the 70s.  This is the real deal.

Instead of being populated with bored teenagers in latex masks, the Fear Factory is run by hardcore folks who pride themselves on making their guests call out “nightmares!” (an act which will immediately lead to them being escorted out of the attraction).  You will find no Spencer’s Halloween decorations or Halloween soundtracks here…Nightmares is a “feel your own way” romp through pitch black corridors in complete silence (aside from the sounds that you and your companions make).

Seriously, I realize that I enjoy this stuff far more than the ordinary individual.  However, if you happen to find yourself up at the Casino or passing through, on the way to Toronto, you should check it out.  I promise that you and your friends will be talking about it all the way home.

Limited edition Fright-Rags shirt for Breast Cancer research

A short while ago I wrote a post about Fright-Rags, a company from my home-town of Rochester, NY.  They produce some amazing horror t-shirts and this month they’re offering something special.

Available as a t-shirt or hoodie, this striking “We Belong Alive” 2011 Limited Edition Design is available for pre-order until Sunday, October 23.

Not only does it feature my two favorite monsters but it also helps a great cause.  60% of the proceeds from the sale of this shirt will be donated to METAvivor (www.metavivor.org) to help the research of metastatic breast cancer.

Head over to Fright-Rags and pre-order yours today!

Mulled Cider Recipe

    

     With only 78 more days until Halloween, the nights are getting cooler and the first apples of the season will be showing up in grocery stores before you know it.

     This simple mulled cider recipe would be a great touch for your Halloween party or just a good way to warm up on a cool, fall evening.

     I’ve seen many fall and holiday events over the years where something as simple as this was a big hit. Try it for an after dinner beverage some evening. It’ll warm your bones.

INGREDIENTS

2 qts. apple cider

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. ground ginger

4 cinnamon sticks

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a simmer over low heat.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes and serve.  Mugs can be garnished with the cinnamon sticks for an added touch.

Does anybody really like Candy Corn???

     I love Halloween.  I’m also rather fond of candy.  That said, I can’t stomach candy corn.  I think that everyone has certain items in a candy bowl which will remain until all of the others are gone.  Well, for me the candy corn never even makes it into the bowl.

     Let’s say I happened to be shopping for an assorted bag of Halloween candy and I had two bags to choose from.  If one bag contained some candy corn and the other bag had some live ants running around in it, I’d likely choose the one with the ants!  This is largely because I can understand why the ants would be there but I have no idea what candy corn would be doing in my bag of Halloween candy.

     Apparently, the confection was created in the 1880s by a fellow named George Renniger.  I’m sure his Wunderle Candy Co. had good intentions for their product, so I can’t fault them.  Hell, everyone makes mistakes.

     What’s curious to me is the fact that I’ve never met a single person who did like the stuff.  Trust me, I’ve asked around.  If I could have traded away all of my candy for say Hersey Bars, Tootsie Pops, or even Smarties, I’d probably weigh an extra 20 lbs. now.  Unfortunately, it seems that it is equally despised by all of my friends and acquaintances.

     Cleary, someone must be eating it.  According to the National Confectioners Association, more than 20 million lbs. of the candy are produced each year.  Where the hell is it going?

     I’m forced to think of the old fruit cake joke.  You know, the one which states that there is only 1 fruitcake in existence but people keep passing it off to each other as a gift.  Perhaps there are really only a couple pounds of candy corn in the world and somehow it keeps showing up on Halloween.

     In the name of science, I’m asking you, do you like candy corn?  Seriously, I’m begging you.  If you like candy corn or know someone who does, please let me know.  Somehow the world would make just a little more sense to me, if I knew that there was a reason for the sugary mess to still exist. 

     I hope I haven’t sounded to harsh about the poor candy corn.  Everything deserves its moment in the spotlight.  I just wish that some other type of candy was most commonly associated with Halloween.  For myself, I have one in mind.

Notable Trick-or-Treating memories

     Over the years, I’ve had many Halloween related memories.  As grand as some of my adventures have been as an adult, I think the best memories are from the years that I was young enough to still go trick-or-treating.

     As a kid, you tend to feel the build up to Halloween even more.  You watch as the leaves continue to fall, decorations slowly go up, and the pumpkins on the porches transform into jack-o-lanterns.

     I realize that things are different now.  Often, children trick-or-treat at the mall instead of their neighborhood or even in broad daylight.  Well, things were different in the 1970s.  Back then it was still quite common to see packs of ghosts and ghouls, roaming the streets, in search of treats.

     Now as a youngster, the mere act of knocking on a stranger’s door and being rewarded with candy was quite a thrill in itself.  However, there were certain people who went the extra mile to make things really special and those memories stay with me to this day.

     We had one family who, instead of giving candy, would hand out nickels to all of the trick-or-treaters.  It sounds rather funny, because a nickel wasn’t much (even in 1977), yet I clearly recall that every child in the neighborhood made it a point to not miss out on “the house that gives out money”.

     One neighbor would have a life-sized scarecrow sitting outside his door, with spooky music playing in the background.  On one year in particular, our neighbor removed the scarecrow on Halloween night, dressed in its clothes, placed a jack-o-lantern on his head, and sat himself down in the same spot. 

     He would wait for kids to get close and then reach out for them while laughing a hideous laugh.  This totally scared the bejeezus out of everyone involved.  Good times!

     We had one older couple down the street who always took pictures of all the kids.  They would set up a 35mm camera and snap pictures, just as the kids said “trick-or-treat”.  They also gave out little prizes for their favorite costumes of the night. 

     I always thought that this was very sweet.  Sweeter still (though quite sad) was the fact that the husband continued this practice for a couple of years, after his wife had passed away.  It’s unfortunate but I suppose that if someone were to do that today, parents would be terribly alarmed at having someone take pictures of their children.

     My favorite trick-or-treating memory of all time was one that parents probably should have been concerned about, there just didn’t happen to be any adults around at the time.  I grew up in Henrietta, NY (a suburb of Rochester).  It was a quiet little neighborhood and as such, parents weren’t afraid to let kids go off on their own (so long as they remained relatively close to home).

     I believe it was 1981 and I was 11 years old at the time.  My buddy Jason and I were wrapping up a long evening of trick-or-treating.  Just as we were about to head back home, we stumbled upon a curious house.

    The lights were all out (the international signal for “we don’t want trick-or-treaters) but there was very loud “haunted house music” coming from the house.  We looked at each other and shrugged.  Figuring that it would be a shame to miss out on any extra candy, we proceeded down the driveway, to the house.

     Arriving at the front door, we were met with another strange sight.  The door was wide open and there was still no sign of light from within the house.  I was a rather timid youth and was quite ready to turn around and leave.  However, before I could, Jason reached up and pressed the doorbell.

     Immediately, from within the blackness of the house, we heard a woman calling to us and the sound of chains rattling.  At this point we were too startled to move so we just stood there, staring into the blackness.

    As we watched, a woman crawled (yes crawled!) into view.  Not only that, but she was half-naked!  Clad only in a flimsy, white teddy, the woman crawled toward the door. 

     “Thank you for coming boys.  You must save me from my master!” she said.

     Our 11 year-old eyes were out of their sockets, wanting dearly to stare at her barely covered breasts but feeling the urge to run screaming into the night at the same time.

     Then things got really weird.  Now in full view, it became clear that the woman had a collar around her neck and was tethered by a chain.  The chain was held by a large, bare-chested man who emerged from the dark.

     “Candy, candy…candy for the children” he said.  His voice was slightly muffled under a horrid Don Post mask (like the one in this picture).

     The man held the chain, preventing the woman from “escaping”, and proceeded to stuff a TON of candy into our bags.  With that done, he shut the door and we ran off into the night.

     Neither of us mentioned that to our parents, for fear of freaking them out.  We certainly didn’t want to be prevented from trick-or-treating on our own, in future years.

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     Well, thank you for reading.  If you’ve read this far, I’m betting that you have some great Halloween memories of your own.  Please take just a moment and leave a comment.  I would love to hear your tales.  We’re less than 100 days from Halloween, it’s not too late to make sure that you can create some memories this year!

Forest Park Retirement Community (Victor, NY) 10.23.09

     This was my first event with an older crowd.  When I say “older”, I mean that most of the residents were over 90 years old.  At any rate, a good time was had by all.

     High point of the night was the fact that a number of them could actually remember seeing Frankenstein in the theater, when it was originally released!