(ARA) – Any
kid who’s ever jumped out from behind a bush to surprise
a friend can tell you giving -- and getting -- a good scare can
be great fun. Modern Halloween has become a uniquely American
homage to our love for a good, clean fright.
“Halloween isn’t just for kids in Spiderman costumes
carrying plastic pumpkin buckets,” says Kim Boyd, chief
“spook-tologist” for the Johnson Smith Company. Boyd’s
family business has been selling novelty items, including Halloween
decorations, since 1914. “According to the American Retail
Association, only Christmas surpasses Halloween in terms of how
much people spend on decorating,” she says.
That means a lot of adults are spending a lot of money each year
on Halloween decorations, Boyd observes. “Just as families
add to their collection of Christmas decorations year after year,
a lot of adults take pride in improving and expanding their collection
of Halloween décor.”
Modern Halloween decorations have gone far beyond cardboard skeletons
and hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns. Now there’s something
for every boy and ghoul -- from the serious collector to the casually
creepy -- to fit in virtually every budget. Cheesy, campy, frolicsome
or downright bone-chilling, whatever your Halloween decorating
style, Boyd and her cohorts at www.ThingsYouNeverKnew.com offer
some ideas for decorations sure to set just the right mood this
All Hallows’ Eve:
* “Keep your audience in mind,” Boyd
advises. “When choosing decorations for kids, remember that
your goal is for that initial squeal of surprise to be followed
by giggles and laughter. A nice jar of Bubbling Eyeballs, a Coffin
Fogger, or Haunted Shaking Chandelier can do the trick.”
If you’re expecting teens or adults to be haunting your
abode this Halloween, you can amp up the fear factor with some
gruesome masks or the ever-popular Headless Corpse (equally affective
on your coffee table as on your front lawn), Bloody Baby, or Twitching
* “You don’t have to murder your budget just to scare
the life out of someone,” says Boyd. Consider adding small,
inexpensive items, like a string of shrunken heads, vinyl replicas
of human organs that pulse with multi-colored light, or even a
bleeding human skull candle to your Halloween décor. All
can be had for less than $10 an item.
* To inspire screams -- and a sheer adrenaline rush -- nothing
beats action or sound by an object one thought was inanimate.
Decorations like the Life-Size Glowing Mummy are doubly diabolic.
The victim knows the mummy is supposed to be a spirited decoration,
but doesn’t expect the 6-foot-tall figure to groan and glow
A motion activated ghoul, called a Spazm, can have the same effect.
As a visitor approaches, the seated, shackled figure begins quivering
and panting. Definitely at the higher end of the spectrum, and
probably most appealing to serious collectors, the mummy sells
for $169.98 at www.thingsyouneverknew.com, while the Spazm is
available for $179.98. A set of motion- and sound-activated Possessed
Books could do the trick at $24.98.
For more fiendishly fun Halloween decorating ideas,
or call (800) 232-0962 to request a catalog.
to the How-To Page