My husband and I went on our annual fall vacation last weekend. This time, our plans were to stay in cabins at Harrisville State Park and Tawas Point State Park, both of which are located on the Lake Huron coast of Michigan.
When we arrived at Harrisville State Park Friday night, we learned from the park staff that a Halloween party was going on over the entire weekend, and they gave us a calendar of events, brochure, etc. There would be decorating contests, trick-or-treating, and live entertainment in Harrisville. Area businesses would be setting up their own camp sites with decorations, too (photos of these further down).
At first we thought “Cool! We get to walk around and look at people’s camp sites all decorated for Halloween.” And here are some daytime scenes we saw…
These decorations were on the campground host’s site.
Then we started thinking about it a bit…and feeling like we wanted to do something to get into the Halloween spirit ourselves! Saturday, we took a walk into the sprawling metropolis of Harrisville (JK – its population is probably about 500 folks, soaking wet). I thought maybe its pharmacy would have some decorations or something…a bunch of events were scheduled at the pharmacy too, so we figured…why not?
Well, for starters? The pharmacy – where events were scheduled, a food truck was parked, and people had gathered…was CLOSED! So I walked a bit further up the road and found a grocery store. Then Mike (my husband) met a friendly lady outside the store (he was drinking an iced tea he’d bought in the store and sitting on a bench outside) informed him about a store that might save our bacon…
Yup. The Dollar General to the rescue! It was only about a half mile away, and we could take our car there and back before things were shut down for trick or treating (no vehicle traffic during trick or treating).
So we scoped out the Halloween decorations, and learned that they were…pretty…picked…over. We heard about a die-hard customer who bought $150 worth of decorations the day before. Crazy, right? Who DOES this stuff? Not us! For one, we don’t have that kind of money – two – our car was already pretty crammed full just packing our junk for this trip! Definitely not room for a bunch of Halloween decor!
Our humble Harrisvile “abode” for two nights (after we’d cleared everything out)
We bought a little “electric pumpkin” for $6, a few rubber bats, a rubber spider, a Sharpie, and a piece of orange poster board and some mailing tape. I wanted to make a sign welcoming the trick-or-treaters so they would know they could…you know, come to our cabin and trick-or-treat (we were going to be sitting on the porch with a bowl of candy so the horrible little monsters wouldn’t have to actually come to our door…the horror…the horror). I kid! The kids were mostly…mostly very cute and polite! Except that one little boy (I’ll get to him in a bit). Oh yeah we also bought Halloween candy (2.5 pounds of various chocolates mini-miniatures – the “super mini” variety). There were some other random non-Halloween things we needed too, so the trip to DG was very productive!
Keep in mind, my husband and I have lived in apartments/condos for…well, basically the whole time we’ve been together. We don’t normally hand out candy to trick-or-treaters at all. This was a maiden voyage for us!
Meet “Peter,” our new “Electric Pumpkin.” A small orange bulb brings him to life.
I put the rubber spider into my illuminated water bottle and used it as a Halloween decoration. Lame, I know – but we were kind of forced to phone it in!
For a little extra Halloween “touch,” I even put together a Halloween playlist on my laptop, and put some batteries in my portable wired speakers (my laptop is too old and not Bluetooth compatible, and all of my music is on it). Some tracks I put in my list included Dead Man’s Party (Oingo Boingo), some tracks from the film Ravenous, some tracks from the Batman soundtrack Dead Souls by nine inch nails, Night on Disco Mountain from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and Shelob’s Lair from the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King soundtrack. Then I had to finagle it a bit to make sure it actually played as a PLAYLIST and not just one track at a time! Gah, computers! Can’t live with ’em, can’t kill ’em!
We were almost ready! Trick or treating was about to start, and I wanted to make sure we had “beverages” (wink-wink). I felt this wasn’t an activity I wanted to undertake while sober. I took our pint-sized metal cups and put in some club soda, cranberry juice, and Canada Dry. And I filled ’em to the brim. I also fetched my bike bottle of Kirkland vodka, with instructions to “add to drinks at will.” Going inside to mix drinks while the little beasts…er children – were trick or treating at our cabin – wouldn’t do! We could just “squirt” vodka into our cups as we sipped down our mixers. Worked wonderfully!
Music was queued up, candy was dumped into plastic bowl…our “beverages” were ready…what next?
I felt like I was missing something.
“Mike,” I said. “Could you get the hatchet from the Six Demon Bag, please?”
Don’t be freaked out! “Six Demon Bag” is just our Big Trouble in Little China-inspired name for our basic camp ditty bag – which has firestarters, tent stakes, tent mallet, rope, and other supplies. Including the hatchet (which I would place on my lap). I wanted to feel like I had a “costume prop.” Something SLIGHTLY scary. For the record, I never touched the hatchet. It just sat on my lap. But when that greedy little toddler boy tried grabbing a HANDFUL of candy that I’d been forced to ration? Let’s just say I was tempted! Not really…But I did say calmly – AND firmly to the boy – “No – you don’t take – I give.”
Sorry, no pictures of the kiddos! Too many legal complications with posting pictures of kids – getting permission, yada yada. Some of the costumes were really cute! Lots of superheroes, robots, animals – the mama jail warden and jailbird boys were particularly cute!
After a half hour we were ALL out of candy. Not really. We kept the last two tiny pieces of Snickers for ourselves (I figured we deserved that at the very least)! I took down our poster, and burned it in a neighbor’s fire. We still sat outside to make sure no eager beavers looked our way for candy.
“Sorry, we’re all out of candy.”
It was kind of cool seeing the throngs of costumed kids/parents wandering around. But the REAL fun would have to wait until after DARK! We both decided to lie down in the cabin for a spell to gather energy for the night’s festivities (bwa ha ha ha ha!). Normally, I bring a flashlight or headlamp when I’m walking around a campground after dark. But not this time! I wanted to be more creeped out than usual. So we didn’t bring any lights. There was an unseen guy with a chainsaw… and at the various displays, you wondered which ones were the dummies – and which ones were real living humans (it was rather unsettling). Here are some things we saw…
And…drum roll…my favorite decoration of the night is coming up! Camera didn’t really do this one justice, but it’s basically…A WHOLE BUNCH OF LIT CARVED PUMPKINS SITTING IN A TREE! Check it out below…
Look at all of those glowing faces!
The winning display of the night was not one that we photographed…but it was the creepiest thing I ever witnessed! A bunch of cloaked figures were hanging around by a fire, and they looked like they were engaged in some sort of chanting ritual. Similar to this one, from the film Eyes Wide Shut…My weird husband said “I felt like I was at home. I wanted to teach THEM about the ways of Cthulhu!”