Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

A hearty Cheers! to all of the other Countdown participants, Happy Halloween!, thanks for dropping by and may your Day of the Dead hangover be mercifully brief.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Off-ed to the Races!

No the people of Manitou Springs, Colorado aren't a bunch of chanting and gibbering deformed idol-worshipping savages out of a Lovecraft story, they just really know how to celebrate Halloween. And their Halloween spirit shines the brightest during the Emma Crawford Coffin Races, held every year the Saturday before Halloween. This years event, the 15th annual ECCR, had the fortune of falling on one of the warmest sunniest day of the month.

Emma Crawford was a lovely young woman, afflicted with tubeculosis, whose family moved to Manitou in 1889 to provide her with the believed restorative powers of the local mineral springs and mountain air. Emma asked to be buried on nearby Red Mountain and when she died, in 1891, her family had the wish fulfilled. Unfortunately, Emma's body was relocated years later by the railroad to the south side of Red Mountain where the heightened exposure to the elements caused Emma coffin to become unearthed and wash down the mountainside in 1929. Emma's poor abused bones were re-interred in a cemetery in an unmarked grave and rumor has it that Emma's ghost haunts the slopes of Red Mountain looking for her lost resting place.

So I trust you get the basic premise. Every year the folks of Manitou pay tribute to Emma's spirit with a racing competition where colorfully-costumed teams push coffin-like carts ( two at a time) to the finish line, each bearing a unique representation of the restless Miss Crawford.

Each year there is an invitation only wake at the Miramont Castle the evening before the race and the next day the public event begins with a parade in Emma honor featuring a convoy of pimped-out hearses as well as the race competitors themselves.

It's basically a Halloween event, with dazzling costumes on both sides of the parade-tape.

Prizes are given for originality of the teams costumes and coffins as well as the actual races.

The event gives Halloween exhibitionists a perfect place to flaunt their nature, such as... What's this?...

What's bugging those dogs? Some kind of remote-controlled car?

Oh, but of course...

The fact is, there were so darned many people packed onto Manitou Avenue that I gave up trying to get good shots of the races themselves. But I knew someone would have video up on YouTube by the time I wrote this post, anyway.

Ghosts from the Crawlspace

I'd almost forgotten about these old Halloween decorations that we had stored in the crawlspace. I always dug these glow-in-the-dark ghosts.

I think this one is my favorite.

A couple of them are suffering from damage.

Like this witch, which I probably helped deface at some point in my childhood.

I suspect that these last two are older than I am.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cemetery Bear

About 15 years ago I went on a trip to the mountain town of Lake City with my mom. During the trip we took a drive up to the Lake City cemetery to see my grandfather's grave. At one point during the drive up the winding dirt road I spotted a small bear. I got out of the car and took some pictures of it as it ambled off into the woods and even followed it a little. If the bear was a cub, it's mother was nowhere in sight.

Moments later, I realized that we'd found the grave. I'd unknowingly framed it in the first pictures.

Cool cemetery, too....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hearse Looking at You, Kid!

In the last episode our search for Halloween Evil brought us to a macabre gathering of the strange denizens of Manitou Springs, Colorado, no doubt preparing for a lurid fire-lit ritualistic ceremony of naked dancing, blood sacrifices and cannibalism. The street has been cleared for the arrival of God knows what ranks and machinations of eldritch horror...

ACHTUNG! The Horrible Mohawk Halloween Regime has assumed control!

YOU THERE!-make an extreme jack-o-lantern that belches fire and smoke! YOU!-paint your little sister's face to look like a kitty cat! YOU!-think of strange new uses for candy corn! ZEIG HALLOW!

Need a ride, mortal? The kid in everyone loves hearses. Black hearses, white hearses, um, gray hearses... Big hearses, sm-.... Errr.... Hearses!

How about a hearse that will Monster Mash your ass if you you don't like the color pink?

This ambulance is nice but a little too pristine to be scary. Unless it's like a Christine ambulance, or something. Hey, wait a minute.... If I survive this I've got a great idea for a shameless rip-off book to write!

Woah! That Fascist babe is totally checking me out. She looks like Patty Hearse-t.

No, no. I've got to focus!

These people should have checked gramma's pulse before putting her on the roof. And that's good advice for anyone. Even-... Wait! Is that Zombie Tom Arnold?

Who ya gonna call? I'm gonna call that girl, I was just asking who you gonna call?

Hey you damn kids! Quit playing with the corpse! How's daddy supposed to make it in the hearsin' business if you keep messin' 'em up?

I guess what I'm trying to say is...hearses.

Especially this one.

Oh dear Lord! Now what?....