Ghosts and Goblins and Skeletons, Oh My!

Halloween Exhibit at the Grier Musser Museum in L.A.

It’s that time of year again: Halloween, becoming an ever more important celebration in the calendar of the year, is almost upon us. I have prepared for the festivities by reading four horror classics: The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells and a trio of stories from Edwardian horror writer Algernon Blackwood, namely The Willows, The Wendigo, and The Listener.

Then Martine and I capped it off by visiting the Grier Musser Museum on Bonnie Brae Street close to Downtown L.A. Ray and Susan Tejada have purchased a Victorian mansion with which they have family associations and filled it with collections of antique and recent decorations pertaining to the seasons. At this time, it is full of eldritch Halloween exhibits, including animated figures, dolls, puppets, old greeting cards, and horror film tie-ins. The whole place is jammed full of ghosts, goblins, mad scientists, monsters, skeletons, and demons.

As for Halloween itself, it’s a working day. In the evening, if it’s anything like the last fifteen years, there won’t be any trick-or-treaters. The schools have been very effective at alerting parents that the practice is dangerous, what with so many child molesters about. Parents are afraid their children’s candy will include rusty razor blades or strychnine. Instead, there are Halloween parties at the schools which include a distribution of “safe and sane” candy.

I remember going trick or treating when I was a kid. I had an old blue cub scout shirt, to which I had my mother sew some impressive epaulets, and wore a Union army cap. My disguise: A Civil War and Old West Cavalry officer. I didn’t bother wearing a mask—too uncomfortable! I liked the costume because I was a devoted fan of such TV series as Rin-Tin-Tin and F-Troop. And I got a ton of chocolate, candy corn, popcorn balls, and apples.