Anchorage, Alaska
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Halloween Meets Nightmare

Story by Linda Teninty

Nights of toiling to get it “just right”, sculpting, enduring the mind-altering scent of melting styrofilm, painting, adding those special touches, design perfection at its very best, that is the latest Arctic 56 Collectors’ contribution to the Children’s Hospital at Providence.

This year we wanted to go all out in producing something really special for the children, their families, visitors and hospital staff. Halloween is, after all, a hands-down favorite holiday for children of all ages.

Who can resist the thought of walking through a cemetery late at night with leaves rustling beneath your feet, a full witches’ moon above and the scary hoot of an owl over head? Tombstones abound and you are treated to a glimpse of the Rest in Peace Tombstone manufacturing building with its eery employees, also toiling through the night. Then imagine the laboratory of the mad scientist, Dr. Lunatic, perched upon a rocky out crop, with lights flashing and monsters rising from its depths. Add a headless horseman racing over the bridge and careening down the path toward a ghoulishly green dying creek, complete with the Dead Creek Mill at its boggy terminus. Spooky trees surround our HOWL Radio station with, who but, perhaps, Wolfman Jack spinning your favorite fright night tunes to further get you in the mood to be scared witless. These are among many features of our Halloween Fright Night display.

Thanks to Sean, this year’s display includes a first, with a wonderfully imaginative carved backdrop including a giant hallow pumpkin, lit from behind, whimsical mountain peaks backlit with purple and orange lighting and, something which no Halloween display would ever be complete without, a huge and frightening black witch’s cat. Conceived in drawings beforehand, this year's Halloween display pushed the boundaries for what the club has previously created. A first ever was the use of creating liquid water effects complete with rocks and handcreated floral picks depicting flowers, grasses and cat-tails.

Getting there was a labor of love for many of our members helping to create and setup this display. Events leading up to the day of completion were not without their own frustrations and laughs. Dale-ann and Linda spent late nights with Sean in his garage getting things ready for transporting. Fortunately our husbands were most understanding. The night before delivery, Sean decided to add a unique touch of realism by removing the tip of his finger while making pics of tufts of grass and dried foliage for the display. (He truly isn’t a sadist, I just know he suffered a lot of pain while keeping a stiff upper lip.) Carefully hollowed pumpkins, guarding the bridges over the dying creek were constantly attacked by a mysterious poltergeist who kept shorting out the orange light string. We replaced the entire string on the morning of setup, only to have the prankster appear at the hospital to again flip the switch and have the lights go dark.. Rather than risk additional wrath from the unknown, we left the pumpkins in darkness.

Panic once again ensued when it was found that the skeleton and his fishing pole were missing from the display. No one could find it. They even called Linda, who was off to Bell’s Nursery for needed additional transformers. Calls flew back and forth while she emptied her purse and shook her jacket looking for the elusive fisherman. The creek would not be complete without him. Several minutes later, a laugh was had by all when Kathy spotted the skeleton in Shannon’s hair. The display took longer than usual to make ready for the viewers, but it was worth it in the end. A sigh of relief and a feeling of “this was our best ever” left us feeling great as we packed up and left our creation for others to enjoy.

Additionally, found it fitting to pay special recognition to our past club members who are no longer with. The Arctic 56 club dedicated tombstone within the cemetary to Arlene, Pat and Grace who will forever be immortalized in our latest Halloween creation others to enjoy!

Copyright 2002, Arctic 56 Collectors Club, Anchorage, Alaska
Last Updated November 7, 2002
Department 56, Copyright, Department 56, Inc., Eden Prairie, Minnesota