Southern California. A place of dreamers and the demented. A locale that combines the balmy with the barmy. Its suburbs reflect an insular attitude; sometimes the streets turn abruptly into cul-de-sacs, cutting off unwanted entry—or exits. Halloween allows the denizens of Southern California suburbs to display their wacky weird side. While traversing a select area of suburbia, I documented some representative Halloween décor. Chief among the trends this year are skeletons, especially skeleton dogs chasing skeleton people up trees. Of course, given the unseasonal (for the bulk of the country) warm weather, having a skeleton snake is an apt choice as decoration for one’s cactus/succulent garden. In addition to the proliferation of skinless beings, it was fun to see an array of witches, ghosts, clever headstones, and a statue of a bloodied, knife-wielding toddler positioned amid a riot of blood-red flowers. He evoked fond memories of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. A pair of hands emerging from succulent-surrounded earth elicited a giggle. The norm of homeowners’ associations and cookie-cutter housing developments masks an undercurrent (go for it—think Poltergeist) of strangeness that longs for release. Halloween gives suburban Southern California permission to overtly celebrate the eccentric and the eerie. It is a liberating release, a step away from Stepford. So, with my Halloween greetings to you all, I share the photos I took that illustrate a delightfully bonkers and sunshine saturated suburbia.
About The Author
Sheila Merritt wrote book reviews for Mystery Scene Magazine. Currently she writes essays for Scream Magazine. For several years, she had contributed reviews, articles and conducted interviews for the Hellnotes.com newsletter. She was friends with a British ghost hunter who happened to be the author of a biography of Boris Karloff. She’s had a brief and embarrassing conversation with Christopher Lee in a department store, but also had a much more relaxing exchange with director-writer Frank Darabont at a horror convention. She became enamored of horror films and dark fiction as a child. Mother didn't approve of them. The rest, as they say, is history.
September 17, 2013
July 10, 2015