Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Haunted Garage

Every other year my wife allows me to host the annual neighborhood Halloween party, as well as create the infamous Haunted Garage. This was one of those years. We had 150 neighbors and friends come for the shindig, which was wall to wall with all kinds of delightfully spooky costumes, not to mention the folks wearing them.

This year's theme was Haunted Magical Castle, a la Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. I was Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster. Allow me to give you the tour, though I regret to say the flash of the muggle camera overpowers the cool black lighting and other subtle lighting effects of the place.

We have a garage in the rear of the home, with a separate entrance. Visitors came through the house and back porch and into the garage... if they dared!

The garage is divided into four rooms. The first is the entrance chamber, a mausoleum:

Hello, I am Albus Dumbledore, your guide through this abbreviated tour of Hogwarts. To enter the school, we must pass through a graveyard, into the school greenhouses, through the potions dungeon, and into the divination tower:

In the mausoleum, we see some flying brooms and all kinds of creepy things, especially large spiders:

Flaming torches light our way, and we can barely see the graveyard beyond:

Weird, glowing symbols line the walls. What could they mean?

Ah yes, here's a closeup of a furry, eight-legged friend now:

And another spider, I see lurking in its enormous web above our exit:

I hope that's a kindly winkle and not a look of frothy hunger in its eye:

Quickly, then, we move into the graveyard, where we see the bones of Tom Marvolo Riddle (who became He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or Voldemort) rising from their grave:

Other skeletons and opened tombs appear to be in the mix, as well:

Still, we must pass through the graveyard, and beneath a large bat, to enter the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry:

Oh dear, in the greenhouses, where Herbology is taught, we see an old Hogwarts student entrapped in Devil's Snare. Pity.

And behind us is the rare and mysterious magical artichoke, with its eyes pulsing menacingly at us:

We must pass through black chains to enter Professor Snape's Potions dungeon. Let us hope he is not here!

No Snape so far, though I am pleased to see the "Moaning Lisa" greets us---and hope that the creature crawling from the chest is slower than we are!

Here is Professor Snape's potions mixing cabinet. A potion is brewing:

No telling what strange and magical ingredients are in this concoction:

A closer look reveals dark magic indeed (yes, it's an old Swedish cookbook!):

Hmm, what's that floating in the jar? Could it possibly be alive?!

Time to move on, through the slitted door:

In a hallway before Professor Trelawny's Divination Tower, we see the real "American Gothic:"

A few select items, like the Hand of Glory, a crawling eyeball, and a gleaming and venemous snake, await our entrance:

Just beyond the book case, I can hear the chanting of fortune-telling:

Ah yes, Professor Trelawny's personal fortune-telling area. Perhaps she forgot to join us?

Here's her magical crystal ball, which emits a compelling glow as we approach:

Closer still we investigate. What does your future hold this evening?

After our fortune, we move back into the entrance chamber, now our exit chamber, and all eyes are upon us:

Finally, we can exit, just below a grinning bat. Does it know something we don't?

Perhaps we'll never know....

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