Random & Incoherent
Thursday, November 03, 2005
  No need to call the Fire Dept.
Halloween came and went once again this year. The boy was dressed up as Batman, but tired of "trick or treating" very early. He was very content to get out of his costume, plop down on the couch, and watch the Scooby Doo marathon that was on the Boomerang network. His Halloween candy collection device (a somewhat creepy rendition of a Batman head) wasn't even half full.

I was somewhat disappointed this year. It seemed like there were less kids than before. But at least this time there were more that were actually wearing costumes. There were only 2 groups of kids that I questioned this year. 1) a threesome of black youths wearing what appeared to be street clothes with bandanas covering most of their faces, and 2) a threesome of middle school aged girls wearing what I assumed they had worn to school that day.

When questioned as to what they were dressed up as, the black youths stated that they were "crips" and the young girls stated that they were "sisters". I was just glad that they had a quick answer, never mind the thought of perpetuating stereotypes and/or being plain lazy.

Halloween is one of my more favorite holidays. When else can you legitimately get away with wearing a costume? Pretending to be something or someone you're not? Plus, I love the theatrics of it all.

Last year I had purchased a fog machine and had it running inside the garage (the door was open). The downside to this was that it made the house appear to be on fire and very smokey. Many a concerned parent inquired as to the source of all the smoke. Hopefully I reassured them enough not to receive a visit from the Fire Marshall.

Well, as this year's festivities neared, I was in a shambles. I could not find all of the working pieces to the fog machine. I was starting to become despondent. Good thing my father was there to point out the box that the machine had come in. With an air of superiority, I stated "I've already checked the box, and it's not in there". But his look in my direction drove all haughtiness out of me and I looked in the box. Low and behold! The missing piece! Let's plug it in and see if it works.

Much to my dismay, the machine produced no fog. So out come the tools. Time to take this sucker apart and see what isn't making it tick. Now, I know about as much about the inner workings of a fog machine as a do a flux capacitor, so this was really a waste of time. With the exception of determining that the motor that sucked the "fog juice" out into the open air was not actually moving the juice, I was at a loss.

Needless to say, we were to have no fog this year for the kiddies to marvel over. Time for "Plan B". In my endless search of the internet (thank you Al Gore) I came across Extreme Pumpkins and learned a new technique for what I referred to as the "flaming pumpkin of death".

Now I had a new level of concern for the possibility of a visit from Fire Marshall Bill. What I was expecting from my new found design was an approximate 3-foot flame spouting from the top of a pumpkin that would last about 30-45 minutes.

When explaining my maniacal plan to the family both my mother and my wife were concerned for the safety of the house. Keep in mind that my master plan involved a roll of toilet paper and a gallon of kerosene.

I'd like to report that no one was even remotely injured, and the "flaming pumpkin of death" was a huge success. I even got an apology out of my mother and wife for being overly concerned about property damage and life or limb.

Without further ado, here is the "Flaming Pumpkin of Death"

from a distance

and up close
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Location: Salisbury, North Carolina, United States

Kevin O'Mellan (Whittington Appraisals): Appraiser in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina

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