Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween 2009

Well, it's November 3rd, and I'm still trying to come up with words that would aptly describe this year's Halloween at Howling Hollow Insane Asylum. Mostly because I'm still trying to get over the trauma and shock of it all. The words that keep coming to mind are: spooky and . . . chaotic? I'm sure it was a year that we'll always remember, but maybe not for the best reasons.

The weather was surprisingly good, although we didn't have as pre-dusk trick or treaters this year, so things got off to a slow start. In fact, things didn't really get rolling until about 6:30PM. That's about when all hell broke lose.

At 6:45 the sound of sirens filled the neighborhood and we were shocked to find that they were headed straight towards our little asylum. We all gathered in the drive as an Olathe med-act truck pulled up in front of the duplex next door. We have a passing acquaintance with the folks living there. I have spoken with Joyce, the wife, occasionally as I walked my dogs; and last summer, my oldest son, Nick, spent a few evenings at their house with a gentleman who lived with them for a few months. However since he moved out, things have been fairly quiet with Joyce caring for Jimmy, her bedridden husband. I knew that Joyce had a history of strokes and I was afraid that she might be having another. However, when the paramedic jumped out of the van, Joyce came frantically rushing into the front yard screaming at him to "Hurry!" Several fire trucks rolled onto the scene, followed by police cars. Nick and my husband went to see if they could be any help. Joyce was hysterical and crying incoherently about her husband needing help right away. As firemen rushed in and back out yelling for "Water! Now!", smoke started drifting out the door. Eventually, she was able to explain that her husband, who is dependant upon some sort of respiratory system, had been sitting on the couch smoking a cigarette when something went terribly wrong. She rushed down stairs to find him engulfed in flames! She tried, but was unable to do anything to help him. As everyone tried to comfort her, the flames were extinguished and her husband was brought out on a stretcher and rushed to the local burn unit with over 90% of his body burnt. A second med-act took Joyce to the same hospital and she was treated for smoke inhalation. For the next 45 minutes our street was blocked off with emergency vehicles and reporters. My son, who just happened to be dressed up as a Catholic Cardinal, was interviewed by a television crew who asked to shoot additional footage of our home haunt.

It was all very sad and almost surreal. By 8PM, as suddenly as they had arrived, all the fire trucks, ambulances, police, and reporters just seemed to have vanished, and our street was left looking as if a tragedy had never occurred. No one really knew what to say, or think. No one had time to even assess what we had just witnessed.
Within minutes, groups of trick or treaters, who had no idea that anything unusual had happened, began arriving again. By 10:30, when our visitors trickled down to nothing, we had almost 50 people through our haunt. The largest group of a dozen kids was brought by a woman who had seen my blog on line and emailed for directions.
Everyone was too exhausted to tear anything down Saturday night, so we just ate some cold pizza and went to bed.

We woke Sunday morning to discover that Jimmy had died from his burns shortly after Midnight. Before Noon, another reporter, from a different station was knocking at my door, trying to "follow up on the story." They were shooting film of the burnt up couch that was (and still is) sitting at the curb. At first, she was saying how tragic the situation was, and wanted to know if I knew Joyce and Jimmy very well. I told her "not really" then, she started saying things like, she "had heard that this wasn't the first time that something like this had happened." When she asked me if I'd be willing to be interviewed, I said, "No." My opinion of the media has never been very good, and this incident hasn't changed it. So instead of tearing down the haunt, like I usually do, I spent most of the day indoors. Maybe I was being paranoid, but it seemed to me that we had an unusual amount of slow moving traffic on our street that day and I just didn't really want to talk to anyone.

Sunday night, I was able to get a few more photos of the yard by moon light without distractions. I spent most of today packing up the props in the garage, and I'll probably get the yard stuff packed away tomorrow. And hopefully, I'll have time this weekend to sit down and sort through photos and get them posted on my blog.

Right now, I'm exhausted and I'm going to bed.
Good night all.

1 howled back:

sparsely kate said...

Wow. That is really surreal isn't it. I feel sad for you and I feel very sad for your neighbours.

I hope next Halloween is better.

And I agree- the media are vultures, I really detest them.