Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ideas For a Halloween Story

My goal for the week has been to write a Halloween-themed Grandpa Anarchy story.  I do have one old story that is accidentally Halloween-themed -- it takes place on Halloween, and involves zombies.  As far as I can remember I didn't specifically intend to write a Halloween-themed story when I wrote it.  Maybe that's a good choice for my October "Classic Anarchy" story though.

Anyway I have this story idea/fragment called Buckets of Blood that contains some dialog about a speed metal band that only writes songs about buckets.  Apparently I was amused by this at the time, but I can't figure out any way to work it into a story -- but I used the file as a starting point for a story in which some of Grandpa's former sidekicks were hosting a Halloween party in the Anarchy Cave.

The question was, where do I go with this?  My first idea was that Grandpa would not mind having a bunch of teenagers and 20-somethings hosting a party in his basement because he knows mass murders, zombies, and otherworldly evil entities will show up, and he's prepared to fight all of them.  I imagine him with a whole closet of weapons to fight demons and undead -- everything you'd need to fend off a Halloween terror.  That seemed like a funny idea but I kept tossing it around in my head and I wasn't coming up with an actual story based on it.  So I started doing research on horror tropes -- if it's a trope then it's something Grandpa's seen over and over.

I read up on a trope called "And I must scream", from the Harlan Ellison story I have No Mouth And I Must Scream.  This trope is about people frozen or trapped for all eternity with no ability to move or communicate, but who are fully conscious.  It's a common horror trope.  When I thought about it, it seemed very likely that Grandpa had some former villains in the mansion like this.  I mean, I've already written about the demon trapped in a kewpie doll, although it can apparently talk.  But surely there's a former villain who's stuck as a stone statue, but still aware.  Maybe even the eyes can move about, that would be creepy.

After I thought bout it, I decided that Grandpa probably has a room full of things like this -- living brains in jars, rusted sentient robots, people turned into statues and dolls, evil spirits trapped in gems and crosses.  All stuffed into a dusty room and left there.

All of this was interesting but still didn't really suggest a story.  I imagined the former sidekicks using at least one statue with moving eyes as a prop for their Halloween party.  That was creepy, but again, I didn't see a story.

So I read a bit more on haunted houses.  Surely the Anarchy Mansion is haunted -- Grandpa probably is very familiar with all of the ghosts, although in a very real sense, it's not a situation where he's trapped in the mansion with the ghosts, but they're trapped in it with him.  That seemed promising.  There's also the fact that haunted houses always have a creepy old man as caretaker.  Grandpa isn't a creepy old man, is he?  The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like he really was, in a way.  If you set the story up to say that haunted houses are supposed to have creepy curators, but clearly Grandpa isn't one, and then you reveal things like the room full of people frozen forever but still conscious, well, that's proof that he really is creepy, yes?

Speaking of creepy -- a friend told me about a real event near a school that her daughter goes to.  There's been a person (or more?) dressing up as a clown and trying to lure children down a nearby trail into the woods.  At least, that's the story -- it sounds like one of those urban legends, but they've supposedly found three clown costumes near the school, and police are patrolling the area looking for the person responsible.  So -- that's neither here nor there, but it led me back to the idea that Grandpa was hoping creepy killers would show up.  "You haven't seen any creepy clowns in the area, trying to lure children into the woods?  No?  Just checking.  What about zombies?  Any zombie activity lately?  No?"

Currently I'm still running ideas through my head, trying to find at least one good punchline for a story.  I have one now that's completely unrelated to the above ideas, but I kind of have an idea in the back of my head that I can write two or three stories set around the same Halloween party, if I play with these ideas long enough.

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