I'm usually alone all day in my work, which can be either a good or bad thing at times. Sometimes a neuron will misfire with an errant synapse and I'll remember something that I long forgot. For some reason today I remembered the first time that I became enamoured with Hallowe'en animatronics. It wasn't Disneyworld's Haunted Mansion but a simple county fair when I was around 8 or 9. I remember seeing this very simplistic witch prop on top of the haunted house ride (which mainly consisted of ear-shattering klaxons and some road-worn ghouls that the horror of lack of maintenance was the only scary thing), and all she did was rock (or rather bow from her waist) at the top of the ride. I don't know why I was so fascinated with her, maybe it was because she was a more attainable goal rather than attempting something like a grim grinning ghost. I remember my sketches, the thinking of how to make her bob back and forth via a motor. I never made her, I couldn't figure out the mechanics at the time. Now I would probably roll my eyes or look at her with a nostalgic sentimentality like some of us would do a 45 rpm record.
Fast forward to the 9th grade, my first real scare, unfortunately it was on my mother. I had made a short framework out of some giant Tinker Toys (the coolest gift I ever got as a kid) and put a rubber skull mask on it and draped a blanket around it. I hid it in the basement closet because my mother really didn't approve (and still doesn't, but I'm 45 and I will do what I dang well please now) of Hallowe'en. She opened the door one day while I was at school and found my little friend which did his job well...scared her silly. It was a good thing I was at school because she would have killed me if she could have gotten hold of me. I got away with mounting skeletons on plywood to pose them in the yard which was actually cutting edge back in the 70's I guess. I suppose that is one reason that I collect paper skeletons, remembrance of those projects back then.
There were other ghouls here and there around Hallowe'en but nothing special until the 90's where I was introduced to the Internet. Of course my first project was a flying crank ghost and it was poetry in motion to me. I would fill the front yard of my trailer with jack o' lanterns to an unappreciative audience, have bowls of the good candy waiting for the trick or treaters that never came (and I got to keep all the little bags of M & M's for myself). I was just the weird guy on the hill. Then I moved to where I live now and vowed to bring back Hallowe'en to kids that never knew the joy of it to now be greeted by being a "tradition" of many families to visit the "Halloween House" each year.
And it probably all started with that one rocking witch on top of a cheesy fair ride.