Tag Archives: Halloween

October Column Michiana House & Home Magazine: A Scary Good Time

Haunted House        It arrived in the mailbox every October like clockwork: the monthly newsletter from my bank’s “Kid’s Club” bearing a coupon for one free admission to the local haunted house. If there was ever a time I wished my letter carrier would lose my address, this was it. Unfortunately for me, he never did.

Now, I don’t want to imply that I was a chicken or anything, but I’ve never understood the entertainment value in being scared. I’m not a fan of things popping up in front of me, creeping up behind me, or going bump in the night. Why would I subject myself to this kind of thing on purpose?

It was bad enough that I slept with a night-light until I was a teenager, but I also possessed a rather vivid imagination that got the best of me at times. One night I saw the shadow of a stray cat with its back arched slink by the ledge of my bedroom window and thinking it was a kidnapper or severed head, my screams woke up the entire household and quite frankly I’ve never been the same.

Naturally, the idea of going to a place designed to freak me out held no appeal for me and I was quick to hide the newsletter in my desk before my mother could spot it and start planning a family outing.

Needless to say my older brother did not share my opinion of haunted houses and actually looked forward to this event every year, if for no other reason than to watch me squirm. I glared at him as he showed his coupon to our mother the night we received them.

“Oh look, it’s a free coupon to the Haunted House,” she announced as she cooked dinner. “We should go. Julie, did you get one as well?”

I thought about lying, but the smirk on my brother’s face told me he would rat me out if I did. Instead, I tried another tactic. “Yeah, I did but I think I am too old for haunted houses. You guys go ahead and I’ll stay home,” I told her. Did I mention I was all of eight-years-old at the time?

“Oh no, we should do this together,” she gushed. “I’ll talk to daddy and maybe we can go this weekend. It’ll be fun.”

There was no point in arguing. This was the same woman who bought a novelty album full of frightening noises to play on Halloween night. For added effect, she turned off all of the lights, fired up a few candles and greeted trick-or-treaters at the door wearing a witch’s costume. Like it or not, I would be dragged kicking and screaming to a place that would give me nightmares for a week.

To this day I avoid haunted houses. To me, a house should represent safety and protection from the outside world. It shouldn’t be the enemy and if the ghosts and goblins have laid claim to a structure, I’m certainly not going to fight them for it.

Happy Halloween!




Leave a comment

Filed under MHH Column

Naptown Nostalgia: Help Save the Sammy Terry Halloween Special

Hey Everyone!

IMG_9481     Last week I had the change to hang out with the Circle City’s favorite ghoul Sammy Terry at the House of Blue Lights in Fountain Square. Not only did he pose with a copy of my book, the FAMOUS FACES OF WTTV-4 (which he provided content for) but he also told me about a little problem he is facing and how he is asking for everyone’s help. Here’s the scoop:

Since 1962, it has been my honor to continue bringing you your Hoosier Horror Heritage. I hope together we can maintain the memories of your past and create new memories for the coming generations. 

However, George and I need your help. 

The new general manager, Paul Rennie of Fox59/WTTV is the only reason that WTTV aired a Halloween Special in 2013. We owe him thanks! He has received a great deal of fan correspondence during his first 30 days on the job that he wanted to see the show and judge if it was worth sustaining. Recently moving here from out of state, Paul is unfamiliar with Hoosier & Sammy Terry’s legacy. 

Please politely encourage him with thanks for this past Halloween TV Special, share your memories of Sammy, and your desire for future Sammy Terry TV Specials. 

Please repeatedly contact him in different ways over the next year to show your support for continuing Sammy Terry’s Horror Heritage for you and your next generations. Place it on your calendar to contact him somehow every month. 

Send mail to: Paul Rennie           Or Call: 317-687-6500

General Manager 

6910 Network Place

Indianapolis, IN 46278

Or E-mail: prennie@tribune.com


Please invite all of your family and friends (and everyone you can alert to this need) to contact Paul and ask for future shows. Together, we can preserve our past and share “Horrible Family Fun” in the future. 


If you are one of the legions of Sammy Terry fans who can’t stand the thought of this legendary figure becoming a a thing of the past, I highly encourage you to reach out and help preserve the only local host of that era we have left who still regularly appears o television. I know I will be sending my letters and making calls in hopes that I will have many pleasant nightmares with my children  in the future!



Filed under Uncategorized

Fabulous Fridays-Searching for the past

benji        Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have been blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with a VERY complete memory. I may not be good with faces and names, but I can remember nearly every school lunchbox that I had, can tell you (in order) the dolls I received for Christmas and have been known to recall specific incidents of my childhood with uncanny accuracy including quoted dialogue. (I swear sometimes I feel like a walking reference library!)

So it’s only natural that I feel a little out of sorts when a memory trips through my head and it’s just incomplete enough to be annoying. This happened to me the other day when I made mention of a lovely book I owned as a child called “Day by Day.” Well…I think it was called “Day By Day” but now I am not sure and that is the crux of my dilemma. Ordinarily, I’m pretty good at this game. When I remember something like a book title or an album, I usually have enough information stored in my brain to riddle it out and find what I am looking for, but this one truly has be stumped. I have literally spent several unproductive hours trying to figure this out, because I know I can’t be too far off and I know it will drive me crazy until I do.

It’s not like I haven’t found other elusive titles from my past. Here are just a few I could not recall but eventually found. Why is this one so difficult?

Leftover witch     The Leftover Witch. Hilarity ensues when a witch gets left behind on Halloween night. My version of the book had a different cover, but same title.

Pigeon Ladies     The Wicked Pigeon Ladies in the Garden. I can still remember my fourth grade teacher reading us this one. Watch out though…it’s extremely rare and will cost a fortune through an Amazon seller.

Dog next door     The Dog Next Door. I used this reader in the third grade and it’s amazing that I ever found the image of it considering that mine was covered with a gold book cover all year and I only saw the actually cover twice. (Seriously, all I had to go on was a teal color and the publisher’s name!)

So in case you feel like helping me riddle out this mysterious book, here’s what I know for sure about it:

  • It’s title was something like “Day by Day”
  • From the illustrations I remember, it looked like it might have been published in the 50’s or 60’s. (All of the people seemed to have a  “Leave it to Beaver” style.)
  • It had a yellow cover but there might have been some additional pastels in it as well.
  • The font on the cover was long and thin.
  • It “felt” a bit like a school book and if memory serves, it was more “square” than rectangle.
  • The stories were little vignettes about healthy living. The first one had these two kids going shopping for new school clothes and in another scene they are eating lunch with their teacher and getting a drink from the drinking fountain. One of the kids asks how much water they should drink each day and the teacher tells them that they can drink as much water as they like. (You would truly think that if I remembered THAT much I could come up with this darn title, wouldn’t you?)
  • It possible that I might have had a later edition of a previously published book.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fabulous Fridays