Halloween Stores

Mike Parish

Everyday on my way to work, I pass a Halloween store on 1st Ave. Everything about the place screams temporary. Instead of a neon sign, there’s an orange banner hung above the door which half the time is blown inside out by the wind and rendered unreadable. One look through the windows and I can see what’s going on inside; there are costumes in plastic bags hanging from shelving units, the sort of fly-by-night shelving units when kicked in the right place would probably make a high-pitched straining noise and collapse. Tattoo-armed employees stand behind cash registers beside college kids doing their calculus homework: the carny workforce of the Halloween store in all its amalgamations.

For some reason, whenever I walk by, I am reminded of those white and black-spotted woodpeckers who make their homes in fallen logs this time of year in the forests of the Northeast. I can almost smell the latex and rubber of the masks that hang motionless on the wall like some cannibal tribe’s collection of dismembered heads, and I seem to walk to the subway a little faster as the wind picks up, as a little girl stands mesmerized by what she sees inside the window, out of joy or out of horror.

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