Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Haunted [Cardboard] Cave

My father worked his whole life in a gasket company's shipping department. We grew up hearing horror stories about how the old building was freezing in the winter and an oven in the summer (he once lost seven pounds in water weight in one day, so the story goes). He often said that he'd eventually DIE there (he didn't). I remember early grade school and one of those awful sizing-up caste system events where you go around the room and say what your father did for a living. It came out "My father makes caskets," and I honestly can't remember if it was deliberate or not.

His job provided him with an unlimited supply of cardboard. Damaged pieces or sheets that couldn't be used to build shipping boxes ended up in the back of his station wagon rather than the dumpster. He'd bring them home and use them under his car when he changed oil or as a drop cloth for when he painted something. To this day there are sheets of cardboard standing against the wall of their garage with weird stencil images of things he spray painted throughout the years. Can't tell you how many of those cardboard sheets ended up in a Halloween prop. Rolled cardboard is a great filler for large props. The Pumpkin King's entire body is made of massive sheets of folded cardboard. The giant spider was made from strips of cut cardboard.

Once when I was really young, my brother and I built a cave in the garage. We made rock walls by softening up those cardboard sheets by mashing them down and folding them and crumpling them. Imagine how an aluminum foil ball would look if you unwrapped it back into a flat sheet. Now imagine it five feet by fifteen feet and made of cardboard - a perfect cave wall. We made tubes from the stuff and crawled through with our flashlights (garage shut and lights turned off). I'm sure at some point the excitement wore off and one of us dove on the tube when the other was in there. Claustrophobic horrors. I remember being crushed in a refrigerator box once. Listening to my brother laughing and shifting his weight on the top of it trying to squeeze me into a shrinking corner. I'm sure I lied/yelled/pleaded about my arm being crushed and possibly broken. But that never ever worked.

Image source.


Anonymous said...

the things we used to play with when we were younger. i remember when my cousin and i would run around in the dark and beat each other with the cardboard tubes from the christmas paper....

good times

Anonymous said...

You need to write a book on Halloween memories. :)

Johnny said...

Fantastic story! Reminds me of my "fort building" with my brother when we were kids. Be it cardboard, couch cushions or the massive mountain of snow that would be left at the end of our court, right in front of our house, by the plows in winter.
To echo, good times.

Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

Why did I feel compelled to click on the spider link - spiders creep me out! :) That is a very cool though!

A book on Halloween memories would be awesome.

Thanks for sharing.