Tricks & Treats


Yep, it’s August, so time for Halloween nonstop. At least until I can’t stand it anymore and eventually welcome snow and candy canes into my diseased heart. This article will be a good attempt at a transitional period, as events in question actually took place in June. But hopefully it has enough topical appeal to justify the seasonal banner at the top of the page.

So at the time, I wasn’t anywhere near in the spirit for the spooky and macabre, mainly since Summer had just begun. I was out of town doing summery things when I spotted a sign that caught my eye. I knew instantly that I had to stop and see what this place was all about. Tricks & Treats was an innocent enough name, but for all I knew, it could have been a run of the mill novelty shop despite the graphics of witches on broomsticks on the signage. Not that it would have been the worst thing, but what sold me was the plain-as-day advertisement of ‘Halloween’ right next to the other selling points. Surely that meant something.

Of note, there was another entirely separate building dedicated to Christmas items, but I never got there. I don’t think much was lost.

Hopes were high upon parking and seeing the array of random haunts that stood guard on the exterior of the building. Part of me still wondered if the place was even open; my luck hasn’t always fared well when out of town and encountering small out-of-the-way shops. However, all was well when I saw lights on inside and the official hours hanging on the door.

Now my main interest was the promise—and possible threats—of Halloween. After walking in, my peripheral vision confirmed just enough to put my worries at ease. I refrained from looking much further in order to keep all that a mystery until I had chance to look over the rest of the store.

Earlier predictions were also confirmed. Jokes, novelties, random toys, and candy were abound as far as the eye could see. Since the rooms were small and interconnected, you couldn’t look too far in most directions, so that prior statement can be taken quite literally.

There were the usual animal figures, stuffies, and games. One section had quite a few retro inspired children’s items, and of note, one travel game was one I remembered having when growing up. I’m unsure if the vintage originated around that time, or if it was a holdover from my parents’ time. It definitely looks to be 1960s inspired, but perhaps we’ve just been playing the nostalgia game going on three generations now. My only real memory of this item was throwing up on it in the car and having to toss it. Sad times.

Towards the back lay all the candy, guarded by a life-size carbonite Han Solo. There was an area for ice cream, as advertised on the sign, but no one seemed to be manning the counter. Perhaps that was due to the fact that only women worked there, but I wasn’t in the mood to drip dairy products all over the store anyway, so no loss. There was the usual lot of themed and novel candies, however I passed since it was finally time to enter the portion of the store for which I had made my mission.

Major kudos to whomever worked on the interior design. The entryway to the store-within-the-store mimicked the outside of a crypt, complete with decrepit busts and gargoyles. I believe rooftop statues aren’t truly gargoyles unless they facilitate the drainage of rainwater, but I’ll let that slide. They were too perfect.

Passing through the gates was a magical experience and made way for several more winding rooms absolutely packed with anything and everything related to that time of year. It was the kind of place where you feel the need to take pictures of whatever might appear interesting, but that leads to the trap of just snapping pretty much everything you stumble across…and stumble you will with the sheer volume of things all around.

That part of the country didn’t lack for antique shops, so many Victorian-era bureaus and cabinets made perfect homes for the goods. I feel it added a certain flair to the layout, rather than resorting to basic tables and such.

In between the larger displays, full sized costumes and figures occupied the floor space as to not allow any bare portion of the floor to remain vacant. In one spot, a full Christmas tree stood, decked out in all manner of Santa skulls and pumpkins. I’ve made my position well-known on the mixing of these two holidays, but I still couldn’t help but find it endearing. Just this once!

I wasn’t entirely sure if I was allowed to snap pictures, but that’s one benefit of the age of mobile phones (the only, mind you). It’s all the easier to look like you’re checking a Facebook argument, then stealthily tilt your phone after activating the camera app.

This of course led to taking more photos than I feel like matching with my sub-par writing skills, so I’ve used the time instead to create a gallery down at the bottom. While the thumbnails have some semblance of modern web design, I opted to forgo the usual light box approach to showing the full image and instead went old school, linking directly to the images files. Such is life.

The one pickup
The one pickup

The final question is: did I pick up anything? While I’d love to imagine a world where I could go on a spree and load a basket full of holiday delight, I don’t have the money nor the space for more clutter. The prices were rather on the high side, but that’s understandable given that the traffic is assuredly far less than in most chain stores.

But I had to pick up something. Above is a spider that seems at least partially steampunk inspired. It also sings and plays a song when jostled. I’ll save details for that at a later time, since rumor has it, it may make an appearance in the Halloween countdown.

You DO plan on reading that, don’t you?