Frank N. Stein, owner and operator of the Ghost-of-a-Chance Cemetery at 666 Deadline Road plans a Death by Chocolate Hallowe’en for kids trick-or-treating at “death’s door.”
“This year, we’ll be handing out our usual death bells, death watches, and door-nails to everyone who knocks at the Death’s Door entrance to the cemetery,” said Stein. “We’re especially excited about this year’s ASK NOT FOR WHOM THE OPEN GRAVE CALLS gala. I think we’re going to top last year’s BABY, CAN YOU HEAR DEATH’S RATTLE sing-along.”
Chief gravedigger T. Stone, who laughingly claims he’s the only one on the premises who knows where all the bodies are buried, said he almost worked himself into an early grave getting all the holes dug in time.
“I’m death-warmed-over exhausted,” he said, “but I’ll be cheating the grim reaper again by Sunday night.”
According to a dead letter posted at the cemetery door, every kid who successfully kicks a plastic bucket of dead men’s fingers into an open grave from six feet away will be presented with a “Dead Weight of Chocolate.”
“Most of them aren’t real dead men’s fingers,” said Stein. “We chopped up a bunch of old mannequins and littered the pieces around the place to scare the life out of the younger kids. We had enough dead hands left over to pretty much give everyone the finger.”
“I practiced kicking the bucket all afternoon,” Stone said, “and it’s not as easy as you think. Those kids will have to use a little dead reckoning to get it in the grave.”
Plans to offer vodka labeled as embalming fluid were deep-sixed once the Deadline Road Homeowners Association got wind of it and raised a stink.
“We don’t mind the spirits so much as the thought of hearing the words of that hideous old song ‘National Embalming School’ blasting away all night loud enough to wake the dead,” said association president Darla Norris. “We’re not teetotalers out here. After all, we snapped up our share of the icy six-packs they gave away during the CRYING IN MY BIER festival three years ago.”
Ghost-of-a-Chance began inviting trick-or-treaters onto cemetery grounds 25 years ago when Stein’s father Charles announced that he could no longer afford to “buy enough deadlights and deadlocks to keep out the deadbeats who sneak in every year to knock over a tombstone or two after knocking up their girlfriends.”
Norris, who has lived on Deadline Road for 26 years, said that almost everyone in her neighborhood was conceived as a Hallowe’en trick in the years before “old Charlie Stein made vandalism a dead issue while making death and cemeteries a real treat again.”
The police department’s Dead-to-Rights Hallowe’en Task Force will work the graveyard shift again this year to provide security and to pick up anyone who is dead drunk. Doctors from Memorial Hospital will be on hand to assist anyone who gets one foot caught in the grave. Overflow parking will be available in Potter’s field.
“We’ll be dead to the world by the time the night’s over,” Stein said. “It’s worth it, though. We’re putting the boot back into boot hill to make life better for kids in the here and now while reminding their aging parents to consider us in their plans for the hereafter.”