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Hit parade of Halloween gross-outs

A few of us adults turned into a bunch of little kids this week, talking about childhood memories of Halloween "feel boxes."

You remember those, don't you? You would be at a Halloween party, and someone's very cool mom would have filled a box with things like peeled grapes (eyeballs).

You couldn't see the contents of the box, but you could stick in your hands and feel them.

There were many variations of this game -- including, as I write in my story on this page, individual bowls filled with cold, cooked spaghetti and other creepy-feeling things that kids would touch while blindfolded.

The common goal: to get totally grossed out.

It turns out that years ago, when The Buffalo News ran the Lucy Lincoln column, a common request from readers come October was for a leaflet listing such items. The items provided the realistic props to a ghost story.

I couldn't locate a copy of this leaflet -- although one woman I know is certain her mother still has one packed away.

Still, it didn't take us long to come up with our own ideas.

There were our own memories, of course, of boxes or bowls filled with dried orange rinds, rubber bands, fake spider webs, those sorts of things.

And Web sites are filled with this stuff.

For example, on "Sherri's Family Crafts Blog" on, longtime contributor Sherri Osborn suggests turning a large cardboard box into four or more compartments (using cardboard from empty cereal boxes, etc.)

The next step: Cut holes in the sides of the box big enough for a hand but not big enough to see inside.

Finally, put items into each section and have kids put their hands inside and take a guess at what they're feeling.

Some items she suggests: twisted chenille stems (meant to be spiders); dried apricots (dried-up tongue); soft flour tortilla (skin); feed corn (teeth); corn husk silk (hair); damp coarse sponge (brains).

Petrified indeed. But, oh, such fun.


Speaking of scary things, this will be our first Halloween with our 3-year-old adopted dog from the SPCA.

He handled the July 4 fireworks extremely well. He was stellar at summer barbecues (Well maybe not stellar . .. when I accidentally dropped a burger on the floor, he devoured it in record time. He still is waiting for a second one to drop, by the way.)

But Halloween? Kids in costumes? Doorbells?

Dog-owner's nightmare?

A friend of mine with a dog of her own said that she stations herself on the front porch to greet trick-or-treaters.

The dog stays inside.

Our 9 1/2 -year-old daughter has other plans. She thinks the dog should wear a costume. I tell her he's enough of a character without one.

No matter how our dog reacts, one thing is for sure:

By the time we turn off the outdoor lights for good, I'm sure he will be ready to recuperate from it all with a good night's sleep filled with dreams of burgers falling from the sky.


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