Costumes share a glimpse into the times

Point of No Return

I’m going to share with you how I know deep down in my bones that I am getting old.

For starters, I say things like “deep down in my bones.” That’s kind of a big giveaway. I also make more nocturnal visits a week to relieve myself than a raccoon, laugh out loud while watching reruns of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and jot down a list of pros and cons before I get off the couch to do something. All of these things are pretty telling.

I also get a little dose of reality whenever I turn on a radio station and come to terms with the fact that I’m not savvy to any song written after 2006, and the commercials celebrating the list of performers who will be at the Grammy Awards each year sounds like something made up by young people to make more-seasoned people feel old.

I hate young people, by the way — what with their boundless optimism for the future and knees that don’t sound like Rice Krispies getting wet every time they walk past me and...

But I digress.

I got another little kick in the teeth recently when my daughter was picking her Halloween costume. She told me she wanted to be Princess Elsa from “Frozen” (who I knew!) or a dinosaur (with which I’m familiar, but did not actually co-exist, smart alecks) or a Minion from the “Despicable Me” movie series (a series I’ve watched approximately 87,000 times).

So, when my wife took her to the store to grab her costume, it was one of those options I was expecting when they got home. What we got instead was a killer clown, and she couldn’t have possibly been any happier to show me the costume.

This caused me a little angst, to word it in a polite way. Bringing it up at work, I got some laughs and a proclamation that killer clowns are a really popular costume this year.


“Yes. It’s because of ‘IT Chapter Two’ being released this fall.”

Here’s where it really hit me that life was beginning to pass me by. For starters, I did not know that “IT Chapter Two” was released this fall. I also did not know that this was a popular costume. I decided to fire up the old Google machine and see what other costumes were popular.

Well, according to Yahoo, that homicidal clown is indeed the first choice of costume-eers this year. Costume-ites? Costumers? Whatever. That was followed by witches, Spider Man and dinosaurs. Check, check and check. I guess life hasn’t completely passed me by after all.

Then it was time for costumes from “The Descendants.” Hey, hey, hey. I’m actually aware of this one, because the commercials for this come on television very 19 seconds when my kid is watching her shows. Look who’s not so old, people!

Then I got to something called Fortnite, which I was assuming is either a video game or a viral video, judging by the costumes I saw. A quick Google search confirmed that it is indeed a game, and the fact that 389,000,000 results came up confirmed that I am indeed old, and barely aware of things happening in the world around me.

Yeah, this wasn’t fun anymore. It just confirmed things I already knew.

But a little more time on the Google machine led me to a UPI story about a haunted house in Tennessee that is so terrifying that the owner is offering $20,000 to anybody who can just make it through it.

Russ McKamey, who owns McKamey Manor, said the price of admission to his little house of terrors is a bag of food for his five dogs. That sounds like a pretty good investment for the opportunity to walk away with $20,000, right?

Not so fast, friends.

Visitors must sign a 40-page waiver, pass a sports physical and undergo a background check, just for the opportunity to try. They must also pass a drug test, provide proof of medical insurance and identification that they are at least 21 years old.

After all that, visitors need to watch a two-hour video called “And Then There Were None,” which features footage of every previous visitor for two years.

McKamey claims his trick to inspiring terror is a “mind game” that uses hypnotism to trick visitors, according to the UPI article.

“When I use the hypnosis I can put you in a kitty pool with a couple inches of water and tell you there’s a great white shark in there, and you’re going to think there’s a shark in there,” he told WFLA-TV, via the UPI piece. “And so, when you have that kind of power over people, and have them do and see things that you want them to see, then they can leave here thinking it really happened, and they’ll go to the authorities and say, ‘Oh, whatever,’ and I have to come back and show the footage and say, ‘It didn’t go that way at all.’”

I think I’ll just go ahead and stick with the killer clown costume. It seems less creepy than this guy’s hypno-house.