|Sept. 18, 2002
|By Roy Rivenburg
|Spook-a-thon Bureau: Why wait till
Halloween to freak people out? Act now and you can outfit
your home with a $14,000 industrial strength
mechanical alligator, a remote control vomit barrel, a
Deep Fryer Electric Chair and an automated living
wall. These and other gadgets are on sale at Smarthome.com.
The creepiest prank is probably the $3,000 living wall, which is designed to scare house guests while they sleep. Place it behind a bed, turn on the switch and the wall roars to life with two hands and a head trying to push through it.
Another fun gag is the 6-foot-high T-rex head, which lurks behind foliage until an unsuspecting visitor approaches. Once activated, the screeching dinosaur head bursts forth with teeth bared and eyes flashing. Its yours for pocket change -- $9,999.99.
If traumatizing small children is your thing, try the mechanical alligator, which lunges five feet with its mouth agape. (Smarthome advises keeping the unit bolted to the floor.) Another kid-friendly gizmo is the life-size electric chair, complete with a thrashing mannequin, a fog machine that belches smoke from the prisoners wrists, and authentic foamy drool that dribbles from the dummys mouth.
Or how about having a car crash through your wall? Push your guests into cardiac arrest with this fake brick wall that suddenly gives way to the front end of a car with working headlights and blaring horn. Price: $5,000.
If none of that frightens your guests, haul out the fully automated, life-size Backstreet Boys kit, guaranteed to send even the most hardened visitors fleeing in terror. OK, we made that one up, but we think the idea has great Halloween potential. Other spooky props, all 100 percent real, include:
-- A 13-foot-tall animated demon that writhes around and jumps out at visitors, $8,000.
-- A candy bowl with a hidden hand that reaches out when trick-or-treaters try to grab sweets, $20.
-- A mannequin that spews fake green barf into a vomit barrel, $3,400 (vomit not included).
-- A talking mirror activated by a pressure-sensitive floor pad. When triggered, a skull appears in the glass and delivers personalized messages. $2,000.
Meanwhile, in other Halloween news, a Wisconsin website called Drsfostersmith.com is peddling Halloween costumes that make your dog look like a pirate, a cowboy, a prisoner, a soldier or a hippie. The hippie outfit includes love beads, faded jeans and a hat with built-in dreadlocks.
Alarming Trends Watch: Actor Verne Troyer, who played Mini-Me in the Austin Powers flicks, is scheduled to lead 20,000 people in a kazoo rendition of the chicken dance song at Cincinnatis annual Oktoberfest.
If Dr. Ruth Were Pennsylvania Dutch: A Weekly World News article on how to make love the Amish way recommends buying a butter churn because when you see your partner churning away, itll be an erotic sight that you wont soon forget. Or, as the Byrds once sang, To everything, churn, churn, churn.
Press Releases We Ignored This Week: Waffle House Salutes Public Servants With Waffles For Heroes Campaign, The World Unites Through Tupperware.
Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: John Gottis Ghost Running Mafia! (Weekly World News)
Bonus headline, also from WWN: Man Circles the Globe By Being Shot From Cannons!
Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, PR Newswire.
Copyright © 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
Off-Kilter is syndicated to newspapers in the U.S. and overseas by Creators Syndicate