The Halloween Grab Bag!
Things That Shouldn't Be Scary (But Often Are)
by: Protoclown

This is the time of year when everybody is focused on spooks and scares, and there are a lot of things that are worthy of being scared of. Heights, for instance. Psycho killers with axes. Making eye contact with a Jehovah's Witnesses through the window as they slowly make their way to your front door. But then there are things that don't really make sense to be scared of, like clowns (their sole purpose is to bring you joy!), but many people are frightened of them anyway.

Take this guy here, for example:

He's been wandering around the streets of Northampton, England with balloons just standing outside people's homes, waiting. Waiting. Waiting to spread the joy that they will no doubt experience when they look out their windows and see this festive figure staring back at them, knowing that he did all of this just for them. Knowing that he's just been standing there, for hours, waiting, waiting, displaying the kind of patience that only a sniper could, and thinking only of them and all the ways he could make them happy. And people go and thank the guy for his clear act of altruistic love and kindness by being all creeped out. This is how sad clowns are made (and DC villains).

Anyway, I decided to compile a list of things that people are scared of that they really probably shouldn't be. Let's begin:

Wind Chimes
(Photo by Georgiana Branton)

Wind chimes by themselves aren't normally scary, but perhaps it's because they're so overused in horror movies that they can be a bit unsettling if you're all by your lonesome and you hear them rattling against each other. Probably because they often herald a coming storm, they're often seen as the harbingers of doom and gloom. If you don't think they're scary, imagine that you're sharing a remote cabin in the woods with some friends, and you're the first to arrive. You've made such good time that you beaten your friends by hours, so you sit on the front porch and decide to catch up on some reading while you await their arrival. Only the wind chimes keep jingling and jangling, little teasing sounds that disrupt your peace. Sit with that noise for long enough, and you'll soon be wanting to hide and set up an ambush for the killers that are inevitably coming. And didn't you just hear them jingle? But there was no breeze!

Lonely Stretch of Road

I imagine most of us have had the experience of driving late at night on an open stretch of road, when it suddenly occurs to you that you don't actually know how long it's been since you last crossed paths with another human being. Was it ten minutes ago? Twenty? An hour? A year? (In which case, let me congratulate you on your economically sensible purchase of a hybrid vehicle.) An empty stretch of road shouldn't be scary--after all, what is there that can possibly hurt you? No drunk drivers around, no creepy hitchhikers who want to chop your head off with their favorite axe. There's nobody. But that's just it. Go long enough out in public in empty areas where there should be people and you start to wonder if maybe the Zombpocalypse actually happened. And you totally missed it.


We all know that children are creepy. Anyone who says otherwise is lying, because the people I know who express this opinion most strongly are parents themselves. Children have no filter on what they say, so sometimes things like "I want to wear your skin for a hat, daddy" just sort of come tumbling out of their mouths. They probably have no idea what they're saying, but maybe, just maybe, they're the Antichrist or lil Satan Jr. or something and they actually meant it. You don't know. It's when they say something that's just a little too adult (specifically: serial killer) for them, or they start spouting knowledge that they could only have gotten by astral projecting to the ends of the universe that tends to freak a person out just a bit. Or what about that child who has the imaginary friend that they're just a little too into, and a little too unwilling to let go of? For all you know they're some kind of medium, or ghost magnet that's drawing all kinds of terrible supernatural crap to your doorstep.


Aside from the fact that these are one of the main places that clowns hang out, en masse, carnivals have a lot of creepy vibes about them. Because, you know, carnies. If you've ever been to a big commercial theme park, you know that they tend to draw the dregs of humanity. You'll see some of the scariest people who came down from the mountain on their monthly pilgrimmage to town and decided that this time they're going to spend their grocery money on roller coasters instead of eating (they can always pick up a hitchhiker on the way back for that). Well, carnivals draw those kinds of people too, only ten times worse. Carnivals draw the creepy, ooky cousins of those people who nobody likes to talk about. And yes, you're there too, but only to observe the backwards hill people, you understand. And if you only knew the seedy underworld of sex, drugs, more sex, meth, sex, meth sex and clown sex that goes on at these carnivals, you'd never go back. If you only knew

Old People in Rocking Chairs

Old people usually seem pretty harmless (aside from sometimes smelling like musty mayonnaise... seriously, what product are they all using?), but there's something unsettling about seeing an old person just sitting on their rocking chair on the front porch, just staring at you. Oh sure, they're retired now and they have all the time in the world to read all the books they want to read, watch any movies they want, travel anywhere their RV can take them... but no, they're content to just sit there on the porch, quietly rocking back and forth, staring at you. All day. Perhaps while stroking a shotgun, perhaps not.

Empty Playgrounds

Maybe it's because you normally think of playgrounds as sources of life and activity, or maybe it's the fact that you associate them with children, and as we've already discussed, kids are damn creepy, but empty playgrounds are kind of eerie and uncomfortable (unless you're going there at night to make out, of course). Maybe I find them creepy because every time I pass by one, it's a reminder that one day, even though it's well behind schedule, Skynet will become self-aware and its judgment will fall upon us all. And when that day comes, playtime is over.

Multiples of Things

If you find a single button on the floor, no big deal, right? Or perhaps a small cup full of random buttons. Such things are useful to have, after all. But an entire dresser drawer full of buttons would be a bit much. Or suppose you opened a closet door and a mountain of buttons just came pouring out on top of you, threatening to bury you alive? Okay, so maybe not the creepiest example (though I do know someone who has a button phobia... hey, maybe she's reading this! If you're reading this, don't look at the picture just above... oh. I guess I should have put the warning first). But imagine those buttons are bugs! What if you open somebody's pantry and a million maggots came spilling out on top of you? Kinda puts a damper on your plan to eat that bowl of Rice Krispies, doesn't it? Or what if you had to get inside a house that had thousands of moths flying all around the front door? I'll bet you'd say "You know what, whatever was in there that I wanted wasn't that important. I'll get another one on eBay." Hopefully it wasn't a person you were going in there for. (But if you know how to search correctly, you can find those on eBay too).


Yes, they may be the "House of God", but they also happen to be where many young boys get raped, so hallelujah and all that. Many churches are old as hell, large cavernous spaces that are emtpy most of the time and devoted to worshipping a God who would command his followers to stone your ass to death if you so much as wear the wrong combination of fabrics. Sure, people consider churches to be sanctuaries from evil, but how many horror movies have you seen where people take refuge in a church, and does it help them? No. Big surprise that the killer can easily track you down inside of a big empty building. Hell, sometimes the evil was inside the church to begin with (I'm looking at you, Prince of Darkness). If I was looking for refuge from some great evil that was chasing me, I'd go someplace really crowded, like a busy train station or a stadium during a concert or sporting event. Good luck finding me now, Michael Myers. Asshole.


They're like blank, empty people. And despite the fact that a great many humans I've come across in public also fit that description, there's something different about these soulless plastic husks that's a bit unnerving. Maybe it has to do with that whole uncanny valley thing, or maybe it's that Doctor Who episode where mannequins were coming to life and trying to kill people, but if I walked into a storage room full of mannequins just blankly standing around, I'd turn right the fuck around and be leaving right quick. If you construct something that looks vaguely human and has movable parts, under the right supernatural circumstances it can come to life and kill you. That's just Horror 101 right there.

Children's Drawings

Some of the shit that comes out of children's heads is just downright unbelievably fucked up. You know that if you've spent any time around children, sooner or later they all come up with that one drawing that you tell them is going on the refrigerator, but ends up getting "lost", by which I mean goes directly in the trash, because the last thing you need is the neighbors seeing it and calling Social Services. "Just look at this nice cheerful drawing that Timmy did! Oh look, there's Mommy, and sis, and Daddy wearing some kind of...what appears to be a BDSM gimp suit. Okay, we'll just overlook that for now. Oh, and who's that watching you guys from the bushes nearby? 'Sugarbones', you say? Uh-huh. Well, he has awfully sharp teeth, doesn't he. And is that blood pouring out of his mouth? Where did this come from, Timmy? Oh, he climbs up to your window and watches you sleep at night, does he?" And that's when you either move to a new house or "lose" your kid on your next trip to Wal-Mart. Fuck it, he's somebody else's problem now.


It seems fairly obvious why holes are often found scary--after all, they are dark and mysterious, and nobody knows what's in them. Depending on the size, orientation, and location, they could be home to all manner of monsters, bugs, animals, interdimensional portals to the nether realms beyond... or they could just be a really deep dark place to fall into and get stuck. Either way, holes can come off as rather dangerous. But I say this should not be the case. For someone who has too much clutter around his house, holes seem like just the storage solution that I've been looking for. And for all those people on that show Hoarders...why, holes are the perfect solution to their problem! You feel compelled to clip and save mountains of coupons that stack to the ceiling? No worries, just shove them in the hole and you're good to go! Of course, in doing so you're actually just giving whatever monster lives in there access to some pretty fantastic savings... which is really just empowering them to kill you.

So there's just a sampling of things that shouldn't really be scary under most circumstances, but to the right people and in the right situation, they can really freak someone the hell out. Did I leave something off the list that you yourself find kind of creepy? Sound off in the comments below and share your own additions to the list!

Have any questions or comments about this piece?


If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:

The Scariest Moments In Non-Horror Movies!

Reader Comments

Forgetable Cyborg
Sep 20th, 2013, 12:54 AM
A few more creepy things about children: They want to talk to you; about many things (sometimes at once), but not one of those things is remotely interesting. They are often sticky or dirty, even when they don't look it; and they want to touch you and your things. They are walking germ vectors. Think about it; that last one in combination with the previous two and everything Proto said. Suddenly that childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang isn't such a bad guy.
I shot Wilhelm.
Sep 20th, 2013, 10:33 PM
When I was little I did all manner of monsters eating people pictures because I was pretty much allowed to watch any violent film I wanted (but no sex! THAT was taboo!). Hell, I saw Die Hard and The Thing when I was around 8. And I never ONCE got sent to the school counselor! Of course this was the 80s and my school was pretty seedy. Anyways, yeah. Kids pictures can be pretty messed up. A miracle really that I grew up fairly normal. Mostly.
Forum Virgin
Sep 20th, 2013, 11:15 PM
dead bugs scar me far worse than live ones.
Forum Virgin
Sep 21st, 2013, 12:50 AM
And dolls lets not forget dolls.
The Claw of Justice
Sep 21st, 2013, 10:05 PM
When I was a kid, I (apparently) told my dad that I had a friend named Bob, who was a bald, invisible floating head. I don't remember it at all, but it freaked my dad out something fierce.

I guess the point here is that the main reason children are creepy is that when we look at that sticky kid shrieking on the bus, we know deep down that we used to be just like him.
Forum Virgin
Oct 2nd, 2013, 12:11 PM
Awesome article dude...all i can say is...Hospitals, Long Dark Hallways & Storm Drains!!!

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