Ho ho horrible

I’ve always liked the idea of the 12 days of Christmas, beginning on Christmas day and ending in Epiphany. Or, as I celebrate it, beginning on Christmas Eve and lasting until I have to go back to work in January. I like that Christmas is a season, not just a day. So I’ve saved up a few Christmas posts, and I even have time to post and take pictures and do fun stuff! Yay!

Zombie Santa thinks your brains are delicious
Zombie Santa thinks your brains are delicious

So with the foresight of an experienced blogger, when I encountered an amazingly bad holiday event, instead of thinking, “Wow, this is amazingly bad!” I pulled out my camera and took notes. It’s one of the blessings of this constant chronicling, that bad experiences can actually be way more fun to write about than good ones.

Now, it should be said that I’m quite positive the experience I’m about to write about is one cherished by generations of New Englanders (it’s the only explanation!). The volunteers who make this happen are hard-working and well-intentioned — I’m positive. The non-profit agency who benefits from the ludicrous, er, eminently reasonable ticket prices are worthy, I’m sure.

But seriously, the Zoolights in Stoneham are like a horror movie waiting to happen.

OK, ok, the immense line for tickets should be a good sign that joys await within, right? Right? Right? Or at least the hefty price of entry should be an indication of value to come?

The first part is ok. You walk through the zoo, past the nocturnal animals and the incredibly stinky reindeer. But then you get to Santa’s workshop. Another line for a picture with Santa — granted a decent Santa. But you start to feel… uncomfortable about the decor. Half of the animatronics (creepy at the best of times) didn’t move. As we waited in line, I failed to snap a picture of flamethrower Santa. Let’s see if you think his holiday candle is festive now! Who you saying moves like a bowl full of jelly?

Seriously, no one's made a major motion picture of Little Women in years
Seriously, no one's made a major motion picture of Little Women in years

From there into the hall of horrors. I’m sure these exhibits were cute in 1950 (or whenever) when the Zoolights started. But now, not only are the exhibits really out of touch with what kids even know (see also Amy March above), but they’re starting to… rot. There’s mold and mildew. Leaves get blown in. The exhibits are disheveled.

Or like some of the newer exhibits, completely faded. Elmo should not be pink.

Only one of the muppets still moves
Only one of the muppets still moves

I’m frankly amazed that the kids aren’t terrified by these things. I found them extremely creepy, like this giant, molding bear that periodically opened his eyes:

A greenish glow does not make giant teddy festive
A greenish glow does not make giant teddy festive

I mean, people are afraid of non-mildewed clowns. But the kids didn’t seem to mind a bit.
The people setting this up must not have read any Stephen King
The people setting this up must not have read any Stephen King

Sorry kids, Santa had a stroke
Sorry kids, Santa had a stroke

Once you’ve gotten through the gauntlet of creepy creatures, you get to the carnival rides. Several of them were just normal carny rides, but the Merry Go Round had the freakiest looking animals EVEH. I mean, the horses looked demonic.
Would you mount this beast?
Would you mount this beast?

But the place was packed. Everyone seemed to be having fun! Except me. I was half writing the forthcoming scene of horror, doom and destruction in my head, along with this blog post. Also, it was cold.

Anyway, in case of the Zombie apocalypse, I recommend staying away from the zoo.

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5 thoughts on “Ho ho horrible

  1. I don’t know how long these have been around, but I heard of them in high school (early 90s) when a friend of mine mentioned this crazy decorated house in Peabody that she went to every year. She took me that year and yep, crazy. It was a hilly residential neighborhood with modest homes, and one such family had these decorations in the front of and rear of the house. People would always go and leave money there for the family who donated it all to charity. Eventually the neighbors got tired of the crowds and the display stopped. I’m not sure when it made it over to the Stone Zoo.

    I’ve seen it there too – same stuff as at the house and not much upkeep done (as you could tell). I am amused by it in that old/kitchy way (and my husband is an 8 year old, so he appreciates taking a picture with a real reindeer). Love the zombie Santa picture!

    Like

    1. I was expecting you old-timers to tell me how wrong I was and how wonderful in all ways this was! The crazy part of this (to me) is just how well attended the whole thing is. Plenty of other people either like kitsch, don’t notice, or like it. Or something.

      Thanks for the background!!!

      Like

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