This is the final part of my Tales of Halloween Mischief and my favorite night of devastation. I can give you the exact date. It was October the 24, 1994, 11 years ago this week. I know this because it was documented in our local newspaper. Yes this was such a good run we made the papers.
It all started around 10 PM that Monday night after we had finished bowling. We were in a league, now whether it was a church league or not is under investigation, but I think it was a straight up co ed league.
We once again loaded up in the big red Ford. There were five of us if I remember correctly, but there could have been six. We took off into the night looking for yards to plunder.
We started off easy and just drove around searching for the best places and making mental notes. We decided we would spend some time in one city then move on to another just in case any alarms were raised. We started in BD. We hit some jack o lantern bags and some pumpkins, you know, easy stuff. We were just getting warmed up.
As we got warmed up we started to focus more on bigger displays. We were ready to hit dummies, light up decorations and just bigger displays than a pumpkin or two. We found the first one. A home had made a dummy and sat him in a rocking chair. On this night, dummies were not safe in the city. The thieves in the bed of the truck leaped over the sides and poured into the yard picking clean everything they could carry.
We went like this for a few hours and crossed over into Hartford to finish the night. We did the same thing we did in BD, only we didn’t have to warm up, in fact we were hot…as hell!!! Woohahahahaha!! Sorry, got carried away. Anyway we ran through the streets dodging patrols and skipping lit up homes. We collected quite a few dummies and pumpkins and were feeling really good about ourselves. Then we saw it.
I do not recall the home but I do remember the street we found it on. It was on a couple of saw horses, I believe and it was magnificent. It held a skeleton of some sort. What is this I am speaking of? It was the greatest home made coffin I have ever seen. It was made of good heavy wood, possibly oak. The kind of wood that ruins nails if you try and hammer them into it. It looked as though it was perfectly measured and was big enough for a short human, which fit the description of one of the marauders in our group (remember, no guessing of identities).
We kept driving back and forth just staring at the coffin and salivating. We finally decided things were cool and we made our move. There were other things in this display, but the main objective was the coffin. I am not even sure anything else was taken, except the coffin and its contents. It took two guys to pick it up and carry it to the truck. As I said, this was no shoddy presswood coffin. This was something that someone had spent some time on, which we found out later was true.
After we got the Halloween treasure into the truck we couldn’t believe that we were able to get our hands on it. This is something that I would bring in every night before I went to bed. It was a big mistake on their part. We pulled off some place to admire all the booty we had stolen that night. We began the discussion of what to do with it all. We didn’t want to bring any of this to our homes so we decided to take it all to someone else’s home. The question became, dump it in a stranger’s yard or a friend’s yard? We decided to dump it in a friend’s yard. Like you wouldn’t have.
We headed back to BD and headed to our friend’s house. He lived in the city, but it was on a back street that was not well lit. By this time it was after midnight and as far as we knew, the whole town was asleep. We pulled up in front of the house and began to unload our stash. It was unbelievable how much we had. We had dummies, pumpkins, bags of leaves, cornstalks, plastic light up decorations, and the coup de grace, the coffin. We dumped it all and giddily rode off into the night.
We all agreed that it was the most successful night we had ever had. We got more stuff that night than any other nights combined. We didn’t realize how successful and good a night it was until the weekly paper came out on Thursday, October 27. Right on the front page was the headline, “Coffin Confiscated.” It didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out what it was about. Apparently a woman called the newspaper to tell her story about the missing coffin. Her husband and son worked all Saturday or Sunday afternoon on that coffin and they were so proud of it and now some no good vandals have made off with it.
We saw this and we thought it was…well, hilarious, BUT we also felt a little bad. Just a little. We had not talked to the friend of ours who had a yard full of stolen property, so we called him up. We asked him if he had gotten rid of everything being that this call was placed 3 days after the fact. He said no and in fact hadn’t even moved anything. We told him about the coffin and told him to call the law and tell them he was the victim of a Halloween prank and that he had the missing coffin. As far as I know, he did that and that family had a happy Halloween.
That was not the first time we had stolen something only to return it. Do you remember the little light up pumpkin head dolls and their hooks? The year after we took them, we were bored and decided to take them back to the owners. We loaded up the truck and drove out to the home and let a couple guys out and did the old drive by until we picked them up on the road. They had gone into the yard and stuck the hooks in the ground and put the little pumpkin dudes back up. They did not look for an outlet to plug them back in, but I bet the owners were very surprised to find them hanging in their yard once again. And just in time for Halloween.
As I said, we had made the paper with the front page story on the missing coffin, but as we looked further into the paper we noticed something else. The newspaper’s photographer had gone out into the Hartford area and taken pictures of four or five Halloween displays. We recognized these displays because we had stolen every one of them except one. This one was at a local day care center behind a chain link fence. We did case the joint, but decided we would move on to less fortified displays.
This was a proud moment for us and we all knew that we had hit the top of our game. There was nowhere to go but down. When you make the paper and steal most of the displays featured in the paper you really can’t top it. So we didn’t try. We went out again the next year (documented in Tales of Halloween Mischief Part3) but it wasn’t the same so we all settled into retirement. Well, maybe semi-retirement. I have to admit I still find myself checking Halloween decorations out and wondering how easy it would be to fleece this yard and that yard. Maybe we should mount up and ride one more time. Maybe we will, maybe we will.
Be on the lookout for documented proof of the great coffin robbery right here on IA.