Only have a minute? Listen instead
BROWNSVILLE — The glowing green eyes flare as the rider speaks with chilling and delirious devilry his dark entreaties to visitors who have just entered the realm of the undead.
“It’s time to give us that pathetic soul,” says the mounted Grim Reaper the moment you walk into Bernie’s House of Fun at 800 Dr. Hugh Emerson Road.
Smoke erupts from its hot nose, it’s bare skin the color of rot and decay moving stiffly with the galloping of the hooves in the ghostly light.
“There you are, cowering before me,” the Reaper continues. “Come along nicely.”
The grand opening for this new Halloween store will take place Aug. 4 at 5 p.m., said owner Bernardo Garrido as he moved up and down the aisles of skeletons, Michael Myers masks and Wizard of Oz costumes.
“We’re going to be giving away koozies. We’re going to have stickers, cookies. We’re going to give away 100 Fear Fresheners,” Garrido said. “Come in and just visit with us.”
Jason Voorhees, Frankenstein, Chucky, and Pennywise stare at passersby from a rack where more than 200 hideously charming masks wait for their next victim.
Spiders crawl up a rack, bats flutter across the floor, and fear fresheners stand ready with scents of mint, cinnamon and cherry. Bags of severed feet and arms and bloodied legs await the opportunity to convert someone’s home into a deliciously ghastly mansion with rapturously hideous horrors.
This fabulously abominable enclave of witches, Draculas and dismembered heads has been in the works for Garrido and his family for many years, and the idea has finally become a reality.
After years of dreaming and planning, the Valley’s newest Halloween store has finally arrived.
“We’re family owned, family operated,” Garrido said. “Every item that’s on the wall I picked myself. This has been years in the making. It’s been a dream of mine, and so I just needed to align some pieces to be able to finally make it happen and bring the community something that’s needed around here.”
What’s needed here is not just being able to pick up a Halloween costume but to have an experience, he said. Garrido wants to create a feeling of nostalgia. And nostalgia is something we want — and need — throughout the year.
“A lot of times when we think of Halloween, we think of the décor of the house,” Garrido said. “We think of the costumes, the masks. There are a lot of collectibles that people like to buy throughout the year — action figures, T-shirts, socks, wallets, purses. I do feel that people will find stuff throughout the year.”
Throughout the store simple gestures from beyond the grave avail themselves to any passersby a memory, a hand or a foot or a screeching skeleton, even a skull to bewitch your home and cast a pall over its grounds.
And the shocking animatronics rise from the floor and deliver their haunting declarations.
“It is almost time for me to take another soul,” says a shrouded Grim Reaper as its bare jawbones move. “Will it be yours? I will be coming for you soon enough.”
Meanwhile just a few feet away, Anakin Skywalker waits for someone to inhabit his costume, as does Super Mario, Cinderella and the Justice League.