Creepy Crawlers, Clowns, And Other Stuff (Writer’s Workshop)

Do they still have “Creepy Crawlers”?

We had a Thing Maker when we were kids. Actually, one of my brothers did, the rest of us just used it, usually without asking him if we could. It was really nothing more than a hot plate and aluminum molds into which you poured “Plastigoop,” then fired the thing up and waited until your Creepy Crawlers were fully cooked. I don’t know how hot the Thing Maker got, though I’m pretty sure it was under 1000° F (538° C). You had to be really careful about unplugging it after each use, or you could have a fire on your hands.

Speaking of creepy, how’s this?

There’s a lot of talk about coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. They generally didn’t creep me out, unless they were John Gacy.

Carnival Straws also had this clown on their packages. I never realized his name was Scoopy. Wasn’t really creepy, I don’t think.


Scoopy, the clown on packages of Carnival straws. (source: eBay)

See, the things that are supposed to creep me out (e.g. clowns, scary movies) don’t. The thing that does is true crime. I hear the stories and I wonder how anyone could even think of doing the terrible things they’ve done. There are some really sick individuals, is all I have to say.

Then there are shows like Criminal Minds, which I think is about the creepiest show on TV. Mary and I watched it this evening, and all we can figure is there are some pretty sick minds behind it. It’s as though they’re deliberately trying to outdo themselves every week. This evening’s show brought back a criminal that did horrible things in an earlier episode, and he was released from prison, presumably cured. But he wasn’t. After a while I just tune it out.

What kinds of things creep you out?

39 thoughts on “Creepy Crawlers, Clowns, And Other Stuff (Writer’s Workshop)

  1. I have to catch up! Clown never freaked me out and I remember that insect making toy. Talk about giving kids something to play with…very hot items that could catch on fire and plastic melting..I donโ€™t know but thantoy would never see th slight of day today. I tried watching Criminal Minds and I agree with your assessment which is why I never watch the show. That show creeped me out because of the minds behind the show. Spiders creep me out and Trump too:)

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    1. When we were growing up, I think our parents were too busy to watch us that closely, and the toy companies assumed that if they said “use with adult supervision” that kids would wait until there was a responsible adult overseeing what we were doing and making sure we didn’t put our hands down on the hot plate (and of course, they assumed wrong). There were dozens of toys that could cause serious damage to people or property if used incorrectly, and of course those were the ones we wanted and our parents gave us to shut us up. Like these in this video…

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  2. With the exception of Bozo the Clown (whom we’ve discussed), most clowns terrified me when I was small. I had nightmares about clowns.

    Not sure if we had an authentic Thing maker, but we had a similar plastic-melting device with molds that we loved.

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      1. Took a family Facebook council to remember the name, but we had a Vac-u-form, which was made by Mattel: you could make plastic boats, cars, etc. from sheets of plastic. My mom or my grandma probably found it at a bargain price. I can still remember the smell of melting plastic.

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          1. No one in my family can remember what happened to it (my younger siblings are little miffed that they missed out on what my brother likened to an early 3-D printer). Mattel was the toy king when I was growing up. Today’s poor kids don’t even really understand the joy of toys.

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  3. I’ll tell you what really creeps me out. Loretta and I tend to have the television on at dinner time. The networks obviously have figured out that old people with all sorts of unspeakable ailments watch television at dinner time. We are treated to all sorts of commercials for products for shingles, constipation, diarrhea, erectile dysfunction, arthritis, loose dentures and on and on. What really creeps me (us) out is when they tell us about the possible side effects of all these wonder drugs! – disgusting! It’s notable that whenever they begin telling you about these side effects they always have a pleasant scene playing in the background! Creepy stuff!

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    1. When Tex was being treated for melanoma, they had this experimental drug they wanted him to try, and gave him a several page document explaining all the side effects. The side effects sounded worse than the melanoma.

      Jeff Foxworthy has a hilarious bit about that, and about the TV shows that talk about rare diseases:

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  4. I remember the creepy crawler thing maker but didn’t have one of those. I had an easy bake oven. Light bulbs cannot make a cake. Clowns do bother me a bit. I haven’t watched Criminal Minds and after reading your post, I don’t think I will. Yes, Trump creeps me out a LOT on so many levels.

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    1. Spiders don’t bother me as much as cockroaches, but I don’t think I’d feel as good about them if one were climbing on me. I don’t blame you for making the doctor kill it.

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  5. Oof! I think the real stuff is way more creepy. Like early onset Alzheimer’s and bad drivers and letting my children grow up at all in this world! I’ve never been too bothered by creepy crawlies or clowns.
    Criminal Minds can really get to me. It’s not one I can binge-watch. And I prefer to watch it in the daylight ๐Ÿ˜€

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    1. Criminal Minds has definitely gotten darker since it started years ago. Mandy Patinkin, the original star of the show, left when he saw the direction take more of a turn toward the macabre.

      Alzheimer’s in any form, early onset or otherwise, doesn’t just give me the creeps, it scares me. The idea of the brain just falling apart like that is awful.

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  6. Never had a “Creepy Crawlers” my mother was not into anything that used a lot of hear or electricity, probably worried I would burn the house down. I remember spending like 10 cents on a rubber spider once to scare my sisters and they didn’t scare so I kinda wasted my money. I have never feared clowns, I just always thought they were extremely unfunny. As to scary movies, well, I had a great fascination with 1950’s monster movies. I still remember when I was 4 years old my parents let me stay up late to watch “The Thing From Another World”. That is still my favorite movie.

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    1. How ya been, Dave? Good to hear from you again.

      Since John Gacy, I really wonder if clowns really care about being entertainers or if they’re doing it to get close to little kids.

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  7. My brother and I had a Thing Maker. I had the Creepy Crawlers set, and my brother had one that was monsters. Like a Frankenstein monster head, and stuff like that. That was one of my favorite toys ever. Do they still make them? I doubt it.

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  8. Clowns don’t really freak me out either, nor creepy crawlies in general. Skunks, raccoons, and bats however…
    I vaguely remember that Thing Maker. It’s a wonder so many of us survived our childhoods.

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    1. Raccoons are actually pretty cute, when they aren’t tearing up your trash or knocking your garbage cans over. We used to feed some outdoor cats on the deck, and we had a mama raccoon and her four kits stop by for a meal. Haven’t seen a lot of skunks or bats, but the latter keep the mosquito population down, so I’m inclined to like them, at a distance.

      The general feeling was “don’t do anything that would upset your parents, because you’ll get in trouble.” Injuring yourself might fall into that category. So if you hurt yourself, you did your best to cover it up. At least boys did.

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    1. There are whole videos that are just commercials from the ’50’s and ’60’s, including a few that are just toy commercials. I forget who does this, but there are a few where kids are shown technology from the past and have to figure out how it works. I’ll look for them…

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