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    Photo by Mickie Winters

    A gothic wrought-iron fence covered in cobwebs and skulls encloses a hellish scene in the back of Caufield’s Novelty in the Portland neighborhood. Kerry Caufield, the owner’s grandson, points to a house’s wooden façade in the corner of the 1,600-square-foot space. He calls this section of the novelty store “the Dungeon.” 

    A Jason figure, wearing a Friday the 13th hockey mask, bursts through the door on the porch. Michael Myers from Halloween lingers next to a possessed Regan from The Exorcist. A clown holds a sign that reads, “Palms bled here!” The pale-green front yard is a resting ground for shaking zombie torsos, a demon baby and hydraulic skeletons that jolt up every couple of minutes. Red and green eyes glow in the darkened room every so often. Bloody limbs, giant bats, chains and tombstones line the walls. A few mysterious red splotches stain the concrete floor. In the rafters, ghouls and goblins hang cloaked in black mesh. Amid demonic screams and maniacal laughter, a child’s soft voice repeats the words “I see you.”


    Photo: "The Dungeon" at Caufield's Novelty.

    Caufield’s opened in the space in 1987 and has been creating the Dungeon in various parts of the store since the beginning. I discovered it 16 years ago when I was in the third grade. Visiting the Dungeon has becoming a Halloween tradition for me. That first year, my dad had taken me to the shop “for the unusual novelties,” as the sign advertised out front. I was looking for a Wednesday Addams costume. It was NOT a pilgrim costume, despite what everybody thought.

    This originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Katie Molck's picture

    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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