Somewhere down a windy stretch of highway outside of Canyonville, Oregon there lies a town called Tiller. A town where a certain group of locals celebrate Halloween with chainsaws. And a live band. And beer. And copious amounts of dry ice. And a roasted pig. And mortar fireworks. And bottle rockets. And tree trunks carved into Jack-o-Lanterns.
I spent the weekend in Tiller and, let me tell you something, they really know how to celebrate a pagan holiday down there. I'd have to rate Saturday's shindig up there with the Halloween of 1997 when I watched a frathouse party near the U of O campus erupt into a full scale riot
. By the end of that one, shots were fired and people were dancing in a cloud of tear gas.
Awwww, memories. Below you'll find some highlights from TillerFest '06. If you're faint of heart, you're not going to want to read this. Watching a 3 year old dressed as both Tigger and a pirate rock out with a plastic sword to a song called "Toad Licker." Later on, after all the families took their kids home, the band played the unedited version. Replace the "toad" in the title with a female body part and you get the idea. I wish I had caught the name of the band.
Talking with a wild-eyed gentleman that looked like the preacher from Poltergeist 2. The conversation started out innocently enough with him mentioning an asteroid collision on Jupiter back in the '90s. Within seconds he was lecturing me on the hidden meaning of the movie 2010 and how it's connected to a conspiracy to cover up the true origins of humanity and the universe. Or something like that. His wife finally wandered over, grabbed him by the arm and announced "we're leaving."Catching a mock fight between someone dressed like Obi Wan Kenobi and another dressed like a pregnant woman. The Jedi finally broke out his lightsaber and performed what he later described as a "Jedi abortion." It should also be noted that he pulled off this stunt in the heart of "Pro Measure 43" country. Later on, he pregnant girl snatched the lightsaber, performed another mock operation. Her plastic baby would later wind up in the mouth of... ...this thing:
One party attendant was hit by an SUV a few months ago and arrived on crutches. A male colleague thoughtfully decided to dress up as her and arrive on his own set of crutches. I think she took it well. Someone thoughtfully brought along bottle rockets and other assorted fireworks. Some of them went up into the sky. Some of them nearly hit the house. Some of them flew way too close to people's heads. Meeting and talking to "Bob" (no, not his real name), the guy that carved the log you see above with a chainsaw earlier in the evening. He had put together another one but, as he admitted himself, he was too tanked to roll it out. Bob tried to recruit my friends and I to help him finish carving and setting it up beside the first log. For obvious reason, we declined. Later, he entertained a small crowd by tossing firewood into "the beast's" mouth while yelling "this motherfucker is hungry! She needs food!" And then he broke out his chainsaw and carved what may or may not have been intended to be genitalia into the base of the log. There's at least two videos of this out there but my camera couldn't handle the limited lighting. The audio on it is great though.
Oh, and at one point, Bob spilt kerosene all over the place, temporarily creating a pyrotechnics show:
Last year, he nearly blew himself up. While you may be thinking to yourself, "someone let this inebriated man run around in a crowd of people with a chainsaw and a container of kerosene," I myself wasn't worried. Someone told me he was a "trained professional" and I'm pretty sure the hosts had fire extinguishers waiting on the sidelines. Perfectly safe! This was the sixth or seventh year in a row where he had provided and kept the fires burning on a "Jack-O-Log." For Halloween 2005 he managed to set up four of them. Click here for photos from last year's party.
This level of mayhem could never be pulled off up in Portland. It's nice to know there's a place not too far from home where people can celebrate Halloween properly. Up here, parents are afraid to let their kids go trick or treating. Down south, they let dance around to punk music a stone's throw away from a 12-foot tall flaming log.
I don't think I'll ever be able to enjoy future Halloweens without Jack-O-Logs and a complete lack of regard for personnel safety. The bar has been set. Thanks for the great weekend, Tiller. You have once again renewed my faith in America.