I am Helga, Witch of the Black Forest. When you purchased me at Home Depot, you thought I was a typical Halloween animatronic. You had no idea just how horrifying I truly am.
Though I come with a smoking black cauldron, a broom made of real straw, and a raven who squawks ominously on my shoulder, my most frightening feature by far is my voice box. Instead of typical incantations about potions and full moons, I spew the most petrifying phrases imaginable in the year 2020: FACTS.
On Halloween night, I am first activated by a preteen in a Fortnite costume. When his approach triggers my motion detector, I slowly raise my head and meet his gaze with eerie, battery-powered eyes.
“The world has been aware of climate change since 1988, yet virtually nothing has been done about it,” I cackle. “By 2030, the damage will be irreversible!” I burst into deranged laughter as my victim flees into the night, so distressed that he forgets his candy entirely.
Minutes later, the next round of trick-or-treaters approaches. This time, I lurch forward unexpectedly, popping into the face of a child dressed as It.
“You think clowns are scary?!” I shriek, as I rotate my silicone head 360º. “Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is about to undo fifty years of social progress, as well as RBG’s entire legacy! The Salem Witch Trials will seem like feminist triumph by comparison!”
I am relentless and diabolical as I rouse the darkest horrors of the human soul. Several passersby wonder if my voice is not a soundtrack at all, but the soothsayings of an actual witch.
“Are you afraid of bees?” I ask a tiny pair of ghosts. “Murder hornets can decapitate bees, and their venom can liquify human flesh. And guess what? These monsters have already arrived in the U.S.!”
Word of my blood-curdling nature spreads like wildfire, and a trip to see Helga quickly becomes the biggest dare in the neighborhood. Soon, the parents seem more afraid of me than the children. One of them compares my demoniacal declarations to spending the night in a haunted house, only the haunted house is 2020 and no one is allowed to leave.
“Hell isn’t the only thing going up in flames!” I wail at a little girl sporting a pitchfork and Devil horns. “Napa Valley continues to burn with no end in sight!”
“25% of Americans still believe Covid-19 is a hoax!” I shriek at a group dressed as Descendants. “And the spread of misinformation exacerbates outbreaks by undermining doctors and influencing risk-taking behaviors!”
“By the end of the year, the post office may no longer have the funding to stay open!” I cackle at a group of princesses, while their chaperone whimpers softly.
Though my reign of terror continues all evening, I am careful to save my most gruesome facts for those who deserve it most: a group of un-costumed teenagers who arrive maskless.
“President Trump still has the unwavering support of 42% of voters!” I scream at them. “In spite of four years of endless horrors, his base is stronger than ever, and there’s a possibility that he’ll even be re-elected!”
I reach into my cauldron and extract my most spine-chilling secret prop, a red MAGA hat. I place it upon my alarmingly human-like hair and erupt into maniacal howls as the miscreants flee, their screams echoing in the night.
I do hope you are satisfied with your Halloween evening, as well as your decision to purchase me. Witches, ghosts, and other monsters may be the cornerstones of horror, but in 2020, there’s simply nothing scarier than reality.
YA HA HAA HAA HA!