Letters and Letters on Main Street U.S.A.
In the Magic Kingdom, it was the type of morning that the Disney Marketing Department dreams of with perfect blue skies and a sweet cool breeze to keep the Guests from smelling like tourists before lunchtime. The weather was not my first concern, though. I was on the hunt. I was searching the breadth and width of Main Street U.S.A. for one of its most famous citizens. There in front of the hot dog stand wearing a plaid and very dapper outfit, that would easily camouflage an extra wiener or hot pretzel between meals, was my quarry... Scoop Sanderson the Main Street Gazette Reporter. Always quick with a smile and a tip of his hat, Scoop was taking extra special notice of Pin Traders this morning because there have been some spooky going-ons due to the approach of Halloween — a time when the spirits in the Magic Kingdom flow beyond their usual hauntings in Liberty Square.
There were certainly plenty of other Pin Traders on Main Street greeting Scoop on this morning. You see... we had been forwarded a special letter from Scoop via the Specialized Announcement Mail System for Daily Pin Interest News using Bulletins Leaking Updates, Predictions, and other Hoopla. Yes... it could certainly use a shorter name. Most folks just refer to it as the Daily Pin Blog, but there is also some debate in certain circles over the use of the term "Daily." Anyway, this communiqué from Scoop mentioned his recent chilling encounter with Spook Witherspoon who resides in the Haunted Mansion. Spook is apparently quite a ghastly ghoul who greedily gathered pins during his former corruptible life spent largely at a table outside Pin Traders at DownTown Disney. Now, Spook's pin lanyard was weighing heavily around his spectral neck. He was willing to bequeath his prized lanyard full of pins to one fortunate Pin Trader who could decipher his cryptic clues, follow the mysterious trail, and find the lanyard when it makes an appearance at exactly noon on October 25th.
Scoop's letter included the starting and startling clue.
Get the Genie - Get your wish!
Get Hop Lo from Chinese dish!
Stitch will be there on your list
But first there's got to be a Twist
Dumbo's gone - he had to fly
So don't forget his Little Guy.
Find five pins. (It takes ambition!)
The magic Spell's an apparition!
The key was to follow the clue "to the letter." It appeared that Spook was communicating to Scoop by using alphabet labeled pins in a Ouija Board fashion to identify Pin Traders who were selected to join the hunt for the ectoplasmic treasure. If the pins on your lanyard were mysteriously re-arranged to spelled out "GHOST," then Scoop would know to share the next clue with you.
Here we are, Pin Traders all, on Main Street when Scoop passed along the spirited sign to those who's spellings were true:
Look in the Confectionary!
The message was clear and so we walked (some scootered) right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A. to the next stop in our journey. The candy store became a sticky center of Pin Trader gossip as folks chewed on the clue and wondered what to do. The key this time was to follow the clue literally and look IN the store... through the window. I will not sugar coat it. I fudged a bit and only found the clue by noticing a cluster of excited people outside the window with minted smiles of satisfaction. There was a message from Scoop behind the window glass and only visible when you looked into the shop.
Stop the Presses! It's time to get Started...
To find the pins from The Dearly Departed!
Go to the building you find on a farm
That houses a 3 letter word found in "CHARM"
Look 'round The Square — I think you'll be glad
When you make your way to the
Horse Auction Ad.
LOOK through the Glass to get your next clue
In no time at all you'll know just what to do.
The message continued and even hinted at an additional pursuit for pins. But we had to move quickly to search out the next clue in the first puzzling pursuit. Again, Spook was channeling his message through specific letters in Scoop's letter. When you think of a farm building that houses something found in the letters of "CHARM," the answer was as clear as a ringing bell. HAM. Now, where we would we find a ham sandwich on Main Street? For eateries, there are the Italian place, the ice cream place, and... of course... farms have pigs... ham comes from pigs... pigs in a blanket are another name for hot dogs on a bun... it sounded as corny as a corn dog, but I headed back to Casey's on the corner of Main Street. Fortunately, the Dr. Watson to my suffering Sherlock reminded me of the CAR Barn next to the Fire Station on the Town Square. It was closer than Casey's so I humored my sleuthing buddy and crossed the street. From the front of the Car Barn, we could see a view that looked through the glass window in the door of the Fire Station. On the other side of the window was an ad for a Horse Auction, but more pressing was a note on the glass:
Attention Horse Traders!
Get Ready to Trade. It's going to be Dandy!
A HALLOWEEN PIN
is what you want handy.
A pin with a ghost or a spirit or, ooh!
Just any old type haunted pin oughta do.
Here's what defies everyone's comprehensions
How do you trade when they've just 2-Dimensions?
Your beckon and call
is GO! Make your way
to Pin Trade in the Hall!
A pin SIGNED BY ME!
That's what you're all after!
And soon they're be gales of
Loud cheering and laughter!
Even I could solve this riddle. The unseen forces of the season were sending us a message from somewhere beyond to seek the next clue in the Exposition Hall. I was quickly proved right as we scoured the Hall, and in a back corner, we discovered a not-quite fully dimensional pin lanyard next to this note:
Greeting Pin Traders!
Please be here to trade with me at eleven a.m.
That's the hour when all my pins materialize in 3-dimensions!
To Play Spook's Lucky Lanyard Pursuit,
Please be ready with a pin that's in keeping
with the "Spirit" of the Season!
Pin Traders continued to file into the Hall. With time to spare until the appointed hour, Pin Traders did what comes naturally. They started trading to pass the time and, I believe, in hopes of keeping some evil spirits from chasing us away and ruining the fun. There was still the matter of that additional pursuit which called for completing sets of pins. Several Traders decided to work to complete their alphabet series as 26 seemed like a "great" number for a set.
At eleven o'clock, Scoop appeared to applause and cheers. He produced from his satchel a fully dimensioned and real lanyard of great pins to banish the ethereal pins from the space. Most of these special pins were from Spook Witherspoon's own collection. Spook had even signed the backs of all his pins in a desperate hope that he could take them with him into whatever realm awaits Pin Traders after they have made their final trade in life. Let this be a lesson to Traders everywhere... it did not work. You can't take it with you... not even pins.
Everyone who had correctly deciphered the clues and followed Spook's instructions to the letter, got to trade for one of his pins. There was lots of excitement to see so many grand pins available for trade. The Traders stepped lively through the line, and still Spook taunted and haunted us with a final, challenging clue:
Hot Off the Presses
The hottest spot here on old Main Street at Noon
is INSIDE and YOU have to get there REAL SOON!
At the exact time, somewhere Scoop will appear,
And who gets Spook's Lanyard at last will be clear.
LOOK OUT! PLEASE don't BLOW it!
And PLEASE DON'T GET BURNED!
Just LOOK through the glass
SPOOKS LANYARD'S RETURNED!
Another puzzle to solve, and still there was more promised fun as the message continued:
The FIRST to present Scoop a
HAND-SIGNED SPOOK PIN
Will NOT be the ONLY PIN TRADER TO WIN!
In Fact, the fun Pin Trading will then just begin!
Where to go? And it had to be quick! We would get only one chance to exorcise and own the lanyard of pins when it fully materialized at High Noon on Main Street. You really had to be at the right place and at just the right moment. It was a hair raising wait as the minutes ticked by. But, I think the passing time took the biggest toll on Scoop Sanderson. I still believe in those final moments before noon, Spook Witherspoon was still trying to be greedy and keep his hold on his precious lanyard. For it seemed that Spook's spirit took possession of Scoop and tried to lead him away from the fated spot where the pins and lanyard could depart the spirit world forever. It could be the only explanation. Just before noon, there were reported sightings of Scoop near the Fire House of Engine Co. 71 and some even claimed to have seen Scoop riding the Trolley Line up Main Street (while setting his watch to the Main Street clock). Even now, I cannot say for sure where Scoop was or if he was truly under Spook's control. I cannot say because I was busy passing the time in the Glass Blower's stand where the heated glory holes and blazing furnaces made it Main Street's hottest spot.
Unfortunately, I failed to understand the last clue completely. I should have realized that most of the previous clues required a Pin Trader to look through glass as one would look through a ghost. I was standing inside the glass shop, but I did not "look through the glass" to see the spot where Scoop wearing Spook's lanyard would finally appear. Then right at noon, there was Scoop, there was the lanyard, and there was a Pin Trader named Brian getting to the spot first and presenting one of Spook's signed pins. The "spell" was complete, the pursuit was over, and Spook had returned to regions beyond.
The best part is that the fun for the Pin Traders was not over. Scoop Sanderson gathered all the folks for a chance to do more trading and win some pin prizes with correct answers to trivia questions about the upcoming "Princess and the Frog" animated feature. Scoop produced a special lanyard with more great pins just for trading and awarding. There were cheers for the winners and everyone got a chance to win or trade. It was also a fun time for people to chat with old pin friends and make some new friends, too.
On a final note, we congratulate the successful, spooky, pin hunter. Hopefully, the winner of Spook's "lucky" lanyard is not superstitious and will ignore the rumored curse this lanyard carries. The story just might not be true that tells how Spook was strangled with his lanyard during a pin trade gone awry.
Happy Halloween to All! See you at the next(?) day of fun pin games and pin pursuits.