A Halloween Mouth of Truth

We are lucky to live on a block with a lot of friendly, creative people. Last year on Halloween, two of our neighbors did an elaborate Mount Olympus/Hades themed candy giveaway, while another, a professional DJ, turned on all his professional lighting equipment and smoke machines in addition to a full laser light show. This year all of these attractions returned with the addition of a new contribution from Kelly: a candy dispensing Mouth of Truth.


The original Mouth of Truth (La Bocca della Verità) is a first century fountain or manhole cover on display in the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome, Italy. A folk tradition holds that if you stick your hand in the mouth you have to tell the truth or else your hand will be bitten off. The Mouth of Truth had its fifteen minutes of fame back in 1953 when it was featured in the Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck movie Roman Holiday.


Kelly’s Mouth of Truth remix featured a puppet tongue that alternately gave candy and tugged on kid’s hands. It was a big hit. We had huge crowds and gave up around 9 pm after serving approximately 300 delighted customers (and two completely terrified toddlers).


Zeus put down his cardboard thunderbolt and took a break from handing out candy two doors down at Mount Olympus to visit the Mouth of Truth.


Our friend John donned his cat suit and acted as Mouth of Truth interpreter, explaining the the concept to the many hundreds of costumed kids.

img_1842Kelly donned a witch’s hat, in spite of the fact that she was out of view the whole evening performing the arduous task of tongue puppetry for three hours. I dispensed cheese, crackers and cocktails to visiting adults in the adjoining garage.


John suggested that, next year, we create a giant candy dispensing Zardoz head as a tribute to this nearly unwatchable “so bad it’s good” 1974 Sean Connery science fiction vehicle.

zardoz-21No, I will not to wear Sean Connery’s Zardoz costume.

Zardoz costume aside, the fun that Halloween provides really helps get to know neighbors. We need more festivals in our lives like this, where we take a break from day to day concerns and work together, on the neighborhood level, to create space for joy and unity.



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  1. What a wonderful way to spend Halloween! I attended a party in my 86-year-old mother’s neighborhood. It included all ages from toddlers up to 80+ years old. We had Zorro, Batman, Cat Woman, a Roman soldier, Spider Woman, various caped characters, etc. etc. Lots of food and a great time!

  2. Awesome idea, but I have to quibble with your assessment of Zardoz. While a horrible movie, it is definitely within the American tradition of “so bad it is actually good.”

    • Agreed. Especially when compared to the ultimate so bad that it’s bad movie Slapstick of Another Kind. I dare you to sit through that one!

  3. I would do anything Gregory Peck wanted me to do. In a tiny town in Alabama one year there were blocks and blocks of Halloween celebrations that were often structures built just for the occasion. Nothing there was as erudite as your neighborhood, mostly horror, pumpkins, lights and scary music in the graveyards. The adults did dress up, also. One really frightened me.

    I loved this post! Kelley did need a costume and the witch hat is perfect. I wish there were a closeup of her hat.

  4. If I were a toddler I would have been wise to the Mouth of Truth, but totally terrified by Cat Suit guy! As a grown-up blog surfer, I have to say, for the Creepazoid Prize it’s a dead tie between Cat Suit and Zardoz. Mom, call the police!!! P.S. The Mouth of Truth with tongue puppet should win the Nobel Prize!

  5. That is a fantastic idea! I’m glad to hear it was so well received, toddlers aside. What fun. We live on a dark, sidewalk-less street and only ever get a handful. That’s okay though. The decorations and jackolanterns and such I do for myself as much as anyone else. Also, that is quite the outfit, Sean Connery!!

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