Halloween at the Zoo! (Indy Zoo Revue #9)

scary Dorothy!

Scene from a darker Oz timeline in which the Wicked Witch’s hourglass ran out…but Dorothy didn’t let that get in the way of vengeance.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In June my wife Anne and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

We’ve been to the Indianapolis Zoo several times over the years. A couple of times, we’ve paid visits to check out their holiday programming.

Anne’s birthday happens to be in October. She isn’t a big fan of Halloween, but once upon a time in 2012, we spent a Saturday at a pair of local attractions with connections to the season. The cuter of the two was the annual “ZooBoo” program, in which zoo employees festoon the grounds with themed dioramas as value-added ambiance to attract families at a time of year when zoos tend to be far from everyone’s thoughts. Many animals were still on the clock and in their habitats, withstanding the falling temperatures and paying no mind to the new, bizarre decorations around them.


Bats were among the only apropos animals on hand.

cheetah angry!

Wanna see something really scary? This cheetah has an idea it wants to show you.

Anne + Giraffe!

Giraffes are scary to no one in the universe except possibly trees, but the important thing is you can fit part of them inside a festive frame.

winged monkey!

Winged monkey on the loose! Wait, no, this animal isn’t real. I think.

Several setups stuck to a Wizard of Oz theme for reasons known only to the staff. I’ve never thought of Oz as a Halloween book series or movie, but I suppose some of the scarier aspects lend themselves to the moment, such as the two brutally murdered witches.

Haunted Forest!

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to TERROR. And googly eyes.

Oz Bricks!

This rendition has Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion watching helplessly as a floating green skull hypnotizes Dorothy into ending it all. Or something creepy like that.

witch hiding!

Elphaba in the Haunted Forest giving the Blair Witch a run for her money.

skull Dorothy!

Scarecrow died as he lived: campaigning for everyone to make better use of their scraps?

Dead Tin Man!

The same sequence killer that offed Scarecrow wants to make sure someone uses every part of the dead Tin Man.

Meanwhile outside Oz, other forms of Halloween cheer-‘n’-fear manifest in creative, sometimes disturbing, sometimes confusing ways…

graveyard spectres!

Graveyard specters haunt a back wall off the beaten path.

tree totem!

Bizarre tree totems. I hope these are just decorations.

scary evergreen heap!

The maples and oaks of the Haunted Forest are powerless in winter, but this evergreen heap is a perennial peril.

pirate sinking!

Ocean-themed scene in which a pirate skeleton has met its match in a giant flying sea spider.

rat guarding!

A starving rat licks its chops while waiting on its dinner of a spit-roasted scarecrow.


Mandatory cemetery with family-friendly gallows humor.

spookity eyes!

I wasn’t kidding about the googly eyes. BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!

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