Monday, July 11, 2011

Some Spooky Sentimentality

My childhood was during the pre-video game period when every household had a large stash of board games to keep the kids busy on a rainy day. I can't say that I was overly enamoured with playing board games as I usually found the subject matter pretty dull (I've never really understood the appeal of Monopoly), but every once in a while a board game would come along that was just my cup of tea. One such game was Milton Bradley's, Which Witch? (also known as Haunted House). Not only was it set in a haunted house plagued by witches, but it was three-dimensional!

The house was constructed from intersecting cardboard walls that created 4 rooms with a central fireplace. If you were unlucky enough to draw the 'Ghoulish Gerty' card, a ball would be dropped down the chimney threatening to knock down the plastic game pieces, which were in the shape of children. One of the many other hazards was having your game piece turned into a plastic mouse and therefore being unable to continue around the board.

The other board game that I remember especially fondly was another Milton Bradley game based on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon of The Addams Family. The game was a pretty basic throw the die and move around the board type, but from memory it had the perverse bonus that the last one to finish was actually the winner.

Sadly, I don't know what became of these games as my family moved house a few times when I was a child and my mother probably gave them away. (Sigh!)


  1. Hi, I just found your blog, by happy accident, and I think it's delightful! From the Addams Family, to Oscar Wilde quotes, to cats, it has pretty much everything I find wonderful! ~Siobhan

  2. There's another blogger around who has listed all the horror board games and some of them are worth a small fortune now to collectors. It's fascinating stuff though I didn't have any of them myself unfortunately.

  3. Oh, I would have loved to play Which Witch? or the Addams Family game! You were a lucky kid to have those. The closest I got to playing with something spooky was Clue! That and the Ouija Board. Maybe your old games are being sold online? I actually think video games are kind of sad. It's always better when people are interacting with other humans!

  4. Hi Siobhan,

    Thank you so much! I'm determined to stay true to myself with this blog, so knowing that there actually are others out there with similar interests is very gratifying!

    Hi Dr Blood,

    I got the idea for this post after reminiscing about these games with a friend. When I did a search, I was surprised at all the nostalgia I discovered out there for 'Which Witch?'. (Apparently, I'm not such a misfit after all - who'd have thought?) And yes, the prices for these games can get pretty steep!

    Hi Justine,

    Yeah, I guess I must have been pretty lucky to have these games. Especially when you consider that Australia has such a small population compared with the U.S., so we don't always get all the toys/games here that are available to you guys.

    I wasn't allowed to have a Ouija Board. My Dad was a prosecuting attorney and I think he had a murder case once, involving teenagers, cemeteries and Ouija Boards, so he drew the line at the Ouija Boards. I wasn't that disappointed, to be honest, because I read 'The Exorcist' when I was 12, and I think that scared me off for life.

    Talking of games, the Halloween 'Old Maid' deck just arrived - FABULOUS!!

  5. Oh, an ode to board games... ♥

  6. Oh, I never considered that you guys would have had less board games in Australia than in larger countries. I guess it's an even playing field now that the internet exists! I love that we can get what we want no matter where in the world it is being sold. Speaking of just such a situation, I'm so glad that the cards made it to you and that you like them so much! :)

    Wow! That sounds like an intriguing case that your Dad was working on. When I was young, they were fun to mess around with. Now, looking back I can see how using a Ouija Board is like opening a door to who knows what. Yikes, you read 'The Exorcist' when you were 12? If the book is anywhere near as scary as the movie, you were probably traumatized by it! I think the Exorcist is the scariest movie ever.

  7. Yes, the internet really has changed everything! (I wouldn't have my fab, spooky 'Old Maid' cards without the internet!!)

    I was always borrowing my Dad's books when I was a kid. I don't remember whether I actually had permission to read "The Exorcist", but I certainly read it as a cautionary tale about the dangers of Ouija Boards. I was quite a bit older when I saw the movie (on t.v.), and yes, it was very scary! I don't know if you ever watch 'Supernatural', but Linda Blair guest starred on one episode as a police officer and they made a pea soup reference which was pretty funny.

  8. How cool & cute! Maybe you can find some of those games on the internet, perhaps in the world of eBay or Amazon?

  9. Hey, Real Queen of Horror,

    I think there are old sets available on Ebay, etc. but they cost a fortune. What I need is a time machine so I can travel back and tell myself to hang on to those games like grim death!

  10. This was one of my favorite games as a small child... I even used the "House" set-up to play with my monster figures... cool...

    1. Hi Dr. Theda,

      Yes, it was one of my favourite games too! I so wish I still had it. As well as a board game, it was like an awesomely cool version of a dollhouse! :)


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