Although Anoka bills itself as the Halloween Capital of the World, city officials and some businesses are a bit spooked by a macabre-themed head shop that has opened a pumpkin's toss from City Hall.
Redrum -- which read backwards, spells murder -- opened in late September with a skull and crossbones above the door and red-stained razor blades dangling in the window.
Okay, so far, so good. If this were downtown or in Uptown or Dinkytown or on Lake Street or University Avenue, no one would notice. They might not go in if the shop didn't carry anything they were looking for, but at most, they'd snicker and move on.
"The kind of people it brings downtown we don't need," said Beth Lennartson, co-owner of A Girl Thing, a women's boutique a few doors away.
You mean people who buy things? Is there any other kind of people a business should concern itself with?
"This doesn't help our ladies that come down here," added co-owner Donna Texley.
You might be surprised, honey. But even if it doesn't, does your corner of the world exist only for your customers? Do you protest barbershops opening up? Those don't help your ladies either.
"Yes, we are the Halloween capital, but that is taking it too far," said Krista Rothmaler, who owns Krista Artista art gallery down the street. "My opposition to Redrum has to do with the fact that it is not very family-friendly."
Unlike boutique clothing shops and art galleries. Those are always so open to sticky-fingered younglings.
What actually gets me about all this is not the totally expected reactions. After all, I grew up in the suburbs--right up until I had a choice about where to live. No, what gets me is that Anoka is the Halloween capital. According to this article, they can't handle anything remotely morbid or weird and they don't like the sorts of people who love Halloween. How does that work?
Don't get me wrong. I think Anoka is a plenty scary place. I just don't think it's any scarier than any other closed-minded, repressive suburb.