Halloween in Another Funeral Home

We lived across the street from a Catholic church, St. Alice (the grade school was behind the church). The nice thing about living across the street from a church is all the weirdos it attracts.  Some real nuts mixed in with a lot of blue collar, hard-working Catholics were the people that made up our neighborhood, which I’ll expand on later.  Two blocks up from our house was the Kelly Funeral Home, one of the major competitors.

It was strange, but there were a lot of funeral homes in my area, probably about 5 in a three mile radius, and I have no explanation for that. The Kelly’s had a bigger funeral home and every Halloween when we went to their house for candy, they would make you do a trick for it, like a little monkey. No trick, no treat. They took that shit seriously. I would do a cartwheel every year on their green carpeting , and every year I would think how much nicer the red carpeting was in our funeral home. I also remember when this girl died in our neighborhood and the family chose the Kelly funeral home instead of ours. She was 18 and very pretty and I think she died in a car accident. I went to the funeral and remember thinking how bad her makeup looked. That may seem strange, but you notice stuff like that when you grow up watching your dad put makeup on dead people. My dad was great at makeup, and most of the time, my mother would style the dead ladies hair.  My mother was also an emergency room nurse and I doubt when she got married that she thought she’d end up being a hair stylist to the dead.  But my dad was the manicurist. I remember him painting the dead ladies nails, and years later, after he was retired, I was looking at my nails and mentioned how much I needed a manicure and my dad said, “Lie down, I’ll give you one.”

I always wanted my dad to go all out on Halloween and turn our house into a fun and scary place to go. He could have done so much with the caskets and made it really spooky, but he was serious when it came to the business and so we never got to do that. And dressing up wasn’t great either. I never knew what to be for Halloween and my parents weren’t the type that went out and got us store-bought costumes. Their attitude was more like, if you want candy, figure out a costume and go get it. But because putting together a “homeless person” costume didn’t take much effort on their part, they would help. I’d wear man clothes that were too big and I’ll be honest, the clothes were spare items that my dad had in the basement. I don’t’ know whose clothes they were. Maybe they were his old clothes, I don’t know, but they came from the basement. Mom would burn the end of a cork so it would look like I had dirt on my face, and I’d carry an old pillowcase for candy. When I went to the neighbor’s houses and they asked me what I was, I said “a bum.” This was in the days before political correctness and we referred to homeless people as bums. Is that wrong?

My sister Kris and brother John were bums too. The Donohue Kids, what a bunch of bums!


Sadly, I couldn’t find any pictures online of the Kelly Funeral home or St. Alice Church, but I did find this picture as I was scrolling through and wondered if you think it’s a man or a woman. If it’s a woman, she could really use a new hairdo, some lipstick and definitely some tweezers.

Since it’s Monday, we should probably start drinking now. Have a nice day!

About Death To Hollywood

My name is Celeste Donohue and I am a writer/comedian who started this blog to tell stories about my life growing up in a funeral home and my adult life which I have spent in Hollywood, California – hence the name, “Death To Hollywood”. Hopefully, you like to read those kinds of stories. If not, go read something serious and boring.....
This entry was posted in death, funerals, Hollywood and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Halloween in Another Funeral Home

  1. Margaret Steadman says:

    LOL…I have a great picture of you in your “bum” costume and actually think we may have you in a home movie too. The tricks at the Kelly’s always drove me nuts too..never knew what to do. Just give me my damn candy! Interestingly they still put up the nativity scene every year. Amazing that someone dose not make off with all the wise men and Jesus too..my house on Veronica got robbed and they even took my new bottle of Sambucca so clearly nothing is sacred! If I can find that pic I will send to you.

    • I would LOVE to see that picture Margaret…I’m surprised we don’t have any because my dad took pics of everything. And someone stole your Sambuca? okay, it’s not sacred, but I can understand stealing booze 🙂

  2. Brendan Doc says:

    funny – I really can’t remember your brother ever being anything but a bum – maybe a football player once

  3. Christine says:

    Celeste , my brother was a bum every year too – funny how you never see that word much anymore! I also remember being nervous about the yearly cartwheel for candy! The funeral you are talking about I remember very well, I think it was the first one of someone I knew and I still find viewings to be a bit odd – I am donating my body to science so no one needs to see me that way!
    Really enjoying reading about the old days in UD and your travels – thanks!

  4. Kris says:

    I can be a “bum” over and over again(for halloween, that is)……forget all of the store bought costumes….bring on our basement and a burnt cork!! One costume you can walk and talk in:)

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