If you already find old porcelain dolls creepy, this will be the stuff of nightmares.
They're called Zollies, a pack of dolls modified into zombies, vampires and … ugh … clowns. They live, among other places, on display at the Benson Bazaar, a shop of vintage oddities located at 6013 Maple St. They're the creation of Marla Halvorson, a 41-year-old Springfield woman who pretty much lives and breathes Halloween all year long.
The idea for Zollies came a few years back while she was making Halloween decorations. She had some dolls and thought they would look cool as monsters. Those who didn't shield their eyes in revulsion really liked them, and Halvorson decided to make more. She eventually started selling them on her Etsy shop. Benson Bazaar owner Steve “Tuco” Jacobs recently told her she could put them on display at his shop.
Making the Zollies has become just another part of her year-long Halloween-ing, all of it going to the annual ritual in which she and some friends turn their whole neighborhood haunted.
“I'm one of the crazy ladies,” Halvorson said, “whose Halloween looks like everybody else's Christmas.”
In addition to the Zollies, she makes Necronomicon books out of clay, bottles of zombie juice, macabre dioramas. She decapitates a bunch of Dresden dolls and has them holding their own heads.
So far, the Zollies are the only one of her “scary little hobbies” that's become a commercial endeavor.
Now, “everywhere I go,” Halvorson said, “I ask, 'Do you have porcelain dolls?'”
Halvorson herself has never considered porcelain dolls scary, but she does understand why they unnerve some people.
“I do know what people are scared of,” she said. “That why I made the clown one.”