Now that it’s November, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It’s supposed to be a time of warmth, thankfulness, good food, family, fun, and happy memories. It’s a time for turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie. It’s a time when Americans gather together and reflect on the abundance we enjoy and cozy up to each other a bit as we head into the cold and dark winter months around the corner.
It’s not a time to be creeped out, terrified, horrified, disgusted, or otherwise unhappily disturbed. That’s what October and Halloween were for! But I guess you wouldn’t be here reading this if you had gotten your fill last month, and there’s actually quite a disturbing undercurrent of terror to Thanksgiving that’s not so hard to see when you go looking for it, so here’s a bit of terror with that Thanksgiving flavor.
Serious Warning Though: Some of these photos are so terrifying that they may be very upsetting and seriously disturbing to some viewers. Can’t say you weren’t warned. Some of this stuff is seriously Not Safe For Work Life. And you won’t be able to unsee it when you’re done reading.
Last chance to click the back button on you browser while you still can. It’s not too late. You don’t have to be terrified! You can just go make a nice cup of hot cocoa or warm apple cider and go for a walk instead. Or do some reading up on your local candidates this upcoming election. Or anything really.
I’ll bet you never thought Thanksgiving could be so macabre:
15. Creepy Thanksgiving Masking Tradition
Did you know that wearing masks and costumes did not originate with Halloween? Neither did the ritual of door-to-door knocking for treats. Thanksgiving had that covered for years during the Progressive Era in the early 1900s, and these costumes weren’t funny or cute; or scary in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way like how modern day Halloween costumes are, you know? They were absolutely, terrifyingly creepy. Just look at those masks! That is the stuff nightmares are made of. Now imagine a kid coming up to your front door like that and asking you for treats or food. Nope. The only reason we remember this tradition is the Library of Congress had these photos of it, labeled “Thanksgiving maskers” circa 1910-1915.
14. Terrifying Macy’s Parade Clown Balloon
What was it about the early 20th Century that gave everybody such a natural gift for making things incredibly creepy looking? Seriously. What was it? All the sexual repression leftover from the Victorian Era? The World Wars going on at the time? Yeah, I guess that’s pretty heavy. But, jeez, you’d think they would want a break from it all on their down time celebrating holidays and stuff. I guess it probably didn’t look creepy to them, but dear god, anybody looking in from another era can see what a tough time people must have been having.
13. Terrifyingly Scary Thanksgiving Dolls
Okay maybe the early 20th Century wasn’t the only time when people had a gift for making things look incredibly creepy. This photo is off of Cammoo, a store on Etsy that actually sells hundreds of these demonic little pilgrim dolls from the 1970s. They’ve got 459 reviews alone, and not everyone who buys something leaves a review. In fact, most don’t, so do the math and you’ll be terrified to know just how many creeps live in this country. The product description says: “Their arms are linked … forever and ever.”
12. Sexy or Terrifying Thanksgiving Pin Up?
I guess we all know the entire point of Thanksgiving is to eat some turkey. And that in order to eat some turkey, some turkeys got to die. But please excuse me if Americans aren’t overly obsessed with the slaughtering of the turkey part of the festivities, because it looks to me like they really are. Look at that poor, little buddy, toes apart on top of that tree stump, beak slightly agape in a cute turkey smile, just standing there blissfully ignorant of the butchering he’s about to get from that pin up model next to him, menacingly sharpening that hatchet blade like a damn executioner. All in black and white, which for some reason makes it worse. *shiver*
11. The Truly Thankful on Thanksgiving Day
See what I’m telling you here? Thanksgiving isn’t just about being thankful, sharing an autumn meal with family, or remembering the past struggles to settle the wild continent of North America. It’s like some kind of death cult reveling in the turkey’s inevitable demise. There’s this creepy fixation on the turkey’s sacrifice to make Thanksgiving Dinner happen. The US President even pardons a turkey every November. What’s the connection here with the relationship between European colonists and Native Americans? Do we even want to know, via some Jungian psychological analysis for instance, just what we’re so troubled about? Probably not.
10. Terrifying Thanksgiving Dinner Nightmare
Nooo! No. Just… no. Halloween is over now! You can’t do this kind of crap for Thanksgiving. You were supposed to get this all out of your system in October. Who made this? Seriously, I want to know who went out of their way to make such a horrifyingly grotesque version of Thanksgiving Dinner. I guess it’s a little taste of what the turkey feels like, but that’s not even fair, because I don’t know about you pal, but I’m a lot more self-aware than a turkey, so contemplating my own violent end as a meal for somebody sucks a lot worse. I’m a human being and I have needs. And I have canine teeth in the front of my jaw to help me eat meat. And I’m hungry and I won’t let you make me feel guilty about that. And– good God, those eyeballs. I wretched a couple times while typing this paragraph and catching that thing’s eyes looking at me.
9. Freaky King Kong Thanksgiving
Why? Just why do this? It’s not funny. It’s pure nightmare fodder. He’s not supposed to be back there in the first place. And he’s unnaturally big and imposing. The bared teeth, the staring eyes: it’s all terribly creepy. The original oil painting is by an American artist named Jean Leon Gerome Ferris in 1915, who entitled it, “The First Thanksgiving.” Then someone with a sick soul had to go and photoshop a giant gorilla with a pilgrim’s cap on behind the whole beatified scene of Pilgrims and Native Americans peacefully co-existing. What’s he doing there and what does he want? How did he get that cap? Who would even make a cap that big? If he can make this scene look freaky, I’d shudder to see what this photoshopping art vandal would do to alter The Temptation of St. Anthony.
8. Well, This Is Awkward
Geeezus. This painting is terrifyingly uncomfortable. It’s by J.C. Leyendecker, and 100% no joke, it’s entitled, “Well, This Is Awkward.” Ha ha, okay: no. The real title is “Thanksgiving – Indian Bartering with Pilgrim,” but that Indian looks like he knows exactly how things are going to go down and he’s not too happy about it. Pilgrim: “So we forgot to bring anybody over from Europe who knows how to hunt, farm, or otherwise procure some FOOD. But how would you like some of these really nice, absolutely top-notch glass beads in exchange for that turkey you got there?” Indian: “Um, okay, I guess.” Pilgrim: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on now– and I want all this land around us too. These are some NICE beads!” Indian: “I know what you’re trying to do.” Pilgrim: “What? I’m not. These beads are SOO nice. You’ve got lots of land. You can just move West and find plenty more. Where are you going to find some beads this nice? Tell you what, I’ll throw in some nice, warm blankets for you…”
7. Terrifying Thanksgiving Day Strangler
It’s really hard to look at. This is a photo of a former Akron Police officer named Eric Paull at his sentencing hearing for committing a terrifying crime on Thanksgiving Day in 2014: He choked his girlfriend. In the chilling picture above, the former officer’s face is twisted into an expression of pain and turmoil. He was sentenced to four years in prison after entering a guilty plea to charges of aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, and menacing by stalking, not only his ex girlfriend, but other women in the Akron area.
6. Terrifying Thanksgiving, 1942
Yikes, what a terrifying advertisement. I can’t even begin to think of how this is not creepy, especially looking at it in hindsight. First of all, you’ve got who I assume is President FDR having a piece of Thanksgiving turkey out of a picnic basket and smiling at you all weird and creepy like. World War II is raging in 1942, so this advertisement is kind of using the hype to get their attention and say, “Ah don’t worry about it. The whole world is engulfed in an unprecedented violent conflict, but this Thanksgiving, just have a sip of our whiskey and make the best of everything.” But what’s creepiest about it is that FDR has a bomber plane behind him and is holding on to some kind of blueprint plans to something?? Like maybe the atomic bomb they’re about to use to wipe out an entire Japanese city? How did Schenley know about that like three years in advance? Okay, I guess the blueprint could be to anything, but this ad is still not okay. Well make the best of it. Drink Schenley.
5. Nothing Says Thankfulness Like Sheer Terror
Nothing says thankfulness like a giant monster rampaging through your city. Because you can be thankful it’s just a creepy balloon and not an actual giant monster, right? At a boardroom meeting somewhere in the Macy’s corporate headquarters: “Hmmm, is there any way, Johnson, that we can make these balloons scarier?” Johnson: “Well sir, these concept sketches look pretty scary to me.” Boss: “Not scary enough, Johnson! We need these balloons to be really, really scary. It’ll be a lot of fun for the kids.” Johnson: “I don’t know about that sir. Maybe–” Boss: (cutting Johnson off) “God help you if you don’t make my balloons scarier this year! I want the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to be terrifying, and by golly that’s what I’m going to get!” Or something. I’m just really hoping the creepiness was intentional. That would actually be better.
4. Don’t Eat Your Baby
It’s not funny. It’s seriously terrifying. What kind of moral degenerates take joking this far? It’s one thing to just have the thought cross your mind and say it as a joke, “Ha ha, whoops honey, I think I accidentally left the turkey on the counter and put the baby in the oven!” And even then it’s still pretty messed up and you’re a horrible person to even make that kind of a joke. But at least you aren’t so depraved that you go to all the extra trouble and spend your free time to put your freaking baby in a baking pan with veggies on the side and everything, and take his picture. Am I overreacting here or are people growing numb to dark humor?
3. Terrifying Thanksgiving Alien(?) Turkey
What is- what even– what the hell even is this poor misbegotten monster? To begin with, the idea of something like this existing alive and well and walking around is terrifying enough. Look at those claws. That face is so freakishly human. Geezus, it’s seriously upsetting to behold. Could you imagine walking through the woods and this thing starts crawling at you from up the trail unnervingly fast with a big, evil smile on its face? I don’t care how much bigger I am than it. I don’t care if I could probably kick it as hard as I could and send it flying like a field goal down the trail. I would literally unload my bowels in terror if I saw that. Now as a Thanksgiving turkey it’s even creepier. Who could eat that? Just thinking about it is making my stomach flip. The way they sewed up the mid-section and everything. Blech. The roses in the background make a nice, creepy touch. Like this is a normal, beautifully set table with a perfectly normal meal in some parallel universe that looks like hell from this one.
2. I Am Thankful for Nothing
It’s not just the “nothing” here that makes this terrifying. Though that lack of thankfulness and the apparent willingness to broadcast it is kind of disturbing. I mean, if some kid is filling out some activity for Thanksgiving Day and says he’s thankful for absolutely nothing, like 100% there is not a single thing in the world that he would say he’s grateful for, it sounds like he’s got nothing to lose, you know? And probably is harboring a lot of bitterness and resentment. That’s pretty disturbing, and would be enough to make me sleep with locks on my bedroom door if I were his parent. But it’s the rage in the marker scribbling below that answer that really adds a chilling effect to the whole thing.
1. Freedom From Want, Idiocracy Edition
Yeah this parody of Norman Rockwell’s classic painting is pretty terrifying, and a little on the nose. I mean damn, Sam, is that supposed to be us? We’re not that bad, come on. Grandpa’s just standing at the head of the table for Thanksgiving Dinner just with no shirt on. And wait, what? He’s got the word “shit” tattooed on his forehead! Give me a break. There’s a grandma doing rails off the kitchen table and someone with a mohawk is just ripping a bong? You’ve got a PBR can in the mix- like what’s wrong with PBR? And whoa, hold up, someone’s wearing a baseball cap that says “MILF.” Alright, I’ve had enough. This is a pretty terrifying vision of Thanksgiving- I don’t care if there’s a Chuck Norris poster in the corner.