There I was, stuffing a red chemlight up into a cow skull with the intentions of hanging it on the cemetery fence in Reno's front yard when it dawned on me: I've got precisely one chemlight in my entire house.
Call them chemlights, snaplights, lightsticks, cyalumes, glowsticks, whatever -- I've held a deep affection for those plastic snap-and-shake lights ever since my military days, and I've usually got a mixed box of various sizes somewhere in the house.
Chemlights are one of the few things that I've acquired as a solution to a particular problem, but then kept turning up new uses for them.
The only surviving chemlight in my house is attached to my emergency house key. There is a single key -- to the front door and deadbolt -- that shares the keyring with the four-inch-long green chemlight.
This little gem is used in case of a bona-fide break-in. Family members will hole up in the master bedroom and call 911. When the police get here, the chemlight will be activated and the keyring thrown out of the window facing the front lawn.
The brightly-glowing chemlight will insure that the responding officer can't miss the key in the grass -- no matter how dark, snowy, raining, foggy, or whatever the weather conditions are -- and the key will allow him to get into my house without kicking in the door or breaking a window.
See? Once you get some chemlights, various new ways to use them keep presenting themselves.
Children love to carry activated light sticks while shaking down the neighborhood for candy and such on Samhain, and the chemlights don't break if little hands drop them, they don't get hot, and the bright glow is easy for motorists to see.
Orange chemlights fit into a Jack O-Lantern right nicely, don't get blown out by the wind and can be left in your pumpkins all night long with no fear of setting various odds and ends alight.
As mentioned above, the red ones give any old skull a nice eerie glow, and the green and yellow ones -- being waterproof -- won't short-circuit if you put them into a punchbowl full of colored water and dry ice.
And that's just the uses on All Hallows Eve.
Time to restock.