Freddy Krueger hates Halloween. In fact, Oct. 31 is a nightmare for five Fred Kruegers who live in Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Illinois.
It's particularly tough for the Fred Krueger who lives in Tobyhanna, Pa. His house is two blocks from Elm Street.
No kidding. Fred Kruegers, men with the same name as the star of screen, scream and gore, are alive and well but unenthusiastic about the holiday that is descended from the medieval All Hallows Eve.
The prank calls and weird stares, they say, will be relentless.
None of the Freds is maimed by scars, has pop-out claws or even dons a fedora. None has been accused of even one grisly murder, unlike the prolific maniac featured in the never-ending movie saga, A Nightmare on Elm Street. But these disparities do not ward off pranksters.
"I got some regular customers on the phone," said Fred Krueger, who lives in Olivers Mills, Pa., and works for Liberty Mutual Life Insurance Company.
"It's best to go along with them," he said, noting that children will just harass him if he sounds mad or hangs up.
Fred Krueger, a retired banker from Charlotte, N.C., also plays the demonic role but said he tries to keep it simple because he once scared a little girl.
"She wanted to know if I was the Freddy and I said, "Yeah' and gave her the laugh," said the 75-year-old retiree. "And then I said several other things and said I would be over to see her.
"There was silence on the phone," he recalled. Followed by a dial tone.
An understandable reaction. In his most recent movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Child, Freddy Krueger _ created by Wes Craven and played by actor Robert Englund _ invades the semiconsciousness of an unborn child, torturing her mother and killing off her teen-age friends.
Probably not the kind of guy you'd want to have over to the house. Unless, of course, you're Mrs. Krueger.
Ellen Krueger, who is married to the Charlotte Fred, said her husband doesn't look anything like the star.
"I got a good-looking husband with blue eyes and dimples," she said. "There's no resemblance."
Another Mrs. Krueger, Florence, lives in Tamaqua, Pa., and gets a lot of silly calls. It bothered her at first, she said, because she thought someone was playing a cruel joke by asking for her husband. He died 28 years ago.
After she and a friend figured it out, Florence decided to counter with a trick of her own.
"Is Freddy Krueger there?" a caller will ask.
"Yes, he is. Hang on," she'll reply.
"Then I just put the phone down and walk away," Florence said, with a sinister laugh.
Most of the Freds _ and the Mrs. Freds _ are good-natured about their namesakes. But sometimes people go too far, they say.
Fred Krueger of Norfolk, Va., gets "tons" of calls, according to his 17-year-old son, Philip.
"We get mostly little kids calling up. But we did get one guy that said he was Jason from (the movie) Friday the 13th, who said he was going to kill us," Philip Krueger said.