So Halloween is Friday and I have to say I really look forward to it every year. We were smart and got our kids costumes a month ago so we're more than prepared there. Also, since we're not going to be home, no need to stock up on goodies to hand out, so we've got that going for us. Anyway, the neighborhood we frequent happens to be my Grandmother's and is consequently filled with the elderly and families more than willing to doll out massive wads of the good stuff. Oh sure, my kids love the candy, as do I (no big secret there) but they are relatively picky and pretty much leave all the chocolate to me. Yep, I WIN! As for the trinkets (ie: spider rings, coupons, what have you), they generally get those and that's cool with me. Anyway, enough prattling on, here's our list for the day consisting of the TOP TEN NECESSITIES FOR HALLOWEEN ENJOYMENT. Have a good one!
10) SCARY STORIES
What Halloween could respect itself without the benefit of a scary story or two? None, that's which ones. The book I have shown here is the wildly popular and excessively freaky SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. I remember reading this little nugget of shivers when I was in school (I'm 34) and this thing still manages to illicit the goose pimples (did I mention I'm 34! Shit, I can handle ANY horror movie but this book continues to get to me...) If you want to truly give your children nightmares for life, read them some of these gems. Here's a sample.
9) HALLOWEEN PARTIES
Halloween parties were the places to be when I was a lad about town looking for anywhere to hork down liters of alcohol. They apparently still are, but I wouldn't know as I have more pressing issues at hand, namely children who want to go out begging. I digress. The best thing about really good Halloween parties were the ones where you went as costumed as possible, tossed your keys into a big bowl, partied like it was your last night on earth, and left with whomever owned the keys you were paired with. Good times; ugly chicks. Wait, maybe that wasn't that much fun after all.
8) HALLOWEEN SPECIALS ON TV
Sadly, gone and long-missed are the days when Halloween Specials on TV ran rampant. I used to love the Garfield Special, there was a Casper one I vaguely remember, and I think the Thundercats go Trick or Treating... maybe. Anyway, the only one now that's as classic as all the others is the one you see above: It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Easily the best and the first part of their still-televised Holiday Trifecta including Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oh sure, if you have cable (and what normal human doesn't), you can count on ABC Family or Disney to pump out the specials for you, but none can compare to the steadfast greatest.
7) SPOOKY MUSIC
Spooky music can very easily set the mood for any Halloween occasion from a big bash to a cemetery-themed front lawn. My favorite, which I will graciously include here, is the Danny Elfman-performed theme to Tales From The Crypt. Not especially scary, but in certainly invokes a slew of memories of that amazing show from HBO. Oh, and in case you didn't know, John Kassir, the voice of the Crypt Keeper, also did Roger Rabbit. There's your trivia for the day.
6) HAUNTED HOUSES
Many channels of late have offered up tons of shows based on a group of folks heading out to a supposed haunted house and, putting themselves in paranormal dire straights, spending the night there photographing everything they see and recording all they hear. I have to admit, as a believer, I'll pretty much watch any one of these though I do find the ones featuring some British douche bag being all Chatty Cathy with the spooks a bit far fetched, but they're all pretty cool in their own ways. Oh, and if you've never been in a haunted house (I've been in half a dozen anyway), nothing quite prepares you for it. Trust me.
5) HORROR MOVIES
It used to be that Halloween marked the best time of year to shell out your cash for any number of Halloween films and Horror films. Now, not so much. The last bastion of hope these days is to catch yet another entry into the Saw franchise, and that's cool, but I do long for the bygone days when one could expect at least a handful of them out there. Oh well. Shit, even the new Friday the 13th re-imagining/remake/untold nugget doesn't see release until February and the oft heralded Trick R Treat isn't getting wide release at all! So, here's a treat for those of you who miss a good horror flick:
Halloween decorations are a must for a family with children. Believe me, having just moved and not being able (see: wanting) to put up Halloween detritus this late in the season is garnering certain reactions (see: whining) from the kids. Oh well, we'll make it up on Christmas. I would suggest any one or all of the following: skeletons, ghosts, disembodied hand, grave stones, giant spiders, and a spooky talking face. These are sure to liven up the old digs, especially if you live in a mental institute.
3) HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
It goes without mentioning that one needs a cool costume in order to 'legally' illicit candy from the neighborhood contributors. Nothing hollers laziness and non-conformity like high school-aged jack offs parading around in Hoodies or Football-team T's just to bag some sweets. It's kids like those who need to be toilet-papered to a tree for the night. Get with the program and the spirit and at least get a zombie mask or your sister's Emo make-up and join in on the festivities! The only excuse one has for a lack of apparel is if you're a parent traipsing around with your hyper-active kids bounding from front door to front door. It's hard to keep up in your Furry get-up.
2) JACK O' LANTERNS
Carving pumpkins has certainly come a long way since I was a tyke. Back then, you had your dad take the family butcher knife to the orange gourd and hack away until something resembling a slasher-chopped face appeared, then you plopped in a candle and away you went. A week later, generally on Halloween night, you were left with a pile of rotten vegetation oozing off your front stoop thanks to the weather obviously afflicted with serious Turret's Syndrome, and everyone was happy. Today? Shit, you need clay and wood-carving tools, a master's degree in design, and an imagination better than your neighbor's just to come up with something partly original. Yay Halloween!
Let's face it: aside from the once-feared All Hallowed Eve, and the prospect of Devil's Night, and the lore of the Dead rising from graves, Halloween will always be about the candy. Why else would anyone bother getting dressed up to go out for the night if you weren't going out to ransack the neighborhood of its sweet, sweet rewards? There would be no point. Now, for the most part, candy is candy and I can and will consume nearly everything in an attempt to make sure my kid's bags of goodies are free from cyanide and razor blades, but, do us all a favor and avoid any and all of these: Necco Wafers, Chunky Bars, Smarties Necklaces, and those chalkier than a classroom backboard Monster Themed Candies. Ok, now you may carry on.