a healthy dose of Halloween spirit
Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), this is absolutely
crucial for an enjoyable Halloween. If you’ve got a bad attitude about the
whole thing, you might as well sequester yourself in your house and not spread
your gloom around. I, on the other hand, will be joyous and full of Halloween
spirit. I never suffer a shortage of good Halloween tidings. I’m the Bob
Cratchit of Halloween spirit.
|I was born with plenty of Halloween spirit.|
a killer costume
“Killer” meaning “kick-ass,” not necessarily dressing up as an actual killer. I’m sure I mentioned this in last year’s Halloween blog post, but I have never – in all my years of Halloweening – dressed up as the same thing twice. Not all of my costumes were winners (the time I wore a vampire cape, plaid pants, and sunglasses and called myself Count von Disco Bono), but still, some sort of effort was put forth. I try not to spend too much money on my costume, so I have to do my best to be creative. Sometimes it works (the time I was a pink Croc), sometimes it doesn’t (Count von Disco Bono being the prime example).
On the rare occasion when I can’t dress up on, so I have an
emergency skeleton shirts and the ever-faithful Halloween socks and dancing
skeleton earrings. My friends, you are never too old to dress up for Halloween.
“The Monster Mash”
Unlike Christmas, Halloween is sorely lacking in seasonal songs. However, the sheer awesomeness of “The Monster Mash” more or less makes up for the shortage of other Halloween songs. My Halloween isn’t complete until I’ve heard this song at least three times. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I have yet to actually learn the Monster Mash. Maybe this will be the year.
One of the best things about living in the country as a kid
was the quality of Halloween candy. There were so few trick-or-treaters way out
there that our country neighbors would dish out candy by the handful. They
would often give away full-sized candy bars or twelve-packs of pop. And it was
always the good candy – Kit Kats, Milky Ways, Hershey bars. We got very few
trick-or-treaters at our house out in the country, so we were always left with
an abundance of chocolate. That's actually why country folk buy the good candy
– they know they’ll be left with a ton of it, so they buy candy that they’ll
want to eat. My dad, for one, was never disappointed when he had a whole
bucketful of Snickers all to himself. Now that I’m (sort of) an adult, I no
longer go trick-or-treating. I live in an apartment building, so it’s safe to
say that I won’t be getting trick-or-treaters. But will I buy some Halloween
candy to eat all by myself? Hell yes I will.
|The candy is twice as good if it comes|
out of a pumpkin bucket.
My favorite episodes of TV shows were always the ones that involved Halloween. When I was a kid, The Simpsons was outlawed at my house. My friend Allison had no such rule, so I’d always get to watch The Simpsons if I went over to her house after school. I didn’t even really like The Simpsons, but it was a classic case of “want what you can’t have.” Even though I never really got into The Simpsons, I loved their “Treehouse of Horror” episodes. Years later, when I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I discovered their truly great Halloween episodes. So every year, I watch my two favorite Buffy Halloween episodes: the one where they all turn into their Halloween costumes, and the one where they’re trapped in a haunted house and confronted with their greatest fears. Don’t worry: everybody’s ok in the end.
|I can hear the theme song already.|
This is a rather broad category. Ever since I lived all alone in a creepy shed in some lady’s backyard in New Orleans, I’ve given up on scary movies. I’ll watch the classics, like Nosferatu and the original Psycho, but good luck getting me to watch anything much scarier than that. Even so, Halloween does require some kind of movie-viewing. For as long as I can remember, my movie of choice has been Hocus Pocus. This one’s got it all: witches, a curse, a friendly zombie, and a talking cat. It’s even got some mildly creepy stuff, like said witches trying to suck the lives out of children in order to preserve their youth. So if you haven’t seen it, you must remedy that this coming Halloween.
|If this picture doesn't make you want to watch |
Hocus Pocus immediately, I don't know what will.
When you think of holiday decorations, Christmas trees and twinkly lights are probably what first come to mind. For me? Jack o’ lanterns and glow-in-the-dark skeletons, thank you very much. As a kid, I loved helping Mom hang up the little bats and ghosts and spiders.
As an adult, my fondness
for Halloween decorations has not diminished: I cram Halloween knick-knacks everywhere
I can. Every year, on Halloween day, I head to Target and scoop up their
already-clearanced Halloween décor. And you know what? I used my Target
Halloween plates year-round.
|Skip the Skeleton was (and is) my favorite|
Halloween decoration. He says hello.
some sort of Halloween activity
Your “Halloween activity” doesn’t necessarily need to be on Halloween itself, as Halloween is likely to fall on a weekday. The Halloween activity just needs to be somewhere around Halloween. The activity of choice for most is the haunted house. Personally, I’d rather not. I’ve been to one haunted house in my life – it was in Connecticut, and though it was pretty tame (there were toddlers there, for crying out loud), it scared the bejeezus out of me. I’m jumpy by nature, and when you add psychotic-looking actors who leap out at you from dark corners, it’s amazing that I make it through without having a stroke. In college, I used to go to the Haunted Hall, where they covered up dormitory walls in black garbage bags and led you around to various horror movie scenes being acted out. It was cheesy, but it was part of the college experience… or something. I’ve been to a zombie prom, costume parties (of course), and the Minnesota Orchestra playing the score from Psycho as the movie was screened in the background.
This year, James and I went to a lantern-lit tour of a historic
Sioux Falls graveyard where actors told you stories of a handful of people
buried there. So I’ve got my Halloween activity accomplished for this year.
Next year’s goal: zombie pub crawl.
|We even got to meet Norman Bates's mother!|
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
“But wait,” you say. “Didn’t we already cover Halloween movies?” Why, yes, we did. But Rocky Horror merits a category all its own. Rocky Horror is basically a Frankenstein movie, but with songs and fabulous drag queens. I first saw Rocky Horror on MTV when I was in my mid-teens, and I was hooked. When I got to college, I learned that they had midnight showings of Rocky Horror every Halloween – this is where I first learned of the audience participation. It was truly amazing. Over the years, I have been to four midnight showings of Rocky Horror, the best one being in uptown Minneapolis. You should’ve seen the costumes. Last year, at the midnight showing in Sioux Falls, I wore my own costume. Sadly, Tim Curry still looked better than me.
I even got to go to a theatrical production
of Rocky Horror in Brookings last
year, and I could’ve died happy that night.
|I didn't stand a chance.|
friends who enjoy Halloween
Though it appears last on the list, this – like Halloween spirit – is vital for an optimally enjoyable Halloween. All that stuff I listed? You don’t want to do any of it alone. I am lucky enough to have James, who tolerates – maybe even enjoys – going to all these Halloween events with me. He’s been to two showings of Rocky Horror, plus a ghostly theatre tour in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Orchestra performing Psycho, and the graveyard tour. My friend Sue was the one who took me to the haunted house in Connecticut, and my friend Sara proudly accompanied me to the Haunted Hall and zombie prom in college.
In high school, I always had friends (specifically, Bob, Meagan,
and Allison) willing to dress up and visit houses around town. Halloween is a
cut-and-dried case of “the more the merrier.”
|We were GORGEOUS.|