HALLOWEEN’ING 2014: Day 30 – Staying In

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staying insideHere we are, the night before the Big Night, aka The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, aka HALLOWEEN. Soon, little boils and ghouls will dress up and hit the streets, searching for sugary confectioneries to sate their blood lust. And not-so-little ones will be dressing as…whatever (something silly, something “sexy”, whatever that is, I wouldn’t know), to go out and do this social gathering thing called a “party” to carouse and make merry, with masks and possibly Jell-o shooters. The night I get to do my very favorite thing. You know what that is? Have you read the title of this piece?

Yes, it seems rather anticlimactic, have this whole month-long build up, writing about my favorite things about this holiday, singing my praises of this festival of red and black and slimy-green, and not partake of the parties that go on at various places. And to your average person, I would agree that it would seem rather odd.

That’s the thing about this, though: I love the season, and dig getting into the spirit of Halloween. The actual day, though, I don’t like to be out and about too much. Keep in mind, I’m quite introverted, with my idea of a great party consisting of a couple of friends, a couple of bad movies, and rapier-sharp witty banter. If, on the rare instance where I’m invited to a big party, I do go to one, I’m always that guy that’s sitting in the corner, possibly in the shadows, watching people intently, maybe chatting a little with someone who has wandered into my orbit. Mostly, though, I have a time-honored tradition of fixing up a big bowl of movie-style popcorn, and popping on a Horror Movie Double-Header on the ol’ media player, and ring in the end of another Halloween season.

There’s also the added benefit of not having to put up with loud, drunken dude-bro’s.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2014: Day 29 – Trick or Treating

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Six children in costumes trick or treating at woman's houseLet’s see, I’ve covered the basics, here: costumes, masks, candy…what else is there? Oh, right–TRICK OR TREATING! Gearing up, grabbing your biggest haul bag and heading out, scouring the entire neighborhood (and maybe a few others), going door to door, threatening a trick if the home owners don’t make with the treat. Any other time of the year, this is considered mob extortion. One night, though, it’s considered adorable.

Though, it seems that this very tradition is slowly heading the way of the buffalo. More and more, you hear about corporate-sponsored “Trunk-or-Treating”, or events where you herd a bunch of kids inside a mall to get their candy from the various stores and/or mall areas. And I can understand the reasoning behind that, on a certain level; it’s much more convenient, you don’t have to take the kids outside or wander around too far, and it keeps them safe from any potential stranger.

There’s something I don’t like about this practice, though. And it’s not the blatant underlying commercialization of things (although, I do tend to cock an eyebrow at that, too). No, what we forget by choosing to haul our kids some place to grab candy straight from the trunk of a car (tell me how that isn’t creepy?) is this: Trick or Treating helps to build community. I know, it sounds odd coming from me, but with going door-to-door, not only do the kids get candy, but both the kids and parents get to know thy neighbors in a way that wandering around a mall on the other side of town just can’t provide.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I come from a small rural township area, and everybody just knew everybody, and trick-or-treating was just as good a social event as anything. Maybe it could be that I’m just an old curmudgeon. But I prefer Trick-or-Treating the old fashioned way.

Also, there’s just something about eliciting screams from the kiddies when you answer the door.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2014: Day 28 – Halloween Masks

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halloween masksTonight after work, I did something I haven’t done in over a decade now: I went out and bought a Halloween mask. Not to get too much into detail, here, but sufficed to say, it wasn’t one of those chintzy department store masks you would buy at a Wal-Mart, Target, or whatever else is popping up in small town America these days. And I’m not going to say what it is, because…well, I want it to be a surprise. Couldn’t find my preferred Zombie Clown mask, though.

Point is, going out and looking at a row of speciality Halloween masks, with the different styles, varieties and detail quality that are out there, is the same for me as anyone else going out to look at houses decorated for Christmas. So many styles, designs and varieties to be had, ranging from the whimsical, to the slightly off-putting, to the classic standards, to the truly twisted and disturbing, merely browsing and letting your imagination run rampant with the possibilities is half the fun.

As to the one I ended up purchasing? Well, there will be pics. When you see it, and if you know me well enough, you’ll understand.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2014: Day 27 – Monster Cereals

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general-mills-monster-cerealsThere used to be a time when these Monster-themed cereals were on the shelf year-round, for purchase by sugar-lovin’ kiddies everywhere. Well, their parents. And the grown-ups who loved these things. In a non-creepy sort of way. And how many words can I use that require a hyphen, I wonder?

Anyway, the trio of Monster Cereals used to be the breakfast staple for many a young kid with a taste for something deliciously scary (see what I did there?). The Big Three of this General Mills staple came in the form of a vampire (Count Chocula), Frankenstein’s monster (Frankenberry), and a ghost (Boo Berry). For a while, though, they were joined briefly by a fourth member of the fruity variety: a werewolf (Fruit Brute) from the 70s to 80s, then a mummy (Fruity Yummy Mummy) in the later 80s to early 90s. But, it was always the Big Three that stood the test of time. Until 2010, when it was decided to only produce these cereals for a couple of months around the Halloween season.

So now I have something else to look forward to around Halloween. My favorite has always been Count Chocula, because of the one-two punch of it being an awesome chocolate-y cereal with chocolate marshmallows, hawked by a vampire. Frankenberry is pretty good, decent strawberry cereal. Can do without Boo-Berry, though, and I have yet to actually try the two fruity ones.

I guess I should be glad that these only come out once a year now. Being as I’m now a 40-something diabetic and not an indestructible child with a pancreas made of steel, this is probably an added blessing in disguise.

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Sunday A’La Carte’: October 26, 2014

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padidington bear zombie apocalypseHere it is, the final Sunday A’La Carte before Halloween. Not that I’m going to stop sharing all of the lovely dark things that are percolating inside my festering skull every week. It’s just that this is the last one I can get away with while using Halloween as the theme. As such, tonight’s soundtrack while I write this comes courtesy of the Blair Witch 2 soundtrack that came conjoined with the DVD of the movie. Had the CD on the other end, it seemed. And it looks like there are only three band songs that appear on the official soundtrack sold separately; the rest of it is the film score. Which makes some rather interesting ambient background for writing.

jason and crocksThree episodes in, and Supernatural seems to have reset itself back to the business-as-usual mediocrity. This season had possibilities, what with a “brother against brother” angle that just begged to be explored. If I had my way, for this “final” season, I would have brought back Adam Milligan (aka the Lost Winchester) as the grand orchestrator behind the wackiness of not only this season, but every one after Season Six (being left in Hell and all), with Lucifer stepping back in to reclaim his domain from Crowley (possibly disposing him once and for freaking all) and restoring Adam back to life, or something like that; then heaven finally regroups properly behind a re-graced Castiel, Metatron having been banished to the earth as a powerless homeless guy tormented by constant visions of Revenge Of The Nerds on a continuous loop inside his head, and then we end up back at the Winchester household in Kansas back in 1993, discovering that the entire series has been a dream John Winchester had after falling asleep in front of the television the night of the pilot. The end.

october accessorizeI also managed to watch the pilot episode of the Constantine television series that aired this past week. Not too bad, really. It has some potential, and it looks like they have the right set of blokes producing the thing. I mean, it’s a far cry from the movie (which I did like on a certain level), which is a good thing. Here, you can tell care was made to stick as close to the source material as possible. It will be interesting to see what develops. If NBC doesn’t go about cancelling it before it could find its feet, that is.

non sequitur - this time of yearJust FYI, I switched to a 58-minute Dark Ambient thing I found on YouTube. Seems much more appropriate.

For a good Halloween-themed time-waster, meme-style, check this site out. One of my daily favorites.

Looking for some good ideas for movie watchin’ this Halloween? The Huffington Post has got you covered.

adorable ghoul kidSTUFF I’VE WRITTEN: Mostly HALLOWEEN’ING stuffs, as I post the Muppet Show that had Vincent Price, write about the Halloween staple that is candy, posted a prank the Ford motor company pulled with a car wash, shared a blog piece about Halloween from an Orthodox Christian perspective, rocked one of my favorite Halloween anthems, mused on the goodness that is Hammer horror movies, and talked about the greatest animated Halloween special, ever.

That’s it for this week. Bit exhausting. Got a lot of work to do this coming week; rather thankful that Halloween falls on a Friday this year. By next week, the Post Halloween Depression should be settling in. Until then, I leave you with some nightmare fuel. Cheers, my wonderful freaks.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2014: Day 26 – It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

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Great_pumpkin_charlie_brown_title_cardOf all the Halloween traditions that have been interred in the last 50 or so years, the yearly broadcast of the classic Peanuts special It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is pretty much synonymous with Halloween for a few generations at the very least.

Every year, there were three things that I looked forward to on Halloween: Costumes, trick-or-treating, and watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Since 1966, this prime time special has been entertaining children and adults with the (mis)adventures of Charlie Brown and his band of mates on the night of Halloween.

By now, everyone knows the story by heart: Linus’ earnest belief in the existence of The Great Pumpkin is continually laughed at by everyone, but he carries on by waiting patiently in the local pumpkin patch for him (it?) to rise. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown cuts too many eyeholes in his ghost costume, which may have inadvertently been the reason why he got nothing but rocks while trick-or-treating. And Snoopy has a grand time with his fantasy role-playing as the World War I Flying Ace, against the pesky Red Baron…which somehow ends up scaring the earwax out of Linus and Sally in the pumpkin patch.

If you haven’t seen It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, I would first like to ask what it was like to survive in that cave on Mars all of these years. And then secondly, I would strongly urge you to stop reading this and go watch it right now. And don’t give me any of that “It’s a kid’s cartoon” crap, either. The Great Pumpkin can only be appeased by watching this Halloween special once a year, or by a virgin sacrifice. This way is a lot easier, trust me.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2014: Day 25 – Hammer Horror

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HammerA long-standing tradition of mine every Halloween is to bring out the collection of Hammer films for re-watching. There’s just something about those particular titles under that film company that makes Halloween even more…Halloween-y? Is that even a word? It is now, at least for this particular blog post.

Everyone knows about Hammer horror films, even if they’ve never seen a Hammer horror film. In the 1950s and 60s, they took the classic Universal monsters and gave them a nice Gothic twist, giving the movies a bit more atmosphere than the classics. Not to say they were superior to the original Dracula and Frankenstein, mind you; Hammer Films took these and other movie icons and horror tropes at the time and gave them its own twist.

It’s a matter of personal taste, I realize; but for me, watching Christopher Lee as Dracula (with Peter Cushing as Van Helsing) wins out over Bela Lugosi’s classic iteration when given the choice. Point is, even when we’re not dealing with the usual monster classics, if it’s a horror flick and it’s got the Hammer stamp on it somewhere, I will watch it, no questions asked. Even the recent ones the revived studio has been putting out–The Woman In Black and Let Me In, to name a couple–are quite decent.

If you haven’t acquainted yourself with any Hammer films yet, do yourself a favor and start off with the afore-mentioned 1958 Dracula (Horror Of Dracula here in the states, for some reason), and then work your way from there. Grab your velvet cape like I do and have fun.

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