Hope you have the creepiest day imaginable! 🎃
Hope you have the creepiest day imaginable! 🎃
In all the excitement of my lovely guest posts – thank you girls – I had almost forgotten to take a moment to think about what my favourite holiday means to me.
Kath has already touched upon the fact that Halloween hasn’t always been the most hands on in the UK. It was a thing but not in the same way as Stateside and as such I can’t remember ever trick or treating. Our family was more of the mind of turning off all the lights and pretending not to be home when the kids came calling, something Glynn and I do now.
In fact I had never so much as carved a pumpkin until I was living in Vancouver and my BFF David and his family took me under their wing and showed me how. I’ve been a big believer ever since.
We did do a couple of years of taking my step son out along the beautifully decorated streets of Hove when he was younger but his heart was never really in it. He had a habit of saying, loudly: “Oh no, not Haribo AGAIN!” which lead to some very indignant vampire mums and dads.
I might not have had Halloween in my blood from an early age but I have always loved the wicked and the macabre. I blame John Landis for the Thriller video, which inspired my future tastes from the moment I saw it. From there I fell into creepy things quite quickly but only really started devouring the ‘classics’ when I was about 18 and got my own TV for my birthday.
From here I really got into the big boys – not just Jason, Freddy and Michael – but George. A Romero, Stephen King, John Carpenter. To say a whole world opened up to me would be an understatement.
Now horror soothes me like no other. I feel nourished by horror stories and calmed somehow, like all my daily anxieties are distracted by the terror unravelling before my eyes. There’s less likelihood of me fretting about a stupid thing I said in a meeting earlier in the week when there’s a demonic possession going on, you know?
I have also succumbed to dressing up a bit more, certainly in the last few years. At work I’m on the Rewards & Recognition committee so get to be involved in the party planning. It’s impossible not to get carried away when you’re helping glam up the venue for Halloween. This Friday I’ll be partying as Wednesday Addams and last year I went as Wonder Woman.
Thinking about my spotty fancy dress history reminds me of my last job, where absolutely nobody cared about Halloween and it annoyed me so much that I went to work dressed as a cat – and was literally the only one in any sort of costume. Which I refused to be embarrassed about, frankly.
This Halloween, or the weekend before anyway, I’m going to an intimate gathering with friends where we’ll carve pumpkins and get a spooky.
Apart from that we’re not planning much. Glynn and I have been happily devouring a horror a night for 31 Horrors and we’ll probably finish off with Michael Myers terrorising Haddonfield whilst eating our body weight in sweets. The usual.
Growing up in the U.K. Halloween was very different to how it was portrayed on American television. Yes, kids trick or treated but definitely not to the extent that they do in the US and the costumes have never been as inventive here either. We only ever seem to go for scary here, where as in the US you’ll find anything from cowboys to princesses to aliens, here we have witches and vampires and wolfmen.
As such, and because my mum was a single parent with two other children (one of which has learning difficulties), I never went trick or treating as a child. It wasn’t until I became a teenager and found a school friend, Kelly, who was similarly into all things that go hand in hand with Halloween, scary movies, dressing all in black, dabbling in witchcraft, that I went trick or treating for the first time.
I won’t go into what happened that night but suffice to say that first experience of it was enough to put me off ever doing it again, but to this day I love when trick or treaters come to my house. I’m not a fan of children either so to say that I welcome their presence at my door really tells you how much I love Halloween.
So the main thing that Halloween means to me is something I’ve talked about a lot on my own blog. Movies.
I remember very fondly the first time I watched the big three. And I also remember that mum took issue with me watching Dirty Dancing, fearing the contents of a movie she herself had never viewed, and yet as a horror fan she had no problem with me watching Michael Myers slaughtering his way through a sleepy Haddonfield neighbourhood when I was much too young to watch a movie like that.
I fondly remember watching A Nightmare on Elm Street as mum put the Christmas decorations up one year, and as she needed to get into the corner of the room where the TV was usually situated, I had ended up with my legs slung over the arm of the sofa, almost nose to nose with Mr Kruger.
Jason came later, during a sleepover with Kelly we discovered Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan on TV whilst we were channel hopping, and I quickly devoured the rest of the series. And as crazy as it might sound to anyone who has seen Part 8, which is widely considered to be one of the worst of the series, it remains to this day my favourite Friday.
Earlier this year I even dressed as Mrs Voorhees, the killer in the first Friday 13th, in order to meet two actors who had played Jason, whilst they were at London Film and Comic Con. One of which was the actor from Part 8. Even he was surprised to learn it’s my favourite. But I guess you never forget your first time.
I’m happy to say that an early love of horror movies hasn’t turned me into a raving lunatic as an adult, but it definitely gave me a taste of the kinds of films I would always love watching. Even if I’m now finding them a little scarier in my old age.
Nowadays, my perfect Halloween involves handing treats out to the trick or treaters, sticking Halloween on the telly, and carving a pumpkin. Something else I never did as a child.
You can read more from Lady K here.
People love to complain if their birthday is too close to Christmas but I think being a Halloween baby is almost worse. Unless you happen to love having a Halloween themed birthday party every year of your childhood. Thankfully, I love candy and dressing up like Wednesday Addams so it wasn’t so bad.
Most people have their own Halloween traditions, an Advent Calendar of Horrors as it were. My must-watches for October are Practical Magic, The Frighteners, and The Nightmare Before Christmas but mostly, it’s an excuse to dust off all my favourite Halloween episodes from sitcoms past.
Everyone has their canceled shows that they just can’t let go of, no matter how long it’s been. The televisual version of “The One That Got Away.” The one you lie awake at night picturing, wondering if they’re thinking about you too. I have it for a guy I almost dated in high school and I have it for Happy Endings.
We were together for three glorious seasons, from 2011-2013, which was a time of great personal growth for me. I had left Vancouver and was attempting for the first time to forge a new path for myself. Through this series, I found my voice and discovered facets of my character hitherto unknown. I fell deeply in love with the entire gang (even Dave!) and losing them was one of the most trying times of my life. But, we’ll always have season 2 episode 5 – “Spooky Endings.”
The idea of a Halloween party in a warehouse that has a buffet sounds too good to be true already, but there’s also a drag show. Everyone’s costumes are very on point for who they are as people. Dave, trying to show off how single he is accidently dresses up like Elton John. Jane, Bacon to Brad’s Egg and Brad, not wanting to waste his Denver Omelette costume on the suburbs wears no costume. Max, scrambling at the last minute, agrees to be the baby to Penny’s new mom which puts the friends at a disadvantage when they both meet guys they wanna hook up with. Max bonding with ZZ Top Gun over food is the meet cute I’ve always dreamed of and to this day I routinely refer to the Weird Gay Turkey Party.
Halloween as a subject can be a lot of fun but Community took it one step further and treated holidays as a genre. The season four haunted house episode was pretty good, as was the scary stories episode in season three, but my favourite, and what I consider to be the most fully realized, was the Zombie Movie episode.
Featuring a soundtrack of ABBA’s Greatest Hits and the Dean’s personal memos, the season two episode “Epidemiology” starts with the school’s Halloween party and everyone consuming weird taco meat from an Army surplus store. The costume gags are spot-on with the gang dressing up in ways that explain who they are and what they hope to get out of the evening. Jeff once again being “accidentally handsome” by wearing a $6000 suit, carrying a soccer ball, and explaining “David Beckham” like that’s a totally normal costume. Abed’s best costume was in season one when he was a spot-on Christian Bale-as-Batman but the buddy costume he fashions with Troy is fun and allows us to explore their dynamic. As best friends, they are an odd-couple and Troy worries about associating too much with Abed and coming across as a nerd. Mid-way through the party, he sheds his Exo-suit and dons a toilet set cover labeled simply “Dracula” leaving Abed as just a guy in a bike helmet. Abed isn’t hurt of course, he just wants Troy to be happy and not worry about what other people think. Britta doubles down on her cute squirrel costume from season one and this year, she’s a T-rex who needs help to eat and drink. The best, of course, is the Dean’s Lady Gaga costume which just starts to hint at who he’ll become in future episodes.
After half the school is turned, the tropes set in. Rick, AKA Chiquita MD, announces the symptoms as he himself is suffering from them and of course Britta thought she was too special to succumb to the virus. Luckily quick thinking Annie comes up with a plan to save everyone right before she is attacked which Troy successfully pulls off. The Army arrives and neurolizes everyone so they forget the whole night.
When it comes to Halloween, no show is doing what Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done: treating the holiday as a backdrop to its characters fighting over who is the most amazing Detective/Genius.
Gina is of course the best character so the best Halloween Heist is the one she wins, in season four. It also gives us the Boyle look-alike “Bill’ who shifts seamlessly into doubling as Gina by putting on a wig and a hoodie that says “GINA KNOWS BEST”. It also gives us the adage “Heists are Dumb” and a bewildered Terry being accosted by the squad. As much as I love grumpy Terry not being involved in the Heist, I do wonder what he would do to win.
The first Halloween Heist was so pure and fun I have to give it half marks for inspiring all that followed. Seeing the squad separate into teams and scheme to bring each other down is the best part which they really didn’t start until the third one so by the fourth it’s a well-oiled machine. I personally didn’t care for the one when Amy and Jake get engaged because I still don’t get their relationship (they have no chemistry! It’s weird!) and watching Holt beat Jake in season two is just kind of sad. When Gina wins, she proves that they’ve been underestimating her all along and it’s a triumph for everyone who feels overlooked because of their education or perceived skills.
This is merely a sample of the great Halloween sitcom episodes available. I didn’t even dive into Parks and Recreation or The Office which also did some fun holiday stuff. Halloween is about friendship, candy, and being scared out of your wits, but it’s okay to laugh too.
You can read more of my baby’s words here.
Since Halloween present and future are rather up in the air at the moment (#unemployment), I will instead turn to the ghosts of Halloweens past. And before I get too carried away, let the record state that I do spend an inordinate amount of time walking around cemeteries in October whenever possible. In case you’re doubting my commitment to the holiday here.
Read on, if you dare, for haunting tales of… Halloweens Past!
Where: The old neighborhood
Why: The last year I went out for Beggars’ Night, aka trick-or-treating, aka soliciting free candy from strangers. A time when it was fairly common practice to pass out full-size candy bars in my neighborhood, and most people weren’t so sadistic as to offer raisins or dental floss (the horror, the horror!), these were truly the golden days of trick-or-treating.
Even as teenagers, my BFF and I recognized what a time to be alive this was—and were determined to capitalize on this opportunity. There are no age limits officially recognized for free candy, after all, and what were we if not boundary pushers living on the edge, finding ways to get what was coming to us from the system?
For reasons I can no longer explain, our costume of choice was the quintessential Frenchman, complete with penciled-on mustaches and baguettes. And thus we were unleashed upon the neighborhood, demanding recompense for the horror of being alive (and being teenagers).
The night that became our last to earn free candy featured so many judgmental and disapproving neighbors asking if we were in college. I now believe this was merely a product of petty jealousy when these small-minded folk realized that, all this time, they too could have been taking advantage of the prospect of free candy. We were walking reminders of how confined they were by societal norms and their own reinforcement of those ideals! However, at the time, it was a tragedy that kept us indoors for the next year’s holiday (though we still had those strange Scooby Doo TV movies, which feature way more oddly sexy cat werewolves than you might expect).
Whatever. I’d do it all over again, and the reminder of that sweet, sweet candy full of the shame and disapproval of my neighbors suddenly makes me want to do it this year too.
Where: The Red Room of Cat Pain
Why: My adorable/awful cat Bertha Mason was a kitten experiencing her first Halloween! A significantly less exciting time of year for her than me, as she learned when she modeled various cat hats. I also carved her face onto a pumpkin, which she failed to properly appreciate.
I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I would buy this festive set of matching pet/person hats (though I did make us matching paper hats at one point).
The good news is, along with the cat torture, she has been spoiled over the years with many a Halloween-themed catnip toy, and fewer cat hats. But not zero.
Where: A “haunted” cave with questionable safety practices
Why: Ah, Ohio. Never let it be said we lack the Halloween spirit as demonstrated by our assortment of festive entertainment: haunted houses, penitentiaries (including that one from The Green Mile), corn mazes, and…caves.
One of my more adventurous friends, still wearing a boot on one leg from a fall, decided stumbling around a haunted cave seemed like the best way to spend the evening, and so we did. With an incredibly steep incline down a muddy path to enter the cave, this turned out not to be our wisest decision ever. We spent a ridiculous amount of time wandering around a mini-maze inside the cave until the employees showed us how to get out, passed through the requisite insane asylum-themed room, and even encountered Satan himself (who tried to guide us through the wrong door—onto you, bud). Never fear: neither of us fell to our doom, and we returned to more familiar terrain, aka sitting on the couch watching B horror films (including one of my all-time favorites: Nazis at the Center of the Earth) shortly after.
Now that we’ve taken a trip into the scary decisions of Halloweens Past, we examine the terror of… Halloween Present (and Future?)
Why: This Halloween is the type of holiday that scares me the most: one that is up in the air. I’m not sure where I’ll be, and I will most likely be unemployed (still).
The only thing certain is the number of horror films and creepy TV I have lined up to consume like they are the air I breathe. I’m planning to watch the new Child’s Play, horror comedy Little Monsters, catch up on season 2 of The Terror, not to mention all of the films darling Christa and I will watch together for the most wonderful time of the year on the Blog Collab.
After all, I feel the heartwarming lesson I’ve taken away from the ghosts of Halloweens Past is that I should really stay inside more (and don’t you dare make any references to When a Stranger Calls right now).
You can read more of my love’s words here.
It’s almost time for this blog’s version of Christmas – Blogtober of course! Who’s excited?!
Not only will the divine Jill and I be doing horror movies month for the collab, there will also be posts galore – some spooky, some not so much – every day in October.
Personally, I’m most looking forward to bringing back Final Girl Friday and talking about some of the films Glynn and I watch for 31 Horrors. We’ve got some right corkers and of course, some of the usual suspects (Trick R’ Treat, I shall never forsake you!).
I guess I’d better pull my socks up and plan some decent content, huh? BEST. MONTH. EVER! 🎃🎃🎃
Not my finest Blogtober but it wasn’t a complete disaster by any stretch. I managed 28/31 posts and that’s okay with me. I had two Halloween parties and lots of other October engagements, what’s a gal to do?
I do really love writing a post every day though, it really inspires me to think outside the box when it comes to content and the Halloween theme is delightful. I’m already psyched for next year.
Here’s what I came up with:
It’s been real. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Here are my 31 horrors from October. What a ride.
I only wish I could be as focused in all my endeavors.
I’m four episodes into this show and I’m feeling a lot of things. It’s not perfect by any means. Like Riverdale, it’s taken a story we know and love, and given it a dark modern twist. I guess it’s aimed at a YA audience and that might be why I don’t love it as much as I want to. Yet, anyway.
That said I’ve only dipped my foot in so far and there are a lot of things I do like, so I’m going to keep on going. The upside is that it’s come out at just the right time of year – and it’s a show my husband will actually willingly watch with me.
As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends. Based on the Archie comic.
Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) isn’t like most girls. She’s half-witch, half-mortal for a start and as her 16th birthday approaches, she must make a decision that none of us have ever had to make: sign herself over the the Dark Lord himself in exchange for unimaginable power or… not.
Meanwhile, there’s the issue of her boyfriend Harvey, and friends Susie and Rosalind (Lachlan Watson and Jaz Sinclair) to consider. How’s she supposed to leave them all behind to start a new life at witch school? Especially when Susie’s being horribly bullied.
Can she conceivably live a normal mortal life or will her magical side win out? These are the things Sabrina is working through with a little help from her aunts and her cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo). I think he’s her cousin.
I adore Zelda and Hilda. Ambrose too is delicious and a welcome addition to the Spellman household. Salem, Sabrina’s familiar so far is mute which I find disappointing but I guess it’s to be expected in this contemporary retelling. Still, it’s disappointing as he always used to get the best lines in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
I’m also quite enamored with Mary Wardell (Michelle Gomez), Sabrina’s teacher who is currently possessed by a demon who feasts on male flesh (yay). Although there is sure to be more drama afoot, at the moment she is an ally of the girls’ at school, advocating their women’s group and now, their banned books club.
And finally, the Weird Sisters, the mean girls who rule witch school. They’re so gloriously bitchy and wonderful. I expect big things from them. So yes, there is a lot to love so far and with so many TV shows, it’s more about the supporting characters than the main ones. I’m not quite sold on Sabrina the protagonist yet but there is time.
I’d like more magic, more bitchiness and less romancing Harvey. I want less school unless it’s about the feminist women’s club and I want more Madam Satan.
This show is proving to be very inter-sectional and feminist, I can only hope that continues. There have been some great lines while the whole concept of Sabrina not handing over her freedom to the devil, even if he can give her all the power and magic in the world is an interesting one. It’s bold to say no to the big man himself, and Sabrina is ruffling feathers left and right.
As she says herself, she wants freedom AND power. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that. I, for the record, would grab power and sign over my name in a heartbeat.
Lots of horror fans refuse to acknowledge Rob Zombie‘s place in Halloween history. Lots of people are torn about the man himself and honestly, I really get it. Personally, I’m a fan and have loved most of his movies. While Halloween & Halloween II don’t really work the way John Carpenter‘s original did*, they do at least try to explore the story from a fresh angle and I appreciate that.
This week I thought I’d pay tribute to the second most famous Laurie Strode in cinematic history, played by Scout Taylor-Compton, an actress with a couple of cool roles under her belt.
*Spoilers – beware!*
This one probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. The character of Laurie Strode is probably one of, if not THE most famous final girl of all time. But just in case, Laurie is the adopted daughter of The Strodes. She is also the baby sister of serial killer Michael Myers who killed their elder sister Judith when he was six years old.
In this version, we meet a young Michael Myers who on the night he kills his sister, also kills her boyfriend and his mum’s horrible boyfriend. This isn’t really in keeping with the original story but never mind. He’s also ten when he commits these atrocities. Anyway, Laurie is really Angel Myers but she doesn’t know it (yet). Her secret history is just dying to creep out and slap her around the face, thus changing her life forever – but how will she handle it?
This Laurie is cool because she takes on all the characteristics of the original character but she also has to deal with the aftermath of the loss of her adoptive parents, after Michael slaughters them. She’s super young and has dealt with so much, having lost most of her friends, the only parents she’s ever known and now, some of her marbles.
Halloween does what is says on the tin (with a little embellishment here and there, including more focus on Deborah Myers (Sheri Moon Zombie), mother of Michael), but Halloween II examines Laurie’s PTSD in more detail. Following the events of that first night, Laurie now lives with Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) and his daughter Annie, who is Laurie’s BFF. The two girls have barely made it out alive but here they are and their relationship is shaky at best. Laurie finds it hard to look at her friend’s badly scarred face without recounting that night and that is driving a wedge between them.
Laurie seeks out faster friends, alcohol and drugs like any normal teen would. But she’s a fighter still and although she’s haunted by the truth once it’s outed, she comes out kicking. Michael’s MO is to find Angel and rejoin his mother in the afterlife, a fucked-up family for all eternity. But you didn’t think it would be that easy did you, Mikey?
The ending of HII suggests that Laurie has completely lost it (and is perhaps compelled to take on Michael’s role) as she ends up in an institution but I feel as though there is more to her story. I don’t think of her as the same girl played by Jamie Lee. She’s a contemporary anti-victim and a pretty good FG too. A terrible screamer though.
3/5. I like everything but the scream.