October 22, 2013

Getting Back My Halloween Mojo (And You Can, Too!)

Sam from Trick 'r Treat (2007)
Sam, just keepin' it real . . . Trick 'r Treat (2007)
     Halloween is my favorite holiday.  Shocker, right?  Most people take a week off to go to the beach each year.  I take a week off at the end of October to celebrate Halloween.  Lately, though, I've found myself ringing out the month of October feeling a little depressed.  My Pre'Ween activities leading up to the holiday proper have consumed more and more of my focus for the last several years, leaving Halloween itself seeming more than just a little bit anticlimactic.  This troubles me.

     Upon reflection, I've realized my Halloween ennui (read that three times quickly) stems not from within, but from a rising ambivalence toward the holiday perpetuated by the world around me.  No one seems to celebrate Halloween night correctly anymore.  My Octobers had always been filled with movie marathons, Halloween themed projects, and seasonal treats.  That was always capped off by a quiet evening at home basking in the soft glow of the jack-o-lanterns, enjoying a few five star horror movies, and answering the door when the trick-or-treaters came calling.  Where did all the trick-or-treaters go?

     That last one was the key component, I think, but now I'm lucky to get three or four trick-or-treaters a year.  How the hell am I supposed to maintain my child like sense of wonder about Halloween when the children can't?  I don't blame the kids, though.  It's the parents who've let the holiday go to shit.  I'm looking at you, Mom and Dad.  Halloween doesn't just happen.  We all need to step up our games (I'm including myself here) and do our parts to set things right.  Trunk-or-Treat in a parking lot isn't good enough.  I want my baby Gunnar growing up with the same kick ass version of Halloween I knew.

     I've worked up a plan of action, and if we all do our parts we can bring back Halloween from the edge of oblivion.  Following are seven steps we can all take to keep Halloween from becoming irrelevant.  Do it for the kids - and if I happen to get back my Halloween mojo in the process, so much the better. 

Step 1 - Take Your Kids Door To Door 

     Trunk-or-Treat doesn't cut it.  Seriously, who decided letting children wander around parking lots digging in people's trunks for candy was somehow less dangerous than going door to door in your own neighborhood?  Find out where all the neighborhood pervs live beforehand, and plan a proper trick-or-treating route accordingly.  You'll be right there with the kids, right?  Of course you will.

Step 2 - Don't Micro Manage Your Kids' Choice Of Halloween Costume       

     Try not to let your unfulfilled childhood desire to be a pretty ballerina make your darling little boy a laughingstock.  Kids loooove the autonomy of choosing their own costumes.  What was your favorite costume as a child?  Bet your Mom didn't pick it out for you.

Step 3 - Celebrate Halloween On October 31st 

     No one reschedules Christmas when it inconveniently falls on a Sunday.  Halloween is October 31st.  Period.

Step 4 - Don't Make Halloween Into Something That Sucks

     "Harvest Festivals" suckDon't make Halloween into a "Harvest Festival".

Step 5 - If You Don't Have Kids, Have Proper Treats On Hand, And Don't Be That Dick Who Turns Off Your Porch Light              

     The dicks know who they are.  They're begging for tricks, so be sure to seize the opportunity to teach the young'uns about karma. 

Step 6 - Actually Carve A Jack-O-Lantern 

     Don't paint a goofy face on your pumpkin.  Don't glue parts onto your pumpkin a la Mr. Potatohead.  Get on up in those pumpkin guts and do it right!

Step 7 - Let The Kids Watch At Least One Wildly Inappropriate Horror Movie That's Sure To Give Them Nightmares

     It's a rite of passage.  Sure, the kids might wake up screaming from the night terrors afterwards, but after that it'll turn into a cherished memory.  

Trick or treat jack-o-lantern     You get the idea, folks.  We can do this!  If you think I've missed anything, let me know by leaving a comment below.  You've still got plenty of time to get your own plan of action in place before the big night!

     Happy Halloween again!

Movies At Dog Farm Pre'Ween 2013 logo


  1. Great article Brandon, I couldn't agree more that the general complacency about Halloween is alarming these days. And step 4 is the best. Fuck "Harvest Festivals".

    I hate that we're seeing the Halloween stuff in stores being pushed aside and downsized to make room for Christmas shit at least two weeks before Halloween! I have my own personal religion-related conspiracy theory for that, but I'll keep it to myself.

    Once again, great article and great topic, it all needed saying.

  2. Sorry, double comment, but I figured it fit well here.

    I've decided to make this year the Halloween that I cure all my friends of their Troll 2 virginity. It's gonna be awesome.

  3. Anti-Halloween festivals, such as Fall Festivals or Trunk or Treats, REALLY piss me off. Even though I am a practicing Christian, I'm not a fundie, and I don't like the idea of those shrill people who see evil where it doesn't exist leaking out of their own little crazy circles. They make otherwise normal people go along with them in small towns like the one where I live because they're so vocal and cause nobody wants a bunch of fat fundie fingers pointed at them next. It's satanic panic terrorism! My kid still trick or treats and will continue to do so until he decides he's too old, at which point he can hand out the candy! OK, rant over.

  4. I thought this post might be comment bait, but I figured I'd get flamed for calling out the PC euphemisms. I guess I momentarily forgot who my audience is. lol If you have to call Halloween or Halloween activities by something other than their given names, then maybe you should just realize Halloween isn't for you and move along. I didn't mention it in the post, but church sponsored "Hell Houses" aggravate me, too. Heavy handed much?

  5. HA! Hell Houses. Don't get me started. Lol.

    There's a church down the street from my office that's doing "Mayhem House". But I guarantee it's the same damn thing.

    And Erin, very glad to hear there's a practicing Christian with more sense than the "board up the doors of the church and put lamb's blood on the frame to keep out the evil Halloween-celebrating heathens" type. :)

  6. Thanks Jonny. I think a lot of people are like me, but they just don't talk about it. Too many fellow church members have heard that I collect VHS, and then proceeded to offload their old collections onto me when they clean out their closets, for me to think that they all shun horror and Halloween. I've seen too many copies of crappy horror movies mixed in with all the Bond films and WWII documentaries they own, lol!

    I forgot about Hell Houses! They make me mad too. The concept is pretty far from Christian.

  7. Your comment reminded me, Erin - have you seen Rewind This!(2013). It's a documentary about VHS and the people who collect them.

  8. LOL on letting the kids one watch scary movie, mine would crap her pants...but at some point I will turn her into a horror lover! She's 5, I have time. Nice blog by the way.

    1. I have a nine month old named Gunnar, and I don't know what I'm going to do if he doesn't like horror movies when he's old enough to know what he's watching. lol


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