So here we are at 13 days to go before Halloween and I'm having a bit of a panic attack because that means I only have 13 more days to fit in all the Halloween fun I can. Sure Halloween actually falls on October 31st (no matter WHAT Spirit Halloween says) but, really, the fun of Halloween lasts the whole month of October. We start off with 31 days to get in all our Halloween favorites, and end on the 31st.
Like Elton John tells us: it's the circle of life.
So with 13 days to go I had to take stock of the Halloween activities I've done and those that I still want to do and make my list of my Halloween Season "MUST DO"s! So although I like to mix it up and try different Halloween activities every year, here are the things that I MUST DO every single year, no matter what.
1. WATCH JOHN CARPENTER'S HALLOWEEN.
Any version. Regular DVD, THX-certified remastered edition, TV version, even a version recorded off the TV in the late '80s on VHS. Doesn't matter. Ever since I first experienced this film (read the tale HERE), it's been a must-have part of the Halloween season.
Sometimes it's just on in the background as I do Halloween projects like make cookies or carve a pumpkin, or flip through a Halloween issue of a magazine. I usually have the craving to watch in late September, but force myself to wait 'til at least October 1st.
At least one bag, it's usually one of my first purchases of the season. I stick to Brach's for no other reason than I think name-brand candy corn is better than "generic" candy corn. I have absolutely no proof to support this belief.
I have amazing restraint and will only wear a handful of t-shirts (which I've dubbed my "Halloween Shirts") for the month of October. Doesn't matter if I'm home watching horror movies, or baking pumpkin seeds-- once work is over and I've got free time--- the shirts are on.
I've also got a glow shirt from Threadless called "Good Guys Don't Glow at Midnight" which I love and also rotate in the "When I Was a Pumpkin" tee from them.
As of November 1st, the shirts are washed, folded and stored in my giant plastic orange and black bins 'til next year. Absence makes the heart grow fonder...
4. CARVE A PUMPKIN
I love jack o' lanterns. LOVE 'em! Most of my Halloween decorations skew to the classic Halloween imagery of bats, skeletons, witches and, of course, jack o' lanterns, but I have to have that tactile experience of carving a pumpkin. Laying down the newspapers (usually the color circulars with Halloween merchandise for sale), getting the various kitchen knives (I've never purchased a "pumpkin carving set" of mini saws, punches and scoops... I feel like it's cheating...), cutting into, and scooping out the pumpkin guts... separating out the seeds (for baking with sea salt later)... smelling the cold mustiness of the pumpkin... and then smelling the flame cooked pumpkin after lighting the candle.
Seems like a no-brainer but one year, I actually debated not doing so. I had been so busy that particular year that most of October had passed and I had not put up one decoration in my home. Little did I know how depressed it was making me 'til I dug out the boxes and started to unpack the various items: my smiling Jack o' Lantern cookie jar... my Jack o' Lantern stamped blanket... my Beistle skeleton... with each thing I hung or placed my mood brightened.
I have never debated decorating again.
October 1st-- POW... up go the decorations.
I buy one bag of candy that *I* like. The past few years that's usually amounted to the Monster Wonka Mix-Ups. I love everything that Wonka does and the Monster Mix-Ups bag is right up my alley. A) It's all fruit flavored candies. (I like chocolate every once in a while, but fruit-flavored candies are definitely my thing. ) B) It's got Sweetarts Skulls and Bones!
As a kid I was a HUGE fan of Fleer's Mr. Bones candies. These were tiny plastic coffins that had Smarties-like candy skeletons that you could actually assemble into an edible skeleton. See more about him at Neato Coolville's post HERE. Sadly, they don't make him anymore so the Sweetarts Skulls and Bones are the closest I'm going to get. I NEED to eat candy skeletons!!!!! C) I enjoy the Laffy Taffy dumb Halloween wrapper jokes. I actually try and figure them out before answering. Goes back to my days reading Dixie cups as a kid. "Q: Who won the skeleton beauty contest? A: No body." Zing!
Target has become my go-to on this, but I have discovered some surprises (like this year's Pottery Barn Kids spread). I try and go early after the whole display is up and slowly walk around seeing what that year's theme is and if there are any unique items that I have to add to my own decorations.
If I weren't taking part in the blog-a-thon of Countdown to Halloween, I certainly would still read up on all the participants. I'm completely serious. It seems like an overwhelming amount of information sometimes, but surfing through all the talented bloggers who love Halloween is a must-do for me every year. I always discover something new or a new site that I make a favorite too. Whether it just be images of Halloween and horror, or longer articles about memories, toys, candy or what have you. It really is digital trick or treating for a guy who's too old to trick or treat. I also frequent X-Entertainment and iMockery's Halloween countdowns and have been long before HalloweenAddict.com even existed.
9. WATCH AMC's FEARFEST.
I've already done a post on THIS YEAR'S line-up, but really, it's one of the few horror movie marathons that I watch every year, going all the way back to when it was called MONSTERFEST. I don't need to watch every day, but in those last two weeks of October, I know I can turn on AMC and get a great dose of mixed horror complete with Halloween-themed commercials (hey, it's prime advertising for Halloween candy!) and even interview interstitials with horror directors, fans, etc.
I've done too many posts on this to recount, but I NEED to watch this every year.
I don't allow myself to watch it before it airs (I like the serendipity of the live broadcast) and then maybe one more time on DVD or Blu-Ray.
HONORABLE MENTIONS / WHERE ARE THEY NOWs?:
11. WATCH TRICK 'R TREAT.
I've gushed about this film HERE and HERE but as we only first got it on DVD and Blu-Ray last year, it hasn't been around long enough to make it habit yet. But I will.
It's a love letter to Halloween. A gorgeous homage to things that go bump in the night.
And though it's not breaking any new ground, it's the type of film whose viewing transcends generations and becomes a tradition.
12. EAT GIANT CHEWY BUMPY NERDS AND/OR CANDY APPLE SUGAR BABIES
The giant chewy nerds have undergone a few name changes, and this year I couldn't find the purple and orange Halloween edition bags, but they ARE offered in smaller packs year 'round now, so there's always that.
As for Caramel Apple Sugar Babies: After thinking they were discontinued last year, I found boxes at Cost Plus World Market in their Halloween 2010 display. I find one box to be just about enough for the month. It's like a portable non-messy, bite-sized candy apple. No stick or seeds. Brilliant.
13. HALLOWEEN SODA
Originally this honor went to Mountain Dew's Pitch Black. I loved me some caffeinated grape scary soda. After 2 incarnations and 1 icee--- it was discontinued.
So then I filled the hole with a taste-alike called AMP Traction... but this year I've not been able to find any in any of the stores that used to carry it from Ralph's to 7-Eleven to the local liquor store.
So THEN I looked for the Jones Halloween Sodas, which had made a strong appearance in previous years. Guess what? NOTHING.
Sooooo I have not found a Halloween soda for 2010... and I'm almost out of time. I prefer caffeine for those late-night horror movie marathons and blogging type-fests... but I'll take anything at this point...
So I think that's everything for me. At the bare minimum, these are things I MUST DO every Halloween and I've got 6 of my 13 done.
So how about you? What are your MUST DOs and how are you doing with getting them DONEs?
Sound off in the comments and let me know!