Monday, October 31, 2011
Halloween 2011 - Web Site Banner Decorating Round Up!
I've done this both in 2008 and 2009 and regret not having been able to do it last year.
It works like this: I visit a bunch of well-traveled search engines to see not only who has decorated their normal web header to celebrate Halloween, but also to find out who's doing it the best.
For example: Google is known for their ever-changing "Google Doodles" but will they take the crown this Halloween?
Let's take a look and see...
As one of the few people left on this once-titan, I still feel the obligation to cover this site.
AOL went with a very classy realistic full moon in the upper left corner.
It looks good but if I checked the site on any other day I would have thought that there was some NASA anniversary or an eclipse coming.
Yahoo has always kept their own logo small in the upper left corner and any Halloween decorations have been to that same scale.
This year is no different.
BUT, as opposed to past years, they added added some animation to it. A silhoutted witch flies by a full moon a couple times, then with a waive of her wand, puts the Yahoo "Y" on the moon and flies away.
YouTube usually does something--- albeit a 'reserved' something.
A new entry on this year's list is Pandora: the streaming make-your-own-radio-station site.
Not only do they have multiple Halloween music channels to choose from like "Kids Halloween music" and "Spooky Soundtracks," but they also went and put a little Halloween splash at the top of their player bar. Just a few jack o' lanterns and some bats but it's a nice touch.
MSN represents the little website that could. I almost always forget to profile it, but when I visit I'm always surprised that they've decorated for Halloween. This year is just the Halloween standards, but that's ok. Bats, a full moon, trick or treaters, a jack o' lantern and a ghost and a house in shadow.
MSN is like the kid who builds the solar system for the science fair. It may not be original but it's a solid showing.
Flickr is such a photosharing powerhouse, I would be remiss not mention it.
Though it decorated in theme with its own usefulness (it used a user photo), and though it's Halloween "technically" (a dog in costume), it's a little too cute for my taste.
I normally wouldn't have profiled Think Geek, but knowing their awesomeness, and seeing that they put in some Halloween goodness, I feel the need to mention them.
The TG team turned their monkey mascot into a variety of classic movie monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman and the The Creature. They also gave the site an classic black and white makeover complete with a noir-ish streetlamp. It's a nice touch and I would totally buy stickers or a t-shirt with the monster monkey on them.
Hulu was in the Halloween game again this year, but they didn't change up their theme at all from the 2009 image of bats against a moon. It's a great image... but it's been 2 years now. Time to mix it up, Hulu.
What helps temper this is that the Huluween page features some GREAT films to stream: John Carpenter's Halloween, The Crow, the pilot for FX's American Horror Story. These aren't clips, these are the whole films! Nice.
The new kid on the block in the search engine neighborhood, Bing had a great showing a couple years ago.
Bing's advantage is taking the opposite approach of Google: BIG image with the search bar in the middle as opposed to small image.
This year Bing went with a moody stormy night with lightning that illuminates a gargoyle statue in the foreground. It's a nice effect. Very spooky.
The downside is that it's not very Halloweeny. If you showed me the animated gif on a video game site I'd think it was an ad for Batman: Arkham Asylum.
The king of the ever-changing logo had a lot to prove over last year's multi-panel Scooby-Doo mystery tale.
This year, the Google team trumped themselves by doing a whole video complete with time-lapse, stop-motion, giant pumpkin carving and it peaks with the nighttime lighting of the lanterns to reveal the Google name.
I'm sure it was a ton of work and it shows.
My only beef is that I wish the music was less Benny Hill and more upbeat-Halloween music.
The winner again this year is, in my humble opinion, is Ask Jeeves!
I hate to say it, but does anyone even USE Ask.com any more?
Because for YEARS they've been knocking it out of the park with their Halloween makeovers. 2008 had trick or treaters and autumn. 2009 had a tribute to Kubrick's The Shining.
This year there's a giant smiling jack o' lantern, spooky colors, fallen leaves and the HEADLESS HORSEMAN! Not to mention the image splashes across the entire homepage.
So there's the end of another season of digital banner decorating. Hope you enjoyed.
(If I missed any noteworthy ones, be sure to let me know and maybe I'll drop in an update.)
Do your part and visit your favorites as it's all we can do to support their Halloween Chutzpah.