As I’ve said before, this is my favorite time of year. I don’t know exactly why as it’s been awhile since I donned a costume and hit up strangers for my candy fix. And I never had the most impressive costumes either. Maybe that’s why I like this time of the year so much: I imagine what could have been. Also, I am possibly addicted to pumpkin spice, except in ale. I haven’t found a single pumpkin ale I like, and that makes me sad.
But anyway, I may have also mentioned that I am a rather squeamish person, which perhaps makes my love of Halloween seem somewhat contradictory. I don’t care for horror and gore or really being scared too much. In a word, I am a wimp. And I’m okay with that! So how does a squeamish type like me like to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve? Well, ideally, I’d go to awesome costume parties but such cool events seem to occur all around me but never include me. Perhaps some of that is on me as I tend to be reclusive and I fear the bright-burning day moon. So, social interaction aside, how do I celebrate this bestest holiday of the year?
The Nightmare Before Christmas – because it’s a Halloween movie, not a Christmas movie. I love the music, I love the look, I love the characters, I love the story. Oogie-Boogie is creepy as all get out, and the kids are even creepier.
Beetlejuice – so Tim Burton and Halloween seem to go together. This is a dark comedy and absolutely hilarious.
Coraline – based on a children’s book by Neil Gaiman. It’s stop-motion (or imitation stop-motion) animation and really creepy.
9 – who would have thought a story about homunculi in a post-apocalytpic wasteland would be creepy? It’s sad and heartwarming too.
Army of Darkness – Bruce Campbell. Sam Raimi. A boom-stick. Awesome.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – sometimes I’m a sucker for nostalgia. And if you stop to think about it, this is a really sad story of a sad, deluded child clinging to his sad belief despite all evidence to the contrary.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – some seasons were better than others, but it was the show that brought urban fantasy to the forefront, at least for me. And some episodes are seriously creepy.
The Real Ghostbusters – I liked this show, as I’ve said. And there even a few Halloween-themed episodes if the ordinary day-to-day ghostbusting isn’t Halloween-ish enough.
I’ve picked these not necessarily because of lyrical quality (but I’ll admit I have no taste), but because they’re a must on any Halloween playlist – “Thriller” (although better with the video), “Monster Mash,” “Witchy Woman,” “Superstition,” and “Welcome to my Nightmare.”
Coraline – yes, the book is on this list. Maybe Neil Gaiman and children’s books is perhaps not the best mix. It’s a good book, but a creepy one. Buttons for eyes just falls right into the uncanny valley for me.
The Graveyard Book – yet another Neil Gaiman children’s book, this time about a boy whose parents are murdered and he’s raised in a graveyard. Good times.
The Witches – So it seems a lot of children’s books are on my list of Halloween-type books. Hm. By the way, the ending is not quite so happy in the book as in the movie.
The House of the Seven Gables – for those who prefer an old-school ghost story, this is one by Nathaniel Hawthorne and concerns a probably haunted house.
Dracula – by Bram Stoker. This actually isn’t that scary, which many people I know complain about. It’s told in a style common of the time which is first person through correspondence. So it switches between Jonathan, Mina, Lucy, etc., with the occasional newspaper clipping to fill in the gaps in the story.
The Hound of the Baskervilles – a supernatural murder mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes.
Anything by Edgar Allan Poe or H. P. Lovecraft. I admit, there’s only so much of those authors’ works I can read, especially in a dark and creaky house.
“Nevermore and the Ravens” – What, I can’t read my own stuff? I wouldn’t have written if I didn’t like it. Aside from finding the errors I should have fixed in the first place, I do enjoy the stories. You should too (and you know where to find them).
I actually can’t do this any more because the game was shut down, but in the late, lamented City of Heroes/Villains the characters could actually wander the city and trick or treat. Sometimes there was a treat (a temporary costume) and sometimes there was a trick, which was a group of Halloween-themed baddies like witches, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, or fir bolg. The world was dark all the time during the Halloween event, and Eochai, the Pumpkin King of the fir bolg, would show up in any zone as a combatable giant monster (instead of his usual zone). I really miss that.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – oh, yes, I have seen the movie and participated in the audience as well. Some of you may have already guessed this. Late October is a hell of a time to be waiting in line outside the theater because I’ll tell you I wasn’t wearing nearly enough clothing for the weather. I swear one year it actually snowed on me. That didn’t stop me from going. One year I, and the rest of the audience, witnessed a couple get married prior to the show with the minister dressed as Bert Schnick. Weird stuff goes on is what I’m saying (not that anyone familiar with movie should be surprised). But sometimes it’s fun to dress up (or down, depending on your point of view) and dance the Time Warp.
So there you have my suggestions for Halloween for the squeamish. Your mileage may vary, of course. As for me, I think I will binge on cheap Halloween candy and Scooby Doo.