That’s right folks. Summer is over. Fall is here. And that means. . . HALLOWEEN.
Now, as a person who cherishes this one sacred day above all others in the WHOLE THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE of the year I just have to say that I am getting a little tiny teeny bit TICKED OFF at the lack of Halloween love. Look, in July/August it’s all about back to school. In September BAM it’s Christmas!?! Hello, Christmas is one day in December. There are three whole months before Christmas from School Time Start. Slow your roll guys! Halloween deserves more than the blip on the radar it has become. Let me tell you a story. . .
So there used to be two Halloween stores in my town. Two. They were both large, beautiful, they sold everything from fake blood to fog machines, costumes to mechanical zombies that were motion activated. They. Had. Everything. And it was beautiful. Then last year one of them wasn’t quite as spectacular but they got the job done. Then. THEN. This year THERE ISN’T EVEN ONE IN THE WHOLE TOWN. OR ANY SURROUNDING TOWNS. I had to drive about forty minutes (which okay where I live that’s like unheard of) to find a Halloween store, and that was after the 3 that allegedly existed didn’t exist.
Then. I went to I think it was Target or something and they’re already packing up their Halloween stuff/discounting it TO MAKE ROOM FOR CHRISTMAS. What the hell!? I mean seriously!
I understand statistically that I live in a country with about 78% who are Christians and celebrate Christmas (add into that the other 22% who just like pretty lights and gifts and well, I get that it’s a popular thing). But Halloween exists guys. I feel like I must have been the actual God/Demon Samhain in a previous life or something to love this day as much as I do.
Aside from the lore that everyone knows – that Halloween is the time of year where the veil between the two worlds (life and afterlife) is the weakest (thus enabling spirits to cross into our world and be heard for the night) and the more practical approach (harvest time) – Halloween is also the best time of the year for the adventure. In our culture now you dress up in costumes, you trick or treat, you carve pumpkins, you tell spooky stories, you watch scary movies, and read scary books! I could write essays on the history of Samhain and Hallowe’en (in fact I have before. You can read if you like). In addition to all the history and all the lore, the weather is crisp and refreshing as the earth goes to sleep to prepare for winter. It’s a beautiful time of year full of rich history and excitement AND IT’S BEEN RUINED BY PEOPLE JUMPING THE GUN FOR JINGLE BELLS AND HO-HO-HO-ING.
Don’t get me wrong, Christmas time is fine. It’s fun. I love giving. I love caroling. I love ugly sweaters and the Home Alone series. But please can we just let Halloween have it’s month?
Now to elaborate on some fun Halloween things to do to get the most out of this very overlooked celebration. . .
Corn Mazes – they sound cheesy I know. But they’re actually a lot of fun! And if you have children or young ones in your lives it’s great for them. It gets you outside. Gets you some exercise. And it’s just down-home quality fun.
Haunted Corn Mazes – Now with the added bonus of scaring the bejesus out of you! Walk through a corn maze full of things that go bump in the night! The adrenaline is worth the price of admission!
Hay Rides – Again, it’s fun to just take a gander around a farm, usually on a tractor or a cart pulled by a horse or two. Fun for the whole family!
Haunted Hay Rides – Read above and add chainsaw wielding psychopathic clowns!
Haunted Houses – There are allegedly some in this country that are so scary if you can actually make it through the whole thing without having to call for them to let you out the emergency exit you get a full refund and probably a t-shirt or something. Haunted Houses are a great way to have a few laughs with some friends and get the ol’ ticker pumping!
Camping – There’s usually one or two campgrounds that don’t close up until November. You can take the family (or some friends) camping, roast marshmallows on a fire and tell scary stories about the Hookman or Bloody Mary.
Pumpkin/Apple Picking – Most farms have “pick your own” apples and pumpkins. It’s a great way to enjoy some time in the fresh air and pick your own food! Plus it supports local farms and where would be with without local economy!?
Haunted Amusement Parks – Yes! Six Flags of course has their “Fright Fest” but there are other smaller theme parks throughout the country that are more like carnivals that literally only open for Halloween and they’re entirely Halloween themed! Here’s a link for a general idea but I recommend googling local ones in your area!
Pumpkin Carving – An oldy but a goody. Go pumpkin picking (or buy one at your local farmers market or grocer), bust out the knives and spoons and start carving! It’s fun to be creative or themed and you can express your personality with a piece of hallowed out rotting fruit!
Watch scary movies – this is where I really get into it. I love scary movies. I’m a big horror buff. So I’ve taken it upon myself to create a list of some of my favourite Halloween movies! (in no particular order)
- Halloween (the original is the best but any of the 6 or so sequels are good too! Including the reboots!)
- Friday the Thirteenth (okay, so slightly off theme but it’s still horror and it’s still epic. And hey if you switch around 31 you get 13 so…) (as an aside the remake is actually really good)
- Pet Semetary (this movie is the only thing that freaks me out. I also recommend the book if you’ve got the time. Just don’t read it with an attic full of squirrels. . . long story.)
- House of Wax (classic in the sense of it having every cheesey horror movie element imaginable)
- My Bloody Valentine (I usually reserve “My Bloody Valentine” for … well Valentines Day but who can resist a little vengeful ax-murdering miner?)
- The Houses October Built (A movie about Halloween. In documentary style filming it explores the world of haunted houses and when too far is too far)
- Nightmare Before Christmas (Okay. Yes. I ranted about Christmas earlier. BUT this is a Halloween movie with a Christmas subplot)
- Hocus Pocus (duh)
- Tucker and Dale Versus Evil (honestly one of the best horror/comedy movies ever)
- Shaun of the Dead (even better than Tucker and Dale in the horror/comedy genre)
- Nightmare On Elm Street (every town has an elm street, and everyone needs some 80’s horror in their lives)
- Trick ‘r Treat (multiple stories weaved together centering around a small town on Halloween. . . okay this movie was actually kind of sad more than scary)
- Lost Boys (you don’t need an excuse to watch Vampire Movies okay?)
- Anything with clowns – honestly like. anything.
- The Exorcist (demons, exorcisms, what more could you ask for?)
- Amityville Horror (homicidal ghosts and daddy issues. sign me up)
- Scream (how can you not include a horror movie about horror movies in your lineup?)
- Idle Hands (super underrated movie if you ask me)
- Rocky Horror Picture Show (this has the bonus of being able to sing along and cosplay)
- Practical Magic (again more sad than Halloween’y but it’s definitely one for getting in the spirit of magic)
- In the same vein as above Harry Freaking Potter y’all. What more could you ask for at Halloween time than witches, wizards, magical beasts, goblins, ghosts, and magical feasts! (it’s all that I love and it’s all that I need at Hogwarts! Hogwarts! *credit to Starkid*)
- You can always watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester” – season 4 episode 7 if you want a quick Halloween theme fix of Supernatural (I also recommend “Monster Movie” 4×5)
There are a ton of other scary movies and probably even more ones geared directly at Halloween. But those are just some of my favourites.
Anyway. I highly recommend reading up on some Halloween lore and taking the time to decorate and celebrate this wonderful harvest holiday!