October 30th, 2006

(no subject)

How do I love Halloween? Let me list the ways. 

(Caveat: I love this stuff any time of year. But there’s something extra fabulous about it all in October.)

 

  • It’s the perfect time of year to re-read stories like “Casting the Runes” by MR James and “A Visitor from Down Under” by LP Hartley—my top two stories from an outstanding scary story collection, The Haunted Looking Glass edited (and illustrated by!) Edward Gorey.
  • Edward Gorey! So morbid. (This charming image is from The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and is captioned, "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs." Poor kid.)

  • “Mad Monster Party.” Never has claymation brought any person as much joy as “Mad Monster Party” brings to me. Where else can you see a groovy skeleton band rocking out in Beatles-style wigs? Where else can you so greatly appreciate an animated version of Boris Karloff voiced by Boris Karloff? (If only the Peter Lorre-type character were voiced by Peter Lorre—but I guess you can’t have everything.) And then there’s Francesca, who I soooooooo wanted to be when I was 12. She’s not a great role-model, actually—such a ladder-climber, she wheels and deals with Dracula and plans to double-cross him in the end (and then she ends up with Felix Flanken! The name pretty much says it all). But then, the only other female character was voiced by (and looked like) Phyllis Diller. Much as I love her, I’m sure you’ll agree Francesca is a much more logical choice for a girl to want to emulate. Plus her character gets all the best songs. (Did I neglect to mention it’s a musical too?? I’m not kidding—this movie has it all.)

  • The way other people get into Halloween makes me get into it even more. To wit: this is a photo of a downtown Orange front yard from last year. (It nearly makes me weep to admit that this house has done nothing to recognize Halloween this year. But the memories of the bicycle-riding corpse live on. Ha ha.)

  • Even major corporations can get in on the action. Today I discovered a Halloween channel on Yahoo! Music. So far I’ve heard the theme to the “Halloween” movies, “Monster Mash,” “Time Warp,” and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” Beautiful.
  • There is something that pleases my soul in the concept of children wandering from house to house and getting free candy from strangers. It makes me think of Maple St. before the monsters arrived on it. (Surely you’ve seen that episode of “Twilight Zone?”)
  • Oo—“Twilight Zone!” I watch it regardless of the season, but it resonates outstandingly in October.
  • Simpsons’ Halloween episodes. I challenge anyone to suffer through “The Shining,” and then watch the Simpsons’ eight-minute comedic reprisal of same, and not decide that the animated version is far superior. (How can it not be? Jack Nicholson isn’t in it.)
  • Vincent Price! Can you beat an October Saturday afternoon wearing 3-D glasses and watching him dip Carolyn Jones in wax? I think not.
  • What other time of year can so-called “cute” decorations simultaneously be so creepy? (Okay, it must be admitted that some Christmas decorations are unintentionally creepy too. But those are waaaaaaaaaay more creepy than cute.) 

  • Jack-o-lanterns, of course. A house down the street from me put up a sign that said, “31 Pumpkins in 31 Days.” For the first couple of weeks of October, it was big fun to walk past and see how they’d carved up another gourd—but now they’ve either stopped displaying them, or they’ve wearied of the mold problem and have stopped lanterning altogether. It was fun while it lasted.  
  • I can decorate my house with very fine reproductions of Universal’s monster “houses.” (They light up! Oh, kitsch—you just can’t beat it.)




  • Roasted pumpkin seeds. You can buy them already roasted at any time of year, but they just don’t taste as good. (I recommend brewing up a simple cider while the seeds are roasting—heat some apple juice and add a couple of fruity teabags [cranberry’s really good]. Yum.)

 

Well, I could go on. And indeed, I may be editing this entry later to add even more Halloweenerific items. But I’ll stop here and try to absorb some of the dregs of October pleasure—you know, paying attention to the day instead of writing about it. (What a concept.)