Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Where Has All The Halloween Spirit Gone?!

Before I get into my little rant about the sad current state of my favorite holiday, I wanted to show a couple pictures of the costumes Jen and I wore this year, which we donned for a costume party this past Friday night at a local restaurant. Jen decided to go all out this year and hand make her costume, with her inspiration being the frighteningly sexy nurses from Silent Hill. She took an old nurse outfit that she wore a couple years back and splattered fake blood all over it and even paper mache'd her own mask. It came out awesome and, just like in the movie, she was pretty frightening and strangely sexy at the same time. Maybe it was the ample cleavage that did the trick in that latter department. Check out a couple pictures of her handiwork!



Stop looking at my girlfriend's legs, will ya?

I took the opposite approach, the one where you're too lazy to come up with a costume until 10 minutes before the party. Moreso than being lazy though, it was largely an issue of being flat broke once the weekend rolled around. I was pretty broke throughout all of October, which really dampened my spirits this year, as I couldn't afford to attend any haunts, buy any decorations or even pick and carve a single pumpkin. It's not that I make minimum wage or anything, but the fact that we've been going on so many weekend getaways lately, to conventions and more recently to Rochester, has really put me in a hole that i've been slowly trying to dig myself out of. Unfortunately, when in that hole, things like buying Halloween decorations and paying costumed actors to scare the shit out of you fall by the wayside. It's my own fault and I should've been smart enough to save up a bit for this most expensive of months, but I still couldn't help but feel bummed out all month.

Anyway, I was pretty sure i'd just slap on a mask I had lying around the house and go to the party with that on but once Friday night came rolling around and I got a hold of how awesome Jen's costume was, I simply couldn't resist heading out to my local Spirit Halloween to dig myself further in the hole and try to come up with something serviceable. After all the October fun I missed out on all month, I wasn't gonna deny myself the joy of dressing up in a costume this year. Not gonna happen. A Ghostbusters costume caught my eye while in Spirit and since it was only $40, plus a 20% off coupon I had, I went for it. Being that I have a big beard I figured i'd just be the bearded Ghostbuster but then I went one step further and picked up a wig, an even bigger beard and some faux barbed wire and decided to be the one, the only ...

Jesus Christ, Ghostbuster ... busting ghosts for the lord!

Everybody always says I look like Jesus anyway so I figured i'd just run with it this year. Admittedly not as impressive as last year's Count Chocula costume, which won me the 2nd place prize at the same costume party last year, but I was just happy I at least pulled something together. Of course I pretty quickly regretted dropping over $50 on the costume once I put it on, as every single component of it was cheaply made crap, including the inflatable proton pack which deflated as soon as it was filled up (I swapped it out with a school backpack), but I guess you can't expect much else from store bought costumes. It amazes me the racket these companies have got going on, charging $50-$100 for such poorly made garbage. But hey, I guess people like me buy the crap, so you can see why they don't care to spend more to make better quality stuff. Lesson learned here was that if you want a really cool costume, like Jen's, you've gotta just be creative and make your own. To that I say, there's always next year. Here's to not being so lazy next year.

Now that that's out of the way, onto the rant.

So last night, Halloween night, Jen, myself and our friends Jesse & Lindsay went out trick or treating, which has become a yearly tradition for us (all of us are over 20 and still proudly keeping the spirit alive). Jen and I opted for just throwing on masks we had around the house (I chose my old Ghostface mask) and took to the town, only to find that even at 8pm not a single kid was out trick or treating and 90% of the houses had their lights off and weren't handing out candy. Couple this with the fact that we got a grand total of four small groups of trick or treaters at our house all day/night and I was left with a feeling that Halloween, at least as i've always known and loved it, is dead in the water at this point. When we went out trick or treating it honestly felt like we were walking around during any other random night of the year and it just made me so sad to see Halloween as it is now, as opposed to how it was when I was a kid just 10 or so years ago. So I gotta ask, is Halloween dead or is it just dead in my town?

Even the trick or treaters that did come to our house were unfriendly, unhappy and they just kinda buzzed our doorbell far too many times, snatched their candy and were on their way, not even bothering to say trick or treat or thank us for the big boxes of Nerds we were doling out. That whole fun spirit of Halloween just seems to be gone for the most part. I suppose the world is or just seems to be such an evil place in the eyes of parents, which makes them limit their kids' trick or treating to shopping centers and friends' houses. The world just seems to be too unsafe these days for kids to go out knocking on stranger's doors like we did when I was a youngster and that just makes me feel so sad for the kids of today who will never know the fun of trick or treating on Halloween. I don't think the world really is any less safe than it was back 10 or 20 years ago, I just think that more people are more aware of how evil it is these days, with the internet and TV giving us unprecedented access into every case of pedophilia and child murder in the entire country. When you can look online and see that a handful of registered sex offenders are living on your block, I guess that's reason enough to keep your kids locked in the house on Halloween night. That's the sad reality of it and I believe it's that increased awareness of the evil that's lurking out there that has ruined this holiday more than anything else. Hell, if I had kids I sure as shit wouldn't allow them to roam free out there in the neighborhood. Still though, I hardly see the harm in walking house to house with them and protecting them from any potential threats or harm, which largely seem to be nothing more than teenage eggers these days (who, by the way, should all be given the death penalty without a trial).

So not only are parents not letting their kids out to trick or treat, by their sides or alone, but those same parents aren't even bothering to decorate their houses (perhaps cause of decoration thieves) or hand out candy themselves, as we witnessed when we went out last night. Like I said, most houses had their outside lights completely shut off and even when we did find houses that were handing out candy, we later realized during our candy check (ALWAYS check your candy!) that a lot of it was really old, some of it even clearly from a past Christmas. Yes, Christmas. The red and green Hershey Kisses were a dead giveaway, assholes.

It's just pretty apparent that most people simply do not care about Halloween anymore, which does put a damper on things for the rest of us. I will personally never lose my spirit but I can't help but be bummed out when I see barely any costumed kids coming up to my door on Halloween or when I try to go trick or treating myself and find nothing but locked doors and turned out lights. It makes me cry a little on the inside.

Oh well though, these days for me it's more about the whole month leading up to Halloween than it is that actual day and, thankfully being that I surround myself with this stuff all year, that spirit stays with me no matter the time of year. Such is the beauty of being a horror fan and the beauty of being a horror blogger is that I can help impart some of that spirit on my fellow fans all year round. So while Halloween may be over, fear not, the spooky fun lives on round these parts for as long as you guys and gals keep on reading!

Oh and in case you were wondering what we did after our failed trick or treating attempt, we sat around eating whatever candy we got that wasn't old and gross and watched the Texas Chainsaw remake. I love that movie, whether you do or not.


MJ said...

Well it's my 1st time in the States during Halloween, and I thought it was a bit odd to see only 1 family out Trick Or Treating. I was told that it's because I'm in Houston, and everybody drives here. But it still seemed oddly depressing to me.

At any rate, I can recommend Austin's 6th Street for more adult-crazed Halloween fun!

Sarah Queen said...

Well, I posted on your fb about this but i'll post on here as well. In my neighborhood we never have a single trick or treater. I will never forget the amount of times I sat outside dressed up with a bucket of candy and the fog machine/spooky sounds cd playing to find not 1 child coming up to trick or treat. I swear when i buy my own home, or at least settle in a neighborhood it will be a prerequisite that I check out the halloween festivities on the block first. We had one kid from across the street come this year, but he cam at 4:30, and trick or treating doesn't start until 6pm. so i missed him. He didn't even come with a bag. seriously. I did take my mcdonalds halloween bucket upstairs and my grandma who is visiting filled it with many treats for me. It was adorable, but very very sad. I miss halloween as it was when I was little.

deadmenrise said...

I can really relate to how you felt about Halloween this year. I was pretty much broke this year too, having spent too much at the past two Monster Mania shows and having two trips in the coming months to plan for. I sadly skipped dressing up or handing out candy this year, opting to take a date night with the wife and watched some blu-rays. It wasn't a bad Halloween but it just wasn't the same. I won't be making the same mistake next year, I'm going to plan ahead, save some money, and really do Halloween right. It is our job to show the young ones what Halloween is all about, we owe them that, and I think we should all make a pact to help give our favorite holiday a boost, economy woes be damned! Let's take our favorite holiday back!

Kristi Dorson said...

We do a big yard haunt at my dad's every year still. He's done it since I was a little, and now that I'm grown we go over there and help him. Mom has never really enjoyed standing on the lawn and scaring kids so she takes my kids trick or treating while the rest of us put on the show. We get a decent amount of trick or treaters, but it HAS dwindled over the years, even with people in town knowing we do this every year. We need more people to keep the spirit alive. About half the people on my parents' block had their lights out and didn't answer their doors, or answered and said "sorry, no candy". My mom and the kids even encountered one family stepping out of their house to take THEIR kid trick or treating... and they claimed not to have any candy to give out themselves. NICE. Mom wanted to go back and egg their house later, lol.

Nik Holmes said...

That's a real shame man, especially since here in the UK we finally seem to be really getting into the whole Halloween spirit at last. Usually this time of year is more focussed on Bonfire Night, where everyone celebrates a failed terrorist attack by lighting fireworks and burning effigies on bonfires. However HAlloween has slowly creeped in, with stores having huge dedicated sections, theme parks hosting horror themed weekends and the streets littered with pumpkins and decorations - basically everything ET promised me Halloween could be when I was a kid. The UK really seem to be getting their spook on, and I love it!

hannahrae said...

I have to say I was really, really disappointed this year. We also didn't have any money so we just went and bought a big bag of candy with what little money we had and set out our jack-o-lanterns so the kids would know to come. We waited and waited and when it got dark turned all the outside lights on and continued to wait. Not a single trick or treater came to our house!! I was soooo disappointed.
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday and I can totally feel it slipping away. I mean even the cable channels this year barely played any horror. AMC's fright fest was the same 5 movies played over and over. And ABC Family's 13 nights of Halloween was one borderline horror movie a night (although I loved Hocus Pocus). So sad. :-(

GuidanceGhoul said...

I'd have to say the holiday is definitely still alive in my hometown of New Bedford, MA. While the number was down a little from last year (when we broke the 100 mark), we still got about 85 or so trick-or-treaters. It helps that one of us (me, for most the duration) is always sitting out on the steps with the candy and comic books that we give out, encouraging more people to stop by. We started around 5:30 this year, and I finally packed up and brought the pumpkin in around 9:00. My wife or I take our boys to my parents' house early in the evening, then my wife walks with them around the immediate neighborhood. My kids don't want to be out the whole time, as they really like to participate in the handing out of goodies, as well.

Oh, about the comic books: No, I'm not giving away my collection. Each fall I buy from my local comic shop an assorted bundle of comics (smaller than the usual size), published specifically to be handed out at Halloween. There are about seven different kid-friendly comics from different publishers; some have Halloween-themed stories. We have each trick-or-treater pick one, in addition to two or three pieces of candy. Over the years, we've gotten some nice feedback from kids and parents.

LJRich said...

We've never gotten a lot of trick or treaters at our house since I moved to the Texan sticks. The kids I saw were mostly out at 5pm, and were done by 9pm. Most of the overly religious in my Southern neck of the woods don't do candy, and they're not the least bit afraid to make that point well know, even by putting up rude signs in their yards.

Halloween, as it was in the 70's and 80's, is dead as a doornail. I'm sorry to say, but it's our country's insistence on too much religion and trying to keep us all in sterile, purified bubbles that have done it. And overcommercialization.

I have a rant on my blog about commercialization. It's destroying the holidays.

Anonymous said...

In our neighborhood here in the California Central Valley, it usually happens like this. The trick-or-treating kind of trickles in slowly for about a half hour before it picks up, then we have a steady stream of kids for about two hours straight, then it starts to trickle down for about another half-hour until everyone appears done. All together, we have about three hours of good tricking. We had lots the other night, and by about 9-9:30 was when it was about over. I think it call just depends on the neighborhood. As the kids in the area start growing up, trick-or-treating will probably start dropping off. We also live right on the edge of town, so we also get vanloads of kids from the outlying farms who are brought into town for the evening.

Brian said...

We had two trick or treaters here in Tallahassee, FL! We were on the porch in costume all night carving Jack O Lanterns with our spooky lights on listening to our Horror Hop albums. Two trick or treaters! What the shit?!

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