you knew this was coming...

ERIC'S ULTIMATE GUIDE
TO
OCTOBER AND HALLOWEEN

Note 4/28/2009: Gee whiz, does this page need to be updated or what? I think I made this one in Fall of 2006.

Yes, it's a bit late, but there are still two weeks remaining in the Halloween season, and in my heart it goes on year round. Some activities found here are still cool in November, too. So, without further ado...LET'S ROCK 'N ROLL!


CHAPTER I: FOOD

You need to know five terms for Halloween season. Apple cider, apple butter, apple crisp, donuts, and pumpkin pie. That's it. If you don't know what they are, here is a brief glossary:

apple cider: (n) A beverage of apple nectar without all the chemicals and sugar added. It isn't refined to become apple juice, an inferior product. Cider ferments over time, giving it a more sour, alcoholic flavor. Don't try to turn it into liquor though, I know people who have tried it and it just promotes bacteria and bugs.

apple butter: (n) I'm actually not sure what it is, but it's good. You put it on a peanut butter sandwich instead of jelly, or on bread instead of butter. Understood?

apple crisp: (n) Chopped apples baked under a blanket of brown sugar, oatmeal, and other things. Adding other fruits to the mix is unacceptable. Common suspects include cranberries, peaches, and worst of all, raisins. Who wants to eat raisins? It's October!

donut: (n) Fried dough, sometimes with glazed sugar, sometimes with sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on it. Get them from apple orchards. Don't get them from Kroger's.

pumpkin pie: (n) A pie made from pumpkin innards. Usually with whipped cream on top (preferably real whipped cream). Best eaten right away -- it doesn't keep well. It's also best served hot.


CHAPTER II: MOVIES

If you look in my Movies section, about 75% of the movies in it are Horror movies. They're all perfectly good options for the Halloween season. Some though, may be more fitting than others. Thus, here's a good breakdown of which time of year is best for which particular movies.

FALL: Army of Darkness, Blair Witch Project (if you liked it), Blue Velvet, The 'Burbs, Cabin Fever, Evil Dead I or II, Ghostbusters, The Howling, Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead

WINTER: Alien, Dawn of the Dead (1978), Event Horizon, Forbidden Planet, Prince of Darkness, Re-Animator, Seven, Suspiria, The Thing, 12 Monkeys

SPRING and SUMMER: The Birds, Dead Alive, Deep Red, In the Mouth of Madness, Lost Highway, Memento, Pet Sematary, The Shining, 28 Days Later


CHAPTER III: BOOKS

Again, the Books section has much Horror-oriented fiction to peruse, but here are three books that I particularly recommend.

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft, compiled by Del Rey: Many of Lovecraft's best stories fill this large but affordable collection. If you like the films of John Carpenter (not including Halloween), or the work of Stephen King or Clive Barker, Lovecraft may be a good choice for you.

Night in the Lonesome October, by Richard Laymon: Laymon's tour of the grisly, terrible underbelly of a seemingly average, quiet college town. It has the most moments that actually scared me between its covers of any book I've ever read. And it takes place in October! What could be more appropriate?

Night Shift, by Stephen King: A wild ride of a short-story collection, with many diverse stories covering everything from ancient evil gods, pacts with the devil, cults, alien invasion, apocalyptic plagues, to vampires (of course). He's a big fan of Lovecraft and the influence is very apparent throughout the book. It's also the home of the tale, "Children of the Corn," though I've never seen the movie.


CHAPTER IV: VIDEO GAMES

Yeah, yeah, I'm not supposed to admit it, but I love video games, especially Survival Horror games. And there are some very good ones out there.

SILENT HILL 1 and 2: The Silent Hill franchise is unique in the video game world and has few equivalents in movies or books, as far as I've found. Because it's a Japanese blend of Horror, it doesn't have the feel of either Lovecraft's branch of the Horror world or the good ol' American slasher type. You always play as some confused person, usually a 20- or 30-something dude (also pretty unusual), and explore alternate dimensions and fight extremely bizarre monsters with rudimentary weapons. The only movie that really resembles these games is Jacob's Ladder.

A far cry from Super Mario Brothers.
Hmm, that figure in the street doesn't look so much like a person.
If this doesn't make you constipated...

RESIDENT EVIL: I can still remember my first time playing the original Resident Evil. It was at a sleepover, when I was 14 years old. This might be the beginning of my obsession with all things Horror. The remake, for Game Cube, is equally good, maybe even better, though it doesn't have that "classic" feel.


CHAPTER V: ACTIVITIES and COSTUMES

WIARD'S ORCHARD, NIGHT TERRORS: This apple orchard outside Ann Arbor holds one of my favorite events of the year. The whole orchard is converted into a haunted theme park, with a haunted hayride in the orchard (always poorly executed but the hayride is fun and the orchard itself is kinda creepy), a haunted hedge maze (made of wood), two or three different haunted barns, and my favorite haunted attraction, The Asylum. It's a great evening trip for all ages, and brings you back to the old American days of the village green.
Wiards Night Terrors Site

EREBUS: In Pontiac there's an abandoned warehouse that was converted into a major haunted attraction. It's a very professional operation and filled with great rooms and scares. It also takes a good while to go through it, which makes it all the better for your money (it's $19, but worth every penny). After Wiard's, it's the second best thing to do during the Halloween season. Go early, though, because the lines are loooong.
Erebus Site

COSTUMES and PARTIES: Here's my two bits on costumes and parties. I don't really like them. That's right. I consider myself one of the biggest Halloween enthusiasts in Southeast Michigan, and I don't like costumes or parties. Why? Because I don't think Halloween is about getting shitfaced. It's about being scared, it's about being with your friends out on the town and not in some cramped frat house, it's about the outdoors and the woods. Think about it: when you were a kid, what did you always do for Halloween? You went trick or treating, then maybe watched scary movies later at night. And wasn't it awesome? There was no drinking involved.

In fact, I think people should continue trick or treating until they have children of their own. I mean, we all still like candy, right? I went trick or treating both Sophomore and Junior year of college, and it was great. Sure, parents were kind of pissed that we were obviously adults, but hey, it was still a blast and we got a lot of candy. A costume is obviously encouraged if you do this, and preferably one that covers your face so parents don't know you're in your twenties.

But if you must wear a costume, here is a good rule of thumb. Make it scary, not slutty. Repeat after me: scary, good; slutty, not good. Here's a couple of examples:

Acceptable. Unacceptable.


IN CONCLUSION

That should get you started. Remember, my first advice to you is to go outside as much as possible, especially if you live in the Midwest, where Fall is really beautiful. Keep drinking to a minimum, unless it's a nice thick stout like Guinness. Stay up as late as you can, as often as you can. Play a lot of video games and watch movies, but only after hours -- during the day you should be outside. And bully your friends into chilling with you as much as possible, because Halloween season should not be spent alone.

Happy Halloween!


Copyright Info: The Richard Laymon cover and Resident Evil images apply the same deal as on the homepage. The screaming skull dude is from Army of Darkness, from a similar site with screenshots open to all. The Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2 screenshots are likewise. They've been on my computer so long that I couldn't remember where exactly I found them. If someone wants me to take that stuff down, I'll be happy to. I'm not trying to steal anything from anybody or pass off someone's stuff as mine or reproduce it so people don't have to buy the real thing. This is meant to advertise those products.




Back to my Home Page