Well hello, Boils and Ghouls!
Halloween is my favorite time of year. It combines 2 of my favorite things; Fall and Horror. Just like we get two months of Christmas celebration, we also need things to prepare us for Halloween. As much as I love horror films, there are also many other things to help bring this holiday up to its crescendo tomorrow night.
Here is a list of things that you can do to put you in the spirit *maniacal pun laugh*
10. The Raven as read by James Earl Jones
For those Simpson fans out there, you probably already know that Jones did the reading of the poem for ‘The Raven’ inspired episode of the Treehouse of Horror. However, Jones also did a straight reading of the poem, which is not only haunting, but truly brings out the tones of what Poe was writing. Poe had a great catalogue of gothic tales of terror, but it is hard to top ‘The Raven’ in terms of pure horror delight.
So gather round a lit candle and take in the full scope of a classic:
9. Play ‘The Dead Man’ with your kids
The quintessential horror game that kids will love; in which you transform everyday items like peeled grapes or spaghetti in eyeballs and brains. If you’ve never played the game before, gather the kids around and tell a story about a man who has died while passing around ‘the organs’ while the kids keep their eyes closed. The more detailed you get; the more frightened or grossed out the kids will get. On your side of the game, you can take delight in keeping an old tradition alive.
8. Halloween related food/drink
Though it may seem campy, it also sets the tone to partake in food or drink related to the holiday. Whether it is a cupcake with bat sprinkles or a candy apple, sometimes immersing yourself in all aspects of a holiday can give you the best experience.
Here are some links to enjoy
7. Haunted Attractions
I live in Central Pennsylvania which is home to multiple haunted attractions such as Jason’s Woods, Field of Screams, and the Eastern State Penitentiary (which holds haunted tours on Halloween). Even if it is going to a local ‘home-made’ attraction, take some time and go get scared in big way. The fun of these attractions is like a roller coaster. You know that you won’t get hurt, but it still is thrilling to be part of it. I will never forget going to a haunted house as a kid and being scared out of my mind. Almost keeping my eyes closed while walking through. Just don’t go punching anyone, they are actors still!
Check out this list of some good attractions
6. Bonfire + Ghost Stories
On a cold Fall evening, nothing else sets a better tone for a ghost story than a roaring fire. The way that light dances across the faces of your guests creates ominous shadows as you all huddle around the warmth from the flames. On a cloudless night with the moon shining overhead, hearing or telling stories of terror. I am partial to the standards, Hook Hand, Room for one More, ect, but I also think a good ghost story takes a universal theme and spins it with local lore or legend. Storytelling is one of our oldest traditions, and tales of ghosts and terror have been around for ages. The setting alone will put you on edge, and that dark walk back to the house may make you walk just a little bit faster.
Here’s a site to get some ideas
5. Horror Movie Marathon
One of the best ways to get ready for Halloween is by getting a huge tub of red food-coloring covered popcorn, and plopping down to watch a marathon of horror. Whether it is a more family friendly fare, or the classics of the genre, you can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned Horrorthon
4. Explore Local Legends
Regardless of where you are from, there are many creepy legends that are designated to your area. My state holds such legends as The Seven Gates of Hell, Centralia (the town that inspired Silent Hill and The Mist), our own Crybaby Bridge, an Albino Village, and much more. Do some research on the weird and mysterious in your own are, perhaps pick one and go check it out!
Weird US has a great compilation of local legends to explore
3. Read Short Horror Fiction
I already mentioned the reading of Poe’s The Raven above, but sometimes reading the staples of the genre out loud in a darkened room will get you in the right frame of mind for Halloween. These are classics for a reason and can still manage to put a chill down your spine.
I recommend the following:
The Tell Tale Heart
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Great God Pan
The Monkey’s Paw
Anything from the ‘Scary Stories to tell in the Dark’ books
2. Go on a Ghost Hunt
Regardless if you believe in ghosts or not, this is a fun and creepy way to get you excited for the holiday. Pick a local cemetery, wait until dark, and grab some supplies (camera, blankets, ect), and bring some friends. Even if you don’t see or hear anything strange, it is a fun way to hang out this time of year. This is also the perfect opportunity to scare the hell out of your friends if you plan it correctly.
Here are some tips:
1. Hold a Séance
Though this may be the silliest idea in the world, it also can make for some nervous laughter that gets associated with people pretending not to be scared. A lot happens when you get a group of people together that are all participating in the same activity. A sort of ‘hive mind’ happens where even if you don’t believe, you as a group can trick yourself into thinking something happened when it really didn’t.
How to do it:
In a few days, we will take down the decorations, throw the pumpkins in the trash, and put up that ‘sexy elmo’ costume until next year. But with the short time we have left for Halloween. Let’s make the most of it!