Halloween Classics and Beyond…
Well, my pretties, Halloween is upon us once again. This is probably my favorite “holiday” of the year, and judging by the estimated $6.9 billion Americans spend every year on Halloween, it’s probably your favorite too. And why not? What other celebration requires you to carve a large fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit), illuminate it with fire, and show it off to your neighbors? And don’t forget the social aspect of Halloween; you actually go out and meet the people on your street. Sure, everyone is (ostensibly) nicer to one another at Christmas, but I’m sure you’ll agree Halloween is nowhere near as stress-inducing as yuletide. That said, let me help you banish any lingering stress you might have with Halloween just a week away via the excellent resources I have compiled below. I’ve tried to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and give you a range of Halloween ideas to suit your style and activities, followed by some just plain fun and weird stuff for you to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all things Halloween, I simply can’t think of anything more comprehensive than Martha Stewart’s 8-week Halloween Party Workshop. Here you’ll find a vast array of how-to’s and DIY projects like spooky lawn ornaments, tabletop decor, pumpkin carving tips and tools, and excellent seasonal recipes for your Halloween party. Country Living, too, has an excellent photo spread on classic outdoor and indoor decorations.
However, if your idea of classic Halloween is less Martha and more Rob Zombie, let me point you to Viking Darkworks, a prop manufacturer specializing in the macabre. You may not have enough time before Halloween to order their awesome wares, like their fantastic tombstones and corpsification kits, but they have a pretty decent how-to section with DIY audio, lighting, corpsification, and graveyard projects to creep out your house. You’ll also find excellent instructions on making your own tombstones here.
I did consider locating some resources on costumes but, frankly, the best costumes are those born of your own imagination and wit. Instead of reaching for the celebrity look-alike type of costume or a store-bought rubber mask, think of something a little more abstract and fashion that into a costume: like the recession, or kidney stones. I don’t know what these would look like as costumes, but I think they’re both pretty scary. You get the picture. Whatever you end up with for a costume, it can’t be worse than the stuff peddled to us kids of the 70s and 80s. Check out Retrocrush.com’s gallery of truly some of the worst store-bought costumes ever. Although, I have to admit, Chachi is pretty terrifying.
If you’re having a Halloween party, spinning spooky music all night long will likely have you reaching for the axe well before midnight. However, if you’re doling out candy and going for the haunted house effect, scary music and or noises are integral. I’ve found Black Sabbath’s instrumental tune Stonehenge is worth looping to maintain a haunting atmosphere, as is the soundtrack from the film Birdy, composed by Peter Gabriel. It too is instrumental, dark, and moody. For a video component, consider projecting F.W. Murneau’s classic silent film Nosferatu on a suspended bed sheet; the grainy black-and-white of the film cast over the rippling sheet works to great effect. For something more nostalgic and a little more fun, try Disney’s 1949 animated adaptation of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Narrated by none other than Bing Crosby, this version of the tale is far more faithful to the original story than is Tim Burton’s, and the animation is absolutely beautiful.
If all you’re interested in is tricking out your iphone, check out ismashphone.com’s collection of Halloween themed apps, games and ringtones. Highlights include the Costume Idea app, which gives you a new costume idea at every shake, and the Ghost-cam app, which allows you to add ghosts to your existing photos. If haunted houses are your thing, ghostinmysuitcase.com has compiled a list of haunted houses and spooky walks by state. Finally, just because it’s kinda neat and weird, listen to NASA’s spooky space sounds. This is what Jupiter, Earth, and Uranus sound like from space. I’m not joking.
Hope this helps you with your haunting. Have a safe and happy Halloween!