7 Best Things About Halloween

Written By: Hallie Madenski

Halloween is one of my least favorite holidays besides New Years. I refer to these two dates as “slut holidays.” For anyone between the ages of 16 and 30, Halloween becomes a giddy excuse to dress up like a nurse, partially-nude zombie or Marilyn Monroe, but with more cleavage. With all my prude old lady attitudes, I still understand why Halloween is fun for some people.

I do love candy, but that is really the children’s aspect of it isn’t it? Trick-or-treating up and down the neighborhood is for kids. Once you get beyond childhood, you realize you have to either be a social butterfly on Halloween, or hide in your house and hand out goodies. Lucky for me there is something I love about Halloween. Horror movies! And of course candy, and even though dressing up isn’t for me, I could mention some ideas for costumes as I’m much more of a spectator.

1. Candy. Bow Wow Wow! Put it all in perspective, I want candy, and who doesn’t? Whether you’re a future diabetic like me or a occasional craver, we all have a driving desire to eat sweets. Candy is pretty subjective. So whatever you prefer, no one can condemn you, unless you like those liquid nipple-bottles full of corn syrup, then you’re going to hell.

My personal choices for deliciousness are as follows. Brach’s Candy Corn, Haribo Gold-Bears, Trolli Sour Brite Gummy Worms, Red Vines, Peanut Butter M&M’s, Lemonheads and Runts. Mmmmmmm. Remember when old ladies used to give you quarters or raisins for Halloween to teach you a lesson about money and health? Don’t follow in their footsteps, give out candy that you would actually eat. Kids will respect you and if there is any left you can shamefully gobble it up later on in the dead of night.

2. Horror Movies. “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a novelty and a great movie for audience participation if you’re into having rice stuck to you. (I’m sure there’s a website for that)
There’s novelty and then there’s pure horror. My favorite horror movies are mostly classics like “Halloween” – 1 and 2, and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” “Friday the 13th,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and of course “The Exorcist.” A few less-ancient movies that I loved included “The Descent,” “Saw” 1 and 2, “Dead Silence,” “Wolf Creek,” “The Orphanage,” “Audition,” “May,” “The Ring,” “The Devil’s Rejects,” “The Hills Have Eyes,” “Hostel II” and “The Strangers.”

I have to say “May” is one of the best movies out there that sort of fits this genre. It’s kind of more of a dark comedy than a true slasher flick but it definitely has elements that sway most people to put it in the horror section. Look for a hilariously horny aloof lezbo Anna Faris early on in her career. “Dead Silence” and “Audition” are two other little known movies that deserve a nod. “Audition” being a Japanese film about a man whose wife dies and years later holds a fake movie audition in search of a girlfriend. Classically, he gets a little more than he bargained for. This movie features one of the strangest scenes ever, without giving too much away I’ll say, there’s a bag involved, and a man, sort of.

“Dead Silence” terrifies me, but it’s not for everyone. A movie about a dead ventriloquist and her collection of dummies. The acting is questionable but the story is pretty damn good. This movie has more twists than Bolivia’s Death Road. Also, I’m afraid of Ventriloquist dummies, and vengeful supernatural old ladies. Since I like to be a bit scared, it’s kind of a win win situation for me. See “The Orphanage” for a more sophisticated horror movie, see “Dead Silence” if you are feeling young, or are young, and want to jump a little. My definition of scary is different, as is everyone’s. But I can say for certain that if you don’t like “May” or “The Orphanage” then you have no business even participating in the viewing of cinema.

If you’re into total gore and shock my number one pick is the remake for “The Hills Have Eyes.” French people really know what they’re doing when it comes to horror.

Director Alexandre Aja manages to have you caring about the characters within 5 minutes. The hugest mistake of most new horror movies is that they don’t make likable characters. For some reason directors think they should make characters with varying degrees of annoying. The most annoying character always dies first. Usually it’s the scantily-clad cheerleader and her sex-crazed boyfriend. It’s either one girl who lives at the end or a guy and a girl who just met, somehow the least annoying of the cast but still obnoxiously one-sided. The reason for this is production time and carelessness. Aja, and the guy who directed “The Descent,” Neil Marshall, really know what they’re doing. They give every character a personality you could relate to. You end up feeling sympathy for even the most aggravating character, like the short-haired loud mouth extremist in “The Descent.” Or the intellectually challenged eye candy sister in “The Hills Have Eyes.” There is a scene in a trailer that makes me want to turn the movie off. The scene is more vomit-inducing than the famous hillbilly scene in “Deliverance.” “Last House on The Left” ties for disturbing scene though I must say. Overall Alexandre Aja’s movie is more shocking than Eli Roth’s “Hostel” or Rob Zombie’s “Devil’s Rejects.”

To me the classic is still John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” The way Michael Myers appears in windows out of nowhere or behind a tree still scares me. I grew up in the woods in a house with a lot of windows so this and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” always really got to me. I am really quite peeved that the classic ideas of Leatherface and Michael Myers have now been skewed so horribly by remakes. Though I did enjoy the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake I was disturbed by the fact that he is now depicted as some sort of giant wrestler with a breathing problem. Michael Myers and Jason as well. All wrestlers now. Huge, wielding their weapon of choice. Setting traps and shooting arrows and being cunning? Michael Myers was never that strong, just kind of invincible. But he wouldn’t lift up a car, Rob Zombie. Leatherface was always a stumbling tie-wearing sort of tranny looking thing before the remake showed him as huge and strong and able to start his Chainsaw on the first try. A note to future directors, don’t remake any more movies unless you’re kind of going to try to do the first one justice.

One last thing about movies, in June of 2008 makeup and special effects genius Stan Winston died at the age of 62. He was involved in numerous classics including all four Terminator movies and the first “Alien” movie. Also credited with makeup and/or special effects in “Edward Scissorhands,” “Iron man,” “Wrong Turn,” “Predator,” “Jurassic Park,” “Congo,” and “Interview With The Vampire.” Think of him as you are applying your fake blood and plastic fangs, and what a better job he’d be doing.

3. Costumes. Now, I know you all have urges to go as either regular Michael Jackson, zombie Thriller Michael Jackson or Bella and Edward from “Twilight.” I’m just begging you, if you’re a woman go as Lady Gaga, and if you’re a man, well, go as Lady Gaga. All you need is a big nose, leggings, a bright blonde wig and a bizarre leotard or poofy dress of some sort. If you don’t have a big nose but you have the leggings and wig, go as Madonna. Once my brother won a Halloween costume contest by putting a planting pot on his head and declaring himself a pothead. Simplicity is key. Oh, and if you insist on going the vampire route be more original than “Twilight” and try out characters from HBO’s “Trueblood.”

4. Decorations. There are four levels of decorating your porch or house on Halloween. The first, and laziest is putting a miniature pumpkin on your porch. The second is putting a full-sized but uncarved pumpkin out. The third is actually carving a pumpkin, putting a candle in it and setting it outside for trick or treaters and neighbors to enjoy. The fourth is to go all out and carve several pumpkins and buy crazy skeleton and witch decorations that cackle and hoot at passersby. This sometimes seems like more of a ploy to keep trick or treaters away, especially with all the rampant anxiety, imagination and jumpy horse-like symptoms that come with being young. I suppose only the brave suffice.

I have never been willing to fork out my dragon gold for seemingly unnecessary decorations that will only be used once a year. Instead I fall somewhere in with either carving pumpkins or leaving them on my porch. It’s my way of getting into without looking like I tried. Kind of like a hipster. It might sound pretentious, but hey, that’s me. Also, I fully applaud people who do go all out with decorations, it gives me a reason to drive around and stare at people’s houses with an excuse that makes me not sound like a serial killer/stalker.

5. Haunted Houses. I live in Oregon, so I can only really recommend places locally though I hear the USS Nightmare in Kentucky is pretty great. Located on a real, supposedly haunted steamboat on the Ohio river. Anyway, in Oregon there is really only one unique concept and two other fairly decent haunted houses. Due to my anxiety ridden life, I have only been to one haunted house. The unique option though here is a corn maze that supposedly takes at least an hour to find your way out of. During Halloween they fill the maze with frightening characters such as Leatherface to confuse and chase you around the maze. It’s a little too much for me, as I almost died in the Oak’s Park haunted house.

Considered wimpy and for teenagers, I shrieked nonstop, my friend jumped onto my back in shock and my boyfriend screamed like an old man falling down the stairs. Girls half my age began laughing at us as they walked through the haunted house trying to scare themselves with seemingly fake yelps of joy/terror. I’ve heard that the most terrifying option in Oregon is The Thirteenth Door, a confusing haunted house where you have to find your way out as you are trapped in rooms with zombie-clad actors who are mainly concerned with making you pee yourself in horror. No thanks.

6. Books. Stephen King’s “It” and “Needful Things” should do the trick. Also check out Chuck Palahniuk’s “Haunted.” I’ve never read it but I’ve heard “The Ruins” by Scott Smith is one of the most terrifying books ever. Although I doubt that, I still need to read it so I can feel better about recommending it.

7. Music. Last but not least, Halloween music can be the most comforting and easiest thing about the holiday. There’s always “Monster Mash…” yeah yeah graveyard smash and whatnot, but then there’s the other staples of Halloween music. I consider Danny Elfman to be the most talented horror-oriented composer. With his “Nightmare Before Christmas” soundtrack and his countless amazing Oingo Boingo hits such as “No Spill Blood,” “Dead Man’s Party,” Weird Science,” “Hour of the Wolf” and “When the Lights Go Out.” My Halloween mixed tape would be comprised of the following tunes:

track 01 – “Monster Mash” by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett
track 02 – “This is Halloween” by Marilyn Manson
track 03 – “More Human Than Human” by White Zombie
track 04 – “Translyvania Terror Train” by Captain Clegg & The Night Creatures
track 05 – “Jack’s Lament” by Danny Elfman
track 06 – “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
track 07 – “Every Day is Halloween” by Ministry
track 08 – “Halloween” by Siouxsie And The Banshees
track 09 – “Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie
track 10 – “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell
track 11 – “Halloween Girl” by Ghosts on the Radio
track 13 – “Hour of the Wolf” by Oingo Boingo
track 14 – “Feed my Frankenstein” by Alice Cooper
track 15 – “This Could Be Love” by Alkaline Trio
track 16 – “Dig Up Her Bones” by Misfits
track 17 – “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet

Alright so, lessons learned? Go out dressed as Lady Gaga. If eating candy turns your teeth black and/or makes them fall out it will just go more with the spirit of Halloween. Watch “May” while you carve a pumpkin or at least draw on one. Be brave and go to a haunted house, just bring lots of friends to pick you up when you have a seizure. And lastly, listen to Danny Elfman or Oingo Boingo. Actually any of the above songs will suffice. Do the dance to “Thriller” and light that candle in your pumpkin in the sweet memory of Michael Jackson and Stan Winston.

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