John Cozzoli runs Zombo’s Closet, one of the longest running horror blogs I know of and one of the first I discovered. John is also the founder of the League of Tana Tea Drinkers (one of these days, man, one of these days). He asked me to participate in his “My Halloween” blog event two years ago, so it was only right that I invited John to share “What Halloween Means To Me” with the Cellmates.
“By the end of August ‘m prowling Michaels Stores because they put up their Halloween merchandise early, including the latest Spooky Town environs from Lemax, to get my fix. By early September I’m putting together my Trick or Treat bags for the kids (and adults smart enough not to grow old) while I think about what I’m going to write for this post. I find lots of bag stuffers at Dollar Tree, and I always get a nice mix of those fun mini-comics offered through Previews around this time of year. Kids really dig those. A big Hershey Chocolate Bar rounds out the bag and I’m good to go.
So what is it about Halloween that’s so exciting for me and the thousands (millions I hope) of others like me who can’t let an October go by without adding the right amount of creepy to it? Scratch that; forget about the thousands of others, I’d go crazy trying to figure that out. I’ll just stick to me and why I like Halloween. Why do I like Halloween?
Love it, actually. Couldn’t live without it, really.
Man, that’s a tough one. Maybe I should start with a simpler question?
Is Halloween too commercial now?
I wonder about that as I munch on my Candy Corn flavored Oreos and M&Ms. I continue wondering as I check the Halloween merchandise that’s just gone up on the shelves at Target, make sure to hit Rite Aid, and Walgreens next, and maybe CVS. And while I’m doing that I drive around looking for Halloween Scene, and Halloween Spirit, and all the Halloween Somethings that pop up around this time of year.
I used to hit up the older party goods stores, Half-Price card stores, and local discount stores looking for nifty paper decorations (the good stuff, like from Beistle, Eureka, etc), but chances are I won’t find anything like that anymore. Yes, I’m an older Halloween devotee. I grew up with those light up blow molds in bright orange and black accents, chewed on and burned enough Gurley skull, pumpkin, and witch candles, and I still swoon when I smell a Ben Cooper costume fresh from the box. I’m doomed, I know. Or is that blessed?
The more costumes, the more decorations, the more food-oriented tie-ins, and the more kids and adults trick or treating to fill their bags with candy and fun-scary, the better all of us are. I just wish Spencer’s Gifts hadn’t gone all EMO and Grungy and Dormy. They used to stock some cool Halloween swag, especially when Universal remembered the monsters who kept the studio’s gates open for business even during the Depression. Not much money or happiness to go around back then, but adults (not the kids, they came later, like me, in the 1960s) scrounged up the pocket money to stand in long lines just to have Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi scare the bejesus out of them more than the Depression or the second World War, or even a Ben Bernanke could.
Now we’ve got Freddy and Jason, and a mean puppet or two, and let’s not forget all those insidious jeepers creepers prowling about along with the zombies to lighten up the real horrors of stupid congressmen and endless wars and religious rights and wrongs. It's the monsters that make Halloween so much fun.
God, we all could use a break and become the person (or thing) we really want to be; at least for one night a year. A nicely cool night, with a little moonlight, filled with harmless terrors and heaping bags of candy. At least one night to remind us the all the terrors and all the horrors always begin and end with us.
And only us.”