By Kevin Redding

Hello? No. Laurie's not available. Can I take a message?
Hello? No. Laurie’s not available. Can I take a message?

Strap in, folks. The spookiest, and truly most wonderful, time of the year is right around the corner. Just 11 more days and it’s October 1st, marking the official countdown to Halloween! Horror movies, costumes, jack-o-lanterns, Oreos with orange creme filling (which somehow makes them taste better), songs of the darker and eerier variety (current favorites include “Outta My Mind” by The Arcs, “Blood Red Moon” by the Hives and “The Lurch” by Ted Cassidy), and the occasional parading around the house with a white sheet draped over yourself while making ghostly “oooooooooh” sounds. I’m not the only one who does that, am I?

Late September is so exciting because stores are already getting gung ho with their Halloween aisles. Just yesterday, I rushed to Target in need of a good old fashioned autumnal hoodie and lo and behold, I stumbled upon the holy land:

IMAG0847Cut to 40 minutes later, and I’m walking out with a few bags full of goodies: a little ghoul thing that makes spooky gurgling sounds when you press his stomach (who doesn’t want that?), a glow in the dark skull, some gray gauze tablecloth, Frankenstein monster cups, a spider web floor mat, and Hocus Pocus on dvd for 5 bucks. And I’m never not tempted to buy every single mask they have available, but I resisted for my wallet’s sake. It’s the greatest kind of shopping spree imaginable.

New buddy, Gregory.
New buddy, Gregory.
Me just before putting a Halloween mask on!
Me just before putting a Halloween mask on!

I’ve also recently stocked up on It Follows, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II: Director’s Cut (A genuinely awesome and uniquely atmospheric gem…more so if you distance it from the originals and accept it as a completely different beast) and Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors on dvd at FYE, which actually has a really badass and cheap horror selection. While I’m saving a lot of the heavy duty seasonal movies for when we’re approaching the big day, as I feel like I’m breaking some sort of Samhain law by tapping into the essential vault of Halloween fare early on —alright I admit it, I’ve already watched Trick R Treat— I really enjoy the pre-October movie ritual I’ve gotten into lately, watching eerie thrillers like Nightcrawler, What Lies Beneath, Prisoners, and The Gift, as soothing and satisfyingly dark/unsettling gateway movies to the Michael’s and the Freddy’s. But now is the time to break out the candy corn-flavored delicacies, take a break from buying expensive decorations off Amazon, and trick r treat yourself with the scariest movies the season has to offer. And don’t shy away from the oldies. There’s a great batch of classic horror on Netflix at the moment, including Black Sabbath, Mad House, and The Fly (if you haven’t watched the 1958, Goldblum-less put Price-full original, give it a whirl!). There’s also a great new streaming service called Shudder, currently in beta, which exclusively holds horror movies old and new. Well worth the few bucks a month!

Me as it gets closer to October
Me, as it gets closer to October.

On top of this, I’ve geared myself up by finishing seasons of “American Horror Story”, and watching at least one “Are You Afraid of the Dark” episode via YouTube before bed for a few weeks now. I also have about 60 spooky and ooky songs loaded into a new Spotify playlist. Halloween is here and I couldn’t be happier!

Stay tuned into the site for a plethora of October-friendly podcasts, essays and a brand new video series I’ve been working on titled “The Monster Mashketeers”, which is sort of a love letter to the holiday in video form.

Stay Spooky, everyone!

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