Your Halloween Bucket
Here's a list of Halloween(and horror)-related
things you can do. Many are specific to the Halloween season, but
the majority apply year-round. I think this is an essential list
of things any well-rounded Halloween fan must do before (s)he dies!
Decorate the house. This is
one of the neglected ones. Even if you can only do a little,
start there. It lets everyone know you do Halloween. We
were the first to start decorating on our block. Within a couple
years, almost everyone was.
or Treating. This is obvious if you are a kid (or have
some). However, if you don't go Trick or Treating anymore, then
give out candy. Keep the tradition alive!
spooky breakfast. Get some General Mills' monster cereals
for breakfast all October. The original three cereals (Count
Chocula, Frankenberry, and Boo Berry) come out around Halloween every
year. In 2013 they put out all five monster cereals (including
Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy) for the first time.
Time Warp! Go to a midnight showing of The Rocky
Picture Show. What? You're still a virgin?! Time
head to the theater and have your cherry popped. Rocky Horror is
most popular around Halloween, naturally, but it is shown year-round in
plenty theaters. Don't forget your toilet paper.
haunted house attractions. There are always several around
any large town. I don't think the build-up to Halloween is
complete if you don't hit at least one of these every year. Some
haunted houses open for a time outside of Halloween, like in February
for "date night" around Valentine's day, for example.
Halloween party. If none of your friends are throwing one,
then host one yourself. You get to decorate both inside and
out! Additionally, there are plenty of ???ideas specific to
Halloween parties, such as haunted house tours, games, etc.
Jack o'lantern. Do something original with it or blend it
in with your other decorations that year.
Disney's Haunted Mansion. There's one at most Disney parks
(i.e., World, Land, etc.). It's still my favorite ride in the
whole place. A technical marvel and a must-see.
to go. Spend Halloween in Salem, Mass. The
self-proclaimed world capital of Halloween. Features a Halloween
parade among many other attractions.
night at a "haunted house." There are many alleged
"haunted houses" around the country. Look for travel guides for
some local to you!
film buff. Work your way through the classic horror
films. Maybe one movie for each night of the month. Here's
a list of essential horror
night! Do a themed movie marathon. Just a few (too
guest! Search for at least an episode/movie hosted by each
of a dozen horror hosts: Elvira, Svengoolie, Zacherley, MST3K,
etc. Many of these can be found on YouTube if you can't find
episodes on DVD on airing on TV (e.g., Svengoolie is currently on MeTV,
and Elvira recently had new episodes in syndication).
- Classic Universal monster series:
Frankenstein or Wolf Man movies
- Series of sequels: Phantasm,
Hellraiser, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.
- Horror comedies: Dr.
Frankenstein, Ghostbusters, Transylvania 6-5000, Shaun of the Dead
- Musicals: Rocky Horror Picture
The Apple, Nudist Colony of the Dead, Sweeney Todd, Repo! The Genetic
Opera, Phantom of the Paradise, Little Shop of Horrors, Corpse Bride
- Meta horror movies: Child's
Seed of Chucky, Hellraiser: Hellworld, Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
- Haunted houses: House on Haunted
Hill, The Haunting, 13 Ghosts, Amityville, The Changling, Paranormal
- Halloween night: Kids' Halloween
specials, John Carpenter's Halloween, Trick or Treat
- Holiday-themed: Gremlins, Silent
Night/Deadly Night, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
- Lovecraftian (by and inspired-by HP
Lovecraft): Re-Animator, In The Mouth of Madness, Creepshow
- Clive Barker adapations: Candyman,
Hellbound, Nightbreed, Rawhead Rex, Underworld
- More ideas on this page.
to some horror mags. Sign up for Famous Monsters of
Filmland magazine for at least one year. Maybe Scary
magazine too (because that one's pretty good as well). And
there's also Fangoria if you're into current horror more than
horror comics. There are plenty Lovecraft and Clive Barker
adaptations out there. Then there are the classic horror comic
magazines like Creepy and Eerie and Vampirella,
as well as
sci-fi/fantasy titles with horror elements such as Heavy Metal
Epic. And there are the essential EC Comics titles like Tales
the Crypt and others.
classics. Read the titles that qualify as essential
Halloween literature: Frankenstein;
or, The Modern Prometheus (1823) by Mary Shelley
into the mythos. Read some H.P. Lovecraft and get into the
Cthulhu Mythos. He straddles the line between "classic" and
"modern," but I am also singling him out because these are among my
favorite works and are absolutely essential reading. You probably
will read more than this batch, but these are good starting points:
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
by Victor Hugo
- House of the Seven Gables
- Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and
Hyde (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson
- The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker
- Le Fantôme de
(The Phantom of the Opera) (1909-1911) by Gaston Leroux
- The Island of Doctor Moreau
by H.G. Wells
- The Fall of the House of Usher
(1839), The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841), The Masque of the Red
Death (1842), The Black Cat (1843), The Tell-Tale Heart (1843), The
Cask of Amontillado (1846), and other stories by Edgar Allan Poe
modern masters. Check out some contemporary authors like
any of the following:
- The Call of Cthulhu
- At the Mountains of Madness
- The Dunwich Horror
- The Shadow Over Innsmouth
- Stephen King - Carrie, Salem's
The Shining, or The Stand
- Clive Barker - The Books of Blood
(starting in 1984), The Hellbound Heart (1986), Cabal
(1988), or Imajica (1991)
- Anne Rice - Interview with the
Vampire (1976), The Witching Hour (1990), or The Mummy
- R.L. Stine - Goosebumps
(Seriously, these are a lot of fun. I read them to my four
- And others: Dean Koontz, John Saul,
horrific new sounds. Listen to at least one album each
(though a complete discography is better) of Halloween bands, everyone
from the classics to modern entries: The Misfits, The Cramps, Alice
Cooper, The HorrorPops, The Ghastly Ones, Zombie Girl, etc.
you cough up blood. Go to a karaoke bar and sing Halloween
songs. Some suggestions:
songs. If you play guitar (or any other instrument), learn
classic Halloween songs. For example:
- I Put a Spell on You by Screaming
- Flying Purple People Eater by Sheb
- Monster Mash by Bobby 'Boris'
Pickett & The Crypt Kickers
- The Time Warp from Rocky Horror
- Thriller by Michael Jackson
- Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.
- Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell
- Weird Science by Oingo Boingo
- The Time Warp from The Rocky
- This Is Halloween from The
- John Carpenter's Halloween
- Grim Grinning Ghosts from Disney's
- The Addams Family theme
- The Munsters theme
- Hell's Bells by AC/DC
custom latex mask. Pick a character or design something
original. You will learn to work with three or more materials
you've never worked with before, and you will attempt several
techniques as well. There are loads of YouTube tutorials that
make the process easy.
Aurora monster model kit. This is almost a
Halloween/horror tradition itself, dating from the monster craze of the
'50s/'60s. Today reissues of those models (and more!) are
produced by Moebius who have taken over the franchise.
costume. Who have you always wanted to be for Halloween
and haven't yet? Learn to sew! Start early, and you'll be
ready by Halloween night!
decorations. I have a long list of projects on this
website, and there are plenty more ideas around the web. For
example, look for designs to build a crank ghost.
your own scary short story. Maybe fan fiction or a
screenplay (adapt a favorite horror or sci-fi novel if you don't have
an original idea in mind).
somebody! Pranks are part of the season. Get some
props or a mask, and scare someone... preferably on video.