Tag Archives: Halloween

Halloween in a Wind Storm!

Normally, I’d put this on my other blog, but since Halloween falls on a Bitchspot day, it’s going to wind up here this year.  I am now and have always been a huge Halloween nerd, I grew up building haunted houses and decorating the yard and scaring the crap out of all comers, back in the good old days where you could get away with that kind of thing.  And as I got older and got married, I never lost that. My opinion was always go big or go home and I always did.  In fact, we had a house on 16 acres for many, many years where I intended to go ridiculously massive in my haunt efforts.

Two things changed that.  First, society got a lot more litigious and you couldn’t do anything open to the public, at least anything big open to the public, without carrying a ton of insurance and secondly, the house we lived in got no trick or treaters.  None. We got, I kid you not, two people coming to the door, total, over the course of 17 years.  And why bother putting up decorations if nobody was ever going to see them?  So over the years, the displays got smaller and smaller until eventually, I just gave up.

So when we moved into the middle of a neighborhood, it was an opportunity to get back to it.  Last year, we had been here for only a couple of months and I was working 70+ hours a week so I had no time at all to decorate.  My daughter handed out candy and we got a pretty decent turnout, so I knew that this year, I wanted to actually do something.

The problem is, a lot of  our decorations are gone.  We weren’t using them so we had thrown a lot out, sold a lot and some things were just not stored well so they deteriorated over the years.  So when we started looking at what we had, we knew we had to start building.  This year isn’t going to be extravagant, but we’re sure doing more than anyone else in the neighborhood, at least so far.

Unfortunately, where we live now is really, really windy.  You might remember last year, a wind storm ripped our roof clean off.  So wind, especially in the spring and fall, is always an issue and this is no different.  Everything gets destroyed.  All of our props have been damaged, some severely.  In fact, I’ve had to bring in a lot of props and reinforce them because they have literally self-destructed in the wind.  Our flying ghost in our graveyard exploded into a dozen pieces, so much so that I have had to brace it upright with 6′ rebar stakes driven into the ground, such that it literally can no longer move.  And we’ve had tombstones blow up, even the ones with plywood backers.  I have had to replace the 1/2″ plywood with 2x4s to have any hope of standing up in the wind.  One of our other stand-up props now has 150 lbs of rocks piled on it’s base to keep it from falling over, because 100lbs wasn’t enough!

It might not be so bad if I could just drive rebar into the ground, but we have super high clay soil that is as hard as a rock and digging in it at all is nigh impossible.  If you get it wet, it dries as hard as concrete, meaning anything that I bury is going to be there forever with no hope of getting it out.  So just about everything is surface mounted and weighted with as much weight as I can get on it.

Luckily, we’re pretty much set, as I write this, for Halloween.  All of the props have been strengthened as much as humanly possible, everything we’re building has been built and I’ve already placed some orders for things to do for next year.  Because while we’re still the top haunt out there in the neighborhood at the moment, this is nothing compared to what we’re going to be doing next year and going forward.  It feels really good to be back in the game.  This is going to be fun!

Should Kids Get Scared?

This seems like a pretty good topic for Halloween, so good in fact that I’ll do two posts on Saturday.  I subscribe to a couple of movie review YouTube channels and one of them is the Nostalgia Critic.  He’s usually funny, his reviews are entertaining, but you don’t turn to any of these channels for in-depth, inciteful film analysis.  That said though, he put up a video on scaring kids in movies that I thought was quite good and I wanted to aim some people his way and talk about the subject.  I’ll include the video later in the post, but to go take a look at his channel, click here.

Americans, by and large, have really turned our kids into a bunch of pussies. Helicopter parents refuse to allow their children to fail, to face the problems and pains of real life, they want to keep them safe and protected from the world and, to a certain degree, there’s nothing wrong with that.  Every parent wants to keep their kids safe, but there’s a difference between keeping them safe and keeping them ignorant.

Whether they like it or not, sooner or later, and it’s becoming later and later unfortunately, these kids are going to have to face the real world alone, on its own terms, complete with all the horrors and pain that it holds and far too many of them are just not prepared.  That’s why they go running home to mommy and daddy, because they have never been prepared to face reality.

I think this is very true in the movies we let kids see today.  As the Nostalgia Critic points out, older kids films are downright scary.  I think that they should be scary.  I think that children’s entertainment has become far too coddling, due to the increasing intolerance of anything remotely uncomfortable by helicopter parents, and this is not preparing these children for the reality that they’re going to face when they grow up.  Being scared is a good thing.  I’m not saying terrify your children into a paranoid mess, I’m saying that they need to be exposed to the reality around them.  Don’t lie to them.  Let them know the truth, even if the truth is going to make them uncomfortable.  If they cannot deal with the truth, how do you expect them to become self-sufficient and able to raise children of their own?  You are not doing your kids any good in the long run by treating them like china dolls.  They need to learn how to handle the real world because if they don’t figure that out, they are going to break into a million emotional pieces the first time they are faced with any kind of adversity.  Scares in movies and on TV and in books, those help get them ready to accept that things might not always go their way, that things might not always be rosy and that’s a tremendously important lesson to learn for every single person, everywhere.  It’s just a shame that so many will never be taught that lesson by their parents and will spend their lives unable to deal with reality.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tst_xE53Z0′]

What the Hell is Wrong with Feminists?

Halloween-costume-2There’s apparently a big bruhaha going on over a Subway commercial where women are told to stop eating burgers and presumably eat Subway so that they’ll fit into sexy Halloween costumes.  There are women out there whining about how sexist it is that they’re expected to wear sexy costumes! How dare anyone suggest that! Well, nobody is suggesting it, they’re simply acknowledging the reality, that there are an awful lot of sexy costumes out there that women choose, yes CHOOSE, of their own free will, to put on.  Nobody is holding a gun to their head and forcing them to wear these costumes, in fact, nobody really gives a damn if you wear a costume at all.  You make that decision for yourself and now you’re whining about it?

Holy shit, what is wrong with you women?  Is the very existence of a costume reason for you to bitch and whine that someone ought to stop it because you don’t like it?  Grow the fuck up!  Seriously, this is just another stupid feminist nonsensical cause to get riled up about.  Wear what you want.  Wear a bag over your head, it can only help some of you.  Just shut the fuck up about ridiculous invented controversies that mean absolutely nothing.

The more that I see feminists complain about stupid stuff, the more that I see them want to boycott and control the language, the more laughable they are.  Do these people ever stop to think how pathetic their antics make them look? Why is anyone going to feel sorry for these poor women who are convinced they are being forced at knife-point to put on a slutty Cinderella costume and parade around with their tits hanging out, especially when nothing of the sort is going on?  If you don’t want to wear it, guess what?  You don’t have to wear it!  Get over yourself!

So here’s the “offending” Subway commercial.  I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with it, except in the tiny little liberal heads of uber-feminist idiots who think everyone ought to do what they’re told and pretend that there’s a vast male conspiracy to make them look like a slut.  Most of these women dress that way anyhow, what are they complaining about?

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RasO_knJuf4′]

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Subway.

What Killed Halloween For Me

Haunted HouseIt seems that every year, I write a Halloween post, despondent over the current state of the holiday and wishing things were still the way they used to be, back in the day.  This isn’t just a case of “good old dayism”, where people have a convenient and nostalgic memory of the past, there have been some serious and dramatic changes in the way Halloween has been celebrated over the past 30 years or so and, as far as I’m concerned, all for the worse.

So I sat down and thought about this and I came up with two causes for these changes and, no surprise, they fall to the two most talked about evils on this blog, religion and liberalism.

See, back in the old days, kids went door to door in droves, begging for candy, usually dressed up in creative and inventive costumes that they and their parents put together.  It wasn’t a pre-packaged affair.  You didn’t go buy a costume from a store, you made it yourself and a lot of kids were really, really inventive.  Sure, you saw your fair share of ghosts, white sheets with eye-holes cut out, but you also saw people with elaborate costumes that would fit right into a convention masquerade contest.

It wasn’t just kids though, lots of adults got into the act.  I know that in the half-dozen blocks around where I lived, there were at least 6-8 large, elaborate haunted houses that people built in their garages or back yards, free to anyone who wanted to go through them.  That was really where I stood out, every year, my haunted house got bigger and bigger until it filled the garage, the driveway and the back yard.  It had more than a dozen themed rooms and I pulled no punches.  I made it as scary (not excessively gross) as I possibly could and I put no restrictions on who could go through it.  Sure, I warned people but if some 6-year old kid wanted to go through, I didn’t stop them, that was the job of their parents, not me.

Of course, trick-or-treating has largely gone the way of the dinosaur in a lot of places because it’s “dangerous”.  No, the liberals wanted people to trick-or-treat in the safety of malls, where carefully checked pre-packaged candy was handed out by people who had background checks to make sure they weren’t sex offenders and kids were only allowed to wear pre-approved, non-offensive costumes so everyone had a bland, boring time.  Parents loved it because they didn’t have to worry.  Kids loved it because they didn’t have to walk for miles to fill up their bags with candy.  The only people who hated it were the people who loved Halloween.

On the other side were the religious who were concerned that Halloween was evil and that dressing up in a scary costume was the same as making a pact with the devil.  They forced schools to stop having Halloween parties and made them call it a “Fall Festival”.  They wouldn’t permit anyone to act in a manner disrespecting their religious superiority.  Instantly, schools, which had these big parties with lots of costumes, went to un-costumed affairs with politically correct themes.  It’s not surprising that the schools are largely run by the liberals either.

So now we have an annual safe Halloween down Main Street, held only during the daylight hours of 3-5pm, where helicopter parents carry their commercially costumed kids up and down the street to be filled with perfectly safe candy and pre-approved advertising.  You can’t stand out there and hand out anything, food or otherwise, unless you’ve been properly vetted.  There are some small groups of kids that still go door-to-door, but not where I am, I haven’t had a single trick-or-treater in over a decade.  I stopped decorating long ago, I don’t buy candy to hand out, only a couple of bags for the family to share, I spend my Halloween watching TV.  There’s really nothing else to do.

In the interest of full disclosure though, there might be one thing that the conservatives did to hurt Halloween too.  See, back when we were all putting up our own Haunted Houses, nobody ever had an insurance rider in case something happened.  The building inspectors didn’t come out and make sure it was up to code.  It was just good, clean fun that everyone overlooked for the couple of days it was up and then, it was taken down for another year. Today, that would never fly.  You’d have to have special insurance and government permits to run something, even for free, and your house would have to be properly zoned, just in case someone got hurt (nobody ever did in my experience).  We live in an absurdly litigious society, where anyone will sue anyone else at the drop of a hat if they think there’s money to be made.  That needs to change too.

I really wish the old Halloween would come back, but as society becomes liberalized, as religion’s hold remains powerful, the chances of that are slim.  Halloween used to be fun.  Now it’s a homogenized, sanitized, commercialized celebration of mediocrity.  Where’s the fun in that?

Quickie Halloween Followup

Last night, my daughter got some silly handout from a local Catholic church, it’s a 3-inch wide flyer on the history of Halloween, English on one side, Spanish on the other.  Honestly, for the first half, it’s extremely historically accurate, it describes where the holiday came from, how begging for treats started, I’m pretty impressed that the first half is so educational.

Then you get to the second half and it’s all religious nonsense, as I’m sure everyone expected.  However, there was one line that I just have to post for you because the cognitive dissonance contained within is mind-blowing.  Right after a section on why kids dress up, we get:

Unfortunately, when people dress as witches, devils, goblins, it can lead to superstition.

I read that to my wife and she started laughing hysterically.  The jaw-dropping stupidity is slathered thick with this one, especially since the last paragraph, of which the above is the first sentence, they lay on the God-delusion heavily.  Yes, dressing up like fantasy creatures can lead to superstition, but luckily, the Catholic Church is here to show you how to do it right?

Honestly, does anyone read these before they go stuffing them in kid’s bags?

Halloween Night Out

With the kids out for the night, my wife and I decided to take a run down to one of the historic districts where they go all out with Halloween decorations.  We went just before dark to avoid the crowds, some of this probably looks a bit spookier at night.  This is the kind of thing that I used to do every year, although I used to go bigger and scarier, but it’s still nice to see people making an effort.

It’s almost enough to make me want to do something next year to put all of this to shame.  Almost, but not quite.

Blasphemous Halloween

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Jesus R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”

In the distant past, I used to really love Halloween, it was my favorite holiday, even when I was a Christian.  I spent my childhood building elaborate haunted houses in my parent’s garage and driveway and I’d have 500+ people go through it, free of charge, on All Hallow’s Eve.  I did this for many, many years until Halloween stopped being about scaring people and about getting free candy.  Kids stopped trick-or-treating and started going to malls.  It stopped being fun.

Now that my kids are pretty much too old to dress up, now that they go to their friend’s houses on Halloween to watch scary movies and play video games, and since we haven’t had a single trick-or-treater come to our door in over a decade so there’s no point in doing any decorating at all, I’ve pretty much started ignoring it, there’s no point to it these days.

However, sometimes you come across a bunch of creative Halloween costumes that just make you laugh

Earlier this year, an ancient Spanish fresco, Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Elias Garcia Martinez, was damaged after 80-year-old Cecilia Giménez tried to restore it. She did far more damage to the piece, now popularly known as “Monkey Jesus”.  So… why not do a costume?

Costume by Cecilia Gimenez

Since any drawing or depiction of Mohammed is blasphemy, we can safely assume that those peace-loving Muslims have already sent this guy to eternal damnation.

BLASPHEMY! Kill the infidels in the name of the religion of peace!

It makes sense since the Vatican is in the middle of Italy, home of the mafia.  The Pope has plenty of enforcers to do his bidding, why not make them look the part?

Let us make you an offer you can’t refuse.

With as many child molestation cases as there are, bleeding the Catholic Church dry, why not just tell it like it is?

Obviously doing nothing wrong…

And, of course, the most predictable costume, zombie Jesus.  Any ancient mythological figure that stumbles out of a grave after three days is almost certainly looking for brains, which sort of explains why most of his followers have none.

Came back from the dead to eat your brains!

I’ve Grown to Hate Halloween

I bring this up now for a couple of reasons.  Way, way back in the old days, I’d start planning and setting up for my annual Halloween haunted house right about now.  Yes, somewhere around the end of July, I’d shift into high gear and get everything I needed to build finished, plans finalized, etc.  I’d be making my final purchases, everything I needed for the big event, right about now as well.  Today, I got an e-mail from a Halloween retailer, reminding me that it was coming up.

You know something?  I hate it.  Not the holiday itself, but what it’s become.  It used to be fun.  It used to be exciting.  It used to mean something.  Now it’s yet another generic, sanitized, pointless exercise in futility, just like every other holiday we have.

Let’s set the way back machine, Sherman, back to the early 80s.  I used to set up elaborate displays in my parent’s driveway (soon to encompass the garage, back yard, etc.).  I enlisted all of my friends, we went all out, it was great fun.  I used to run hundreds of people through my haunted house every year and nobody ever had a problem, there were no need for permits, no need for insurance, nobody ever got hurt, nobody ever sued anyone, it was just a bunch of kids having a good time.  People used to come from miles around to go through my haunted house, I knew people who did the same thing a couple of streets over and we sort of competed in a friendly manner to see who could be the scariest.  Usually I won. I took great pride in scaring the shit out of people, I wasn’t politically correct, back in the days before such things, I told scary stories and everyone liked them.

Today though, it’s gotten so ridiculously sanitized, nobody goes trick-or-treating anymore, nobody puts up displays, nobody does anything.  Kids walk around in approved costumes at malls, where safe candy in protective wrappers is handed out by bored store employees who couldn’t care less and just want the torture to be over.  It’s all safe, sane and utterly boring.  I couldn’t put up a haunted house today if I wanted to, the licensing and insurance regulations would bankrupt me.  Besides, it isn’t like any trick-or-treaters ever come to the door anyhow.  In the 12 years we’ve lived here, we’ve had a grand total of *2* people ever come to the door on Halloween and they were teenagers in bad costumes looking for free candy.  I’ve tried, once or twice, to put up decorations, I have them I might as well try to get some use out of them, but it’s pointless.  Nobody see them, nobody cares.

What’s really too bad is that my kids are just at the age where trick-or-treating becomes part of their past.  We just buy candy, we don’t need to put them in costumes and parade them up and down Main Street for the hour and a half of “approved” fun in broad sunlight.  That’s the time that I really started getting into Halloween, when I had nothing to do that night but scare the crap out of people.

They’ll never have that experience.  Thinking about it makes me really sad.