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I had trouble getting into the Halloween spirit this year. Thankfully, that all changed on Halloween itself.
I mentioned in previous newsletters that I’ve had trouble getting into the Halloween spirit this year. Thankfully, that changed on the holiday itself. In the morning, I uploaded this video where I looked back on a favorite horror fiction collection from my childhood. It hasn’t gone viral or anything, but I’m happy with the numbers so far. The second video will drop tomorrow, so make sure you subscribe.
I took a break from work on Tuesday to go to my daughter’s daycare for a Halloween party. She took pictures with Jean and me in costume, got up to sing with her friends, and went on a candy hunt in the backyard. She and Jean were both pumpkins. I wore a sheet because I couldn’t find a ghost costume I liked and that was reasonably priced. My cheapness was my downfall, however. Draping myself in a sheet that all but nullified my peripheral vision made for an uncomfortable morning. I have no idea how trick or treaters of previous generations did this.
It was fun, though. Our daughter didn’t sing when she was supposed to, but she did stand on stage making funny faces. She’s still two, after all.
Jean and I both got off work early because we had neighbors coming over with their kiddos to go trick or treating. I can’t remember if I mentioned it last year, but Halloween is an Event in my neighborhood. And yes, the capitalization was intentional.
Prior to going out, we all ate chili and chips and drank beer and Jell-O shots topped with gummy worms. There were five families in my house at the same time, kids acting rambunctious, adults chattering, and everyone trying on their costumes. I’m introverted and don’t like crowds (especially not in confined spaces), but it’s funny how those aspects of my personality fly by the wayside when I’m around people I like. I guess that’s why people at Ghoulish Book Fest or Killer Con are always shocked when they find out I’m introverted; I don’t act like an introvert at these events.
We hit the streets around 5:30, our troop of trick or treaters marching down the sidewalks and going door-to-door like a little costumed parade. My neighbor on one side always does a big production (for both Halloween and Christmas). This year, he had a bunch of spooky cartoons projecting on his garage door while his partner handed out full-size candy bars.
For the most part, I stuck by our daughter. She’d swapped out her pumpkin costume for a ghost costume we pulled out of her brother’s closet from a previous Halloween. I didn’t take her to every house on the route because I didn’t want to fall too far behind the group, but we got plenty of candy (and plenty of steps in to work it off).
Our oldest got a potato in his bucket for the second year in a row. I’m wondering if one of our neighbors grows them or something. He was dressed as Huggy Wuggy this year. For those not familiar, Huggy is one of the antagonists from the video game Poppy Playtime. He’s a lanky monster with rows of sharp teeth and covered in blue fur. At one point, our son led several other kids in chanting the character’s name. It was kind of surreal.
When we got home and the kids went to bed, Jean and I watched a few episodes of Designated Survivor. After which, I turned to her and said that I loved her and loved the show, but “it’s Halloween, and by God, I want to watch some horror.” Not being a horror fan, she retired to bed. I rewatched the movie Eli on Netflix.
I first saw Eli a few years ago and remembered loving it. Upon revisiting, I appreciate it even more. The ending, which I loved, did admittedly feel like a left turn on first viewing. I didn’t realize that it was foreshadowed throughout the movie until this time watching it. That’s foreshadowing done right. If you can pull it off where it’s so subtle that it’s almost subliminal, you’ve got a gem on your hands.
It’s directed by Ciaran Foy (Sinister 2) and stars Kelly Reilly (Beth from Yellowstone) and Sadie Sink (Max from Stranger Things). If you haven’t watched it, and you like supernatural horror centered around a family, Eli is something you’re bound to enjoy.
I finished up the night falling asleep around 1am, halfway through Jaws. All I needed to get into the spirit of the holiday was the holiday itself. Funny how some years can be like that.
I was interviewed by author and editor Candace Nola over on her website in preparation for the publication of Dark Disasters, a new splatterpunk anthology published by her and featuring a new story of mine and some choice fiction by several other horror luminaries. You can read the interview here.
Speaking of anthologies, Splatterpunk’s Basement of Horrors, featuring my story “Something Pagan” alongside works by some of the absolute best in the business, is up for preorder. All profits benefit Herriot Hospice Homecare, who help people living with terminal cancer.
The most recent episode of Make Your Own Damn Podcast is up on our Patreon. Jeff discusses this year’s runaway hit Talk to Me, while I react to The Toxic Avenger (2023). You can listen here and our archive of bonus episodes for just a buck.
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