The idea behind “trick or treat” is the implied threat of playing tricks on a homeowner if the treats aren’t given. That’s extortion, but it's a big part of how we celebrate Halloween. We often don't explain it that way to our kids.
But Nana the border collie (previously at Neatorama) has a better technique, the “trick for treat”! She goes to a neighbor in her ladybug costume and performs her best tricks to earn treats. -via Tastefully Offensive
The Groovie Goolies could have easily existed in the same cartoon universe as Scooby Doo and the gang, but surprisingly it was actually a spin-off of The Sabrina the Teenage Witch Show.
With Drac on the organ, Frankie on drums and Wolfie on lead guitar-like instrument, the Groovie Goolies were totally hip and always ready to rock the stage for the fine freaks who called Horrible Hall home.
While they're not technically monsters like their creepy neighbors The Munsters, The Addams Family are creepy and kooky enough to be considered honorary monsters.
Riding high on their comeback thanks to the success of the movie adaptations, The Addams Family finally received a well-deserved animated series and introduced a whole new generation to the first family of the macabre.
Many classic '80s movies were transformed into animated series, but Teen Wolf stayed true to the movie and gave us a glimpse into the home life of the Wolf.
With his average middle class lycanthropic family at his side, Scott Howard tries to tackle his teen years without wolfing out every time he gets overexcited. The show was okay, but the intro was totally radical!
Kevin and Amber Judd of Creative Lighting Displays have once again set up a friend’s house to entertain passers-by for Halloween This year’s show features the songs “Ghostbusters,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “This is Halloween,” and Bobby Pickett’s “Monster Mash.”
Thousands of color-changing LED lights are accompanied by strobe lights, flood lights, and two Matrix boards, as well as tombstones and hand-carved pumpkins. My favorite new feature is the flames in the windows. If you can get to Riverside, California, here are the particulars for the show. -via HuffPo
Cliff Pickover's new book is Death and the Afterlife: A Chronological Journey, from Cremation to Quantum Resurrection. Death is the one thing we all have in common, and it's been that way ever since humans have been around. Not only have people in every historical era wrestled with the knowledge of one's own impending death, but each era and culture has developed its own customs, mythology, and folklore surrouding our ultimate fate and what may come after. Some of these ideas are universal; others are unique to the time and place. Death has been studied in the context of religion, psychology, biology, physics, philosophy, medicine, and art.
Death and the Afterlife follows the format of Pickover's earlier projects The Math Book, The Physics Book, and The Medical Book, in that items about the history of beliefs and customs surrounding death are laid out in chronological order, with a page devoted to each. Accompanying each page is a gorgeous, but often terrifying illustration on the subject at hand. You can easily skip around to subjects that catch your fancy, or read them in order, a little at a time, or all at once. The 100 entries tackle diverse ideas such as funeral rites, heaven and hell, reincarnation, autopsies, ghosts, premature burial, cryonics, abortion, ossuaries, kamikaze pilots, vampires, hospice, capital punishment, near-death experiences... all the way to the end of the universe and beyond.
1550 BC: Egyptian Book of the Dead. The ancient Egyptian ritual of “opening of the mouth” described in the Book of the Dead is performed so that the deceased can eat and drink in the afterlife. In this c. 1300 BCE papyrus, the jackal-headed god Anubis is shown supporting the mummy of the scribe Hunefer while three priests carry out the ritual.
From the introduction to Death and the Afterlife:
I have had a longtime fascination with death, dying, consciousness, the afterlife, and topics at the borderlands of science. Some of my interest was rekindled after reading freelance writer Greta Christina’s 2005 essay “Comforting Thoughts about Death That Have Nothing to Do with God.” Greta writes, “The fact that your life span is an infinitesimally tiny fragment in the life of the universe, that there is, at the very least, a strong possibility that when you die, you disappear completely and forever, and that in five hundred years nobody will remember you . . . [this] can make you feel erased, wipe out joy, make your life seem like ashes in your hands.” And then I sigh. Greta admits that she doesn’t know what happens when we die, but she doesn’t think this essential mystery really matters. She reminds us that we should be happy because it is amazing that we even get a chance to be alive. We get to be conscious: “We get to be connected with each other and with the world, and we get to be aware of that connection and to spend a few years mucking about its possibilities.” Her essay ends on a bright note as she enumerates items that contribute to her happiness, such as Shakespeare, sex, five-spice chicken, Thai restaurants, Louis Armstrong, and drifting patterns in the clouds.
As you read through Death and the Afterlife, remember that even if we may consider some of the ideas and rituals surrounding death unscientific, these are all still worthy areas of study. And the subjects we address are not all depressing. Our rituals and myths are, at minimum, fascinating models of human understanding and creativity—and of how we reach across cultures to understand one another and learn about what we hold sacred.
In this, the latest episode of Anglophenia, host Kate Arnell tries to pull a fast one on us by claiming that the idea of Halloween originated in the U.K. Or is she pulling a fast one after all? Listen to her reasoning and decide for yourself. Via Laughing Squid
Marc Evan and Chris Soria have been best friends since 6th grade. They bonded over horror movies, once designed a haunted house at their school, and went to art school together. They worked their way through school at restaurants and bars, where they had opportunity to carve pumpkins and put their design skills to work. Over time, they became really good at it.
Around Halloween of 2007, Marc and Chris began taking photos of their pumpkins and posting them to a Flickr account. Fortuitously, an editor at Wired Magazine came across one of the images and published a short write-up on them.
The results of this tiny feature could not have been forecasted: almost immediately, Marc and Chris were flooded with inquiries and orders -- including a massive request from the New York Yankees. Marc recalls:
“It was right around the World Series, and Yankee Stadium called us to make fifty pumpkins for their skybox seats, each with this intricate logo design. At that point, we figured it was probably time to start a business.”
With little experience in the business world, the two artists charged the Yankees $50 per pumpkin, and ended up taking a loss on the deal.
How do you light a Jack O’Lantern under water? Nature has its ways, as we see in this comic from Liz Climo. The Jack O’Lantern instantly gets not only a light, but scary teeth, too! Only Liz Climo could make Mr. Blobby and an anglerfish look cute. She has several new comics in which the animals try out new Halloween costumes. See them at her Tumblr blog.
The Twitter account Skeletontunes began earlier this month and took the Twittersphere by storm. Every Tweet is the same video, a six-second sequence of clips from the hilarious classic dancing skeleton video. What’s different is that each is set to a different pop song. Scroll through and you will find a song you can’t wait to hear a skeleton dance to. My favorite is the first one.
Who played the best Dracula in the movies? You first think of Bela Lugosi, but there was Christopher Lee, Frank Langella, Gary Oldman, and John Carradine, too. Or maybe you preferred a comedic Dracula, like Leslie Neilsen or George Hamilton. Then there was Max Schreck and Klaus Kinski, whose characters were named Count Orlock, but we all know who that vampire was supposed to be. Den of Geek goes through the various incarnations of Dracula (actually more than 13), including a few that you may never have heard of before. So you might want to look those movies up, for a new Dracula experience this Halloween.
It’s an annual tradition to watch Charlie Brown receive rocks in his trick-or-treat bag and Linus mangle Halloween lore in the 1966 TV special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Now in it’s 50th year, you probably know the script by heart. But you might not know how much was riding on the success of the Halloween special, or other behind the scenes facts. Here’s your chance to find out.
2. THE VOICE OF VIOLET PUKED AFTER EVERY RECORDING SESSION.
It’s standard practice these days to use adult actors to mimic juvenile cartoon characters: adults are (presumably) better able to take direction and deliver a performance in line with the director’s wishes. But for many Peanuts specials, children were used to voice Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and the rest. Anne Altieri, who portrayed both Violet and Frieda, was so nervous to be part of the show that she threw up every time she was done with a recording session.
5. THE MUSIC COMPOSER WAS FOUND NAKED BY COPS.
The jazzy scores of the early Peanuts specials were the work of composer Vince Guaraldi. When he was busy putting together “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” for the show, he decided to break for a shower. When he came out, he thought he heard noises outside and went to investigate, naked, and locked himself out in the process. Keyless, Guaraldi tried climbing a ladder to a second-floor window when cops spotted him. “Don’t shoot,” he said. “I’m the Great Pumpkin.” Police, who were many months away from getting the joke, let him back inside.
Halloween is our favorite time of the year, but it can be stressful, particularly for parents who don't have enough time or money to make or buy their little one the perfect costume. But you can make a pretty awesome costume for surprisingly little money and here are a few ideas for those who prefer to DIY over buy, but still want something pretty simple.
Dress up your little cutie in his or her fanciest clothes, then add a gold-painted cardboard cutout of a windup key and you have an adorable little windup doll.
Every little girl is wonderful, but with a blue tutu, some felt stars and a Wonder Woman tee, she can actually become Wonder Woman as well. Throw in a tiara and wrist cuffs on older girls and you've got a full, fashionable ensemble.
Christine McConnell (previously at Neatorama) went all out in decorating her parents’ house for Halloween! It involved covering up some windows, but worth it for a couple of weeks of frightening the neighborhood children. The eyes and teeth are painted foam board. An album at imgur has photos of both the process and the finished product. Don’t miss the nighttime picture, where it’s all lit up in green! -via reddit
If you were a cutting-edge internet star -and a hamster- it only makes sense to trick-or-treat as the Pizza Rat! That’s almost as funny as Bunny Trump. And the guinea pig gets to go as the airplane scene from Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. -Thanks, Jake!
Halloween mania has entered the operating room. Let’s hope this surgical sequence is a horror film instead of supposedly mirroring real life. This is only the beginning of the longer comic you can read at Buttersafe. You may or may not be able to see the punch line coming “a mile away.” Either way, it’s both satisfying and groan-producing.
Jeff Wysaski pulled a new Obvious Plant prank for people shopping for Halloween costumes. These fake costume descriptions were nestled in with the real ones at a Halloween shop, but alas, they are not real costumes. I’d like to think if there were, there would be people who would buy them just for the lulz.
The latest "100 years" video from Mode runs down Halloween costumes over the past century, with one for each decade. The selected costumes certainly do not represent all Halloween costumes of the era, but the ones featured show the influence of pop culture as it progresses.
This is fun to watch, and I’m glad they didn’t use the cheapest store-bought costumes available during those times. Still, I kind of wish that someone would do the same thing with more costumes and less dress-up time.
Thinking of having a Halloween party or just interested in having a cocktail or two as the kiddies are out collecting their candy? The Chicago Tribune asked prominent bartenders to submit their best Halloween drink recipes. The resulting collection is a scream.
One example is the "Iron Complex," a recipe supplied by Revae Schneider of Femme du Coupe, a Chicago mixology company. The cherry lambic in this chilling libation lends the appearance of blood swirling through the glass:
Combine Scotch, ginger syrup, lime juice and sage in a cocktail shaker; add ice. Shake for 30 seconds, then pour into a glass of your choice over ice. Hold a spoon over the drink with the back facing up; slowly pour cherry lambic onto the spoon, letting it drizzle into the drink.
We love some good art and some great Halloween costumes -and every now and then the two combine into somehting fantastic. This great Flavorwire article shows just how magical the blend of art and costumery can be.
One of the greatest things about these art costumes is the fact that a lot of them are actually easy, they just require a lot of creativity.
Of course, you don't have to go serious just because you want to go artsy...
Night of the Living Dead (1968), directed by 28-year-old George A. Romero, changed the image of zombies in popular culture from enslaved workers of Caribbean voodoo wizards to hungry all-American flesh-eaters.
The film’s budget was tiny: just $114,000. It eventually grossed $30 million worldwide.
The actors who played the zombies were friends and clients of Romero’s struggling film production company. They had to provide their own costumes. Their pay? $1 and a T-shirt.
The blood was chocolate syrup, and the gory body parts came from one of the producers who was also a butcher.
The word “zombie” never appears in the movie.
Night of the Living Dead featured an African American as the lead of an otherwise all-white cast. That was almost unheard of in 1968.
Last week we went to visit The Rise of the Jack-O-Lanterns at the San Diego Safari Park. This incredible pumpkin-carving festival features over 5,000 pumpkins carved throughout the week so there are fresh ones on display every weekend from now until Halloween. If you're not in San Diego, you can also check out The Rise in Los Angeles and New York and I highly recommend the visit. Here are some highlights from our experience though I get the feeling each event has unique attractions so what you see here is probably a bit different than what you might see in person.
At the start of the event you could see carvers making new pumpkins -in part I'm sure it was to show that the pumpkin works of art were actually real and carved fresh before the event, but it also helped emphasize the talent and creativity of the artists.
Still, as cool as these are, they are nowhere near as impressive as the ones actually inside the exhibit.
It seems appropriate that while there we traditional signs around the event, the main one was made from pumpkins -it also seemed oddly appropriate that like Halloween pumpkins, one of the letters had gone out.
This pumpkin sentinel was on guard to protect his other carved friends.
Each area had a theme and the first theme was Under the Sea and here was the welcome sign.
They say death rides a white horse, but we really can’t be sure of the color when the horse is wearing a Halloween costume! If you were trick-or-treating in a rural area where the houses were miles apart, you’d want a ride, wouldn’t you? And if you’re going to dress as a skeleton, you may as well dress up your horse, too! These youngsters are part of a collection of 30 vintage Halloween photos at The Post-Mortem Post. The images are from back in the days when the whole point of dressing up for Halloween was to be scary, and the homemade costumes were even creepier than the store-bought masks. -via Everlasting Blort
It’s the season for our attention to turn to zombies, for Halloween, for the return of The Walking Dead, for zombie walks, and just for fun. Robert Jones put together this supercut of zombies we’ve seen in so many horror movies over the years.
Some are lame, some ridiculous, some scary, and some are the kind that would make you ill if you had to look at them any longer than this. The song is “Pretend We’re Dead” by L7. -via Tastefully Offensive
The way we celebrate Halloween involves buying lots and lots of cheap decorations manufactured in countries that don’t have the same traditions or language. It’s not surprising that items slip through that don’t quite make sense because of spelling errors, like the obtuse costume pictured. Even so, it is kind of acute. Notice they spelled angel correctly in the Spanish text.
Cosplayer Ivy Star showed the costume she unveiled at Dragoncon New York last weekend. I hope it dawns on you before you can read this whole post. She mashed two TV genres together for this one. The two genres are reality TV and science fiction. The science fiction is Star Trek. The reality TV is Keeping up with the Kardashians. You’ve almost got it: the Cardassians are a humanoid species from the Alpha Quadrant noted for their gray skin and facial ridges. Therefore, behold Kim Cardassian.
Quick, who played Frankenstein’s monster? Boris Karloff, of course! Karloff played the monster three times, but the role was also filled by Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr., and Glenn Strange. Who? Glenn Strange doesn’t have the name recognition that Karloff had, but he played the monster in three movie -just like Karloff. The 6’5” Strange made his living playing cowboys in Western movies and TV shows, and he isn’t much remembered for that, either.
As the story goes, while making up Strange for yet another cowboy picture in 1944, Universal makeup legend Jack Pierce offered him a few bucks to stay late that night so Pierce could try an experiment. Strange agreed, and when Pierce finished working on him that night and he saw the results, his first response was “I look like Boris Karloff.”
You might know Kirk “The Ripper” Hammett as the lead guitarist for Metallica, but he’s also a serious collector of horror ephemera and memorabilia. It started when he was a child and was thrilled to be terrified by the 1962 movie The Day of the Triffids. He started collecting comic books, horror magazines, and models, as much as he could with a kids’ budget. After hitting it big with Metallica, his collecting went into overdrive, as he could then acquire rare and coveted items.
In 2012, he published a book on his collection called Too Much Horror Business, and the following year, he created “Kirk’s Crypt” to display some of his horror memorabilia at the Orion Music + More metal festival in Detroit. Kirk’s Crypt inspired him to launch a full-on three-day horror convention, Kirk Von Hammett’s Fear FestEvil, in his hometown of San Francisco in 2014. The annual event has featured interactive displays, including one on Hammett’s monster collection; performances by metal bands like Carcass, Death Angel, and Hammett’s pre-Metallica band Exodus; and guest appearances by modern horror actors, directors, and makeup artists, as well as the children of classic horror stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Currently, travelers going through San Francisco on Virgin or American Airlines can view part of Hammett’s horror collection at the San Francisco International Airport Museum’s “Classic Monsters: The Kirk Hammett Collection” exhibition in Terminal 2.
Hammett talked to Collectors Weekly about how his obsession with horror developed, the history of horror films and the memorabilia they spawned, and how he learned the business of collecting such rare items as movie props and custom horror guitars. There’s a bonus gallery of classic horror memorabilia, too.
Creatures of the night don't come much more hauntingly beautiful than Vampira, TV's first horror host who inspired many creepy characters to come, including Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
Vampira is a character created by the late Maila Nurmi, and although she inspired future generations with her fiendish fashion sense and vampy persona, Maila's time in the spotlight was sadly short lived.
Maila spent her golden years painting portraits of Vampira and selling them through an art dealer in L.A., her iconic character kept alive via paint covered canvas.
Here's a short video featuring Maila discussing where her passion for painting began: