Friday, October 1, 2010

31 Reasons to Love October

As some of you know and others don't care about, I spent the last year or so contributing to Pop Syndicate, a recently renovated website that lost all its past content (and writers). The following article appeared in 2009 and since you can't find it anywhere else in InterWorld, I'm rerunning it here. Apologies for the deja vu.
31. Columbus Day:  Because we (well, not me) sometimes get a much needed Monday off while occasionally pausing to remember the start of Native American genocide

30. Seasonal vegetables: Squash and zucchini at their best
29. Halloween marathons:   Certainly this should have a better ranking but in recent years, “marathon” implied a constant rotation of Parts IV & V on AMC. Not the high points of the series, but notable for a) featuring current Scream Queen Danielle Harris and b) interestingly enough, following Friday the 13th‘s formula of introducing a promising twist at the end of the fourth installment only to completely rewrite it in the sub par fifth.
28. A new Saw:  Quit your groaning, especially if you’re about to huff and puff with some totally unwarranted praise upon some other franchise. Part VI  came as a pleasantly smart/gross/satirical surprise, and with director Kevin Greutert returning (after his talented fingers were pried off the Paranormal Activity sequel by a wary Lions Gate), I continue to smile at the prospect of seeing increasingly ridiculous murders, convoluted morality, and new depths of gravel by the scratch-tastic voice of Tobin Bell.

27. Pumpkin lattes:  Proving again that anything can be improved with a little bit o’ October 
26. Apple cider:  Cold or hot, it smells like autumn and tastes like heaven
25. Horror Conventions:  Sure, they’re held year round, but hit one up on October’s last weekend and use it as an excuse to chat up Kane Hodder while dressed like Freddy Krueger. October 8-10th brings some mainstream geek excitement to NYC with ComicCon and the next weekend, magic will be born in Worcester with the annual Rock ‘n Shock.

24. Fun-size candy:  Sure, it's more fun to chomp down a whole Snickers, but bite-sized Mars Dark give you that needed sweet kick in a serving that won't make you feel quite so pimple prone
23. The smell of masks:  They’ll never make a scented candle out of cheap plastic or badly made rubber, but damnit if that aroma doesn’t send you back down memory lane 
22. Candy apples:  The way Christianity’s most despised fruit was meant to be served

21. Crispy weather:  Break out that light jacket and enjoy the breeze
20. Popcorn Balls:  1.5 grams of fat, unmeasurable levels of enjoyment
19. Animals in costume:  I know, what kind of monster could possibly stuff their poodle inside cheerleader outfit? An evil one not meant for this earth. But a pug dressed like Yoda? Maybe there is a place for doggy style after all

18. Pumpkin ice cream:  Don’t knock it ‘til you try it (preferably with caramel on the side and toasted coconut on top)
17. Lawn decorations:  Not counting those all-too-easy (and ugly) inflatable things, suburban home owners sometimes go through great and creative lengths to make their front yards look like Stephen Kingish cemeteries, Dr. Frankensteinian laboratories, or even kid-friendly ghost hangouts with loitering paper and cardboard cutouts
 16. Octoberfest:  Whether you host your own or get the filtered experience through a seasonal bottled beer, you have to appreciate a holiday designed for good taste

15. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Its opening musical number introduced us to a world we could only dream of visiting. Thankfully, it’s appropriate to do so (on DVD and in the occasional theatrical re-release) not once but twice a year
14. Crunchy leaves:  Bad when being stalked by a slasher, great for everyone else’s ambience
13. Roseanne reruns:  One of, if not the best live action sitcom of the 90s earns a special place in my heart by always bringing out the big guns for the big 3-1. From Darlene’s Tippi Hedren costume to Roseanne learning lessons as a cross dresser in a bar, Ms. Barr/Arnold/_____ always found a way to make Halloween thirty minutes of truly special television

12. The Monster Mash:  There. I said it. Now I dare you to get that tune out of your candy corn-filled head
11. Playoffs & World Series:  Once again, my poor miserable Mets will be sitting out this October, but I, like many an MLB fan, will fill these fall nights with baseball at its best (and most likely, a few servings of #7)
10. Corn mazes: Generally reserved for rural locations, these harvesty labyrinths offer you the perfect chance to freak people out/seriously annoy others by shouting "Outlander!" in your best Nebraska accent

 9.   Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments:  Most genre fans have by now seen this 8 hour collection of minor-->major celebrities discussing the classics, plus its 30 film addendum. While the rankings are questionable (Child’s Play at 94, 50 places below The Game?) it’s hard to not enjoy the surprisingly intelligent and witty discussions from the likes of Clive Barker, Eli Roth, Jennifer Tilly, Felissa Rose, and many more. 
8. It’s the Great Pumpkin King, Charlie Brown!:  This 1966 animated special features the scariest Halloween villain of all time. Seriously. What kind of satanic neighbor drops an actual rock in a socially awkward balding little boy’s trick-or-treat sack?

7. Pumpkin beer:  Its growing popularity and year-long availability has lessened this brew’s novelty a sip or two, but there's still nothing quite like that perfect cinnamon-rimmed glass filled with an ambery concoction of spicy bitter sweetness
6. Trick-or-treating: I’m now officially too young to solicit strangers for candy, but the very fact that in this day and age, one actually CAN solicit strangers for candy is still one of the most incredible cultural realities of this world
 5. Candy corn:  What is it about these tri-colored bites of sugary goodness that makes health-conscious adults develop a mouthful of cavities? And why oh why have their makers not found a way to incorporate such a recipe into Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Bastille Day...

4. Jack-O-Lanterns:  Everything from the pumpkin picking process (do I choose a Burt or Ernie?) to that cold sloshing sensation as you stick your wrists inside and the always warped smile you’ll inevitably carve
3. The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror:  From the weeklong buildup generally run on syndication to the premiere of what often ranks as the best episode of the year,  these annual Halloween/supernatural/Twilight Zone reinterpretations never fail to make us happy. Kang & Kodos, you can invade our planet any time

2. DVD sales:  Read those circulars. This is the one time of the year to make weekly stops at major retail chains to take advantage of every discount carelessly dropped on the kind of films many of us would go broke were they priced low year round
1. Duh, Halloween:  Yes, it’s a cheat but you know what: some people dress up and march in town parades. Others stay home with a hefty serving of #5, 7, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, and when you need a pick-up to start the cycle again, 27. But whether you celebrate by passing peeled grapes off as eyeballs to an unsuspecting neighborhood child or bobbing for apples in a bucket of booze, this truly is the greatest holiday of the year.

Now if only I knew what to do for my costume. So much pressure from past hits...

Mrs. Peacock...

Mister Met (on a vengeance spree following the '08 collapse)

and bless her never-clean heart, Mommie Dearest


  1. I dig the Kane Hodder pic. I also thought your interview with him was the highlight of OTC's Rock and Shock coverage last year. Will you be walking around with a microphone this year? I hope so!

  2. All awesome reasons! Happy October!

  3. Thanks Aaron! I doubt Erica and I will be allowed to touch Microphone Jones this year, though maybe we'll luck out and find a celebrity no one else wants to talk to. We can see if Dr. Satan is parked outside the special section again!

    And Wings: yay OCtober! Yay happiness! It's a month of candy corn infused glee!

  4. Those are some pretty damn good reasons, Doll!

    That pic with the pug in particular just made my morning, haha! I actually bought a DVD of Rosanne's Halloween episodes last year, but never got a chance to see it. Can't wait to unwrap that sucker this year, though!

  5. I've heard that there's a Roseanne Halloween disc but have yet to find it at the right price. So many great episodes and always, some truly inspired costumes. I get so angry when other shows don't even attempt to do anything interesting for Halloween. Even Buffy only had two themed episodes!

  6. Wow, I don't think there's anything you haven't covered.

    The dog one surprised me. A costume so fitting I'm almost not against the disturbing trend of dressing your dog.

  7. Excellent post....
    I, too, am excited about October, my favorite month.

    I totally agree with every pumpkin-related entry on your list.

  8. I know Ashlee! I'm now totally trying to figure out which Star Wars creature can possibly suit my cats. Joplin as a Jawa can be adorable, maybe Mookie as Jabba--wait. I mean, dressing up pets is disturbing and wrong. Unless it's really cute.

    Andrew, the world needs to just be more pumpkin related. Sure, I now have pumpkin chapstick, but what about toothpaste? Floss? Novacaine? There's so much yet to be covered...

  9. Best of all...The smell of masks.

  10. This is an epic list! And I used to work at a party store, so I know the smell of masks all to well <3

  11. YES YES YES AND YES! Well, outside of a new Saw that is. ;) Those are all things that I love oh so much, and even if I'm not a fan of Saw, any new horror movie out in theaters in October is always great, and how it should be.

    Also, Roseanne is my favorite sitcom of all time, and I will watch my Roseanne Halloween edition DVD, every episode included, at least three or four times this month! So good!!

    Great list, Emily, and now my Halloween spirits are doubled with excitement!

  12. Christine: I have to wonder, if one wore said mask for more than 24 hours, would the results be death by poison inhalation or a morphing into mask a la The Twilight Zone?

    Matt, anything I can do to double your excitement makes me happy, though I do wonder if there's any danger in it since I always assumed your excitement levels were about 9x that of the average man. Maybe you should watch Saw V to calm yourself down to a healthy notch.

  13. Locally, one other nice thing about October is, for the past two years straight, GWAR comes to town at LEAST once in October! Can't go wrong with ultra-gory theatrical Metal! (And I'll say this about one of your past costumes: your "Clue" themed one is the source of a lot of childhood taunting and teasing for me. Ask me about it, sometime, but know it may not be all that long... or even interesting... story!)

  14. Hm, my only GWAR experience came at a Fangoria convention a few years back when one member turned around and almost nabbed me in the face with the foamy spikes on his shoulder. Not intentionally, but still...annoying.

    And Mr. Mikey, knowing your surname, I think I might have an idea as to what the taunting refers to. My apologies for stirring up bad memories.

  15. Great list that included some of my favorite things about this special month: popcorn balls (huh-huh), candy corn, candy apples, a new Saw (I am looking forward to this one), and corn mazes/haunted attractions!

  16. Always glad to find another right-thinking soul that appreciates a good popcorn ball. I guzzle them down at work and everyone looks at me with such confusion. It's popcorn! SLightly sweetened and in ball form! What's NOT great about it? NOTHING!