Dec 30, 2019

Holiday Loot

Hey everyone! Hope you had a great winter holiday celebration of your choosing. Thought I'd squeeze in one more post for the year/decade to show off share some select goodies I got for Christmas.

There was a good amount of Star Wars stuff under the tree this year!

To start things off, here's a pair of Mandalorian shirts. They're both really great and I love the one on the left because the style is definitely inspired by Topps trading cards.

Dec 16, 2019

Cryptocurium Acquisitions

I've had a few additions to my Cryptocurium collection since October so let's see what new minions Lantern Jack has let loose in my home.

First up is the Pumpkin Clown. I actually got this one back in August and never got around to showing him off. He stands about 3.5" tall. I love the little tiny face on his trick or treat pail.

Here is the lore behind him...

On Halloween night in 1957 tales of a frightening encounter were reported by several bewildered homeowners in an undisclosed New Jersey town. They told of how they had opened their doors ready to dispense candy but instead of finding a garden variety trick or treater, they were confronted by something...else. A child sized figure dressed in a black and white clown costume stood before them. They were struck by the fact that in place of a head sat a perfectly carved grinning Jack O'Lantern. From deep in the cavernous mouth the raspy words, "trick or treat" issued forth with the sound of the autumn wind. Most complied, handed over the treats and hurriedly closed the door. However, it's said that one family didn't offer the strange visitor the requested sweets and kept their door shut tight. Strange noises were then heard throughout the night and the next morning they discovered that "curious damage" had been done to their front yard and their cat had gone missing. Frightful whispers of the "Pumpkin Clown" persist to this day.

I adore these figures so much and the fact that Jason puts stories with them just makes them that much cooler.

These next two I got in October and just did not have room to squeeze them in during the Countdown to Halloween.

This guy is a "Witchy Variant" of the Scarecrow Jackling and is a little shorter, standing at 3". I believe the regular versions were cast in a single color and not painted.

Scarecrow Jacklings are known to appear near freshly harvested fields and pumpkin patches in October. "Jacklings" are spirits in Halloween folklore that inhabit pumpkins and pumpkin patches. They are a physical manifestation of the vitality of a particular patch and are the minions of "Lantern Jack". Jacklings thrive on pure Halloween spirit and will appear clutching the gift of a candy corn to those who keep the customs and traditions of the harvest holiday alive. However, breaking the rules of All Hallows Eve will cause the Jacklings to inform Lantern Jack of your transgression and a swift and terrible punishment will be imminent! 

Saving the best for last, it's the Headless Horseman!

Despite not having a head, he's the tallest of this group at around 5.5". It's kind of hard to see in this angle but he is holding his pumpkin head in his right hand. In the other, a bloody axe...or maybe it's just rust?

If you dig these, the Clown and Scarecrow are still available at the Cryptocurium Etsy site. There's plenty of other great stuff to check out relating to Lovecraft and Ghostbusters. If you want to keep up with new releases, follow Jason McKittrick on Instagram.

Dec 9, 2019

Creepmas Comics - Unexpected 220

DC Comics began publishing Tales of the Unexpected in 1956. Due to the newly implemented restrictions from the Comics Code Authority, which put the kibosh on horror, this new title was a science-fiction anthology. In 1968, the title was change to simply Unexpected. The series ran for 222 issues, ending in 1982.

Today's feature is issue #220 from 1982.

Although the cover offers Season's Greetings, it's only the lead story that takes place around Christmas with a mental patient on the loose who nabs a mall Santa outfit.

The last story, Trollbridge, was something different with it taking place in a fantasy setting. That's something I don't think happened much in these anthology series.

Also of note in this issue, a Hostess Twinkies ad with Batman and a full page ad for the upcoming new series Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew which was one of my favorite series at the time.

Click the comic cover to be transported back to the early 80s!

Be sure to visit the other Creepmas Creeps by clicking the link below.

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 6, 2019

Creepmas Comics - Strange Adventures 79

Over the remaining days of Creepmas, I'll be presenting some comics featuring stories perfect for reading by the fireplace.

First up is Strange Adventures #79 from DC. The original series ran for 244 issues from 1950 to 1973. This was DC's first science fiction comic and it all began with a comic adaptation of the movie Destination Moon.

Do you want to build a snowman...with laser shooting eyes?

Click the cover to witness the "Invaders from the Ice World"! This first offering only contains the tile story but future Creepmas comics will feature the entire issues, complete with original ads!

Be sure to visit the other Creepmas celebrants by clicking below.

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 4, 2019

Haunted Holiday at Netherworld

The Travel Channel recently posted this very appropriate video.

The Netherwolrd haunted attraction in Stone Mountain, Georgia opens its doors for once night on December 14th inviting you in for a spooky holiday.

This looks like it would be a lot of fun! Their website says it's a limited capacity event and groups will be lead through six people at a time, which sounds awesome because the actors will be able to focus on each group going through.

Stick around to the end of the video to see the great prop museum Netherworld has.

Be sure to visit the other Creepmas celebrants by clicking below.

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 2, 2019

2019 Horrornaments

Do you need some dastardly decorations to creep up your crypt this Creepmas season?
Then look no further!

Horrornaments have been around since 2011 and are the perfect thing to bring a bit of horror to your holiday tree or preferred plant of hanging things on.

Watch out, this major award is Fra-gee-lay!

Or maybe you need to get a head? What better head to adorn your home than Mr. Alice Cooper himself?

Frost Bite is one of my favorites from this year. I like how thy used the frost to make a beard and eyebrows.

Snow Baby is maybe a bit more on the naughty list and very cute!

There are plenty more Horrornaments in the 2019 collection but some are selling out so I'd get over there pretty quick! They still have ones from previous years and the Horronaments tree is currently $10 off!

And if you've got some extra cash to burn, the Little Box of Horrors includes the tree, 12 new ornaments, 4 of which are exclusive to the box. They're only making 1000 of these boxes available and they marked down right now from $320 to $197, which means you're paying less than what it all costs!

Be sure to visit the other Creepmas enthusiasts by clicking below.

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 1, 2019

Merry Creepmas 2019!

It's the most horrible time of the year as we begin the 9th annual celebration of Creepmas! If you've somehow found yourself here and don't know what Creepmas is, let's lay it out.

The 13 Days of Creepmas is an online Celebration of Seasonal Spookiness from December 1 - 13. The idea is to bring a macabre twist to Christmas and the holidays. Get creative and post on your blog, website and social media - share your twisted yule visions with the world and be sure to tag them #Creepmas and/or #MakingCreepmas!

 While I do have a few things I'll be sharing here during Creepmastime, I won't be doing new posts for every day this year. But I will be reposting some Ghosts of Creepmas Past on the blog's Facebook page as well as on my Twitter and Instagram.

Click the image below if you still need to grab a Creepmas badge and to see the list of participating blogs.

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Nov 30, 2019

Monthly Movie Recap - November 2019

Recap is a day early for tomorrow begins the 13 Days of Creepmas! And as we're in the holiday season, I'll remind you the movie links go to Amazon where your purchase will drop a few coins in the coffers. There's also an Entertainment Earth affiliate link on the right if you can't find that perfect gift on Amazon.


Daybreak (Netflix) - It's Ferris Bueller's Day Of the Dead after a missile strike turns adults into zombie-like creatures and high school cliques go Mad Max to control the city. The show is a lot of fun and might just unexpectedly punch you in the feels if you get attached to the characters.

The Toys That Made Us, Season 3 (Netflix) - These aren't the toys that made me, those were earlier seasons, but I am always down for learning more about toy history, The TMNT episode is by far the best of this go round for me.

The Mandalorian (Disney+) - I have yet to see anything but praise for the show and that's all I've had for it since the start. I'd love to see Favreau and Filoni tackle something for the big screen.

The Big Screen

The Scarehouse (2014, Amazon Prime)
This one was hard to watch for me. Not because of the violence but because of the way the story is told. After 15 minutes I thought about turning it off as it seemed it was just going to be two crazy girls torturing other girls one by one. After 30 minutes I did turn it off but I went back to it the next day. I watch some really bad movies and this isn't that bad just poorly told. I don't know if the writers thought it was clever to unfold the story in flashback but it's more clunky than anything. One of the few times I suggest watching the trailer first as it gives more context for the movie up front.

Rating: 4/10

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988, Amazon Prime)
I'm pretty sure I must have watched this before but if I did I didn't remember any of it. If you're watching a movie with Elvira as the lead, you should know what to expect. From the cheesy horror bits to the sex jokes to the gratuitous cleavage shots, it's Elvira through and through.

Rating: 7/10

Too Macabre: The Making of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (2018)
If you're a fan of the above movie, this is a must see. Plenty of interviews and behind the scenes stories. Also, I didn't even recognize the Wizard Master from Dream Warriors when I watched the movie.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019, Redbox)
I absolutely love the 1968 Halloween setting but that's only a portion of the movie. If you're not familiar with the book series, I don't know that you'd enjoy this as much without the books as a point of reference. They do a great job of bringing a few of the Stories' monsters to the screen even if the way it happens is a little clumsy. It sort of reminded me of the first Goosebumps movie where the beasties are coming to life from a book.

Rating: 7/10

Crawl (2019, Redbox)
My initial reaction to the trailer was "Really? An alligator movie?" Then I started seeing lots of positive reviews so I gave it a shot and I am so glad I did! It plays a lot like an 80s slasher film except with hungry, hungry alligators in place of a serial killer. There's plenty of "No! Don't do that!" and yanking hope out from under you moments.

Rating: 8/10

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019, Redbox)
I've said it before and will continue to do so, no one will ever mistake a F&F movie for being high brow entertainment. This installment goes even further over the top and strays into scifi. I like both the leads so it was a forgone conclusion that I'd see this. A lot of the movie kept making me think of Roger Moore era Bond and as long as you can stand the "we can't stand each other" buddy cop-ness, dick jokes, and suspend disbelief, it's dumb fun. My biggest problem is it's about an hour too long for dumb fun.

Rating: 7/10

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017, Amazon Prime)
High School Musical meets Shaun of the Dead! Not that I've ever seen a second of any HSM but it's high school students and a musical. What more can you ask for than a Christmas time zom-com? How about insanely catchy tunes? I am a sucker for bubblegum pop and bought the soundtrack after I watched it. The third act doesn't quite land right for me but it was still a surprisingly great time.

Rating: 8/10

New: 7  Rewatch: 1

Year to Date
New: 69  Rewatch: 3

Nov 26, 2019

Quarter Bin - DC's Ghosts

Even though it's not quite Thanksgiving, I've got some leftovers! I had originally planned this for October but couldn't fit it in.

Do you Ghosts?

DC Comics did from 1971-1982 with its supernatural anthology comic that ran for 112 issues. Similar to other horror comics of the time, each issue contained several short stories. Unlike other horror comics, Ghosts did not have a host character for most of its run. It wasn't until near the end of the series in issue 104 that the Squire Shade showed up to entertain readers. He never really developed into a character but was more your guide to the supernatural.

If you know your DC, you might think Squire Shade looks a whole lot like Gentleman Ghost. If you don't know your DC, check this out!

The Squire was a bit...portlier than Gentleman Ghost but he did have his own stagecoach, so that's something. There's never been any official confirmation these two specters are possibly the same manifestation or even related. However, back during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Squire Shade was removed from existence so I guess that takes care of that.

Back to the comic, I know I read at least two of these issues back in the early 80s and was finally able to figure out the specific ones. Number 105 has stuck with me in particular for whatever reason random things get stuck in your brain. I only really remembered part of the first story and the name Serafina, but I think you'll agree these two images are striking enough to recall decades later.

During my research, I also found the cover for 110 which instantly brought back memories of the story "The Game of Electronic G-H-O-S-T". Although reading it now, the story is a bit silly.

If you need to inject a little spooky into your Turkey Day, click on the cover images to grab a PDF copy of the comic complete with original ads! The lead story in 110 is even set at Christmas, how's that for festive?

Nov 20, 2019

Creepmas 2019!

If you're new to Creepmas or need a refresher, check out these links:

You can also find out "How to Participate" so you can join the rest of the festive ghouls around the web. Even if you don't participate, we'd appreciate you spreading the Hallowday cheer on social media to drag in a few more bodies.

To join the frightful festivities, leave a comment on this page with your blog/website name and link. You can also get your Creepmas 2019 blogger badge at the same page and find the 201 #MakingCreepmas Image Challenge list there.

Don't have a blog or website?
Join in on social media by tagging posts #Creepmas or #MakingCreepmas!

Blood drops on bones and black hats on witches
Gray slimy brains and warm gushing innards
Flesh hungry elves tying you up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Nov 6, 2019

Salem Halloween Videos

Okay, Halloween fiends, this is it.
Now that we've all done our post holiday discount shopping for next year, here's a final farewell to the season in the form of some YouTube videos.

This one is the annual Haunted Happenings parade filmed by the Salem local access cable channel. If you're someone that misses the early days of cable and local access channel charm, this should be right up your alley.

This video is from YouTuber Derek Millen and gives you an idea of the party atmosphere around town on Halloween. The gentleman in the thumbnail is Brandon the Shapeshifter on Instagram. He's from the area and I've run into him at a few comic conventions as well as around Salem this time of year. If you like rad costumes, follow his Insta.

The final video from World of Micah features a good four minutes inside the Salem Halloween Museum. It's not much, but it's definitely worth the $10 admission to see some of the classic Halloween stuff they have on display.

Nov 3, 2019

Salem Halloween 2019

Apologies to any long time readers that were expecting my usual November 1st post. This October was a bit of an odd one for the books. I'm going to go on about it between the pics from Halloween night which are thanks to Mrs Dex.


While I did visit the Salem Witch Board Museum and see Ouijazilla, I didn't have a chance last month to do my usual walk around Salem and visit the street fair.

Papa Emeritus

I got to see the band Ghost for what will be the first of many times. If you look in the center of the above pic, you can see someone dressed as Papa Emeritus.

Addams Family

The day of Halloween itself was a bit stressful for me. The forecast called for high winds and possible showers. Some local communities even postponed trick or treating until Saturday the 2nd due to the expected weather. It's a terrible feeling when you've been gearing up all month for a four hour sliver of one night only to have it possibly ruined by rain and have to wait an entire year.

How cool is this Alien?
Luckily, the Great Pumpkin heard my entreaties and the rain didn't start until the end of the night! Did I mention it was also in the high 60s? I know some of you out there got a taste of snow. That's not so uncommon in New England this time of year either.
You just never know.

We had almost 40 trick or treaters show up before heading to Salem. I know that's not a lot but I think it's a few more than we've had in recent years. It'd be shame for the treat bags I made up to not find kids to go home with!

Wayne & Garth
Party on!
It was a bit warm in costume but once I found a place to haunt instead of walking around, it was comfortable. The place where I stand has a lot of foot traffic and there is a bright flood light people have to walk by so I take advantage of the transition from bright to dark. Sometimes people don't even see me until they almost bump into me and look up from their phone.

Salem Creep 3
I had a couple of great interactions with little kids. I really like those rare moments when the kids are just curious and have zero fear. Sometimes I feel like a character at a Disney park because people are coming up to take photos with me. At the end of it all, it was a pretty great night!


I didn't see these guys dressed as mannequins but it's a great idea for a group costume.

Salem Creep

For another year, the Salem Creep returns to wherever it is he goes to wait for Halloween. He's got his own Instgram account now too! There are a few more pics on Flickr if you want to see more from Salem.

Oct 31, 2019

Monthly Movie Recap - October 2019

Here we are folks!
As usual, I'm posting the October recap on Halloween in case you're looking for something to watch after the kids have gone to bed. As I'm writing this Halloween morning, we're predicted to have some rain tonight which may (may!) keep me from Salem. So if you've got any good suggestions for something spooky to watch tonight, let me know in the comments.

American Horror Story 1984 (FX) - Okay, so not really streaming but how could I not mention this? They are absolutely killing it (and lots of people!) this season. I wasn't sure where they were going to go after the first half but it's looking pretty interesting.

Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)
I had to rewatch this to prep for the below movie. I tried to revisit it with an open mind and while this isn't my favorite of the series, I don't think it's as bad as a lot of people do. Sure, it doesn't "fit in" but it could easily have been an average 80s horror flick if it was released by itself. Now that I'm older and more aware of the not so subtle subtext I have a bit more appreciation of the story they were telling.

Rating: 5/10

Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street (2019)
I now have a whole new appreciation for Nightmare 2. Whether or not you like that movie, I highly recommend this doc about its star. Mark has had quite the life and his is a great human story. Plus, there's a cast reunion and some behind the scenes stuff.

The Addams Family (2019)
I should have tempered my expectations from day one but I hard a hard time not getting excited about the Addams Family returning to pop culture. Maybe it wasn't the movie I would have made but I enjoyed it! The Addamses have plenty of time to be themselves and that's really all I want.

Rating: 7/10

Girls with Balls (2018, Netflix)
After figuring out the dialog/lip sync wasn't matching up because this was dubbed in English, I settled in for some dumb fun. It's about a 60/40 mix (dumb/fun). I mostly kept me entertained and I'll bet it's the best movie you'll see this year about a girls volleyball team being terrorized in the woods.

Rating: 5/10

The Barn (2016, Amazon Prime)
The trailer absolutely sold me on this one. If you're up for an 80s retro horror flick, this one has you covered. Despite the low budget, bad dialog (intentional?), and not so great dialog looping, there is something about it I just love to bits. The baddies are great even if the Miner isn't as "Halloween" as the other two.

Rating: 6/10

The Terror of Hallow's Eve (2017, Rent on Amazon)
Another 80s style throwback. It reminds me of the Full Moon movies I used to gorge myself on, you know back when they put out fun stuff that didn't involve weed? The "bullied kid gets supernatural revenge" story may not be original but the way it's carried out, and the fantastic practical effects, make this one you should put on your watch list!

Rating: 7/10

Halloween with the New Addams Family (1977)
You can read my thoughts on this in yesterday's post. Or don't, maybe the less said about this the better.

Rating: 2/10

Haunt (2019, Rent on Amazon Prime)
Had to squeeze at least one more in before October ends and I really liked it! There's not a lot of gore but it's got plenty of suspense and that perfect level of physical horror that makes me squirm in my seat. The bad guys are so well designed, I want action figures!

Rating: 8/10

New: 7  Rewatch: 1

Year to Date
New: 62  Rewatch: 3


If you check out the other Countdown to Halloween bloggers by clicking below, a ghost may follow you home!

Oct 30, 2019

Halloween with the Addams Family

Who better to spend Halloween with than the Addams Family? The answer is both nobody or anybody depending on when you visit them. Let me explain...

Released 55 years ago today, "Halloween with the Addams Family" is the seventh episode of the first season of the classic TV series. Hijinks ensue when a pair of robbers try to hide out from the police in the Addams' home on Halloween night. As you might expect, they have no idea what they've gotten themselves into!

Released 42 years ago today, "Halloween with the New Addams Family" reunites the cast in color for a made for TV movie when some crooks come up with a ridiculously convoluted plot to steal the family's riches. Whoa, hold up! "New" Addams Family?!

I had a hard time making it through this one and couldn't do it in one sitting. It just doesn't feel like the Addams Family I know. Sure, it's in color but the characters feel off even though all the major players are back. It feels more like any Saturday morning kids' show in the 70s.

We're introduced to Gomez's brother, Pancho who has the hots for Morticia (I mean, I don't blame him!) but she continues to let him smooch her hand and arm with verbal warnings while Gomez is away. I wouldn't think she'd stand for it for a second.

Then there's Wednesday Jr. and Pugsley Jr. who don't really do much. The crooks have a pair of strong men that look like they're cosplaying Rocky from Rocky Horror, barely dressed with metallic shorts.

While it was good to have the gang back together, it never feels quite right. One thing I did really like about this is the family tradition of trimming the scarecrow on Halloween night with the youngest child getting to put the head on top, like a Christmas tree star.

And if you don't have a lot of time, you can just do The Lurch. This was the best quality video I could find online so I apologize for the text on screen.

If you check out the other Countdown to Halloween bloggers by clicking below, a ghost may follow you home!

Oct 29, 2019

Halloween Web - Jason Gross

We're wrapping up the 2019 Halloween Web series with Jason Gross!

Halloween 1982
Come on in and tell us about yourself.

Most people know me from my Rediscover the 80s website. My latest venture is The Retro Network, a multimedia collaboration with the Retro Rambler Mickey Yarber. We, along with an awesome team, are providing daily retro pop culture content including podcasts and articles.

What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

I grew up in rural central PA. We lived on a dead end street and my friends and I would venture down our street and the next street over to collect candy. In our teenage years, we hung up our costumes and became tricksters, playing pranks on neighborhood homes instead of taking candy from them. 

Are there any Halloween memories that stand out for you?

I believe we all experience that Halloween year, usually in our teens, when we are maybe getting to old to go trick-or-treating. That year is pretty vivid to me. It started out great, collecting a bag full of candy from our neighborhood houses. Back then, there always seemed to be people who tried to be different, handing out bag of pennies, fruit, or pencil erasers. We hit one such house at the end of our night which was giving away Little Hugs barrel-shaped drinks. I loved drinking them and my grandmother specifically stocked them for me on visits. Well, this night I received one which at first was exciting until I realized walking home that my candy bag was leaking. When the neighbor tossed it in, a blow pop stick punctured the thin foil lid and soaked my candy haul. I remember my dad laying a towel on the floor in the living room and dumping my candy out to salvage what we could. After that experience, I decided I guess I decided to make my own fun on Halloween night.

What about a memorable costume?

My mother entered me in the Halloween parade costume contest one year. A friend of the family made me this lion costume that I did not want to wear. It became more of a pink bunny experience, sweating profusely and trying to breathe through tiny nose holes. I didn't win anything that year but at least the mask covered my head to avoid too much embarrassment. (I wish I could find a picture now!)

How do you celebrate today?

Our neighborhood kinda sucks for trick-or-treating so we mainly take the kids to a local church fall festival with games and candy. Occasionally, my wife and I will dress up to join in the fun. Recent years have found us as Bat-dad and Robin-mom and me as the Cobra villain Firefly.

Do you have any "must sees" on your Halloween to do list?

My holiday season always begins with watching It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Garfield's Halloween Adventure. My wife also insists on watching Hocus Pocus. Over the last several years, I seek out as many retro specials I can find on YouTube to watch with the kids. 

What do you like most about the season as an adult?

For me, it's the beginning of my favorite time of the year when the weather cools and we start getting into the holiday spirit going into Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was Chick-O-Stick. It was like biting into a peanut butter tree branch and it stuck to your teeth for hours.

My favorite thing to get was fruit flavored candy over chocolate. Stuff like Nerds, Skittles, and Pop Rocks.

My favorite monster cereal is probably Frankenberry with Booberry a close second. 

Where can folks find you online?

You can find Rediscover the 80s on Twitter and Facebook and The Retro Network on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks to Jason for stopping by and all our Halloween Web participants!
There's still a little more Halloween left so stay tuned!

If you check out the other Countdown to Halloween bloggers by clicking below, a ghost may follow you home!

Oct 28, 2019

Halloween Web - Charles P

Please introduce yourself to the readers.

My name is Charles Potomac. I am the creator of a lot of things, including the sadly defunct web-comic "Geek to Me" that I hope to someday re-post the archives of online. GTM was a comic I did in the late 1990's putting a fictionalized spin on my years working in a comic shop. I currently am working on season two of my podcast The Last Hometown and a couple comic projects that I hope to release in early 2020. In October I will be putting a spin on the annual Inktober event and trying to draw a panel of a comic called "Captain Grilled Cheese" every day of the month. These panels will be posted to my Instagram and The Last Hometown page on Facebook.

What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

I grew up in the town of Anoka Minnesota, which is the Halloween Capital of the world... seriously, it is! Go google it. Growing up I never really understood what made us the Halloween capital, but I was always proud of it. In Anoka there were a lot of different events for Halloween, including the annual children's parade where the kids from all the elementary schools would be brought to main street in costume and marched through the town. This was a loved tradition by everyone, except for the kids. it basically amounted to a four to five mile hike in costume, usually with winter gear on underneath it, after all this is Minnesota and late October so it was usually pretty cold already. (for example, the Halloween Blizzard of 1991) So you would either be freezing or covered in sweat, or sometime both at the same time... I don't think it was coincidence that there would be a high level of kids out sick the next week!

One of the other traditions in Anoka is that every year High School art students were allowed to submit design ideas and local businesses would pick the one they liked best and then the artist and a couple of friends would get to take a day off school and go paint the image on the store window. My Junior year my design was picked and I tried to find some pictures of it but sadly could not. It was always fun walking through downtown in October and checking out all the Halloween paintings on the store. Sadly I have not really seen much of this happening in recent years.

Did you have any favorite costumes?

I grew up poor, which meant that the idea of store bought costumes were pretty much out of the question for us. Our childhood was dominated by costumes my mother could make by sewing or putting odds and ends together. There was no cool Ben Cooper costumes in my childhood.  Some of the costumes turned out great, The Cowboy and Train Engineer come to mind. My favorite would have to be the cowboy. It was part homemade, and part hand me down parts. I always thought it was the one that turned out the best.

There was also an awesome Han Solo and Princess Leia costume that she did for us. Sadly  I could not find photos of those. The biggest failures would have been the Mummy (you can hear the story of that in The 2018 Retroist Halloween Special Podcast.)

Do you have any outstanding Halloween memories?

I previously mentioned the Halloween Blizzard. The year of the Halloween Blizzard I was working at a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Shop. Early in the afternoon it started to become obvious that we were in for some significant snowfall, but the owner was very worried that if we closed early we would be losing out on business. Being the shift lead at the time and seeing no customers coming in I let the rest of the staff that was on that day head out and stuck around to man the shop myself. One by one I watched every shop in the shopping center around me close. The Walmart and McDonalds were the last to go, but even they shut down... Not us though. The owner insisted that we stay with it all the way to normal closing hours... by the time that finally came around, it was too late for me. The snow was to high for my little Chevette to drive in, not to mention the fact that a snow plow had gone by at some point and buried the parking lot entry so deep in snow that it was higher than the roof of my car! I ended up stuck at the shop for the entire night. Thankfully I had had the sense to grab a pizza from the place next door before they closed so I had food, and I always have a book with me even to this day... so I spent the night reading on the couch in the back room!

I only ever did have one customer that day. A plow driver stopped by early in the afternoon just as things got started and grabbed a waffle cone with a scoop of chocolate, a scoop of orange sherbet, and another scoop of chocolate on top... He thought my boss was a fool to have me there as well!

How do you celebrate Halloween these days?

Our church puts on a large, and I mean large!, party for the area children. Average turn out is right around 3,000. Being a kind of rural area we like to give them one centralized location that they can go and celebrate and go home with lots of candy. We have already started to accept donations of candy for this years event! As an employee of the church my time is split between being with my own kids and also serving on the security team that makes sure that all of the children stay safe and secure.

Do you have any particular music or movies you revisit for the season?

Of course the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack gets a lot of play around that time of year. Halloween is also one of the two annual rewatches of John Carpenter's The Fog, which means the soundtrack ends up in heavy rotation as well. The opening narration of the film is a fun little spooky tale for the season.

Why do you think we still enjoy Halloween as we get older?

I think it is a combination of things. First I think it is a love of being scared. Horror movies are popular for a reason, we tend to like the feeling of getting our heart racing and being on the edge of our seats from time to time. Halloween is a great big celebration of that fear. In addition it is a time of dreaming and pretending. The kids are allowed to dream of things they would love to be and the parents are allowed to pretend that they don't sit behind a computer clicking buttons all day. It is a time of year when we are allowed to dream and live in the reality we want, even if it is just for a night.

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was religious pamphlets and pennies.

My favorite thing to get was those peanut butter taffy things in the orange and black wrappers. I know I am a rarity in the world!

My favorite monster cereal is Franken Berry

Where can folks find you online?

They can find the soon to be relaunched podcast The Last Hometown on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks to Charles for stopping by to chat!

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Oct 27, 2019

Ghost - My First Ritual

The band Ghost has been putting out music for almost 10 years but somehow they've been under my radar until earlier this year. When I saw pictures of the band, I presumed they were a death metal type band so I never checked them out. Then one day, Spotify graced my mix with the song Rats and I immediately bought its album, Prequelle. It only took a couple more weeks before I grabbed their entire catalog.

Probably my favorite shot of the night
Sometimes when you hear a band for the first time, it's magic and just clicks with something in you. There is no doubt they'll become one of your favorites. I couldn't accurately describe their style of music if you asked me. Sure, I'd toss out styles like metal, gothic, psychedelic and their occult/Satanic lyrics. I'd mention they remind me in different ways of Black Sabbath, Queen, and even Kiss among other bands. You really have to hear them to get the vibe.

Everything about them just hits the right buttons for me. When I heard they were coming around, I actually didn't jump on it right away. I watched a few of their concert videos and decided there was no way I could miss this type of performance.

For those not familiar with the band, they are currently fronted by Cardinal Copia who succeeds the previous three singers: Papa Emeritus I, II, and III. The rest of the band are Nameless Ghouls and Ghoulettes hidden behind silver masks. This whole mythos behind the band is one of the things I really like about them. They are definitely a great band for Halloween! Fans will even dress in costume, see the Faith video below.

I'm not going to get into a song by song breakdown of the concert. Suffice it to say it was everything I hoped it would be and more!

Although the Ghouls and Ghoulettes don't speak (other than to sing) during the show, some of them do play off each other and Copia.

Copia has enough costume changes to make a pop diva jealous.

During the song Mummy Dust (which is about greed), air cannons shoot gold confetti and "Papa Dollars". I wasn't in the front to catch any but there were plenty behind the front barrier and the security guys were nice enough to grab them and hand them out.

If you want to check them out, here's a few of my favorite songs. Not only will these give you a good idea of their sound but I think seeing them really gets their vibe across.

Rats (obviously)
Cirice (Great video!)
Danse Macabre
 Square Hammer
Faith (concert video)
He Is (tiny bit NSFW)

And I've got lots more photos on Flickr. I took around 120(!) but out of those I think only 30 or so were worthy.

2019.10.19 - Ghost

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