Saturday, October 31

Halloween is Too Scary

Halloween kind of freaks me out because I'm a big huge wiener. I'm scared of ghosts and murderers and demons and aliens every single day of the year, so Halloween really compounds those fears. So, even though I really love dressing up, scary movies (when I have company and don't have to sleep alone) and anything that everyone gets festive about (I went to a gas station today and the cashier was giving candy to all her customers and wearing a costume - adorable!), I tend to get spooked on Halloween. I do like to stay on theme, though, and I want to celebrate the holiday, so if you're a gigantic wuss like me, here are some practical and fun Halloween things you can enjoy while maintaining your chill.

Over the Garden Wall is a 2014 Cartoon Network miniseries created by Patrick McHale who did work on Adventure Time and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. The series is a little spooky, but it's also one of the most lovely animated features I've ever seen. It follows two young brothers lost in a surreal forest called the Unknown. In order to get home they have to avoid a mysterious creature called The Beast and navigate their way around talking animals, literal ghosts, escaped gorillas, and other nonsense. It reminded me a lot of The Halloween Tree (another great, only sorta-spooky Halloween story), but what really stands out to me is the things the animation and writing tried to evoke. There is a lot of inspiration taken from classic American cartoons like Disney's Silly Symphonies and Warner Brothers' Merry Melodies. I also get very real Studio Ghibli vibes, but I'm not sure anyone in animation right now isn't riding on Hayao Miyazaki's coattails. Still, the series is incredibly American in the best way. It's river boats and Americana and pumpkins and small towns and the sort of thing Walt Whitman would be into. It's just lovely and perfect and an instant Halloween tradition that I will watch forever, and I hope you watch it because it's so, so well done. We are living in a very real cartoon renaissance so don't miss out!! WATCH CARTOONS.

When I was living in Colorado with my parents and didn't have any friends I spent a very lonely Halloween driving around and listening to this song on repeat. I don't think it's really about witches, but I associate it with the episode of The Simpsons when Lisa is a witch, which is a really heartwarming episode, so this memory of a lonely Halloween isn't actually that sad.

If you're not watching Practical Magic right this second, you're an idiot. This movie is literally on par with the brilliance that is The Witches of Eastwick (also highly recommended for on-theme Halloween viewing that won't give you night terrors but will give you Michelle Pfeiffer in a porkpie hat, Susan Sarandon having an orgasm while she plays a cello or something, and Cher in sweatpants). Sandra Bullock is a witch who runs, like, a witch Aveda which is amazing and I wish was real because I want to buy shampoo that's handcrafted by a witch. Her sister, the gloriously tall and beautiful Nicole Kidman, shows up all fucking crazy and they kill a scary guy. Their aunts, STOCKARD CHANNING and DIANNE FUCKING WIEST show up, they are ALSO WITCHES, and there is a very real, very legit drinking-margaritas-and-dancing-around-the-kitchen scene. WHY AREN'T YOU WATCHING THIS MOVIE? See also: Death Becomes Her, duh.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is a perfect Halloween read. It's sort of spooky, there's a murder, evil townspeople, magic, a fire, a weird old uncle, and a cat named Jonas. I guess you could also read The Haunting of Hill House, but that book is actually scary, and this one is really only creepy or even just eerie. It's also one of my favorite books and I've written about it here 100 times before.

You can watch zombie movies, which are scary, or you can listen to The Zombies, a 1960's pop rock band. Colin Blunstone's voice is just. Here is a cover of "The Look of Love" that can be described in a single word: sploosh.

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