As summer winds down, September ushers in the return of Autumn, bringing with it. fall foliage, crisp apples, plump pumpkins, and gothic spookiness. No author better represents gothic spookiness better than Edgar Allan Poe. Perhaps, that’s why Alison over at Alison’s Wonderland Recipes created this delicious recipe Deviled Raven Eggs in honor of the master of macabre. Healthier than regular deviled egg options, this unique, gothic-style appetizer is perfect for the Halloween season.
1 heaping cup of beets, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly challenged Halloween 2020. In many parts of the USA, events have been canceled or scaled back, which means, no trick-or-treating, no public haunts or mazes, no festivals or parades, and no big parties.
Now, I’m not telling anyone how to spend their time nor how to celebrate the holiday. I’m simply saying that Halloween at Home can be a fun and safe alternative to going out during the Covid-19 epidemic. So, if you’re looking for ideas to make your Halloween night in more fun, please keep reading.
Halloween Camp-Out (Family)
This Halloween night, we’ll be able to bask under the blue moon like werewolves do! Now, whether you go camping in the woods or camp out in your own backyard is up to you. Just be sure to watch out for the creepy critters, flying witches, vampire bats, and Sasquatch.
Build a ghost fort outside (tent, tarp, cardboard, ghost clothing, you decide)
Play card games
Make shadows puppets
Read/Tell spooky ghost stories
Don’t forget to look up and howl at the full moon
Halloween Pinata (Family)
If your little ones are disappointed there’ll be no trick-or-treating in your neighborhood, try getting them a Halloween themed pinata. They can beat the pulp outta it and get their frustrations out. Kidding! Big kids should get their own pinata. No, kids love collecting and finding candy! It’s just as simple as that. Once that pinata bursts, they’ll be so happy to fill their bags with the sweet stuff, they’ll forget all about trick-or-treating.
Halloween candy, trinkets, and toys to fill the pinata (Try spider rings as a trick)
A baseball bat or something to hit the pinata
Halloween Jigsaw Puzzle Party (Family)
Jigsaw puzzles are the perfect indoor/rainy day activity. They’re super fun, and a great way to destress. In fact, puzzles help us cope with anxiety, depression, and stimulate cognitive activity. So, if you didn’t jump on the bandwagon when the lockdowns started happening back in March, now is your chance.
Any puzzle will do, but since it’s Halloween, why not get a Halloween themed puzzle? Check the links below for suggested retailers.
Another fun perfect way to spend the evening with family. Again, any board games will do, but Halloween/monster-themed games are best. You could also try spooky versions of old favorites.
What you’ll need:
(Halloween) Board Games
Suggestions: Clue: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, It, Scooby-Doo, Supernatural, etc. Monopoly: It, Nightmare Before Christmas, Scooby-Doo, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, etc. Scooby-Doo: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion Trivial Pursuit Horror Edition (for Adults) Villainous (Disney) The Walking Dead Board Game
Halloween Relay Games (Family)
The internet is filled with ideas for indoor/outdoor relay games and races. Below are some of my favorites. Don’t forget the Halloween prizes or ribbons for winners and participants.
Mini Pumpkin Races
Not all mini pumpkins are cut from the same gourd. Some are much faster than others. Use masking tape to make a relay track with start and finish line. From the start line, roll your pumpkin. The first pumpkin to reach the finish line, wins!
What you’ll need:
Eyeball Spoon Race
Just like a traditional egg and spoon race, kids balance the eyeball on the spoon and try to get to the finish line first. Use music as a greenlight/redlight for more ghoulish fun.
What you’ll need:
Bobbing for Donuts
Now, this one can get messy, so make sure you lay down some covering or have your broom or vacuum handy. Hang donuts from a string/twine. Try different heights for added fun. The first to finish eating their donut wins! Works best with cold or firm donuts.
What you’ll need:
Tape if don’t have a way to tie the string
Halloween Scavenger Hunt
Why should the Easter Bunny get all the fun? Hide mini-pumpkins or various objects around the home or yard, then sit back, and sip Halloween margaritas, while the kids hunt for their candy. Easy peasy.
What you’ll need:
List of items for each player to find (optional)
Halloween candy, mini-pumpkins, trinkets, and toys to hide
Good hiding places
Host a Themed Movie Marathon in the Dark (Teen/Adult/Family)
Choose a theme you want to explore (Halloween family, paranormal, zombies, Universal monsters, etc.) and pick out 4-6 of your favorites or never seen before movies to watch alone or with friends for a watch party. Check out my picks for scariest movies to watch on Halloween night
There is nothing scarier than reading a scary book on Halloween night, in a dimly lit room, with atmospheric music in the background. Don’t believe me? Try one of the best horror books on Refinery 29’s spooky reading list and tell me how it goes.
Halloween Dress-up/Dance Party (Teen/Adult)
All dressed up and nowhere to go? Well, that’s why the world wide web was invented! Seeing as most people will be stuck at home this year, I suspect there will be no shortage of online costume contests, virtual dance parties, and ‘show us your costume’ requests on social media. Beware of pervs and internet demons.
Between wishing complete strangers a Happy Halloween, changing costumes, showing off your smart phone’s Halloween filters, and blasting your Halloween playlist loud enough to wake the dead, that should pretty much take up the whole night.
Lights-out Dinner Party* (Adult/Family)
Ever seen those Dining in the Dark events that are supposed to introduce you to the dark, sensory experience? Well, this is basically a mini home version of that. Same experience, without the hefty bill. For home servers, I think the trick is to set the food on the table so you know where everything is before sitting down eat, but there are several methods. Go check out Delishably’s great article with suggestions on how to enhance your dark dining experience.
What you’ll need:
Halloween themed Food/Drinks
Plate covers or tin foil to cover plates of food
Disposable/Plastic dinnerware (Let’s be honest, things could get messy.)
Patience and a sense of humor
Hallo-wine Party* (Adult)
The boo’s are the best part of Halloween! Oh, were you thinking ghosts, cuz I was talking ’bout the vino!
Set up wine stations in different areas of the room/home and rotate periodically, ensuring each person has a chance to taste wines. Try to pick new wines or wines you haven’t drunk before. Then, dim the lights, put on a spooky playlist, and have fun!
Remember to wear a mask when not eating/drinking, and social distance as much as possible.
What you’ll need:
Wine – If everyone brings a bottle, that’s at least six different wines to taste.
Cheese, crackers, fruit, bite-size desserts, other Halloween snacks
Mini pencils/slips of paper (tasting slips) for people to rate wines
Halloween jar or bowl for the tasting slips
Halloween décor & lights
Halloween Playlist or Halloween background videos, movies, 3D Effects, etc.
Halloween Drive-up Experiences (Adult/Family)
Covid-19 isn’t scaring some folks. There are a number of Haunters across the USA that plan to host a drive-up experience throughout the month of October. Below are some links to events in SoCal. Check your local listings for such events in your area.
I think we can all agree that Covid-19 pandemic has really upended our lives and changed how we socially interact with one another. I think that’s what makes the BER months so special is that it gives people the opportunity to celebrate the meaningful things in life. September has always been about the return to traditions and renewed hope in putting aside differences, coming together, and celebrating the community.
That feeling of camaraderie and goodwill only increases as the BER months continue. So, while it may be easy to get lost in despair over the current state of affairs of the nation, the easiest way to make the world a better place is to concentrate on bringing peace and love into our own lives and neighborhoods.
The Halloween 2020 season was always meant to be an auspicious event. Coronavirus threatens our community, dampens our spirits, and aims to spoil our fun, so it’s more important than ever to honor our dead and celebrate our holiday traditions. While it’s true that there will be scaled back public activities, Halloween is still very much on! That’s why this year, Halloween Haiku will be promoting Halloween at Home, a spooky night of fun and revelry from your very own couch.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, I encourage everyone to wear masks while out in public and practice a safe and social-distanced Halloween. All throughout the month of September, I’ll be sharing tips and suggestions on how to have a fun and safe Halloween, in lieu of trick-or-treating and big parties.
Later this month, I’m going to reveal details on the 2nd Annual Halloween Haiku Challenge, and the schedule for 31 Days of Halloween, the yearly celebration of the haunting season, which happens every October.
Summer is always a rough season. Summer combined with the Corona virus lockdown is almost unbearable, but being stuck inside doesn’t have to be torture. I found these five low budget gems, definitely better than expected, that should satisfy your horror movie cravings.
We Summon the Darkness (2019) Service: Netflix
“There’s a lotta evil out there.”
For anyone’s who has ever worn a leather vest over a jean jacket, sported big feathered hair, or been bullied for listening to Ozzy or Slayer, all over the misguided belief that heavy metal is Satan’s music for devil worshippers, this one’s for you. Set in the 80s, this low-key thriller about three victims falling prey to a murderous cult with diabolical intentions isn’t particularly scary or gory, but it definitely harkens back to those old glossy B slashers that the studios used to churn out. The movie stars a gaggle of Hollywood’s brightest teen stars, led by Alexandra Daddario, and Johnny Knoxville, surprisingly right at home, playing a smarmy televangelist. The energy is high and acting is decent, honestly though, absolutely nothing else stands out here. Both the plot and the twists are totally predictable, it’s a little hard to tell if that’s by design or not. If I was one of the filmmakers, I’d get all meta and say, ‘oh yeah, it was supposed to be that way.’ People really enjoy homages, and stickin two giant middle fingers up to the real evil in the world, those big greedy corporate churches, for lying to the world about great music, using the lord’s name in vain, and besmirching religion. That, plus a bitchin’ soundtrack, and heavy metal couture, so 80s, you can almost smell the AquaNet, there are worse ways to spend a Saturday night.
Spring (2014) Service: Shudder
“I gotta make sure you’re the kinda crazy I can deal with.”
There aren’t too many well-made horror romances out there in the world, but this movie is in top ten. Spring, the story of grieving young man who finds love with a mysterious woman, while on a vacation in Italy, is just as refreshing as its name sounds. It’s simply a beautiful movie, everything from the strange Lovecraftian story to the incredible cinematography, and the dark, creepy suspense to the blossoming love between two strangers. What makes the film work, besides getting lost in charming scenery of Southern Italy, is the chemistry between the leads Lou Taylor Pucci and Nadia Hilker, it’s sweet, like saccharine, yet, definitely filled with a touch of danger and mystique. Their romance moves a little fast and even seems unrealistic, but if you factor in love at first sight (hey, it can happen), and remember the vulnerability of a lonely, grieving, inexperienced young man, it becomes real easy to understand why he would be attracted to an alluring, beautiful, mystical 2000 year old creature. It’s almost sad to watch her toy with him so effortlessly, then again, the boy is as impulsive as he is lost. A violent episode in the film’s beginning shows he’s far from a perfect hero and they might just be morally matched. As for the girl and her “condition”, well, you’ll just have to go watch the movie to see if her intentions are pure or not.
Ghost Stories (2017) Service: Hulu
“Things are not always as they seem.”
This movie about a skeptical professor and paranormal debunker is a cleverly disguised anthology from IFC Midnight, turns out to be one of the scariest movies that I’ve seen in a long time. Triple threat writer-director Andy Nyman stars as the wry skeptic investigating the disappearance of his hero mentor. Once he finds him, he is then tasked with looking into the old man’s three most disturbing cases, which brings the professor on a terrifying journey of self-discovery. Nyman, along with co-creator Jeremy Dyson based their script off their hit theater show of the same name. The writing, cinematography and performances here are all phenomenal, in particular, Martin Freeman as a haunted banker, and in a mystery role, that I won’t give away. Ghost Stories makes good work of jump scares and sports some deep Hammer vibes, paying homage to numerous horror films, so it’s not inventing the wheel or anything, just making really good use of the tools from the tool box. Sometimes, that’s all a proper horror film needs.
One Cut of the Dead (2017) Service: Shudder (Japanese subtitles)
“One take, no cuts. With one camera from start to finish.”
Shin’ichiro Ueda’s brilliant feature debut is a bit of movie inception. The movie starts off as a seriously cheesy low-budget zombie movie about an indie film crew filming a zombie movie in an abandoned warehouse, when suddenly, they’re attacked by real zombies, much to the director’s delight. If you’re still watching by the time the credits roll about 37 minutes in, yes, you read that right, boy, are you in for a treat! As you’re sitting there wondering ‘what the hell was that?’ a new movie starts. Well, sort of, it’s a flashback, and all good things to those who wait. One Cut of the Dead isn’t really a cheesy low-budget zombie film, it’s a hilarious meta-satirical comedy about filmmaking, including the backstage antics of producing live television. There are a ton of references to zombie movies and lots of gore and screaming, of course, but, the real prize here is the storytelling. One Cut features a strong message about the collaborative filmmaking process, and the resourcefulness, courage and heart it takes to be in the entertainment business. I guarantee, by the third act, you’ll forget all about those 37 minutes wasted in the beginning and cheer on the film crew’s spirited efforts to make their zombie movie.
Blood Quantum (2019) Service: Shudder
“Every one of those motherf****** is a time bomb.”
Blood Quantum is essentially zombies on a modern-day reservation. You get all the blood-thirsty ravaging undead and pensive natives struggling to survive day-to-day, while reconciling their anger, resentment, and fears. Writer-director Jeff Barnaby channels his inner Romero and delivers biting social commentary on real life native troubles by drawing parallels to surviving in the zombie apocalypse, thus, immediately making it a better than average zombie story. Life on the reservation hasn’t improved, but it hasn’t necessarily deteriorated either. The white man is still trying to kill us. Same shit, different millennia. A little closer to the heart, there’s nice family drama subplot involving a wayward son named Lysol, wonderfully played by Kiowa Gordon. Lysol is one complex dude. He’s angry and alluring, righteous, and terrifying, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he represents a lot of young native men across the North America. Sadly, in a film filled with quirky interesting characters, Lysol is one of the few fleshed out characters. Dropped plot points involving back stories is just one of tiny problems that all add up over time, keeping the film from being truly great. I read director Barnaby wore several post production hats to ensure he told the story he wanted to tell, but I can’t help but wonder what the film could have been, if only it had a bigger budget and better editing. Despite its obvious flaws, this is a solid horror movie with nice cinematography, comical one-liners, ranging from cheesy to endearing, and plenty of zombie action and bloody carnage.
Last Monday was National S’mores Day, which I missed because I was wallowing over some bad news. S’mores are the perfect camping treat, summer dessert, or comfort food. They say if you ask, the universe will provide, so, imagine how happy I was when I came across Tidymom’s recipe for Chocolate Covered Halloween S’mores on a Stick. Yes, universe, I agree, chocolate dipped Halloween s’mores is a fast, easy and cheap way to soothe our inner child’s tears.
S’mores are a pandemic requirement.
Marshmallows (Jet Puffed Stacker Mallows work best)