So, here’s the deal, Krampus is coming. That’s that. 2020 is not done with us. The face on Grandma’s vintage snowman, probably caved in. Those holiday lights you put away last year with meticulous care, suddenly, a big knot. The money you saved to give the kids a nice Christmas, probably going to fix your car or pay the rent or buy a new refrigerator, whatever, it’s gone! To top it all off, Covid-19 just ruined all our holidays plans! Such is pandemic life! Burnt cookies, broken baubles, no problem. Don’t get mean, get creative! Join us on Instagram this December for the Creeped Out Christmas Art/Photo Challenge 2020! We like it dark and scary! #CreepedOutChristmas
Join in the fun any time, any day, but, if you post something all 25 days, you’ll be entered into a random drawing** to win a prize!!!
**Contestants must post an authentic, original art piece or photo each day from December 1-25, on Instagram, using #CreepedOutChristmasAND be a current follower of @halloweenhaiku9 be to be entered into the drawing. Contest ends midnight, pacific time, December 25, 2020. Winner will be chosen and announced here and on social media on December 26th. Please see Contest Rules for more details.
I wish everyone a fun-filled day full of love, laughter, good food, great memories, friends, and family.
I’ve been laying low this month, preparing for Creepmas activities in December. I’m thankful for each and every visitor here, wherever they come from. Thanks so much for checking out my blog and sharing in the love for Halloween and haiku.
American Thanksgiving doesn’t feel the same due to Covid-19. Scaled back dinners and more introspective holidays are being held in lieu of big celebrations. I am cooking a big breakfast today instead of a traditional turkey dinner. No matter, the message is the same. Be thankful. Find something to be thankful for. Many people, thousands of families across the world, are suffering today. Remember those in need. Be kind. Be generous. Be thankful.
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.
No, you’re not imagining anything. America is definitely ushering in Halloween earlier than we ever have before. We’re not waiting for the ‘Ber months. The unofficial pre-season starts now!
Between trying to keep our families and ourselves safe from Covid-19, the stresses of working from home, health worries, money woes, and fear and loathing of societal ills, including a looming election to determine the fate of America’s soul, honestly, we need the distraction.
Autumn and Halloween merch have already hit the craft stores, retailers have released their catalogs, and candy has hit the shelves. Halloween Haunters, artists, bloggers, content creators, and writers are buzzing with ideas and upcoming projects. The Samhain Societyhas new members, and I encourage everyone to hit up links to some of the best Halloween bloggers and content creators on the planet. Here at Halloween Haiku, I have cool celebrations planned this October, so keep checking back regularly.
I’ve also been reading responses from Halloween fans on social media forums and have determined that despite the pandemic, there will be so many cool things happening to ensure Halloween 2020 will be the auspicious event we all know it will be.
Of course, Halloween 2020 won’t be without its controversies. Some of us will be all dressed up, with nowhere to go. There are rumblings that trick-or-treating, parties, parades, haunted attractions, and other mass gatherings will get nixed. I can see why this is alarming, and it’s gonna be tough when autumn leaves peak and temperatures cool. We’re going to be tempted to throw caution to the wind and traipse around in the world, looking for inspiration and celebrations with our fellow Halloween fans. I got three words for you:
Halloween at home.
Carve your pumpkins. Decorate your homes. Pick out your costumes. Bake ghost cookies. Eat candy. Watch scary movies. Drink your spirits.
But please, please, for the sake of American lives, Halloween at home this year. Wear masks. Social distance. Let’s make America safe again.
Yeah, I really just did that. 😉
Honestly, I think Halloween at home is exactly what America needs, a reminder that Halloween lives inside of us. It’s not a place we go or a thing we do. It’s something in our hearts. It’s about honoring and remembering our loved ones and those who have passed on. Traditions mean nothing if there’s no one to share them with. As long as we keep that in mind, and we try the best we can to keep each other safe, we’re all going to have an amazing Halloween season. So, relax. Be smart. Be safe. Stop worrying. Halloween is what we make of it, and as long as you’re celebrating, nothing is canceled.
Dead. I’m mostly dead inside, besides a few Frankensteinian moments, brought on either by self-preservation or energy drinks, I’m not sure yet. Point is, the Covid-19 pandemic has made blogging kinda tough lately. When I realized I missed the deadline to post Recipe of the Month on its scheduled day, I knew I needed to post pronto, with a fitting tribute. So, where do you put dead things? In a graveyard, of course! Just so happens, I really love the idea of being buried inside Half Baked Harvest‘s Deathly Chocolate Graveyard Cakes. Everyone is dying for a good chocolate recipe these days. and this is the one.
Now, if you excuse me, I need to go rewrite my will, again.
1box chocolate cake mix
1/2cupKahlua OR caramel sauce OR sweetened condensed milk*
2ozboxes instant chocolate mousse mix3 to 4 each
6full-size Snickers barscrushed
6inPirouette Rolled Wafers or pretzel rods,broken in half
Pandemics and zombies go together like mac and cheese. Maybe, we’re looking for survival tips. I mean, zombie movies and apocalyptic horror have a special way of reminding us that humanity is worth fighting for, right? Well, we’re not dead, or undead, yet, so, if you’re not yet ready to build a bunker, start a collection of assault rifles, or learn to love cold chili from a can, here’s a list of my favorite zombie movies to better prepare us for doomsday.
10. Cargo (2017)
“I don’t think normal is on the horizon.”
Based on the brilliant 2013 short of the same name, Cargo is the story of a father wandering across the apocalyptic Australian wasteland with his infant daughter, searching for help, after he’s been bitten. Sometimes doing right by humanity means not getting caught up in other people’s misery.
9. Re-Animator (1985) “You’ll never get credit for my discovery. Who’s going to believe a talking head?”
Stuart Gordon directs this blood-drenched, nudity-filled horror-comedy, based on the H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, about a group of ethically questionable doctors fighting for control of a glowing green serum that brings the dead back to life. This is quintessential 80’s horror for anyone who believes doomsday starts in a lab.
8. Dawn of the Dead (2004) “In the back of my mind, I was always thinking, better them than me.”
Director Zack Snyder ups the survivor stakes by replacing slow shambling zombies with a little berserker action, in this retelling of George Romero’s 1979 film of the same name. While it falls short on Romero’s mastery of social commentary, it does have the most thrilling opening sequence of any zombie movie ever and does a good job showing what diversity looks like in apocalypse.
7. 28 Weeks Later (2007) “As we approach your new home, you will notice a dramatically increased military presence.”
The US military swoops in to save the day or does it? This action-packed sequel to Danny Boyle’s horror masterpiece, 28 Days Later, features an all-star cast and another bleak story of desperate, complicated survivors, including two resourceful teens, whose father recently went out for ice cream.
6. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016) “Pandora peered into the box and found one more thing in the bottom. It was hope.”
Zombie horror for the thinking man, based on the book by M.R. Carey, with a story set in rural England, where military scientists study an airborne fungal pathogen that turns people into zombies, by experimenting on special children who born with bloodlust but managed cognitive thinking and learning capability. Humans may be willing to do anything to survive, but remember, nature has a way of favoring the dominate of the species.
5. Train to Busan (2016) “Those of you who just got here, I don’t think you can stay with us.”
This Korean thriller about a group of survivors stuck on a bullet train, trying to make its way to country’s last stronghold before the zombie horde gets to them, is non-stop action from beginning to end. Korean directors sure like using trains to point out social inequalities and class warfare. Btw, Peninsula, Busan’s upcoming sequel set in the same universe with a new kinetic story is expected to be released sometime in 2020.
4. Shaun of the Dead (2004) “As Bertrand Russell said the only thing that will redeem mankind is co-operation.”
Sometimes the only thing to do is go to your favorite bar, have a nice cold pint, and wait for this all to blow over. Oh, that’s right, we’re on lockdown. Well, I hope you stocked up on Cornettos. The world’s first zombie rom-com is loaded with laughs, but doesn’t skimp on the gore, nor the scares, plus, it can teach us a thing or two about sticking close to loved ones during the bad times.
3. 28 Days Later (2002) “It started as rioting. But right from the beginning, you knew this was different.”
The fact that this film shows up on my zombie list sheds light on my opinion on whether this is a true zombie film. Some people debate that 28 Days Later is not a true zombie film because they’re highly infectious cannibals, who are very much alive. But, much of what’s most terrifying of Danny’s Boyle’s brilliant thriller about a military science experiment gone bad is the explanation of the rabid virus is the most logically plausible. Dead, undead, who cares, humanity has collapsed due to hordes of uncontrollable flesh-eating rage-monsters ravaging the London countryside. Sounds like a zombie film to me!
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968) “Don’t you know what’s goin’ on out there? This is no Sunday School picnic!”
Inspired by political and racial strife of the early 60s, young filmmaker George A. Romero had no idea the impact his little low-budget movie would have on films, much less the horror genre, with a story of a group of complicated survivors holed up together in a farmhouse surrounded by undead corpses preying on the flesh of the living. The metaphorical snapshot of American society on edge is sadly, still relevant. Clerical errors sent the film into the Public Domain. As of March 2019, the film has been downloaded 3.1 million times. Looks like Romero’s biggest regret of not doublechecking the copyright form has been a true gift to humanity.
1. Dawn of the dead (1979) “Wake up, sucker! We’re thieves and we’re bad guys. That’s exactly what we are.”
George A. Romero’s magnum opus is number one on all the zombie lists for a reason. It’s the one that created the most popular subgenre in horror films, for which, all others pay homage to. The film was chock-full of both realism and symbolism. There are unforgettable characters, heroes with real flaws that audiences find identifiable or admirable in some way. Deep down inside, there’s a little fly boy or fly girl in all of us. Then, there’s Romero’s brilliant social commentary, a story that simultaneously mocks and celebrates American society and its insatiable consumerism. Our sanctuary, the American Mall. Our tool for survival, the almighty gun. Our privilege, unimaginable wealth, just behind glass doors. Golly gee, if we only had the guts to brave the hordes of flesh-eating monsters standing in our way. Pssst…all the living dead are capitalists!
We must stop the killing, or lose the war.