Greetings Society of Grave Robbers,
The smell of death is in the air. Its crisp-dry winds knock yellow and orange leaves from gnarled trees. A genocide of fauna, as they fall to their resting place among the frosted ground. Samhain, (known for mischief, costumes and candy) is our benediction and Dia de los Muertos is around the corner. I love the month of October. We are so psychically joined together that I was birthed during these cold haunting days so many years ago.
There is much curiosity to how Father Grim spends his Halloween season. I am a purist and find much pleasure in experiencing Halloween the way my ancestors did, a tradition which is sadly fading away. I still decorate with orange and black streamers, play Bob Apple and Duck Apple and run around the fire pit on a broomstick.
It is a tradition for me to make my own costume. The craftsmanship is essential to the power and strength one acquires when they wear their costume. The strength of magic on Halloween is directly linked to this act. I prefer to dress as traditional characters such as a skeleton, ghost, devil, warlock...etc.
It is a tradition for me to carve Jack-O-Lanterns. The importance of carving Jack-O-Lanterns is in home protection. A creative (not necessarily well crafted) carving lit by candle at night will keep evil spirits away. This includes boogeymen, devils, demons, spooks and haunts who are all present and on the prowl during these dark hours. This magical protection lies in a creative rendition of a scary face. Forget your Martha Stuart concepts, vomiting Jack-O-Lanterns, manufactured stencils and other mockeries of the ritual.
Music is important to me at all times. I listen to music from the moment I awake to the moment I go to sleep. The perfect playlist is essential during the month of October for preparation. Everybody has their own taste in music. You may not agree with my eardrums, but that is irrelevant. My playlist consists mostly of Halloween records from the 50s and 60s.
This includes Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers, Frankie Stein, Milton Delugg, Screaming Lord Sutch, Screaming Jay Hawkins and Vic Mizzy. There are also some amazing compilations that contain classic Rock 'n' Roll Hits like "Spooksville", "Vampira", "Wombie Zombie", "Dead Man's Stroll", "Haunted House", "The Blob", "Woke Up Screaming", "Dry Bone Twist" and more. You can't go wrong with Elvira who has a few compilations out on CD and Vinyl. Some modern albums that get me in the spirit are The Cramps, The Misfits, Bauhaus and Alien Sex Fiend.
October is the month for viewing horror movies. I'm actually a musical kind of guy, but I find myself leaving my comfort zone during the Halloween season. With The Rocky Horror Picture Show you can kill two crows with one stone. October and Universal Classic Horror films go hand in hand. This is when I visit my old fiends of the silver screen: Frankenstein, Wolfman, Dracula and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. I also make sure to watch the first Halloween by John Carpenter and Halloween III: Season of the Witch. And if I have time I will squeeze in some of the others in the series. A new favorite of mine is Trick 'R' Treat. I will also visit some of the children's films like Mad Monster Party, It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Monster Squad.
It is a tradition to give out candy for Halloween. Whether you partake in other season rituals or not, you most likely partake in delivering candy to costumed children when they knock and chant "Trick or Treat". The reason for this is (whether you are aware or not) if you fail to deliver a treat to those who chant at your doorstep, you will inevitably encounter a mischievous trick. Some are more malevolent than others.
My favorite candy is black licorice. But that is not very festive. My second favorite candy are the Mary Jane peanut butter blobs that are wrapped in orange and black wrappers. I used to give out popcorn balls and caramel apples. But I had to stop due to some neighborhood scare where sharp objects were found in these very same treats.
It is traditional for me to sit on my porch at sundown and wait for the children to come by. There is nothing more magical during this golden hour on October 31st. There is a haze in the sepia sky as the blood red sun runs to hide from the evil coming up over the horizon. This is when the Spirit of Halloween comes alive.
I prepare a few pieces of candy with special tricks. Won't they be surprised.
Then, as night shows it's ugly head, I creep out to partake in the festivities. I lurk in the shadows and watch from behind bushes. I sneak through the streets on a night when I don't appear unusual. I love Halloween! It is the one night when I am like everybody else.
Happy Halloween from Gris Grimly and the MCP Crew.
Images by Riley Kern