Black Cats and Scurrying Rats Phase I of Halloween 2016 starts today!

September. Month of falling temperatures, new school semesters, and the official end of Summer. More importantly, it’s the month of pumpkin spice everything, decoration, and horror movies every weekend. The first phase of Halloween.

I’ve come to learn that while I am indeed a weirdo for celebrating Halloween for two full months, I’m far from alone on that. To those plugged into the Halloween community on the internet, September 1st is the typical start date for festivities. Even though I’ve recently quasi-introduced a Phase 0 to my plans, there’s still something special about September 1st.

In some ways, I enjoy September even more than October. I’ve always loved the buildup phase with the holidays. Seeing the decor and imagery creeping slowly into our lives, finding more and more signs of it appearing whenever I go out in public; it’s exciting. Pure potential, and the knowledge that all the best stuff is coming right up. By the time October rolls around, I’m so neck deep in preparation for everything I commit to for the month that I don’t have as much time to just lean back and let it wash over me. It’s a small price to pay. 

Since I’m now in my tenth straight year of writing about what September 1st means to me, I can think of nothing else to add besides this: my list of the little rituals I perform to mark the official starting shot of Halloween season.

  • Change my phone’s ring and text tones to Halloween versions (click here to download choice ones for yourself!)
  • Change my PC and phone wallpapers to Halloween pictures
  • Start listening to lots of Misfits, Harley Poe, psychobilly, and all the other myriad Halloween playlists I’ve curated throughout the years
  • Finish my annual CD playlist with cover art
  • Default to horror movies whenever searching for something to watch in the evenings
  • Look for new pumpkin beers anytime I’m in spitting distance of a Total Wine or Bevmo
  • Drink the pumpkin beers
  • Light candles that smell like autumn
  • Decorate the entire inside area of the house
  • Search for Spirit Halloween stores when out driving; press face against the glass and peer in pathetically if not open yet
  • Chart the opening start dates of local haunted attractions, visit the busier ones
  • Begin curating appropriate films to screen at home for Bad Horror Movie Night, and numerous Good Horror Movie Nights
  • Check the Halloween activity on the World Wide Web (the information super highway) daily. Look for updates on Dinosaur Dracula, Monster Madness, Halloween Forum, etc.
  • Frantically try to come up with a costume idea
  • Stress out about the haunted house progress

So, you know, nothing too crazy.

You don’t have to be a psychopath like me to enjoy Halloween in September! All the coolest kids are doing it. If you prefer to leave your regular life mostly intact, you can still introduce Halloween into it on the DL. Pick up a pumpkin spice candle and light that shit up. Watch some horror movies whenever you’re bored. Put a jack o’ lantern – even a tiny one – somewhere in your house. If you’re reading this website, I have to imagine you’ll be amenable to some or all of these ideas.

If you don’t like Halloween at all, get the hell out.

The Rite

There’s one more thing to address, and I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, but this is my tenth year of writing about and celebrating Halloween on this insane level. As in, significantly more than the average citizen. And I’ve happily added more and more to the platter each year. More decorations, more parties, BIGGER parties, the haunted house… and by this time next year, there’s gonna be a little 6 month old goblin crawling around.

I truly believe I will be “the Halloween guy” forever, and will always do Halloween on a bigger level than most people I can name. But for the past three years or so I’ve been getting the distinct feeling that I’ve reached my limit on how big I can make it. The little goblin will no doubt push me way past that limit. So next year will be different. I don’t know what I’ll scale back or what I’ll sacrifice, but it’ll have to be something.

I don’t think this is a bad thing, because Halloween will take on new and exciting significance as I pass this insanity to a brand new human (and hopefully not make him or her hate it). And the moment me and Mrs. Halloween adjust to parenthood, we’ll be back with all new tricks and/or treats.

For now, let’s raise a glass of pumpkin beer to yet another shiny new Halloween season. It’s going to be epic.

Bonfires burning bright
Pumpkin faces in the night
I remember Halloween

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