Orange and Black is the New Black Or, A Halloween Phase 1 Appreciation Post

Dino Drac jumped the gun on me and started the Halloween celebrations a week early, but around these parts, Halloween season has a clear and consistent start date. That day is today, September 1st, also known as Halloween Phase I.

In the year A.D. 2007, I first declared September 1st the official start date of Halloween celebrations henceforth, and ever since, I’ve (pretty much) adhered to that tradition. Circumstances have sometimes necessitated Halloween activity as far back as June, but haunted house construction aside, I’ve always made an effort to resist the temptation to listen to Halloween music, drink pumpkin beer, and watch Halloween-related movies prior to this threshold.

This isn’t just me being an insane person – there’s a purpose to it. I hear from people all the time on Halloween forums and occasionally in real life who proudly declare that they celebrate Halloween 365 days a year. Obviously, I don’t begrudge them that right. Hell, I even admire the dedication. But I’ve never been interested in being that person. To me, what makes Halloween so great is that it’s NOT around every day. It’s a fleeting time (even with two months of the year devoted to it), something to look forward to and generate excitement in the lead-up. Making it part of daily life makes it mundane.

And Halloween is anything but mundane. This is a time to let your inner child run wild. Hang skeletons on your walls. Dangle a fake severed arm out of your trunk hatch. Eat and drink pumpkin flavored everything. Watch movies about walking corpses and listen to music about werewolves. Most importantly, prepare your mind and spirit for Halloween Phases II and III, for Halloween is the Friday night of the year!

(For clarity, the entire holiday season, from Halloween to New Year’s Day, is the year’s weekend. The block of time we all look forward to. October is Friday, Halloween itself is Friday night. Thanksgiving is Saturday morning, Christmas is Saturday night, and that weird week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is Sunday. New Year’s Day is the last few hours of Sunday night before we all have to go back to work for the year. Yes, I’ve given too much thought to this analogy.)

Halloween has arrived at the grocery store

In previous years I’ve usually concluded this post by giving you instructions on the best ways to celebrate Phase I, but frankly, I don’t think such instructions are necessary. If you’ve read this far into a blog post about the month of September vis a vis Halloween, you know darn well how to mark the occasion. I’m personally looking forward to the perennial pumpkin beer search, and the consumption thereby. I’m looking forward to lugging the array of big, heavy boxes of decorations down from the attic and the arduous but joyful process of putting them out. I’m looking forward to the first visit to an open Spirit store, the Halloween aisles at Target, Walgreen’s, et al going up, listening to my entire curated selection of Halloween music, and putting on a horror movie every night. I’m even looking forward to stressing out about my costume. A bountiful holiday this is.

You know what? I do have just a single request from you, dear reader. Ring in the season with the song below. It’s fast becoming one of my favorite Halloween songs. It’s long, so maybe let this one play in the background…

Black cats and scurrying rats,
Flapping bats, and heart attacks
Paint your faces green, and act obscene
‘Cause it’s Halloween

Harley Poe – Pagan Holiday

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