As many of you know, I’m a very ritualistic person when it comes to Halloween. There are things I must do every year, or I don’t feel the season is complete. And I tend to add more rituals the older I get…
I’m also very regimented. I invented my Phase I/II/III system about 10 years ago as a way to keep myself from going totally off the rails and gorging myself on Halloween early, then burning out before October 31st. It was a legitimate concern! By establishing September 1st as a firm start date for Halloween season, I gave myself something concrete to look forward to, build the excitement and anticipation, and prevent burnout.
Well, try as I might, I have to finally come to terms with the truth: I’ve broken my own rule. It was building the haunted house that really did it, I think. It just wasn’t practical or wise to hold off everything until September when I was trying to build wooden mazes in my garage, in addition to decorating my entire house inside and out, in addition to throwing a huge party, in addition to all the mini-parties, etc. I must get into Halloween mode by August, or I get stressed out. Plus, you know… I can’t help it. I get excited.
That excitement is supported by seasonal creep. It’s not just for Christmas anymore! My September Phase I assignment used to line up with the start of Halloween imagery appearing in public, but now that starts much earlier. Costco and Michael’s and At Home start stocking Halloween in July. And then, there’s this:
Yep, that’s pumpkin beer appearing at Total Wine. How any brewery is getting a hold of pumpkin to make beer with in the dead of Summer? I don’t know (and I don’t want to know). But there it is. I see that Sam Adams is trying to improve sales of their mediocre pumpkin beer by calling it “20 Pounds of Pumpkin”. Pro tip for you: any beer that advertises the volume of real pumpkin included in the brewing process probably isn’t great – real pumpkin flesh is actually pretty flavorless. Also spotted, the Coronado Brewing Punk’in Drublic, which I bought because I liked it OK last year. Picked up a bottle of Southern Tier Pumking for the Phase I kickoff celebration as well, but it’s from last year’s batch. Hope it’s still good.
And so, with haunted house construction beginning, pumpkin beer purchased, and Summer of Horror wrapping up, I think it’s high time we induct a new phase: Phase 0. Phase 0 starts whenever the hell it starts. I’m not binding this one up. It’s not full-on celebration, it’s the pre-season. The relative clam before the storm.
So uhh… happy Phase 0 everyone! There’s less than two weeks of it to go! And then the real madness starts.