RIP Halloween 2010

Well, it’s a week past Halloween, and I’ve needed the time to process how everything went down. In a word, it was a resounding success (that’s more than one word). Let’s break it down with a stats sheet shall we?

Horror Movies watched: About 45 (This is an estimate. I watched 23 from my own collection, but I also saw quite a few on TV and several from Netflix. I didn’t literally watch one per night in October, but I most likely did the equivalent)
Types of Pumpkin Beers consumed: 8
Jack O Lanterns carved: 2
Haunted houses visited: 2
Trick or treaters too scared to approach our door without their parents: 3
Tombstones in backyard: 7
Halloween stores visited: 6
Date of first visit to Spirit: September 1
Number of beers consumed at the party before a run was made: 48
Number of crossdressers at the party: 2
Full days of work required to pack away all the Halloween decorations: 2
Money spent on Halloween 2010: I don’t even want to guess

I couldn’t be more satisfied with the way this Halloween season played out. I absorbed myself in Halloween like never before and somehow managed to not burn out or get overly stressed. There were certainly times I felt the pressure, and life got in the way of my plans more than once, but I feel I balanced it well. I came closer to my “one horror movie a night” goal for October than ever before. As a personal (and slightly shameful) note, I finally watched the 1931 Dracula for the first time, and also bit the bullet and purchased Child’s Play and Creepshow like I’ve been planning to do for years. I made my annual playlist, I listened to tons of Misfits, I went to haunted houses. But my biggest accomplishment, honestly, was this blog. I’ve wanted my own Halloween site for years but it wasn’t until now that I had the knowledge to pull it off. Some readers would be nice, but what can you do?

As always, there were things I failed to accomplish. Small things mainly. I didn’t get to build the coffin, but I think that’ll happen next year. I didn’t get around to writing an in-depth comparison of the original Halloween and the Rob Zombie remake. And I never wrote my annual review of the Halloween retail landscape. In lieu of the obsessively detailed write-ups I normally do for this purpose, I’m going to do a simple pro/con ranking:

Spirit: 9.5
Pros: Decent prices, high-quality stuff, lots of locations
Cons: Maddeningly terrible choice of music in-store that ruined the atmosphere
Walgreens: 8.5
Pros: Excellent prices, higher than expected quality merch
Cons: Christmas stuff creeping a little too close for comfort a little too early
Easley’s: 8.5
Pros: Unbeatable selection of costumes
Cons: Somewhat high prices, not much atmosphere
Target: 8.0
Pros: “Halloweekend” motif suggests a three-day Halloween. Good prices
Cons: Hardly any new merch. Good items from past years no longer available
Wal-Mart: 7.0
Pros: Prices rolling back all over the place! Better selection than previous years.
Cons: Not much in the way of decor. Poor quality merch.
Party City Costume Warehouse: 6.5
Pros: Pretty good decor
Cons: Shockingly high prices, too much focus on costumes
Halloween Express: 5.5
Pros: 50% off everything in the store all season! Excellent haunted house in-store.
Cons: Even with 50% off, most things STILL ridiculously expensive. Same depleting stock is being carted out year after year, and it’s starting to get pretty worn-out. This may very well be their last year in business.
Halloween Superstore: 5.0
Pros: Um…. they’re a Halloween store?
Cons: Very little decor, no atmosphere, prices nothing to write home about, doesn’t have anything you can’t get at any other Halloween store.
Costco: 4.0
Pros: FINALLY kept the Halloween section up through the actual day. Awesome giant skull was an instant purchase
Cons: Halloween still clearly an afterthought. Very little of anything Halloweeny. Christmas encroaching big time by early October.
Home Depot: .5
Pros: They have colored fluorescent bulbs
Cons: Really no Halloween stuff to speak of. Gigantic Christmas section out in full force by early October.

As for the party itself? I’ll be honest, I still don’t feel qualified to explain it. By following my “no blacking out” drinking rules, I stayed conscious and functional the entire night. But it STILL feels like a blur as of now. Yes, I was drunk, but I truly believe it was stimulus overload that makes me feel this way. I received many sincere accolades about the quality of this year’s party, so I’m pretty sure people enjoyed themselves. The pictures on Facebook tell half the story, but they fail to capture the utter chaos of it all. I believe this aftermath shot speaks volumes:

Saying goodbye is hard to do. In fact, I’d say this is the only regret I ever really have about Halloween – it ends. Halloween night I could not get myself to go to sleep. I was not ready for it to all be over. I stood out in my graveyard, breathed in the cool October air, and let out a long sigh. I thought back on all I had accomplished, all the great spirit I shared with people, all the laughs and the screams. I can say without qualification, this year I felt more bittersweet about Halloween ending than ever before. I think that says something great.

So where do I go from here? I can’t say what next year will be like. Will I attempt to top this year? Will it be possible? I’m clueless about these things. I’m not sure what “the next level” is for me, but whatever it is, I’m gonna take it there in 2011 (if that sounded suspiciously sports-like I apologize). This blog will be in a state of hibernation until next Summer, but if anything Halloween-related crosses my path before then, I will document it here.

So until then, there’s only one thing left to say.

You know what? I don’t even need to say it. It’s in my header.

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