Witches, monsters and ghosts: the time we’ve all been dreading has finally arrived. It’s time to say goodbye to the best season of the year. Pack away your fake cobwebs, throw out your moldnig jack-o-lanterns and stop listening to “Ghostubsters” on repeat.
It’s the end of Spooky Season.
I know, I’m crying too.
But just because the season has come to a close, doesn’t mean we have to leave behind the scary movie-filled, candy-stuffed memories that were made. I think I was more dedicated to this Halloween than any before. So, let me reminisce, for my own closure, the best parts of my October.
5. The Halloween-Themed Food
Like most college students, I could eat cereal for every single meal if my body would allow it. But starting in October, General Mills makes the cutest, yummiest, scariest breakfast cereal that ever did exist. There’s Count Chocula, Boo Berry Crunch and Franken Berry, all of which I bought as soon as they were on sale. I mean, come on! Count Chocula? That’s the cutest crap I’ve ever heard of.
But besides cereal, I ate so much stinkin’ candy this year. The best tasting, for some mystical reason, are the pumpkin-shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’ve really tried to deduce why this is, but I think the answer is two words: Spooky Season. It’s magical, and now it’s over and I hate everything.
4. Carving Pumpkins
I try to carve a pumpkin every year, but this time seemed a little extra special because of the wonderful people–and animals– that surrounded me. The University Journal staff used the occasion as a “bonding” experience, overflowing with pumpkin guts. Some stuck to more traditional pumpkin faces, while others (Reyce Knutson) spent DAYS carving the epic battle between Gandalf and the Balrog from “The Fellowship of the Ring.”
For me, the best part of the night was the in-home zoo, belonging to our photographer, Mitchell Quartz. His turtle, Bella, strut around the floor in a dashing pumpkin hat, while his ridiculously chubby cat, Rey, tried to cuddle with us, despite the amount of sharp knives we were holding. Animals AND Halloween? Yes, please.
3. Dressing Up
Since I was young, my family ingrained in me that Halloween is no joke, and if you’re going to dress up, then you’re going to dress up. I never bought a costume online or re-used one from a previous year (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those options). Instead, my aunt spent weeks sewing and hot glueing an amazing, one of a kind costume perfectly tailored to me. It was awesome.
This year, I tried to channel some of that energy into making an original costume from Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill.” Let me just say that finding a neon yellow track suit was just as hard as you might expect it to be, but completely worth the attention-getting payoff. In the end, I was able to do a kick-butt photo shoot showing off my costume, which is all I ever really wanted. I mean, that and Spooky Season all year long, but oh well.
2. The Spooky Movies!
As I’m sure you’re all aware at this point, I freaking love scary movies. And this year, I made a list of movies that I wanted to be sure to watch. While I definitely didn’t watch all 75, I watched a little over 20. And that’s pretty good, right? Not amazing, but it felt like a whole lot to me.
Included in my several screenings, I finally saw “Hereditary,” which I think has taken place as the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. It was beautifully made and thought provoking, but MESSED UP. It’s disturbing, scary and not for those with mommy issues. Also, fun fact: it was filmed in my actual neighborhood, which was all the more terrifying.
1. Halloween Horror Nights
While everything I’ve listed so far is part of my usual Halloween traditions, this year I decided to try something bigger, scarier and definitely more exciting. Over fall break, I ventured to Los Angeles to visit Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. The attraction features over a dozen haunted mazes, all of which are created by the talented teams of the company. But although I walked through ten mazes that night, two of them took priority. The spotlight mazes were themed as season two of “Stranger Things” and Jordan Peele’s “Us.”
Both mazes not only featured me falling on the ground out of pure fear, but also stopping in complete amazement at the intense details that were put into making them absolutely perfect. I was sucked into Will Byers’ horrifying journey against the Shadow Monster, and thrown into the terrifying living room of the Wilson family and their murderous tetherds. I was living in some of my favorite pieces of art, which was so incredibly surreal that I don’t know if I can celebrate Halloween any other way in the future.
So, here we are. The end of Halloween and the beginning of cold cheeriness. I love Christmas as much as the next white girl, but please, I’m begging you: respect my grieving. Refrain from blasting Christmas music two months before the holiday even starts. I need to mourn.
Story by: Amanda Walton
Photos Courtesy of: Amanda Walton, Reyce Knutson, Universal Studios, IMDB and General Mills