It’s almost the Halloween season. Almost. Because of that, September can be a rough time for horror fans. It’s very nearly our time of the year, but not quite. It can get pretty hard, running down those minutes and waiting for October to start. But even though it’s not October, the Halloween season is almost upon us and it’s time to get in the spirit however we can.
Still, for most people it’s a little early to start celebrating. Sure, there’s a double standard that’s created there considering that there are plenty of people who have started celebrating Christmas already. And that almost creates a sort of pressure on the people who love Halloween to get as many decorations as possible because they could be out the door at any moment. Some stores have already replaced Halloween decorations with Thanksgiving and Christmas items.
But let’s ignore that for now and say for the sake of argument that most people are jumping on board the Halloween hype train on October 1st. That generally seems to be the way it goes for us fans, we just ride the month out like a roller coaster. Between now and the first, there’s a lot of time spent sitting on our thumbs. Nobody’s having their Halloween parties yet, nobody’s setting up haunted houses or doing any kind of events, really.
So, what do we do with our free time, other than wait? That’s a good question. And while this list may simply equate to waiting, it will—I hope—make for a good way to pass the time until the pumpkin carving begins.
Make a Reading List
Everyone talks about the list of horror movies they’re going to watch for the month of October, which is great. By all means, do that. But October is also the time for spooky stories and it can be hard to do determine what you want to read in the middle of the month when everything is going on. September can be a great time to start hyping yourself up with some horror fiction. Short stories in particular are recommended, because they’re often scarier and can be read between other activities. Classics like the works of Edgar Allan Poe, “Carmilla,” “The Monkey’s Paw,” obviously come recommended, as do collections like Clive Barker’s The Books of Blood and Stephen King’s Night Shift, but it can be whatever you want it to be. If you just want to make extra time for CreepyPasta, that works fine too. Whatever gets your hair standing on end, seek it out and embrace it.
I mean, why not? Like I already said, some places have stopped stocking decorations already. If you live near some Halloween stores, they’re going to be cheaper now and have more deals than they will during the next month, when they know you’ll pay whatever price for that plastic skeleton because you need to hang him on the front door ASAP. This is one of those things where it’s really never too early to start. My decorations from last year never came down, at least not most of them. They’re only getting added to. One of the easiest things for people to start getting in the mood for Halloween is simply to start creating a visual aesthetic, and even starting out with just a few decorations could do that.
This should be a pretty easy one too, but you’d be surprised how effective it can be. You want to get in the Halloween spirit? Make a playlist. Put together a collection of spooky tunes that will carry you through the next two months. Whatever you want to go on it, whatever spooky music you feel will be appropriate. If Marilyn Manson or old-school NIN work for you, fine. If you lean toward scores, Halloween is obviously essential and the soundtrack for Halloween III will also provide some great atmosphere music. Just look at soundtracks in general and you’ll find plenty of gems. Dream Warriors, Jason Lives, Return of the Living Dead, even Critters all provide some great off-kilter, unexpected selections to start the season off right.
The length of this schedule will obviously depend quite a bit on where you live. If you’re lucky enough to have retro screenings and month-long haunted houses, then you’ll need to legitimately plan for the month of October to make sure you get to do everything that you want. If you’re in a more rural area, it’ll be easier to map out, but there will still be stuff going on. People will still be throwing Halloween parties, there will still be local haunted attractions and there’s always the one extra cool guy in the neighborhood running a haunted house out of his own home. After all, small towns are what we immediately think of when we think of Halloween, not major metropolitan areas.
You’ve no doubt already started seeing Halloween-themed recipes start circulating on Facebook, Twitter and whatever other online presence you maintain. And they all look so easy and doable. They look like something you could make to impress even the least enthusiastic guests at whatever holiday gatherings you might attend. But even though you always think that whatever you do is going to look exactly like the picture you saw on Tumblr, that’s not the case. Not the first time, anyway. So if you see a recipe for Pinhead cupcakes or whatever you might find that you want to try, use September for practice. Because this isn’t just the month for pre-gaming. For those who really want to try and impress people this Halloween season, September can simply be a great month for trial and error.