Frankenweenie on a Sheet

September 22, 2015 — Some Halloween Season moments I’m unsure if I should post about. There are so many that I love, but I don’t know if they’re interesting enough to put in front of an audience...even though it’s technically too early in this season of daily posts for me to turn down any possible topic.

Like the other night, when we watched Frankenweenie in the barn attic.

It’s a great tradition. We throw a sheet over the rafters for a screen, lay out in dusty pool chairs, drink ciders and eat candy corn mixed with popcorn, and watch a creepy flick. But I’ve written about the tradition before. Like here. And here. And I feel like I post about the barn too much in general, honestly. It’s getting to the point that I should just move my family into it during the Halloween Season. I guess I need to start exploring my house attic instead. Or attics. Somehow we have two.

I wasn’t planning on writing about the night. I threw a bad-quality phone pic on the socials and that was going to be the extent of contentizing it. Nothing much happened. We had some technical difficulties, of course. That’s almost part of the tradition. Something about iTunes not letting me spit HD through a projector I bought six years ago when I was invited to give my first book talk. I eventually figured out a solution. It just took me disappearing back into the cozy bubble of wifi we sometimes call “the house” to do some research.

The upside to the glitch is we burned some daylight and got to watch the movie in pitch darkness with all our cricket friends. The downside is we couldn’t finish the movie until the next day because apparently responsible parents make their kids go to bed at a reasonable hour for school the next day.

But it was fun. Frankenweenie, which I hadn’t watched since its theatrical debut, seemed particularly apt, especially the point where the main character Victor is projecting a movie on a sheet, giving us the strange reality-vertigo of watching a movie on a sheet that’s in a movie on a sheet, or when he slips into an attic that looked very much like the one in which we were sitting and watching him. Minus the junior mad scientist equipment.

I always loved the original live-action short film it was based on, but I remember finding the stop-motion, full-length movie kind of cold and stiff (sorry, didn’t have the energy to actively avoid that pun) when I first watched it. Granted, I was also fresh off watching the amazing ParaNorman in theaters just a few weeks previously and that’s a hard act to follow. But on this rewatch I liked it a lot more. The smell of old wood and candy corn helped, I think.

Still, even after we returned back to wifi sweet wifi, I wasn’t planning on writing about it. Then my wife told me, “I took some pictures. I’ll Dropbox them to you.”

When I took a look at them, I realized that while I was in the house cursing iTunes and fretting over messing up plans that we’d built up to our oldest daughter all day, I saw that they had a blast, dancing with skeletons and taking pictures of dust motes and generally not worrying about whether I’d passed the point of being too old to figure modern technology out. For the record, I am very, very close.

So I wanted to post the photos. And to do that I gotta wrap some words around them. And these are those words. And those are vague pronouns.

Still, I’m not sure if this is interesting to you. But I finally decided that I wanted to post the photos and record this memory so that next summer or the summer after that or the summer after that, I’ll be able to read this article and remember this night. To feel the coolness of the cross breeze fluttering the movie screen. To laugh at the annoyance of having to shoo our toddler away from the exposed wires over and over again. To glory in the fact that we’re to the point in pop culture that a story about grave robbing and dead animals is great children’s fare.

Plus, if I’m finding reason to write about dog food this season, all bets are off that I know what my readership wants anyway.

But know this: If I invited all of you over to my house, this is where and how we would party.