Halloween-iversary, Part I: Six Years Old Like Damien

September 17, 2015 — This is the sixth year for the OTIS Halloween Blog. If it were a human, it would be in kindergarten, too old to be very cute anymore, generally awkward, mildly annoying to converse with, and bad at hygiene. But I love this six-year-old.

To celebrate the past five years of turning my favorite season into a content-fest, I thought I’d pick two of my favorite photos from the past five years of OTIS Halloween Blogs. Sounds easy, right? But in digging into the archives, I honestly couldn’t narrow down my favorites. I mean, what criteria do I use? The ones that represent the best memories? The weirdest ones? The ones with the best stories behind them? The ones that are the most artistic (remember, my wife wields a camera like Gozer wields finger-lightening)? I found the task impossible. So instead of that easy photo essay, I categorized my Halloween memories and stuffed each section with photos. And then I had to make it a two-parter.

So if you’ll indulge me this inch, I’ll take your mile.

Five Halloweens of Mutilating Pumpkins
I’ll argue ‘til I’m orange in the face that pumpkin carving is the ultimate moment of Halloween-dom. Trick-or-treating is fun. Leaf peeping ennobles the soul. But gutting and carving a cranium-sized fruit while watching horror movies or listening to spooky tunes? Plan that day wisely and savor it, because everything is downhill afterward.

2011 Jack-O-Lanterns. Paired with Mad Monster Party?.

2012 Jack-o-lanterns. Paired with The Monster Squad.

2013 Jack-o-lanterns. Paired with Beetlejuice.

2014 Jack-o-lanterns. Paired with The Addams Family movie.

Five Halloweens of Weird Projects
I still don’t know whether I did these projects to wallow deeper into Halloween, to generate content for the blog, or because 33% of my brain is smoother than a caramel apple.

For some reason, watching horror movies in the basement didn't catch on
like watching horror movies in the barn attic did.

Had to go with Rotbert for this  year, although any other season
the alien cardboard casket would have won.

This was a fun project, even if I couldn't come up with a good title for the post.

The time I tried to re-create the long-defunct
Caramel Cream Pepsi Jazz...with booze.

The first year I did a Skull in the Family post, it went viral. The second year, nobody cared.

Five Halloweens of Surprises
There is no wrapping paper at Halloween. No box of unmapped chocolates. It’s not a time for surprises. For scares, yes. For startles, certainly. But not surprises. And yet, every season so far has brought some unplanned coolness into my life that makes me believe in Halloween miracles.

We just happened to randomly pass through a New Hampshire town full of Pumpkin People.

That fantastic year it snowed for Halloween. The only downside is the town put off trick-or-treating until
November 7th. For context, this surprise beat out a last-second biz trip to Los Angeles,
where I happened to be able to attend a Tim Burton exhibition.

This was the year of the Frankenstorm.
It was a great way to end a Halloween Season.

One night I was watching Re-Animator. The next night I was interviewing Jeffrey Combs himself.
About a year or so later, I would meet the man in person.

Through a random series of events, we were given a personal tour of an amazing haunt...that is
two blocks away from my house.

Five Halloweens of Road Trips
This subject is where OTIS and Halloween merge beautifully. Autumn is awesome. Road trips are awesome. Autumn road trips are, plainly, more than we all deserve.

In 2010, we drove to the highest point in the northeast U.S., far above the clouds.

I average a trip to Sleepy Hollow, New York, ever other season.
And every time it's been a magical experience. Like this 2011 trip.

A simple trip to Vermont in 2012 yielded wonders that I've still yet to officially catalog.

We drove the length of Massachusetts in 2013. And saw such sights.

A girl practicing her violin in a graveyard where an Egyptian mummy is buried
was the highlight of this 2014 road trip...but only barely.

Five Halloweens of Decorations
The exterior of our house remains dark and bland throughout October, except for the last night when the jack-o’s go out. But our family room is always a warm, candlelit Halloween haven.

2010 decorations

2011 decorations

2012 decorations

2013 decorations

2014 decorations

Five Halloweens of Family

The OTIS Halloween Blog has never known me pre-wife and child. That’s fine. I was jerk before them. And while I know Halloween isn’t supposed to be a family holiday, man, if it doesn’t sometimes give Christmas a run for its stockings.

For Halloween 2010, our first ever Barn Attic Amphitheater.
I look weird because I was at the tail end of my chemo. Also probably because I just look weird.

Halloween 2011.

Halloween 2012.

Halloween 2013. I asked my daughter if she felt weird wearing
a costume around Salem, even though it was two weeks until
October 31st. She asked me if I felt weird not wearing a costume.

Halloween 2014. My second daughter's first Halloween
and my favorite family photo of all time.

Continue to Part II, where you’ll find five Halloweens of movies, Salem, horrifying my wife, seasonal events, graveyards, and randomness.