Halloween Die-ary: October 10, 2018

After work, Lindsey went to the horse stables to do some photo sessions, so the girls and I grabbed iPads and laptops and jumped into one of the beds upstairs to play Roblox together.

Roblox is social gaming. It’s a bazillion home-made games that players can jump in and out of and experience together as their avatars. And everything is in a blocky style of illustration. We can all jump into one server and shoot square-headed zombies. We can jump in another and race each other across fantastical obstacle courses (obbies). We can explore nonsensical and silly worlds made of blocks. All manner of adventures.

It has a lot of Halloween games that are perfect for the season. And a lot of Halloween reskins of regular games. The amount of Halloween imagery in these amateurs games are staggering. Like better than most Halloween movies. We played through a few tonight, including an obstacle course in a witch’s house, until landing in Trick-or-Treating in Hollowville.

This was a pretty fantastic game. We were all trick-or-treaters in a two-level town. We’d go door-to-door to get candy, which we could either eat to make ourselves walk faster or sell to gather money to buy costumes and monster pets and vehicles and trick-or-treat bags. Every once in a while an actual monster would open the door—a vampire, a ghost, a Jack-o-lantern—which would turn us into skeletons and make us start over.

Meanwhile, we met characters that sent us on missions throughout the town as we trick-or-treated. A zombie in the graveyard wanted us to find a six brains. A Jack-o-lantern in a pumpkin patch wanted us to find a certain number of Jack-o-lanterns. A witch wanted us to find spell ingredients. Or ghosts. Or apples. Or bones. Or bats in prison outfits (I don’t know about that one, but the cop I met assigned me the mission). Fulfilling the missions got us more money.

Most of the fun was all of us playing on the same server: An eight-year-old, a four-year-old, and a 40ish-year-old.

After that, we had dinner and played around some more, and eventually it was time for them to go to bed. I read the youngest her bedtime story. It was a book of children’s Halloween poetry called The Spook Matinee. I wasn’t too into the poems, but the illustrations were delightful.

Finally, my wife and I settled down to watch a horror movie without Halloween cocktails. I chose at random the House on Haunted Hill remake from 1999.

This movie couldn’t be more 1990s. I mean, Famke Janssen, Chris Kattan, Ali Larter, Lisa Loeb, Blockbuster rental cases, that shaky head effect from Jacob’s Ladder, Marilyn Manson singing Sweet Dreams, lines like, “an online computer connected to the Internet.” I loved Geoffrey Rush playing a Vincent Price/Walt Disney amalgam named Stephen Price. The first half of the movie is a lot of fun, but the second half—when it gets down to the horror—got real sloggy, unfortunately.

So it was a night of Halloween video games, books, and movies. It’s a wonder how anybody in this world gets anything done. Especially at this time of year.