Halloween Die-ary: October 19, 2018

Today we did another turn with an old Disney Channel Halloween movie called Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire. A lot of fun. I’m such a sucker for kids vs. monster stories. Later, Lindsey and I watched this wonderful movie that just debuted on Shudder called The Witch in the Window. One of the more realistic haunted house movies I’ve seen. Very human. Very humble. Not at all gothic. Such a great story and characters. Normally, I would spend this entry talking about both of those flicks.

But not this time. Actually, I’ll probably talk about The Witch in the Window in the OTIS Club Newsletter on Sunday because it’s relevant there for a reason beyond it being a good movie.

I keep using Hallow-screen to discuss those nights where we do nothing but watch horror and Halloween movies. I love those nights. And this year, my family has to do a lot of that because this unborn baby is really weighing my wife down at this late stage (we’ll get back at him or her when we induce on Monday…one of the first times of thousands we’ll have to tell him or here, “Get out of there, kid!”). But too many Hallow-screens in a row get to me.

I mean, you know me. I’m happiest getting out there in the woods and fields and alleys and streets and neighborhoods looking for oddities.

But during the Halloween Season, that inclination is different. I’m not just out there looking for oddity, I’m looking for a certain slant of adventure. Halloween adventure.

I think I realized this fully during my annual read of The Halloween Tree. What I love about that book is, of course, how seasonal it is and Ray Bradbury’s writing and how creepy it gets. But mostly I love it because kids go out at Halloween and have an adventure. I think that’s why I love Garfield’s Halloween Adventure over It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, too. Halloween adventure.

I want Halloween adventure.

At Christmas time, I don’t want adventure. I don’t want to save Christmas like they always do in the movies. I want it cozy and with friends around a fire or a TV set or a living room tree or a pot of hot rum.

But at Halloween, I want to stumble into an old castle, slip through a foggy night, short-cut through a graveyard, meet monsters, stare at an abandoned house, feel the thinning of the veil. Maybe that’s why we go to haunted attractions. Not just for a thrill. Otherwise, we’d got to them year-round. We go to them in the Fall to have a Halloween adventure. To jump in the van with Scooby Doo. Lost in a corn maze is a Halloween adventure. Door-to-door at night to strangers is a Halloween adventure. It’s no flying with Moundshroud through time and death. But it’s close enough.

Obviously work gets in the way of non-stop Halloween adventure (and tonight I had to work a couple of hours late, so that was also a big reason we spent t his first night of the weekend in front of a screen). As does all the cool stuff on TV. But one of those two things is avoidable. Even tonight, my favorite moment wasn't either of the two movies I mentioned. It was running a quick, otherwise boring errand into town with my oldest and our dog Clove in the backseat. But we were out there. In the season.

These adventures don’t have to be grand ones. Not at all. They can be cozy ones. But they need to be our adventures. Yours. Mine. Not Netflix’s. Not Hulu’s. Not cable’s. Yours. Mine. These are Fall nights. I want to think anything can happen on a Fall night. We just have to walk the neighborhood at dusk. Or visit a fair. Or a farmstand. Or drive around. Or hike through the foliage. Or gut a pumpkin. Or decorate the house. Or bake something seasonal.

That’s when that old Autumnal magic kicks in. That feeling we’re all looking for this time of year. Sometimes it comes to us, sure. But most of the time we have to go to it. It’s hiding in the chill air and the changing colors and the harvested fields and the earlier dark and the bonfire smells.

Plus, if we fill our season with Halloween adventures, that makes the come-downs, the moments on the couch with Halloween specials and horror movies and our growing bellies full of marshmallow popcorn and caramel apples, better and more worthwhile.

We’ve got 12 days left. Let’s fill it with Halloween adventure. At least do it for me, because my family will probably be home-bound with an infant. A whole different kind of adventure.