Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

Is It a Real Pumpkin?

October 19, 2012

October has become very popular due to Halloween and everyone gets into the spirit by decorating and wearing costumes to parties. I can’t remember when it became so acceptable for adults to wear costumes but it is certainly fun to see so much creativity on Halloween, especially if you live in a city.

For the past few years I have gotten lazy about it and only bought my son a costume for Halloween, take him to the museum to trick or treat, and didn’t do much else. This year I wanted  to do a little extra and decided to carve a pumpkin to put at my window. I believe that you only live one life so I might as well take advantage of my time and celebrate the holiday.

I have watched several scary movies and animated specials I used to watch as a child. I have also gotten into the habit of playing Ghostbusters for the Xbox 360 and Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare every October, which is very fun to do. I also watched a scary movie in the local theater earlier in the day last Halloween (Paranormal Activity 3, which sucked). Now I’m stepping it up with the pumpkin.

Who you gonna call, Biatch?!

So I was walking through the local Target several days ago and stumbled onto pumpkins. Pumpkins at Target? Apparently, they’re not real. They’re made of foam but you can still carve them like regular pumpkins.

21st century tech!

Now, I had to think hard about this because whenever I had a Jack-o-lantern, it was from real pumpkins. Wouldn’t this be too phony and not proper? However, I am guilty of buying fake Christmas trees so how is this that much different? The foam pumpkin certainly looked real. I decided to go with it because I didn’t have to worry about any rot or mold and I can keep it as long as I want.

It really can pass off as a real pumpkin.

Once I got the pumpkin, I knew that I wanted a face slightly more complicated than the regular Jack-o-lantern but still somewhat traditional. After a bit of online searching, I chose the Jack-o-lantern face used in The Nightmare Before Christmas. It certainly had a cool look to it.

Very cool.

As I started to cut the top off, little bits of powder would come off and litter the area. It reminded me of sawdust. It’s certainly something of no concern when cutting a real pumpkin, yet I didn’t have to worry about making a mess with pumpkin guts.

Already empty. Convenient!

The cutting wasn’t that hard either. I did use one of those small carving knives that come in one of those carving kits so it probably could’ve been easier if I used an adult knife. Would’ve been about ten times faster too.

“Mmmph! Mmmph!”

I really didn’t think this through when I chose the design and decided to carve it into a foam pumpkin with a kid’s knife. As I was cutting the teeth, I had to hold them with one hand and cut with the other so that I wouldn’t accidentally break one while cutting. Truth be told, it took me about a damn hour and a half to cut the mouth out. I can’t remember the last time I spent 90 minutes on something so trivial. I was actually a little tired too. Again, I should’ve used an adult knife.

I think it came out pretty good and again, it’s hard to tell that the pumpkin is not real. After I was done with the cutting I placed a small Halloween pumpkin strobe light inside and the light flashes, which is kind of an eye magnet for passerby’s. I may actually keep it for next year and maybe start a collection. If anyone else has a picture of their Jack-o-lantern, post the links in the comments. Or not.

Happy Halloween!

Symbolic Parade Ending

November 7, 2011

Even before Halloween arrives, Christmas decorations are sold and put up in anticipation of the Christmas season. I went into Macy’s a week before Haloween and there was a section with several Christmas trees decorated and Christmas music was playing. The Christmas season encroaching on Halloween is rather annoying, but what makes it worse is that retailers are completely looking over Thanksgiving. This is especially glaring considering this city hosts the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I like Christmas and I even put up the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving Day if I’m in the mood, but I give due props to one of the coolest holidays of the year: Thanksgiving.

This is getting crazy.

After Halloween, autumn is still in full effect and most areas don’t see snow for a while. I like to look forward to Thanksgiving while enoying the cooler weather and watching the rest of the brown leaves fall off the trees. I’m writing this a few days before Halloween and most of the trees where I live are full of leaves. It feels too weird to look forward to Christmas or even listen to Christmas music when it still feels like the middle of fall. Also, Thanksgiving has its own merits; enough so that people shouldn’t dismiss it.

It’s still Autumn, guys. Take it easy.

Santa Claus is always at the end of the Thanksgiving parade and I think that it is fitting for him to be there. I’ve heard the parde commentators state countless times that Santa at the parade is the symbolic start to the Christmas holiday season. And that makes sense considering there are no more major holidays after Thanksgiving until then, and that one of the biggest shopping days, Black Friday, is the following day. It’s also tradition for Santa to end the parade. Kris Kringle had a major part at the parade in Miracle on 34th street and that movie is celebrated every year as a classic.

The old movie is better.

One more reason why I like to wait for Thanksgiving and hold off on Christmas stuff is because of burnout. If you think about it, most of the Christmas songs are the same and they can get tired if you keep listening to them early in November. I’ve done things like drink eggnog and put up decorations early and you konw what? By the time Christmas day finally showed up, it was no big deal. I was all burnt out from Christmas things. It is best to wait till late November before the carol station get turned on. There are a lot of Christmas television shows and movies, so it’s not bad to have a major movie countdown every day until, but even that should be in moderation.

Too much Christmas will make you crazy.

So it’s okay to look forward to Christmas, just give Thanksgiving its proper anticipation as well. You’ll find that there are many things to look forward to on Turkey day, as well as enjoying the Christmas season in due time.

Ummm, unless you live in Canada. Or anywhere else.

Okay, now put up the lights!

DTV Monster Hits

October 6, 2011

As a child I watched Halloween animated specials and would record every one I found with the VCR. I had a few good holiday collections on VHS. I no longer have them because I was an animal back then and either broke the tape with too many bumps and drops or I watched them to death. However, there were some cool Disney holiday specials that I happened to catch in the 80’s, and one of was called DTV Monster Hits.

DTV was a play on MTV because the show would have music videos. The show featured actual songs recorded by current artists  but used clips from a lot of Disney animation  to sync with the music. There were three DTV specials that aired on NBC between 1986 through 1987 with Monster Hits airing in October 1987.

The show was hosted by Jeffrey Jones who played a magic mirror. He is also known as the Principal in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, although it’s hard to tell who he is with all the makeup and no porn mustache. Also, a small clip with a story sets up the music video, but I think the voices are dubbed to make the story fit the song better. I don’t think the witch really needed a bit of Billy Joel’s hair for her boiling cauldron, especially since that cartoon short, “Trick or Treat” was released in 1952. Either that, or Walt Disney was a time traveling warlock.

I need the blood of Tupac and Biggie!

Even though I remember a good amount of the special, I couldn’t remember everything; I was 10 years old when it was released. However, four songs stuck out from the rest. The first one was Thriller. I remember it probably because Thriller is still so popular. Disney did a clever job matching up clips to the song. Now, others may be wondering why bother when the actual video was a big part of the song’s popularity. I would agree with that, but it’s nice to see something different and creative.

The second song was Ghostbusters. I was always a Ghostbusters fan and would try to get my hands on anything with the paranormal experts printed on it. This song was perfect because it was synced to a cartoon with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy actually fighting ghosts in a haunted house. How cool is that? They don’t have the equipment that the Real Ghostbusters had, but it would’ve been pretty sweet to see Mickey blast a ghost in the face with a double barrel shotgun. It’s also a bonus to hear Donald say, “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”

The third song is Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I remember this song from watching An American Werewolf in London as a child. The video clips certainly has its share of full moon scenes and some parts do seem kinda creepy. Perfect for a Halloween special.

The last song I’m mentioning here for the sake of space is Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics. It’s the last song of the special and it’s a pretty good send off. Most of the clips shown are characters going to bed, having weird dreams or just sleeping (it’s not as boring as it sounds). It was also a very popular song in the 80’s so it is another reason it stuck with me all these years.

DTV Monster Hits also showed longer scenes from their animated movies. This special introduced me to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with Ichabod Crane. The two scenes that were used was the party scene where Abraham Van Brunt scared Ichabod with the tale of the Headless Horseman through song, and the climax where the Headless Horseman chased poor Ichabod through the forest. For a cartoon, I thought it was pretty scary but I enjoyed it. I still don’t know if Ichabod survived, but no one should’ve been hating on him just because he had skills with the ladies. I mean really, don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

I really loved this show and I’ve watched it an uncountable amount of times as a kid. Unfortunately my copy eventually broke and I was unable to view it anymore. I believe that animated special was only aired once ever so I was basically screwed. I really thought I would never see it again, but years later the video starts appearing online. I found it on a torrent website and the uploader was thanked many times in the comments section by others who were in the same situation I was in. In addition, clips and the entire show has been uploaded to YouTube. Watching it now, I realize that I love it for it’s nostalgic value, but it is still good for children. I pray for the day it’s released on DVD so I can have a perfect copy and put it on every October.

DTV Monster Hits Part 1 of 5

DTV Monster Hits Part 2 of 5

DTV Monster Hits Part 3 of 5

DTV Monster Hits Part 4 of 5

DTV Monster Hits Part 5 of 5

Has anyone else viewed this special in 1987? Please leave a comment. If you’ve never seen this show before, watch it and leave your opinion. Thanks for reading!