Or, “One Grown Man’s Experience Celebrating Summerween and October Friday, as told through a series of short reviews for useless things.”
Celebrating Halloween in the middle of Summer.
It’s something I’ve always done, at least a little bit, but it took a genius like WillBill from VeggieMacabre (and lately at his new blog, Casserole of Disaster) to put it into words, give it a name, and a few rules and parameters (not to mention, suggestions).
In his blogpost October For A Sunday, WillBill gave us details on his experience in celebrating Halloween in the Summer. He also reassured us that we’re not alone in being anxious for Halloween.
It wasn’t too long after that, the show “Gravity Falls” aired their episode “Summerween” (Season 1, Episode 12). Or rather, it wasn’t long after that when I saw it. It originally aired in 2012, but I probably didn’t see it until at least 2014. I don’t want to explain the plot of the whole show, but this episode is about a town where they love Halloween so much, they celebrate it twice a year. I am almost certain that one of this year’s Summerween collaborators, brandmed, introduced me to it and Gravity Falls.
Speaking of collaborators, last week my internet buddies and I decided that we would celebrate Summerween/October Day sometime this weekend and then blog about it, for the enlightenment and edification of our Halloween brethren out there. Myself, WillBill, Brandmed, and Sommerjam are all writing blogs documenting our own individual Rites of Fall Celebrated at the Summer Solstice (just to bring a little of that good olde thymey Halloween Pagan flavor to it all).
Being the Summer Solstice today makes this the longest day of the year. As someone who hates Summer, and hates the sun, I love it. Why? Because after today, the days start getting shorter. I know that’s common sense, but think of it this way: it’s really nature’s own countdown to Halloween! In other words, tomorrow nighttime begins its slow, but steady, annual takeover of the daytime. Bwahaha!
Anyway, I was thinking about how this blog would play out and realized that it was, more or less, just a series of pictures of products that I used and abused on Friday. I know that doesn’t sound interesting, and it may not be, but here we go…
Step #1. The Day Before. Collect, or make, the things you will use.
On Thursday, I set about icing down my pumpkin beers (saved from last year) and making two pumpkin pies. TWO.
My wife normally makes pumpkin pies, but I wanted to try my hand at it. I may be an ace at making gumbo and red beans and rice, but she has the dessert game locked down in our household.
They turned out ok. One was a little less “done” than the other, but they tasted fine, which is the main point.
I used frozen pie crusts, which is kinda cheating, I guess? Also, canned pumpkin guts. I can only imagine how long it would take the vvitch in olden times to make a pumpkin pie. You can’t tell me she doesn’t make delicious pies, despite being laden with hallucinogenic drugs. It’s probably all the baby blood she puts in them. “Made With Love!”
Right. Anyway, to make two pumpkin pies, get two frozen pie crusts (unless you’re Bobby Flay, in which case you can go jump off a cliff). I used Mrs. Smith’s “flaky” pie crusts. Then, you mix two cans of pumpkin (I used some kind of organic hippie canned pumpkin because it was on sale), two cans of sweetened condensed milk, three eggs, and copious amounts of “pumpkin pie spice” together. You can whisk it by hand, or take the lazy way, which is my favorite: use a mixer.
Pour your sweetened pumpkin sludge into the crusts and bake for 15 minutes at 425°. Then, lower the heat to 350° and bake for about 35 minutes. Let it chill for awhile before you eat it.
Step #2. Morning of Summerween and October Friday.
It is important to have a good, Halloween-y breakfast on October Friday. You will need your strength to meet the challenges of the day head-on. Like sitting on the couch, soaking up the air conditioning, watching horror movies, and occasionally napping to youtube white noise videos like “Heavy Rain with Rolling Thunder“.
On October Day, I always try to do the exact same things that I would do on Halloween. The main one being, “don’t go to work”. My boss learned long ago that I do not work on Halloween. It just doesn’t happen.
Other than not working, I don’t have any other traditions that are set in stone. We used to have a big Halloween party every year, but too many people complained about the music (they wanted “dance” music, not Halloween music) or the movies on the television (the last year we had it, I made sure to show nothing but Jess Franco films).
Still, having a ton of pumpkin coffee on Halloween morning is a must.
Clearly, I am not on the pumpkin spice hate bandwagon, and I never will be. People who hate on the pumpkin spice are either just being contrarians, or they have no sense of seasonal fun.
I’ve already reviewed some Fall seasonal coffees, so I’ll refrain from stomping over old graves. And yes, I added pumpkin spice creamer to pumpkin spice coffee, and it didn’t cause my head to explode and it didn’t open some sort of stargate into a land of perpetual Fall, unfortunately.
Everyone knows that holidays are also national diet “cheat days”, so instead of my normal breakfast of yogurt and granola, I had this:
That’s right, a SEALED box of Yummy Mummy that I have been saving!
Let’s just be honest for a second, yall. This cereal kinda sucks.
I know it’s heresy, but we can all just be adults and admit that this kids cereal doesn’t taste very good and that it’s really just the art and nostalgia (and scarcity) that elevate the Monster line of breakfast cereals.
It’s too sweet and chemically tasting, and it gets soggy really quickly, which is gross. It doesn’t taste like “orange cream”. It tastes like mushy sugar chemical.
Moving on from my disappointing breakfast, it was time to watch something. I settled on a semi-rare gem from the ancient days of analog “tapes”:
Yeah, flippin’ Hack-O-Lantern.
If you haven’t seen Hack-O-Lantern (sometimes called “Halloween Night”), let me put you on some game.
Hack-O-Lantern might just be the strangest, goofiest, Halloween movie I have ever seen. The first time I saw it, someone had posted the entire movie on youtube. It has been taken down now, but occasionally it will pop up. My friends Bo and Amy originally told me about Hack-O-Lantern, so I have to give a holler at them.
The plot is about a grandpa in the Midwest (I guess? It’s very Americana looking) who is in a satanic cult. That’s really all you need to know. And he throws the devil horns, but not in a heavy metal way.
After I watched Hack-O-Lantern, it was time to actually get my day going. Time to groom myself, using Fall and Halloween seasonally appropriate items.
I cut my own hair. Thus, it looks like shit. But! If I use some pomade, I can hide my terrible haircut.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but it seems like all aging punks, at some point, turn to greasing their hair. I don’t know if it’s because we’re losing it (our hair) or what, but it seems like it happens to a lot of us. I think some of it is because, as you get older, you start looking for the roots of the music you love. The end result of this being that most people that I hang out with, that are my age with my background, listen to very little modern music. Instead, preferring roots music and, just like when you’re a kid and discover the Ramones, you start to think they look cool and want to emulate them.
Whatever your reason, Halloweeniacs, let me recommend this pomade to you. This is a pomade that was, supposedly, made strictly for the Halloween season, though I got it from a third party seller on amazon. It is black, naturally, and smells like brimstone, like Nightcrawler. What it smells like, to me, is the part in Spaceship Earth where Rome is burning.
Besides the smell, it works! It’s a medium hold, oil/wax pomade that is easy to work with and smells great.
And it can turn this rat’s nest:
Into a well-groomed rat’s nest like this:
You may notice that, in between pics I shaved.
I just received this large tub of shaving soap from West Coast Shaving. Like the only other pumpkin spice shaving soap I have used, this one has a doodoo brown color and smells (and kinda looks) like oatmeal. It’s a very sweet odor, more akin to pumpkin pie than spice.
I also got to use the new brush I got with my new soap. A bucket list item for me, the Simpson Commodore X3. I think this brush is what’s known as a “lather hog”, meaning it holds a lot of lather in its bristles, forcing you to use more soap than maybe you’re used to.
That may have been the problem, but I had a hard time getting a good lather from this stuff. I plan on trying again once Fall gets here, of course. The tub is huge and a good value, if I can figure out the trick to it.
Once I was groomed, it was time to do what any adult with the day off and a fridge full of pumpkin beer would do…
I first watched “Halloween is Grinch Night” via youtube. This is/was a Halloween special that I’ve actually never seen. I’ve tried to watch it a few times, but since I didn’t see it as a kid, it doesn’t have that nostalgia power that Charlie Brown has. This was the first time I’ve made it all the way through it, and it’s not bad at all. It’s not nearly as good as the Christmas one, but that may be because of the nostalgia thing again.
It is, however, more strange than the Christmas one, which I guess could make it better. It has a stranger plot and a lot stranger beasts and characters. And it takes place before the Christmas one, obviously, because the Grinch still hates Whos and really enjoys scaring people. However, the cynic in me wants to believe that the Grinch never did really change at Christmas. It was all a ruse to get a slice of roast beast.
After the Grinch, of course I had to watch the Summerween episode of Gravity Falls:
It’s a good episode, mostly because I can relate to wanting to celebrate Halloween twice a year. I don’t know if it’s the best one, but it’s close, and that’s saying a lot because for a modern cartoon, aimed at kids, Gravity Falls was a helluva show.
Then I brought out the big guns:
In my book, Garfield’s Halloween Adventure is second only to the Great Pumpkin.
What makes Garfield’s so great is that, just like the Christmas episode, it has it all. It’s heartfelt, funny, and best of all, a little bit scary.
Who can forget this terrible looking son of a bitch, who looks kinda like he has an anus for a mouth in this shot? I tweeted this also, but I love how he is drawn differently from all the other characters. He doesn’t have the trademark Garfield bug eyes, which even the other humans have. I can’t help but think this is symbolic. There’s got to be a specific reason that he is drawn like this. You know there was a conversation about how he should look. There had to be! To me, he’s different because he’s either a) real, or b) a dream. The final shot of the Special could be interpreted either way, but I won’t spoil it for you (if you want to discuss, feel free to comment below).
And going back to another point, about it being actually scary: the pirate ghosts are real. There’s never a point where we’re led to believe, even for a second, that they might be someone dressed up. Or what about when Garfield sings the song about not being a scaredy cat? He lifts up the kids’ costumes, only to reveal something even worse underneath! I can’t help but think that in a Halloween special these days, kids would be reassured that there is no such thing as ghosts and monsters, or ancient old cabin boys who roll drool between their fingers (props to Sommerjam for pointing that out).
In accordance with rules laid out in Bill’s October for a Sunday post, it was time to start my pot roast. It’s in there somewhere, underbeneath the taters, mushrooms, carrots, and onions. It really does smell like Fall, while cooking. I don’t think I could think of a better Fall food than pot roast. It’s just so damn cozy.
And speaking of stuff that smells like Fall, allow me to recommend this candle, which I got off of amazon just for this occasion. Amazon rules for getting out of season items to your front door. Last year I ordered some Reese’s pumpkins though, and they showed up looking more like Reese’s dookies. The summer heat and humidity in the Deepest South was not kind to them.
This candle smells great! And it lasts forever and was only like $9! Keep it in mind, next time you want to be a “basic white bitch” for a day (your words, internet, not mine). I don’t know if it has a distinct pumpkin spice smell, but it certainly smells like Fall, and having an open flame indoors, no matter how small, lends itself to the Fall feeling, especially when the power goes out, like it did on my Summerween.
I eventually blew it out because I didn’t need anything else adding to the heat that was already in the house. The high that day was 96°, and with the humidity, the heat index was about 110°. My house never did get below about 85° inside. It was fucking miserable.
Since the heat was not wanting to let up, I decided to watch a beach-y horror film.
Humanoids From the Deep!
It’d been a long time since I’d seen it, so I passed out and slept through it. From what I can remember, a bunch of mutant dudes show up and kill men and rape women. Yeah, it’s pretty weird.
Normally on Halloween, I would watch my favorites. My perennial go-to’s that I never get tired of. Halloween (1978), Evil Dead 2, etc.
On this Summerween, I wanted to watch something I’d never seen before, so I consulted Shudder to see what was up.
I landed on this gothic tale, a typically British Amicus production about a gal tormented by a vengeful spirit from the past.
It features the ghost of Thing Addams and a nasty specter with its eyes poked out. It also has Peter Cushing, of course, because he was in every British horror movie in the 20th century. It also has two things that I love in horror movies: billowing nightclothes and candelabras! Those things always remind me of the Haunted Mansion. And yeah, I know I’ve tweeted and wrote that before in several places.
That was really about the extent of my October Sunday, except for this:
I saved plenty of pumpkin beer from last year, and didn’t finish half of it. I can’t drink like I used to. I get sleepy. Which is part of why I passed out during Humanoids From the Deep.
But, pumpkin beer will be here soon enough (only about a month and a half!) and from there it’s just a slippery slope to Halloween. The days are already getting incrementally shorter, leading to the dark days of Fall and Winter.
Until then, enjoy Halloween in Spirit every day!