Octoberific Day

Some days you just can’t help but recognize them for what they are. The chill in the air with no humidity, a brilliant blue sky that looks almost black the higher up you stare; how can one possibly be expected to work on a days like these? So, that’s exactly why I blew it off to have an adventure. And I highly recommend you do the same before the calendar flips to November.

It seems to happen like clockwork this time of the year. I warned everyone in the office months ago that during late September and October I will be throttling back on projects and travel but the opposite transpired. So far in the past three weeks I’ve been handed two multimillion dollar account opportunities and acquired them both, thrusting me into more than 60 hours of intense work that leaves me at night nursing a glass of wine while staring blankly at a computer screen. The drafts of Halloween posts number in the twenties but they are without wit or charm. It reads like a dull salesman with a bad back who is forced to enjoy a bouncy castle then told to write whimsically about it. The result is rushed, without heart and if excellent writers like J.W. Ocker and Matt Caracappa have taught me anything it is quality over quantity wins every time.

I needed this day to put myself and the Halloween Hell Show back on track. Between the massive workload and the unexpected hurricane, October is zipping by in a blur and the show has had serious neglect. If there was any hope in doing so a physical action was needed because in many ways, physical motion leads to a positive mental emotion. It’s science, man.

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First: The music. My choice to get into the perfect Halloween mood is absolutely the Halloween Pandora station. For what ever reason, it seems to have been contoured to exactly what I like. A bit of oldies, a bit of the 80’s, some soundtrack classics and even some spooky jazz. I get up early and crank it up.

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Second: Fill the crock pot up! If the mood of the season needs to hit on all notes, the house has to smell right and there is nothing better than long slow cooking to accomplish that. My go-to choice is always pot roast. I believe I have perfected this one from years of watching The Food Network. Taking recipes from various chefs and putting in a little of my own additions (hot peppers), it’s hard to argue with this one. Also, I learned the use of corn starch for gravy. I am growing up! This recipe and crock pot speed will engulf your home with the best fall smell imaginable and combined with $50 Yankee candles, it’s an olfactory orgy of Halloween.

IMG-7700 Third: Grab a friend and seek out the most sincere roadside pumpkin patch. This one is a biggie. Seeing how I don’t have many friends who can take off on a workday afternoon, I had to enlist my dogs. Summer seemed the most eager and while the others would be happy to adventure with me, she is the one I could count on to not puke in my new car.

IMG-7697 I have been reconnoitering the area so I knew of a few pumpkin patches to visit but there was one in particular that demanded my visit. It was the perfect blend of nostalgia and country making every picture look like an airline travel magazine spread. The day was getting later and the shadows grew long in the orange light. Summer was trying to take in all the excitement as best as she knew how but after some frustrating photo attempts, the strain was too much and she succumb to what a lab puppy must do. She jumped into the apple bin spilling about forty-plus apples. Cost: $37.40.

IMG-7695IMG-7720 All-in-all, it was a nice trip to the pumpkin patch with a girl who still needs to grow out of her impulsion. I now have more apples than I know what to do with so it looks like my neighbor will have plenty for pies. I’ll just skip the fact they were paw selected.

Forth: Get Halloween junk food! After the trip to the pumpkin patch I decided I needed some other items and definitely fall beer if I was to cap off the day properly. Perhaps some firewood for the outdoor fire pit as well? I left the car running with Marylin Manson covering Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas songs on the radio while Summer was in timeout for her apple episode.

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I don’t know what happened but I was on such a Halloween-High I passed by the Halloween junk food display and went mad. We all go a little mad at times, right? I began shoveling in everything that had a witch, was orange and black, gummy or chocolate, both evil and benign. I must have looked like I was on a grocery store game show and the clock was ticking. The last time I went this carefree in a grocery aisle was when I ate a death wing challenge and emptied half the anti-acid shelf.

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Before we went home we stopped at my favorite little beer bar which happens to be dog friendly. Still a little wary of Summer’s puppy-like impulsion, her lead was a little shorter. The people there are always so charming and the fact Halloween 4 was on the TV, the decorations were displayed with heart, it was clearly the perfect last stop of the afternoon.

When we got home from an afternoon of fall scenes and adventure, the house smelled like heaven. I unloaded the haul and started the backyard fire while sipping on a fall IPA. I made the conscious effort to stop and listen to the breeze blowing leaves from the trees, the crackle of the fire and kids off in the distance playing outside. The dim orange glow illuminated the yard and I started to truly embrace this time of the year. I needed this.

IMG-8048 Later that evening my buddy called and asked what I was up to and I told him about the kickass autumn day I had including Summer’s assault on an apple bin. But we were not done yet! The new Halloween movie with Jamie Lee Curtis opened that night and I had completely forgot! It was as if Samhain orchestrated this entire day to give back the spirit so many were trying to suck out. I got on Fandango and holy shit, the 10:30 showing looked completely empty.

After dinner and fifteen cowtails (candy not the actual cow’s tail), I waited on Paul to arrive to have a pumpkin beer before heading out to see the new Halloween and end this Octoberific day the best way possible. I blared Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” from my ridiculous office and probably posted too many embarrassing pictures on social media but I didn’t care. I was going to see Halloween on the big screen for the first time in twenty years with my good friend.

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It was the perfect end to the perfect day. Well, perfect is a strong word. There are always people I want to share these days with but if you can’t be around people, a cute lab is the next best thing. I’ll post more on Halloween if not to at least acknowledge the time capsule for the 2018 Halloween Hell Show. I liked it. I liked it a lot.

I challenge you to get out there and have an Octoberific day. Just embrace it all, even if it’s sitting in the park sipping on cider. Don’t let the daily drudge steal this away because that drudge is here all year-long. It can wait.

Halloween at Applebee’s?

Boy, it has been a busy few weeks. It’s a hell of the thing running a sales team, starting a  company, raising a zoo, traveling around the US and running a two month-long Halloween show. There are never enough minutes in the day but we must persevere anyway. I believe it was Matt from then X-Entertainment who said it best, “…Time wants to chop off my dick and feed it to Minutes the dog.”. I get that.

Now it’s on with the show.

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Last week I was cruising around the interwebs and noticed the restaurant chain Applebee’s was getting into the Halloween spirit by featuring a few spooky cocktails and even a $1.00 “Zombie” drink which turns out to be not worth the savings the next day. I coaxed a few friends to accompany me so I wouldn’t be the only one drinking four gigantic fishbowls full of Blue Curacao and telling the bartender my theories of Atlantis. Only in middle-age do I know thyself.

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Before I get into the Halloween cocktails I do need to address how awesome-ly retro and simplistic the Halloween decorations were there. Grilled chicken salads taste so much better under an orange and black streamer and I don’t think there is really anything better than a cozy bar on a chilly night this time of the season. It always made me wonder what the rush was to leave the Slaughtered Lamb?

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The first cocktail was the Cauldron Cocktail for only $5.00! It’s a mix of rum and fruit juices with a shot of Sprite for bubbly texture. Basically your average cocktail in a Florida beach resort but without having to sell your first-born to afford it. I wouldn’t say this is very spooky but I like the effort. Also, if Applebee’s was held at gunpoint this glass weighs about the same as a medium dog so it can double as a liquor/juice holder and a defensive weapon. IMG-7009

Next we tried the two premium cocktails; Dracula’s Juice and Boo Lagoon. Dracula’s Juice was actually pretty good because it had the added element of frozen lemonade which helps even out the super sweet Razzmatazz. I am not a huge Razzmatazz fan unless I am playing Scrabble.

Boo Lagoon is absolutely adorable in name only. Well, the name and the gummy shark. Blue Curacao and I parted ways years ago at Myrtle Beach. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say a certain someone is not invited back to a certain amusement ride.

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Now for the main event. Appleebee’s decided to go all in on a one dollar horror drink made from Bacardi Rum, passionfruit, cherry and a splash of Sprite but really the magic is the gummy brain resting on top. It’s made quite an impact around the web so I think this will be a big hit for 2018. Is it as cool as a Candy Corntini from Rockafellas in Salem, Massachusetts? No way but it is pretty good for a place that has a long list of banned patrons across the country. You haven’t lived unless you’ve retrieved your car the next day from an Applebee’s parking lot in the hopes no one recognizes you.

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These days I’m not really that big on the drinking during a weeknight but on certain of occasions, one has to make an exception. I always find these little trips are what makes the season memorable, even if it’s clouded with a massive liquor/sugar hangover the following day.

So, A+ for the Halloween effort, Applebee’s! The price is right for what you get and the gummy candy brains are a nice touch. I probably would have preferred something to remind me of the event like a Halloween mug or something but for a dollar, what am I complaining about?

You can watch the Periscope live event reviewing all of these in Applebee’s with my friends here. It gets stupid but what do you expect? It’s Applebee’s and booze!

Casserole of Disaster Visits: Eastern State Penitentiary

better eastern1 Welcome back to the Halloween Hell Show as we continue our journey through the spookiest season of the year. Speaking of journey, this week we will be traveling around the country and world to some of the weirdest and creepiest places I have visited. It’s a segment I will call “Casserole of Disaster Visits”. (I know it’s lame)

Tonight we start out with what is believed to be the most haunted establishment in not just America but the world. A penitentiary which housed some of the most famous criminals to include Al Capone and Willie Sutton and broke just about anyone who entered its massive doors. This place is this infamous Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Opened in 1829, Eastern State was the first of its kind to bring reform through physical, psychological and spiritual strain, using isolation as the main tool of choice. An imposing structure which was constructed like a wagon wheel where each of the long blocks met in the center, housing hundreds of small single person cells. From the outside it looks like a fortress with its massive high stone walls making it feel nothing less than medieval. This place was without hope by design.

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Many prisons of the late 1800’s through the mid-1900’s required hard labor in general population to serve out a sentence but not Eastern State. The method of reform and penance was to live with one’s self in total isolation away from everything in a cell so small, the bed would take up most of the floor space. Prisoners had no windows other than a small skylight to ensure that even a glance beyond the walls to civilization was impossible. If they misbehaved, torture methods like freezing exposure or loss of circulation tied to a chair was the preferred punishment. This was an institution of psychological pain which was then referred to as “reform”.

The prison was finally closed down in 1971 and was left vacant (other than cats) until 1996 when parts of the cell blocks were refurbished enough to allow people back in as a National Historic Landmark. Tours are daily with the help of an audio headset voiced by the actor Steve Buscemi which is narrated quite well. My friend and I stayed on track for as long as we could but with time constraints we hustled to get as much in as possible minus Steve.

Watch the video of me talking about the Eastern State Penitentiary and my theory of how freezing water-torture came about. I’m not saying it is historically accurate but I am pretty sure it was just as stupid.

The Hell Show continues! Don’t forget tonight I will be doing something live and announcing tomorrow’s #CODAMN! I hope you can be apart of the craziness.

October First!

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Do you want to party? It’s party time! The scariest month of the year is finally here and every day the Hell Show is going to be living it up as if there was an Earth destroying asteroid on course to hit at midnight, November first. It’s the month where Halloween creeps into every aspect of normal life. You can’t watch TV without Frankenstein trying to sell you a Nissan. You can’t go to a gas station without a giant blue M&M on display wearing a cap and fangs. Hell, you can’t even get a cup of coffee without the temptation to have it spiked with an orange gourd. And all of this is fantastic.

So what are we doing now that the Hell Show is entering October? Well, I’m glad I asked as if you asked! There will be videos and more reviews but I also am ramping up the #CODAMN fun (Casserole of Disaster’s Awesome Movie Night) as well because let’s face it, horror movies are always more fun with friends. Every Thursday night we will be doing a “watch-a-long” on social media starting at 10pm eastern. Just like what we did over the summer and the prizes for this season are amazing. The movie will be announced on Monday and reminders will be all week leading up to the start including a very special Halloween Special on YouTube. All you have to do is watch along and you enter to be a possible winner! All movies will be streaming for the max participation.

The series “Casserole Visits” are a series of videos from my spooky travels to include local haunts. This year I’ve been to so many crazy places and I can’t wait to show you. Ever seen a haunted doll that is said to run around on its own? Ever drink beer in a 600 year old bar that used to be a spot they hung witches? Ever walk around a state penitentiary that is said to be so haunted the employees have to travel in pairs when they close it down for the night? If you answered yes to any of the questions, you’re weird. But you’re my kind of weird because I have too and the videos to prove it!

Fridays are a great time to do live reviews on YouTube Live, Instagram Live and Periscope. Judging which one is easier and better received is still in question but there will be some of that happening every Friday night! Somethings are just better done live and interacting with fantastic people around the country and world seems like a Halloween hoot.

Of course, The Hell Show has many amazing friends who do great things for Halloween so pay attention to these fine freaks. Below are a few you need to have on your list to get max Halloween fun.

O.T.I.S. is one of my most favorite places to escape to even when it’s not the scariest time of the year. JW Ocker takes us on a fantastic voyage to some of the weirdest places in the country and beyond and his Halloween countdown is in full motion. Not only is he a close personal friend of mine, he is an accomplished author, expert on all things Edgar Allen Poe, has a probably the greatest collection of Ray Bradbury items and runs an amazing site. Oh yeah, he’s a great dad too.

Ryan Watches Spooky Stuff and VH Ed is one of the more impressive things on YouTube. This season, VH Ed takes us through a hilarious and inspiring tour of horror movies and reviews. The set is amazing and Ryan really goes all in. Please watch it all!

The Sexy Armpit’s annual Halloween Special has gotten “Great Pumpkin” level for the Halloween traditions in this house. Jay and Mike are at it again and soon we will have the 2018 Halloween Special available to view as many times as we can. I have already committed to 28 views before All Souls Day.

Of course, the guy who started this all; Matt from Dinosaur Dracula. It’s hard to believe he’s been doing this for so long and the Halloween Countdowns keep getting better! Seriously! He is already a month in and it is even better than last year. And last year was pretty rad! From the amazing videos to past recollections of Halloween commercials most have long forgotten to the famous Halloween mood table, it’s the spot that is mandatory for getting anyone in the Halloween spirit.

As the month of October progresses, I will definitely be adding to this list of notable bloggers and YouTubers because there are a lot of amazingly talented people who do some crazy and awesome stuff for Halloween.

Oh! And see that incredible artwork at the beginning of this post? That was done by Lee E. and it’s amazing! That will be this year’s banner and if you like his style, pop over and give him a shout because he deserves it! Love supporting artists and sharing their talents because onetime I tried to draw a pig and looked more like a car. So, I have mad respect for people who can create this sort of thing.

Well, it’s October. The leaves are turning, the air is getting crisp and there is a sense of doom as the low orange sky turns a light purple. It’s time to get spooky and that’s what we’re gonna do. Everyday from now until November, the Casserole of Disaster is celebrating so join us…join us….join us…..

Halloween Bratwurst, Beer and Hot Sauce

Oh World Market. How I love thee, especially during the Halloween season. Every year you bring out the strange and unusual and fill my Hell Show with content. I can’t say great content but nonetheless, content.

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Over the last couple of Halloween Hell Shows, World Market has been the place to be for rare Halloween sodas and adult beverages. Unfortunately, this year the pace of new flavors has slowed in those particular categories but that is not slowing anything down here! Tonight I am reviewing a few items I picked up over the past week and will give them a fair shake in the CoD HQ.

I also picked up a large amount of “horror” themed beer and wine but that will have to wait for the weekend. Lately, the week days have been pretty slammed with work issues so no time for a foggy head during the 9 to 5.

Come join me for Halloween Brats, Beer and Hot Sauce from one of my favorite retail chains; World Market. If you are asking yourself how I filled twelve minutes in a video review I will tell you I don’t know. I just don’t know. But come watch anyway. Or just play it as background noise for Jack-o-lantern carving. Either way.

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