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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.