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.

Big Lots Were Wolf Rug!!!

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I don’t know how they do it but every year Big Lots strikes first and strikes hard with new animatronic Halloween decorations and this season is no exception. I have reviewed new items in the past from Big Lots and it always seems to be a little KB Toys to the Toys R Us, if you catch my drift. Very much a discount store with many of it’s items hovering close to their expiration date or selling cookware from celebrity chefs who fell from grace receiving facial wounds from a prostitute. (that’s a real thing)

I think where I am going with this is Big Lots isn’t known for high-end products. But that is when Halloween hits and holy cats, I dare you to find better for the cost. The aisles of Arizona teas from 1999 seem to drift away when the Halloween season comes around. And let’s just talk about the Halloween season at Big Lots! It starts in July!

Well, I can go on and on waxing love for this retail chain but tonight it is all about the queen of the dance; the Werewolf Rug. This beast comes in around $70 when I purchased it but looking now, they discounted the item down to $50 and for most households, this is still not even the Halloween season yet. Oh well, I still love this and buyer’s remorse won’t hit until December 23rd.

The notable cool features are the eyes which light up blue or red and has the iconic wolf howl. This can be activated through touch or even motion so you can also test out the new defibrillator on grandma when she visits.

All in all, it’s a cool product to start the season off with and I am going to try really hard not to do a posthumous Burt Reynold’s impression, if you know where I am going.

Watch my review and in the comments tell me your favorite werewolf movie. It’s a tough one for me but The Howling still gets me today. How about you, Bright Boy?

Halloween Sodas!

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Holy cats! This one took a while to shoot, edit and re-edit. When you are so amateur to video reviews and Final Cut software you have to watch hours of YouTube tutorials from an eleven-year-old, it’s going to take a while for anything of substance. If you are not easily offended, you should definitely give this one a watch.

Probably what I love most about the Halloween season is the hunt. I love exploring all the shops come August and see what new additions there are to the market and no item better represents the macabre creativity like soft drinks. Hear me out.

Sure the name brands change their cans to include silly monsters but nothing beats the private little companies and their novelty Halloween beverages. There are no giant analyst meetings with board members judging if “Frankenstein Cola” will ruin people from their brand forever or stocks at risk before the end of a fiscal year. No, just fun people concocting strange brews to bottle and label with spiders and witches. I love it so very much and when you find them, it’s a race to social media to spread the spooky fun. What a weird little world I chose to live in.

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This year, World Market is the keeper of the faith with five new flavors over the previous years to include Lemon Drop Dead and Blood Orange from Jones Soda Company. We have Dr. Jekyll Pepper Elixir, Flying Cauldron Butter Beer, Salem Sister’s Green Apple, Cheshire’s Vanishing Cream Soda, and last but not least, Ghoulish Grape (It’s Fang-tastic!). All have their own little spooky magic and I taste them all for you with some help from beyond.

Come watch me summon the new Halloween Sodas that are exclusively at World Market from now until Halloween.

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