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.

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.

Halloween Finds at Big Lots!

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The Halloween Hell Show continues a today I want to share some items I found at Big Lots that will make the season a little more spooky. If you are a YouTube watcher and have seen these reviews you know they get pretty silly but these items are definitely worth getting your hands on. Except the candle which smells amazing and mysteriously doesn’t smell at all after it is lit. But what can I say, Big Lots is known for a bargain and just like anything in life, you get what you pay for. ALWAYS!

Tonight I take a random five items I bought for the Halloween season and give a quick report on them. I only chose five because if I was to review the twenty other items this video would be longer than the Godfather because brevity is not something I am familiar with. Each of these five really spoke to me and if you they speak to you too, hurry up down to your local Big Lots and grab them up before the non-believers of Halloween scoop them up the last weekend before Halloween. I look at those people like a pious Catholic looks at the parking situation on Easter and Christmas during mass. They aren’t real Halloween fans, the fakers!

So kick back and watch me ramble on about Halloween items made on the other side of the world by people who have no idea why we would celebrate the macabre amazingness that is Halloween.

Much love!

 

 

 

Dollar General Halloween Finds!

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This past week I have been on the hunt for the latest Halloween items that seem to be crawling their way out of the back storage rooms of particular retailers. Usually by mid-September we are in full swing, but there are a few stragglers. LOOKING AT YOU, TARGET! But other stores always seem to be right on time like a trusty Seiko. Dollar General has their shit together every year and 2017, it is hitting all the feels.

I went there last night to get floss and absolutely left without it because I was drawn into the Halloween aisle like the ‘Falcon to a non-moon. There were so many little odd trinkets for a buck, I just couldn’t leave there without getting a few to make a stupid video. And brother, this one is a doozy. It did come out a little grainy because of the spooky mood-lighting that didn’t quite translate but you will get the point.

I cover a few neat little items that are Dollar General exclusive and even play a little dress-up. I am in late thirties and yes, playing dress-up this time of the year is acceptable. Please watch and “oooh and aaah” at the cheap treats that will most likely disappear forever in my bottom desk drawer.

Shortly after I filmed this I went to remove the witch paint and had a little scare because as hard as I scrubbed, it wouldn’t come off. Like, not even turning the wash cloth a tad greenish. Nothing! I had to use a little more elbow grease than anticipated and I can tell you that today, I feel like I had a pretty nice peel. Smooth as a baby’s butt!

IMG_0135Eventually it came off, for the most part. I still have a slight green hue but all-in-all, I am back to normal.

Hope you enjoyed the Dollar Store Halloween Finds for 2017! Up next is Big Lots! I kind of broke the bank there which you will see this week.

Do something spooky tonight!

Spooky* Sweet Heat Starburst and Skittles

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I have bantered around whether or not to include the new Sweet Heat additions to the Starburst and Skittles family for about a week now and judging by the apparent lack of Earth-shattering releases like the past few years (i.e. Frute Brute, Ecto Cooler, black bun-ed Whoppers…) I figured, what the Hell? After all, I did find them under the Halloween banner for a new release in Wallgreens. That should at least qualify it for something?

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I heard about these from the annual Chicago Candy Faire this past year because I always make sure to keep my finger on the pulse of new items coming around because when original Bonkers make their return, I will repent because I know the rapture is near. Until then, all bets are off to include pants.

Wrigley Inc. debuted the new flavors of Skittles and Starbursts to include the addition of “heat” or spicy to compliment the sweetness. It is a bold move because it’s tough to imagine a 10-year old eating something that is confusing to the palate especially when he or she is raised on a steady diet of mac&cheese and chicken fingers. They are definitely targeting an older market which I kinda like in a candy company.

A little inside baseball, these were not supposed to be released until December of this year. In my mind I would like to think these are an attempt to nudge their way into the Halloween season although there are specific Halloween versions out of both candies. It’s a strange flavor which I think belongs in the world of strange and unusual and that is what Halloween does the best. Right, Winona?

So how do they taste? Well, let’s see starting with Starburst, the obvious winner of the two and don’t you dare disagree!

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There are four flavors which are “Fiery Watermelon”, “Flamin’ Orange”, “Strawberry Mango” and “Pipin’ Pinapple”. My many years of eating ridiculously hot food and two broken noses, I must say, telling these flavors apart beyond the obvious flavor notes like “this is definitely watermelon and not strawberry” is kinda lost on me. I will tell you that there is a definite tingle near the end of the taste test proving the “heat” is actually there. Looking on the package I was curious to see what the element was in the ingredients which is responsible for this faint buzz you get. All I could really see and assume was an uptick in the amount of citric acid. If we ever figure out time travel we can proudly inform the Colonials that in the future we eat acid. That should scare ’em.

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The Skittles were a little less pronounced with the flavors and heat. These had five new flavors: “Lemon Spark, “Fiery Watermelon”, Sizzlin’ Stawberry”and “Flamin’ Orange”. Again, nothing too nuts about these other than the feeling you wished you didn’t eat a handful of Skittles without washing the table pepper from your hands. The same normal tropical fruit taste with a little “ting” in the back of the throat.

All-in-all, not a bad little macabre treat to the mix. I will definitely be adding these to my 2017 Halloween additions this year because as of the first week of September, it’s looking a little lackluster. I am still waiting the big over-dominating item that will hit but not getting hopes high. That’s okay, tough, because this year’s Halloween Hell Show is shaping up to be pretty epic. The first week is always a bit wonky especially with apocalyptic storms and work emergencies, but believe it or not, I anticipated a lot of these contingencies. “Not the first rodeo”, said the clown.

Given a scale of 1-10 I would say a 5 on taste and an unintentional 7 on the Halloween fun. If you see them, give them a try and if you think I am underselling the heat, let me know! I am curious and so is my doctor.

Stay tuned tonight for this year’s first Halloween video review! It will scare your pants off.

 

Mr. Boogedy and Richard Masur

So, tonight’s post was supposed to be about my experience at Kmart and the awful selection of Halloween items they have since it is September but fortunately something happened to sway this article for tomorrow’s persuasion. I met the district manager and she has their entire lineup and it’s actually impressive for a store that feels like you just beat the last boss in a game and the building is about to collapse.

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Tonight, in light of the movie IT coming to theaters this next week, I thought I would post a full YouTube movie that was uploaded from an amazing user, John Ramanos. It’s the movie (and Jay’s from The Sexy Armpit’s favorite) Mr. Boogedy. A creepy Disney movie and made even more nostalgic by the “Sunday Night Movie” bumper. This was one to get under your skin given the right age or in my case, mental age. I’m easily spooked.

You maybe wondering why I am liking this to the movie IT. Well, the original and made for TV adaptation of the Stephen King’s book, Richard Masur played the role of Stanley who famously had his severed head in a mini fridge shouting “YOU’LL ALL FLOAT!!!” If you read the novel his character is very well explained and actually this scene kinda summed it up very well.

His pissed off face always made me a little uneasy. Just unnatural, Dick!

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So, Richard Mansur is the father in the the Disney spook film, Mr. Boogedy. I know it is a stretched but what the hell? We get a YouTube VHS movie of Disney’s Sunday Night Movie on an actual Sunday and it’s Halloween related! Come on!!!

Enjoy this and watch it in bed with a cat.

The 2017 Halloween Hell Show!

So it begins…

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Hi friends! It’s back and this year it is going to be gigantic! The 2017 Halloween Hell Show has commenced so put on the spooky soundtrack, crack open a pumpkin beer and let the party begin! I have so many sights to show you like reviews of crazy Halloween products, insane locations and hilarious movie recaps to help make the most out of the season. I won’t spoil it too much but I will say, this year I have really put the pedal down so expect a lot of content and please interact! Especially on Twitter and the Facebook Page. (Happy Birthday, Chad!)

Did you notice the blog is back? Well, I have come to realize that hosting a full flash enabled site has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The non-Wordpress style blog drove me insane and I ended up just not writing because I didn’t want to mess with it so for the season, I am bringing it back. Maybe forever? Perhaps. Be sure to click the latest post which will be a moving circle-thing on the Halloween Hell Show page.

This year I am dedicating the Hell Show to the memory of Dustin “Duddy” Pace who left us way too early. He was a sweet and kind person who would routinely make people’s day simply through kind words and gestures. He leaves a legacy that we should all strive to achieve. Where ever you are, Duddy, this one is for you, pal.

Now let the show begin!

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