“Perversity is the human thirst for self-torture.”
– Edgar Allan Poe
For most of the year, I only exist. I grasp at distractions and have my share of smiles, but still, for most of the year, I just exist. It’s kind of a waking, walking hibernation.
And now, it’s finally over.
Welcome to Dinosaur Dracula’s 2013 HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN.
This is it! For the next sixty days and nights, I’m all yours and you’re all mine.
It’s the best time of year. You know it, I know it. Though this is only Dino Drac’s second at-bat, it’s actually my eleventh straight year of Halloween Countdowns. Many of you have been around for several of them. Some of you have even been around for all of them. (Wow.)
Together, we’ve discovered that Halloween is not merely “a day.” It’s two full months of perfect excuses to do so many things that just don’t have the same appeal at any other time of year. Halloween brings the kid out of all of us. It’s capable of making virtually every facet of life fun and exhilarating.
Suddenly, everything has renewed meaning. Every drive, every trip to the store, every cursory examination of what’s on television… these banal things now reek of potential. Oh, God! I’m practically paralyzed with joy. It feels like Christmas morning, but in slow motion.
Wait, what? You’re new to Dinosaur Dracula? You don’t know what a “Halloween Countdown” is?
Okay. I’ll explain.
Between now and October 31st, I’ll be posting something related to Halloween nearly every day. If you think that sounds tiresome… boy, I’m gonna enjoy showing you how Halloween REALLY works. The season’s surface is phenomenal, but the deeper you dig, the more gold you find. I dabble in the basics, but I don’t dwell on them. You won’t believe how much Halloween can mean if you let it. Over the course of the next two months, I intend to prove it.
Some posts will be long, others will be short. Some will be essays, others will be videos. There’s only one hard and fast rule: We MUST have fun. All of us. Me, you, and the lurking stranger who only steps out of the darkness once every six months to tell me about my typos.
I want my site and its associated entities to help you make the most of your season, even when life won’t seem to cooperate. Some of you have big families, or work long hours, or maybe you’re just dealing with too much zany shit to really dedicate yourself to costume shops and haunted hayrides. It happens, I get it. But if you give Dino Drac ten minutes a day, Halloween can still be a thing for you. That’s my goal. I want to be your eerie oasis.
Oh, and every year, the same subject comes up. “When is it proper to start celebrating Halloween?” Surely there are those who believe I’m starting too early. In years past, I might have agreed. Not anymore, though. Halloween just has too much to offer. Even two full months is barely enough!
…which isn’t to say that I’m a proponent of “blowing your wad.” As someone who has crippled many Halloween seasons by going all-in too early, I know that there needs to be a crescendo in play. You’ve gotta save some of the big stuff for October. October deserves to be special.
So, when I say that it’s okay to celebrate Halloween in September, it’s not like I’m suggesting that you go carve ten pumpkins and throw a costume party. There are TONS of easy ways to get your spook on in more subtle ways. Here are five of them!
#1: Stuff your DVR with spooky things!
It’s all about the keywords. Play around, and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find. Search for “horror,” and “Halloween,” and “spooky,” and “monsters,” and “ghosts,” and whatever else you can think of. You’re going to find so much awesome shit. Once you get a good stock going, you’ll never once be at home without a “Halloween thing” to do.
#2: Draw and color like you’re six years old.
One of my favorite things about this season is how it lends itself to a certain kind of art. Grade school art, basically. Grab a pad, grab some markers, and go to fucking town. Invent creatures, or pay tribute to your favorite movie monsters. You don’t have to be a polished artist to get joy out of this. I sure ain’t.
(PS: That purple demon up there. It’s like someone crossbred a Hutt with Gorga the Space Monster.)
#3: Read a scary book!
This is pretty obvious, but here’s the thing: You can make a night out of just GETTING your scary book. Don’t blow the opportunity by scouring Amazon. If there was ever a time to go to a brick-and-mortar bookstore, this is it. You’ll feel a special connection to your scary book if you do it that way, and besides, bookstores are inherently Halloweeny. I can’t explain why, but they are.
Then, when you get home, curl up with a blanket and some crazy seasonal tea, and have at it. Bonus points if you read during a thunderstorm!
#4: Find, buy and eat lots of Halloween junk food.
Here’s one way that September definitely tops October. Almost all of the random “Halloween foods” arrive in September (if not earlier), while October’s debuts are a comparative few. It’s kinda hard to wait a month when Frute Brute and Halloween Crunch are in your face every time you go to Target.
I say, don’t bother trying. Trick-or-treating has already marked this as the best season to not care at all about what you put in your body. Don’t let the kids have all the fun. You deserve some, too.
So go for it. Find the Cadbury Screme Eggs, and eat ‘em until you puke. It’s okay, because puke is Halloweeny.
#5: Go for a walk!
I swear, this isn’t lame. Last year, me and Ms. X got in the habit of going for “spooky walks” at night. We tried to find the most desolate and/or wooded areas. It was a blast. We saw no ghosts and were chased by no serial killers, but every time we went on one, I came back feeling not just physically energized, but mentally, too. Like I was ready to watch every horror movie ever made, or at least two of them, because walking makes me tired.
If you think about it, the appeal makes perfect sense. We all go out at night, but how many of us actually take the time to enjoy the night itself? Do it. I command you.
And with that, the 2013 Halloween Countdown has begun.
Somebody give me a martini mixed with three measures of red food coloring.
PS: The Halloween Jukebox has returned! It should be easy to spot.
PPS: Big thanks to Jason Week for continuing his assault of awesomeness with Dino Drac’s latest Halloween logo. Another amazing job, my brother.
PPSSSPS: If you’re new to Dino Drac, see what you missed during last year’s Countdown!
PPSPSSPSPS: IT’S HALLOWEEN TIME YES YES YES!!!!
This next week’s going to be pretty light on serious content, as I have about a million things to get done in preparation for the 2013 Halloween Countdown. Which starts NEXT FREAKIN’ SATURDAY, YASE YASE YASE.
After the somewhat surprising success of the Cruel Summer Funpacks, I was motivated to test out the law of diminishing returns.
Introducing… Dino Drac’s Creepy Stupid Funpacks!
For $22.63 (shipping included), you’ll get a package just like one of the examples shown above. This time, it’s a mix of classic nostalgia items along with a few hints of Halloween. Here’s the quick-and-dirty breakdown…
Each Creepy Stupid Funpack includes:
– One random sealed pack of Life Savers Holes, from the early ‘90s!
– One random vintage cereal premium, still sealed!
– A Thundercats “Snarf” pencil topper OR a Slimer candy head!
– One vintage Hi-C/Real Ghostbusters lunch sack!
– One random pack of old trading cards + a few loose cards thrown in!
– A small but sincere pile of Halloween toys and novelties!
– An exclusive photo of Shrunken Apple Head, signed by the man/fruit himself!
No two packs are exactly alike, but the above photos ARE of actual Funpacks – so you’ll be getting something like that!
If you’re already sold, skip to the bottom for ordering info. If not, let me see how I can make this stuff sound interesting… Read More…
I’m trying to keep my Halloweenosity in check until 8/31, but it’s kinda hard when life keeps throwing things like this in my face:
Yep, it’s Starburst Candy Corn! Fruit-flavored and appropriately colored, they’re ideal for people who hate the flavor of candy corn, but love the idea of it.
Here’s me, eating it:
These are all-new for 2013, and serve as just another clue that this year’s haul won’t be a bunch of been-there done-thats.
It’s been an absolutely crazy few days, and it’s all because of Fruity Yummy Mummy. (Okay. Frute Brute, too.)
If you’ve been paying attention to Dino Drac and its ten thousand social media extensions, you know that I’ve been all over the “returning Monster Cereal” news. Well, it took extreme measures, but I GOT ‘EM.
See the full review and taste test of Fruity Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute, in this video:
(Since I’m adding this info late, thank you to everyone who’s been sharing the vid!)
Some of you assumed these were freebie product samples, but… no. The proprietor of 2 Cool Ghouls got his hands on some, which you can currently find on Amazon. I was fine with the asking price, but not the wait. So I paid a small fortune for the craziest shipping option possible (whatever you think I paid, double it), and the seller was kind enough to make himself available to ship on Monday morning.
The boxes arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and I don’t know if there are words to properly describe the INSANE BLITZ to get the video shot, edited and online by that night. I mean, I knew that I HAD to, since a scoop like this doesn’t come around often. But yeah, yesterday was NUTS. Exciting and nuts!
Let’s get a closer look at those boxes! Read More…
The Monster-Mania horror convention returned to New Jersey this weekend, and for the sixth or seventh time, we were thurrrrrr.
Over the years, my visits to Monster-Mania have devolved from weekend-long adventures to quick trips through the dealer rooms. Even with a blockbuster celebrity lineup including everyone from Christopher Lloyd to Carrie Fisher, I had no plans on getting autographs, or even the inkling to stay more than my usual two hours.
But this particular visit was destined to become something different. A few of my “internet pals” were also attending, and though it broke every rule in the Official Matt Playbook, I’d grown too close to these guys to do my usual thing where I say “hope to see you there” and then spend the two hours hiding under a hood and sunglasses. (Nobody should be offended; I’ve pulled the same trick after spotting my sister in Target.)
My fears were unwarranted. These guys (and gal) were awesome. I was barely a foot into the hotel before running into Jay from The Sexy Armpit, who is one of those people you meet and swear you’ve known for years. The Sexy Armpit is one of my longtime favorite blogs – an “anything and everything” deal with a heavy lean on Jersey-centric pop culture. The guy behind it always seemed fifty times more talented than he knew, and too nice to be disliked by anyone. The real Jay was just the same. On the way home, as we were listing the pros and cons of our Monster-Mania experience, the only thing I could criticize Jay for was being taller than me.
Not two minutes later, we found John Squires of Freddy in Space, and his wife, Jen. You’ve probably picked up on my respect for John’s work, since he runs one of the few sites that I’ll mention without some bullshit unspoken mutual back-scratching code of webmaster ethics. I latched onto him years ago, on a much less sane internet, seeing him as one of the few who both “kept it real” and “just did it.” (For the record, when I put John in that category, I don’t think I would’ve put myself in that category.)
John is even funnier in person, and I think 85% of the people at the con knew who he was. We didn’t get to really know Jen until this weekend, but she’s awesome. And, as I suspected, she and Ms. X may actually truly be sisters. They’re our new favorite couple, narrowly defeating Sophia and the Japanese gardener.
Now, I kind of had to give you a long introduction to these people, because they will take center stage in the most important parts of this report. We’ll get to that shortly.
We remained a group for the first few minutes, but it was a little too early to be doing that thing where you turn the exchange of pleasantries into an all-night bond. After a few minutes, everyone splintered off to do their thing.
Course, my thing was the dealers’ room. (Well, dealers’ rooms would be more accurate.) If you came here hoping for candids of celebrities signing glossy photos, you’re gonna be disappointed. I didn’t seek them out, and the only ones I saw were by pure coincidence. (Thanks for almost knocking me over, Bruce Davison.)
Sure, 75% of the dealers’ wares are the same things you can find on eBay for lower prices, but here’s the catch: You’re not even aware that most of this junk exists until you see it here. That’s worth the premium. Read More…
UPDATE: I got ’em — and here’s a video taste test!
Frute Brute (formerly “Fruit Brute”) and Fruity Yummy Mummy are RETURNING this Halloween season, as part of General Mills’ Monster Cereal lineup!
If you don’t know much about these guys, here’s a primer.
Obviously, I’ll be buying and covering both as soon as they’re available. This is shaping up to be the best Halloween season EVER.
Oh, and for posterity, I’ll try to piece together the events of this crazy news day:
1. Between 10AM and 12PM, I received word from three different readers about the cereals. At that point, Frute Brute was only a “possibly-maybe,” but I had a confirmed Fruity Yummy Mummy sighting from an employee of a certain national chain.
2. At 1PM, “swhte” chimed in on Twitter with this photo — an apparent teaser from Serious Eats.
3. At around 5PM, Mike T. from the site’s Facebook page located the images above, tied to a site that listed the cereals’ nutritional info. I took this as final, no-fail confirmation.
Doesn’t sound like much when I summarize it, but you didn’t see the hysteria! It was great!