October is here, and you know what that means. MOOD TABLE TIME.
This is a yearly tradition that many of you are aware of, but for the few that aren’t, I’ll explain.
I’ve been running the Halloween Countdown since 2003. The only Countdown that I fouled up was in 2007, owing to real life issues that made blogging about Halloween candy the lowest possible priority. In effect, my Halloween spirit was shot.
…but then I discovered a way to get it back.
THE HALLOWEEN MOOD TABLE!
What’s a Halloween Mood Table, you ask? It can be a small end table, or a larger coffee table, or a desk, or hell, even a chair. The idea is that you’ll saturate “some surface” with Halloween junk, and put it somewhere that you’re guaranteed to see it often. You could call it a “shrine to Halloween.”
What you put on it is totally up to you. You could mix pumpkins with random horror toys and a bowl of candy. Or you could add a dozen candles and hope you don’t burn the whole city down. Whatever!
There is no wrong way to do a Halloween Mood Table. My first one looked like this, and my last one looked like this. Yours might only have a few things on it, or it could have a hundred things on it. It’s a fun little art project, sure, but the point is that you’ll have an “area of focus” to keep your Halloween spirit in check.
You’ll be surprised at how effective it is! Last year’s Mood Table article went semi-viral, and dozens of folks posted photos of their own versions. Many confirmed what I’ve been saying all along: It’s fun to make and it’s cool to look at, but the Halloween Mood Table really does make Halloween feel like Halloween… even when everything else in your life doesn’t.
I specifically save this exercise for October 1st, and with good reason. If you’re like me, you’ve already spent a month “Halloweening.” You’ve been to all of the stores, you’ve seen all of the movies, you’ve eaten all of the candy. The problem is that you haven’t saved much for October. Sure, things will pick up in the final week, but what about NOW?
THIS is the solution.
So, without further ado, I proudly present Dino Drac’s 2014 Halloween Mood Table!
I started with one of those barely-standing, tile-topped tables that I’ve been using for almost ten years now. This is my canvas.
I knew I’d never top the insanity of last year’s Mood Table, and I wasn’t about to try. And besides, since our whole apartment is currently overflowing with Halloween stuff, I didn’t see much point in localizing everything to one corner of the living room.
Instead, I tried something different — and something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. This year, my Halloween Mood Table would have all of its usual bells and whistles, but it would also serve a very specific purpose.
Yep, after spending so many months writing about my growing VHS collection, I finally dug out an ancient VCR, paired that with an equally ancient television, and turned this year’s Mood Table into a veritable entertainment center… circa 1991!
Now I can watch old horror movies just like I did in the old days! On a terribly tiny television!
I’m not sure if this is my largest Mood Table yet, but it’s certainly the tallest. It’s so tall, actually, that I don’t think that you can get a good feel for what’s actually on the thing without a clear breakdown:
It’s like when the Peanuts gang took Charlie Brown’s shitty tree and turned it into pure holiday majesty.
I didn’t realize how much I needed this Mood Table until I was done building it. I haven’t had much trouble staying on course with the Halloween season this year, so when I started putting this together, it was more out of tradition than “need.”
Well, forget that. As soon as I was done, my Halloween spirit absolutely spiked.
The TV/VCR combo is the obvious highlight. Using one of those old woodgrain VHS storage drawers, my Mood Table provides easy access to tons of horror movie videocassettes. I ran Friday the 13th Part V for starters, and good God, it’s sooo much different to watch on an old little TV, on VHS to boot. It adds the exact kind of fuzziness and crummy audio that I grew up suffering through. So awesome.
I don’t like to tell people what to put on their Mood Tables, because I feel that it should be a reflection of you. Still, a few things have become pretty standard. One of the biggest is a bowl of candy. (I used a McBoo pail for extra nostalgia, but you can use anything. If a plate is all you have… go with God.)
I don’t think many of you are going trick-or-treating this year, so adding candy to your Mood Table is as close as you’ll get. And hey, if you don’t eat candy, that’s fine. Put some apples up there. Or pumpkin seeds. Anything that feels tied to the Halloween season in some way.
The rest of my Mood Table is rounded out with the usual ragtag bunch of toys, decorations, lights and nonsense. (I do recommend a adding a candle or two, but be careful with those. If your Mood Table ends up anything like mine, it’ll be covered with 57 fire hazards.)
Late at night, I turned off all of the lights and watched horror movies on a TV that hadn’t previously been used for like, fifteen years. It was so perfect. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the tree, and for me, Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without the Mood Table.
Give it a try. I sincerely believe that it will make your October sooo much better.
Tips & Tricks:
1. If you don’t have the perfect table, get creative! Stack a bunch of books and put a piece of wood on top! Or use a folding chair! Really, ANYTHING will do!
2. Your Mood Table needn’t have anything as nutty as a TV/VCR combo on it. A few decorations would work just fine. “Volume” doesn’t have to be your goal.
3. Classic additions include a pumpkin, a bowl of candy, and some form of illumination, whether it be a candle or string lights or both. (You’ll want your Mood Table to glow when the lights are out!)
4. Remember, you’re not making your Mood Table for anyone but you. Choose things that will invigorate YOUR Halloween spirit, even if they’d seem silly to someone else. This is a diary-as-a-decoration. It can be personal!
Have fun with your Halloween Mood Table, and welcome to OCTOBER! Thanks for sticking with Dino Drac for another Halloween Countdown. There’s still so much more to come!