The Creepy Commercials Countdown!
HALLOWEEN NIGHT, 2012: “Elvira & Mug Root Beer!” (1989)
I was already playing catch-up with the Creepy Commercials Countdown when Hurricane Sandy (FRANKENSTORM!) hit, knocking our electricity out from Monday night through just a few hours ago. Doh!
I think I’ll call a spade a spade and say that the current amount of entries is probably enough entries, and that nobody will be too crushed if I call this the final installment. (Except for that one entry which I’m weirdly promising for January. I’ll still do that.)
Gotta thank Larry again for donating the spooky commercials! It’s been a fun feature and an interesting challenge, because while any dope could embed a pile of already-existing YouTube videos, I was determined to work with Larry’s batch exclusively. I’m glad I did. From Vincent Price shilling Tilex to a guy in a Frankenstein mask selling car insurance, I’ve been exposed to all sorts of new (old) Halloween things. Owe you one, Larry!
Halloween only has a few hours left, and by the time most of you read this, it will be over. Despite my annual flipout post, I’ve really had a great time doing the site, and I honestly can’t remember a Halloween season that seemed to fly by so FAST. Even now, I’m doing all I can to stall this entry, because once I finish telling you about Elvira and root beer, Halloween will kind of be over.
I guess that’s where Thanksgiving (or as I call it, “Christmas I”) comes in handy.
Anyway, Larry donated way (waaaay) more commercials than I actually needed to complete the Countdown, and with only one slot remaining, it was hard to pick the grand finale. I chose this Mug root beer ad not because it stars Elvira (she’s just the gravy), but because it really sums up why Halloween is super mega great.
Everything about this commercial is FUN, and, in a nutshell, that’s Halloween. I may like Christmastime better, but nothing makes me want to just have FUN more than Halloween. It could be as simple as pretending I’m a five-year-old and breaking out the crayons, or as intense as an Elvira-hosted costume party starring monsters and root beer. This isn’t one of those holiday seasons where you sit back and let the good times find you. With Halloween, you gotta grab life by the balls. For a few months each year, I’m thankful for the encouragement.
In 1989, you might have seen giant cardboard Elviras wherever Mug root beer was sold. You wouldn’t see them in 2012, but the sentiment still exists. For the past two months, Halloween has made everything I did a little more exciting. Food shopping was an adventure. Department stores became wonderlands. Even simple drives from one mundane place to another were worlds of possibility, where I struggled to keep my eyes on the road in fear of missing some stranger’s awesomely ghoulish lawn display.
When I hear people talk about their big costume parties and “Halloween Horror Nights” vacations, I sometimes get jealous. It’s like, for all of my bluster, there are people who pretty much ignore Halloween until 10/15, and still manage to do it “better” than me. Then I remember that, for me, Halloween really isn’t about the “big things.” It never was.
I like the little things best. I like my Dollar Tree decorations. I like it when the Sunday newspaper comes, and the circulars are full of Halloween-themed advertisements. I like it when McDonald’s sells a new trick-or-treat pail, even if I have no conceivable use for it.
So maybe it’s not so weird that I’m spending Halloween night writing (or, more accurately, writing around) an Elvira root beer commercial from over two decades ago. There’s no wrong way to do Halloween, so long as it works for you. And this? Me, sitting here, with the last of our hot cider, surrounded by nearly-dead spicy candles, writing (around) Elvira? It’s working for me, a-okay.