Archive for AWESOME-tober-fest 2007

AWESOME-tober-fest 2007: Halloween retail goodies

Posted in candy, Elvis, Halloween with tags , , , , , , on October 31, 2007 by Paxton

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I love looking around stores during Halloween. The aisles are decorated with cardboard haunted houses, pumpkins and pics of gouls, ghosts and monsters. It’s so much fun to walk around the Halloween sections of retail stores like Target, Wal-Mart and your local grocery store to see the scary versions of some regular favorites that come out every Halloween. Companies also seem to release new Halloween themed items every year. Here’s some of the coolest stuff I noticed while shopping around this Halloween season.

You can click the individual pictures for a bigger size.

Reeses Pumpkin
I love Reese’s Cups. LOVE them. They are top of my list of snacks including Cheetos and peanut M&Ms. During Halloween Reese’s will release different shaped cups (bats, pumpkins, skulls, etc). The package says DOUBLE sized and, man, they aren’t kidding. This is one giant brick of peanut butter in a thin layer of chocolate. It’s like carrying around a small child. It easily weighed as much as my head. I had trouble finishing it. If you decide to get some of these, make sure you bring along a car trailer or a pack mule. You aren’t going to get a box of these home on your own.

Ahhh, another seasonal favorite for me, Pumpkin Mix M&Ms. Yes, this is just regular M&Ms dressed up as black and orange pumpkins, but I LOVE M&Ms and the packaging is always too cool to pass up (check out Yellow carving a pumpkin that looks like Red). I buy them every year (peanut are my favorite followed closely by peanut butter).

Gummy Body Parts 2Gummy Body Parts 1Oozn Eyeballz
Gummy candy in the shape of human limbs seems to be pretty popular this year. The one on the left even comes in its own coffin. Nothing quite like candy that makes you feel like a cannibal. They make these things extremely realistic. Just sitting there looking at them I got a little queasy. Great, great idea, I’m glad companies are embracing the macabre during the Halloween season, but I’d be lying if I said these things don’t creep me out. Like chopped up midgets in a bag. Yikes.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2007: Some of my awesome, awesome Halloween costumes

Posted in Elvis, Halloween, personal with tags , , , , , , on October 30, 2007 by Paxton

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I have always loved Halloween. I dressed up every year until I was in 8th or 9th grade. It was so much fun wearing costumes and hanging out with my friends going from house to house getting candy. Things have certainly changed. Today, the costumes are infinitely better but you can’t go out in your neighborhood to trick-or-treat anymore because of various nefarious individuals that may (or may not) live in your area. These individuals would love nothing more than to fool you into eating an apple with a razor blade stashed inside. What sick individual gives out apples for Halloween anyway? If that happened when I was a kid that guy would have gotten his own version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that involved nothing but toilet paper and raw eggs. Giving apples for Halloween is just WRONG, people. Write that down.

Anyway, my family was pretty good at documenting our holidays. I was going through some old photos and found some of my all-time favorite Halloween costumes. I have more pictures than this, but I may save those for another time. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite costumes that I’ve worn throughout the years. Enjoy!

You can click each of the pictures for a bigger version.

SpidermanYear Unknown – Spiderman. Yes, this is it! The Ben Cooper Spider-man costume. It doesn’t get much more vintage than this. Obviously I’m “shooting my webs” at a villain off camera. Classic, classic costume. You can find these on eBay now for anywhere between 20 and 100 bucks. Check out the boxed version of this costume here.

Peter CrissYear Unknown – Peter Criss (drummer for KISS). How about them jeans and JC Penney’s belt? That’s so rock-n-roll, man. I never really listened to their music, but I LOVED the whole KISS makeup gimmick. I loved they dressed up and spit fire and had these gaudy knee boots. It was awesome. And for some reason, my favorite was always Peter Criss, the drummer. I was walking home from school and found a large drink cup with a picture of Peter Criss on it and told Mom that’s who I wanted to be for Halloween. My mom was great, she used the cup as a guide for all the makeup. She did a great job, didn’t she? Years later she would do the same thing for me when I was a werewolf. She painted on wolf-like features. It was awesome, I wish I had a picture of it.

PirateYear Unknown – Random Pirate. The costume turned out great didn’t it? My mom was great at making costumes out of crap we had around the house. Dig those funky yellow running shoes! So pirate-y. That ginormous sword was borrowed and I only held it for the picture. There was no way I was carrying that monstrosity through the neighborhood trying to collect candy. Check out my younger brother as Big Bird. Yes, yes that is embarrassing. He’s gonna love that. You can see another pic of this costume here.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2007: Some of my favorite scary books

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2007 by Paxton

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Let the Halloween season begin! I was going through some of my books at home deciding what I should keep, what needs to be thrown out, what needs to be taken to the local used book store or what needs to be put up on my Book Shelf at (great site, check it out). I’m a pack rat. Also, my wife and I love to read, so the paperback graveyard at our house is out of control. So, I was going through some of these books for the above reasons and found many “scary” books that I loved, both recently and when I was a kid. Several of these books seriously freaked me out. The type of book that has you staying up at night staring at the drapes wondering if a guy with a knife is just watching…and waiting. Since it’s Halloween, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few of these. Maybe you’ve read a few of them.

Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkScary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz; illustrations by Stephen Gammell. This was the first book in a series of three. The two sequels were More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones. I read these in elementary school (the first book was released in 1981) and they seriously messed up my sleeping patterns. It wasn’t just the stories that were included in these books, Gammell’s illustrations lean intensely towards the macabre. The combination of the chilling stories and the illustrations helps to build the effect in your mind and it winds up decidedly stopping your ability to sleep for the next few days. Click on the book image to see a bigger picture. Look what they chose to put on the cover of the first book. How insanely creepy is THAT?! That’s the kind of mind job that awaits. Each of these stories is collected from American Folklore and have been passed down, in one form or another for generations. Because of this, you’ll get familiar stories like The Hook and The Babysitter, but there are other stories I’ve never heard of. The one that has always stuck in my mind is called Room for One More. BONE CHILLING. At least, it was to me as a kid. If you haven’t read these books, check them out at your library or you can get the collected set of all three books here.

This series of books has been one of the top ten most challenged books by the American Library Association for inclusion on school library shelves. The ALA feels it is too violent, insensitive and inappropriate for its target age group.

13 Alabama Ghosts13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey by Kathryn Tucker Windham. I was born in Birmingham, AL. I went to elementary, junior and high school in Birmingham. Kathryn Tucker Windham’s Southern ghost story series staring the titular spook, Jeffery, was extremely popular. Jeffrey supposedly haunted Windham’s Selma home and living with him inspired her to write her ghostly series. There were like 12 books in the series and it included other states like Mississippi and Tennessee. Each book told of a “famous” Southern ghost story in a different town of the state. Windham really tried to incorporate Southern lifestyles into the stories. She focused a lot on the characters and the times in which they lived, almost as much as the ghost the story was about. The stories were cool because they happened in places I’d heard of, but they were also pretty creepy. They all seemed to take place in old abandoned mansions or hotels. The most famous story in the book is about the Pickens County Courthouse in Carrollton, AL. This courthouse is famous for the ghostly image that is seemingly burned into one of its attic windows. Very cool book that is very respectful of Southern life and culture but adds the eerie element of long-ago ghost stories.

Monkeys PawThe Monkey’s Paw by WW Jacobs. Published in England in 1902, this short horror story is a literary classic. It has been retold numerous times in other books, comics, tv shows, movies, etc. The Simpsons even did a parody of it in one of their Treehouse of Horror episodes. In the story, the monkey’s paw is a magical talisman that grants wishes, but the wishes come at an enormous price. Very, very cool story, yet it’s extremely horrifying. If you want to read the short story you can read it in full on this website.

Monkeys PawThe Lottery by Shirley Jackson. Published by the New Yorker in 1948, it’s a short story that has come to be considered an American classic. I read this in high school and was fascinated by it. For the first two-thirds of the story I was baffled and a little bored about seemingly normal events. It’s the final third of the story that grabs and horrifies you. I liked it so much that for an eleventh grade Honors English project I chose to write a short sequel that I called The Last Lottery. It received very high marks from my teacher and she had me read the story to the class. I, unfortunately, do not have a copy of that story, otherwise I would put it up here. If you want to read The Lottery, you can read the text in full here. I’ll see if I can scrounge up the one copy of The Last Lottery that is in existence.

Whoever Fights MonstersWhoever Fights Monsters by Robert Ressler. True crime account by one of the first and leading criminal profilers. Ressler spoke at Auburn when I was in college and I was fascinated by the killers he has profiled. John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan and many others. He even describes some of the cases surrounding these killers. A truly chilling account of real life crime and how the serial killer thinks.

The Last VictimThe Last Victim by Jason Moss. Another true crime novel. This is even scarier. Teenager Jason Moss starts writing letters to famous serial killers. He tries to become their ideal victim from within his letters to see what makes them tick. He gets too close and actually visits John Wayne Gacy in prison. Absolutely terrifying. A look at how these real life killers think, but from the victim’s point of view.

Monkeys PawSkeleton Crew, Night Shift, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Everything’s Eventual and Four Past Midnight by Stephen King. Stephen King has a lot of scary stories, but his best stuff are his short stories. Not all of them are horror. Some are funny and some are random and weird, but some are chilling. And since the story is shorter, the eeriness seems to be even higher because the text is so concentrated. There are several stories in each of these 5 short story collections that were damaging to my calm. A few of my favorites:

“The Monkey” about a toy monkey that kills every time it beats its cymbals.

“Children of the Corn” about a small town inhabited only by children under 19.

“The Moving Finger” about a regular guy haunted by the appearance of a finger trying to claw its way out of his bathroom sink drain (sounds weird, but it’s almost maddening to think about when you read the story).

Autopsy Room 4 about a man waking up in a medical lab realizing that a doctor is about to perform an autopsy on his body, and he can’t move or speak to stop it.

There are others in the 5 King books that are haunting and chilling and wonderful. I love these collections more than King’s full novels. If you haven’t, and you love Stephen King, read them, please.

Well, those are some of my favorite scary books. What are some of yours?

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