The greatest season in the world is over. Autumn, the lovely lady she is, is shedding her beautiful foliage and revealing her shivering branches. Not only is November arguably the most bland month of the year (aside from March), the transition is very sobering. Those vibrant red, orange and yellowish green leaves, have matured into dull, fragmented mosaics on the ground. And while that’s comforting underneath a blanket of fog, I can’t be the only one uninspired by those cornucopias of Thanksgiving season.
Say goodbye to those fun stupid spooky donuts and their gimmicky names at Dunkin’ Donuts. Oh, the Boston Scream, the Vampire’s Delight, the Scary Strawberry, and the Nilla Nightmare were my personal faves. Goodbye bright purples and neon greens and blood reds, characteristic of the Halloween aesthetic. But then again, we’re officially hungover from the euphoria October itself carries with it, assuming us horror lovers pregamed Halloween early the moment that one inflatable ghost went up at the end of August in Home Depot. (Yes, I remember little things like that.)
Even though enough Halloween holidays have passed that we’ve had our share of the haunted houses, hayrides and carnivals, maybe we’re at that age now where seeing the dentist after a chipped tooth from biting too quick into a hard candy caramel apple is a real possibility—or chewing out a loose filling from an old Tootsie Roll an Amscot employee rolled underneath the tray like bad dice—is a financial reality. In this article, I’d like to address the five stages of grief, on how to cope with post-October depression, in terms of the Kübler-Ross model.
Denial. Leave up the Halloween decorations until Christmas. Then celebrate Halloween again for Christmas. Decorate your Christmas tree with Halloween ornaments, garland, cobwebs, etc. Get an orange or black artificial tree. Watch other holiday horror movies.
Anger. Burn all the leaves that were collected to stuff in those cheap pumpkin garbage bags. Smash any rotting jack’o’lanterns. Binge on leftover Halloween candy. Summon a malevolent spirit from a Ouija board to t.p. your neighbor’s tree. Form a Death Metal band on Craigslist.
Bargaining. Buy everything on sale from October that’s 50% off, for next year’s season. Work on your horror movie collection; sell some already in your collection so as to make room for more. Donate your costumes to a Goodwill or Salvation Army (don’t forget the broken plastic skeleton limbs in your closet). Try carving a jack’o’lantern out of a gourd. Have pumpkin pie for dessert on Thanksgiving.
Depression. See Denial, Anger, and Bargaining. Forget to shave. Get sick from bingeing on leftover Halloween candy. Give up on your Craigslist Death Metal band. Instead wear a hockey mask and go ice-skating… Be a sad Jason Voorhees: have a nervous breakdown over some pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving—with the hockey mask on, preferably, and then machete that lame gourd you failed to carve.
Acceptance. Maybe you can’t carve a turkey into a jack’o’lantern after all. However, you spent a good $600 on obscure PlayStation 1 horror games and discount October seasonal decorations, leaving you bankrupt to watch other holiday horror movies, such as Black Christmas (1974), My Bloody Valentine (1981), and April Fool’s Day (1986), the originals, to name a few. There’s probably even a Thanksgiving-themed one called ThanksKilling.
- Black Christmas set the par for the Slasher genre. He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. HE KNOWS. It’s a Canadian horror film that preceded Halloween (1978): it also inspired John Carpenter to Carpenter Halloween.
- My Bloody Valentine [sic] is a DELIGHTFUL Romantic Comedy that celebrates the virtue of love-at-first-kill? Yeah. That sounds about wrong.
- April Fool’s Day? If you thought Sleepaway Camp (1983) had a surprise ending; well, in April Fool’s Day, as with the nature of April Fool’s, it’s hard to tell whether the ending is a joke or not (mind you, there’s an alternative ending worth looking into).
- Rumor has it ThanksKilling (2009) is a thing. See Jeremy Smallwood’s (writer for Morbid Movies) article on that.
Okay. Seasonal affective disorder, SAD, is nothing to joke about. Suicide attempts rise during the holidays, but not specifically due to post-October depression, obviously. Some people don’t have supportive families; it gets dark by 4 p.m.; miserable seasonal jobs; another year ending and the thought of a New Year; all of which affects the mood in such a way that signifies whatever. (Remember that Dracula ventriloquist from my first article? He even had to get one of those special, bright UV ‘light therapy’ boxes…)
SAD aside, another year seems like it went by so fast again. All that time waiting for October. Isn’t October such a romantic thing? That it symbolizes a sense of urgency to embrace everything one last time before it fades away? Not to get sentimental here, of course… I’m for the spirit of Halloween and its inherent trickery. Look. I still have my Graveyard Boy costume on.
Everyday is like Halloween to me. Every month should be October. I won’t say something poetic about how I want to preserve the essence that embodies the season and holiday of October and Halloween respectively. I rather keep it down-to-soil, if you will, and thereby conclude with a tombstone quotation. “Here lies Graveyard Boy; he was full of shit.”