“When Leslie walks through the door, we’re all going to scream,” Megan said (names changed to protect...no one, really, I just felt like doing it).
I had to agree with her. Our group was sitting in darkness, bathed in the chilling glow of the television. Onscreen, Joel Edgerton (you know, that guy with the beard whose name you can never remember) was staving off an infectious disease in post-apocalyptic “It Comes at Night.” We were in the middle of a horror movie marathon. The atmosphere was perfect for a jump scare. We had set ourselves up to be spooked.
We let the movie play out, peppering the silent pauses with our “witty” commentary. We forgot about the impending jump scare. We let our guard down.
The door burst open. We yelped and hopped out of our seats. The intruder wasn’t Leslie, but John, bearing massive bags of Bulk Barn candy. Seconds later, just as John sat down, Leslie opened the door. We barely reacted. She’d missed her opportunity. As many horror directors know, a jump scare only really works once.
Why did we subject ourselves to a tense situation of terror? Because it’s Halloween, of course, and that’s what you do.
I know it’s early October and Halloween is technically weeks away. But for me, Halloween is a month-long celebration. It’s a 31-day excuse to gorge on a buffet of horror movies and spine-tinglers. The cold, harsh weather (combining the dying summer with the impending winter) creates an excellent mood for scares. October is a month for terror.
I’ve loved October for most of my life. To me, it’s the perfect month. It’s cool, not cold. It’s crisp, not brisk. You can still enjoy the outdoors without subjecting yourself to farmer’s tans and cargo shorts. It’s the best month of the year. A gauntlet of horror movies only makes it sweeter.
Every October, I make it my mission to feast on fresh films of fear. This year, I’ve decided to binge watch all 93 episodes on the mid-90s classic TV show “Tales from the Crypt.” With its endless stream of gore, plot twists, and atrocious puns, it’s a ghoulishly good way to ignite the Halloween spirit.
My group of friends stoked the flames of Halloween when we ran a horror movie marathon until 3 a.m. last week. Sure, some us had work the next day. Sure, half the movies were unpopular with the group. Sure, we were all exhausted and brain-dead by the end. But it was worth it to capture the Halloween spirit in the early days of October.
Because that’s what Halloween’s all about: Bringing people together. And candy, of course. Sweet, delicious, tooth-rotting candy.