Happy Halloween!

We are now only hours away from the celebrations – the candy, Halloween costumes, haunted houses, trick-or-treating, parties, and so forth. I don’t know about you, Reader, but I’m barely able to sit still. Watching the clock isn’t helping, either. Time needs to hurry up!

In the meantime, though, let’s take a minute to contemplate whether or not Halloween can actually be cancelled. Sound crazy? Not so.

After all, the White House announced at 1:54pm today that it cancelled its annual Halloween celebration due to “…hurricane damage to Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area…” And it’s not the only one.

The White House's decorations.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie actually “signed an executive order on Wednesday postponing Halloween celebrations across the state until Monday,” writes CNN.

“I’ve taken this action to minimize additional risks to lives and the public safety as we begin the process of rebuilding and recovering from Hurricane Sandy,” Christ told CNN.

In addition, residents in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut have been asked to not celebrate Halloween on October 31, and many Halloween celebrations and parades have been cancelled or postponed.

However, while many on the East Coast have decided not to celebrate the holiday, some are using Halloween as a release from the recent devastation.

“We were already planning on having a party,” Brooklyn resident Adam Scher told CNN. “But now that nobody can get into Manhattan we are really having a party.”

Along with his business partner, Scher is holding a party within their public relations office in Clinton Hill.

“People need something to do tonight. Everyone has been cooped up inside for the past four days, and nobody has anywhere to go or anything to do, so why not provide them with some fun celebratory festivities!”

Yeah, New York may not be the best for trick-or-treating, right now.

But Scher is not alone in this determination to celebrate Halloween:

A 13-floor, 70-unit apartment building in Hoboken, New Jersey, is out of power and surrounded by water. They’ve been using smartphones to communicate with the outside world, and have been trapped for days. To entertain the kids, the residents all gathered in the lobby, encouraged the kids to dress in costume, and went trick-or-treating throughout the building.

If anything, the recent disaster has caused neighbors and friends to band together, to create a unique Halloween experience unlike any other.

So what about you, Reader? Are your Halloween plans cancelled or continuing as usual?


So here we are: tomorrow is Halloween. After weeks of decorating homes, preparing Halloween costumes, and deciding on which candy to hand out, the day of reckoning has finally arrived. You can practically taste the anticipation in the air.

Since today’s blog post is the last before the actual day of Halloween, I felt it would be a great opportunity to look at Halloween through the numbers – money, data, percentages – a bunch of boring stuff that means a whole lot if you actually look at it.

A random pumpkin pictures appears!

Case and point: The total Halloween consumer spending expected for 2012 equals $8 billion. That’s right – Americans spent a collected $8 billion on costumes, candy, decorations, and all sorts of other goodies. That’s a monstrous chunk of change.

And there’s a whole lot more information to follow:

  • Percentage of Americans celebrating Halloween this year: 71.5%
  • Potential trick-or-treaters ages 5-14: 41 million
  • Amount Americans spend on candy, costumes, and decorations: $79.82 per individual.
  • Years since the premiere of the classic TV Special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”: 46
  • Percent of pets dressed up like a pumpkin: 12.7%
  • Percentage of adults dressing as a witch: 9.5%
  • Estimated number of haunted houses that charge admission in the United States: 1,200
  • Box office earnings of horror movies in 2011: $410.6 million
  • Pounds of candy corn produced each year: 35 million
  • Percentage of individuals who had objections to Halloween on religious grounds: 11%

Okay, let’s stop there and talk for a minute: I’m interested in that last fact, the one about religious objections to Halloween. The fact that some individuals still view Halloween as some sort of anti-religious / religious holiday is baffling, as the holiday has become one of the most commercialized holidays in American history. Just look at the first fact above – Americans spent $8 billion on Halloween this year.

Another interesting fact from above: only two-thirds of the American population plan on celebrating Halloween. What are the other one-third doing? Even if someone skips out on the trick-or-treating or handing out candy, many work places encourage wearing costumes for the holiday. How can someone just skip Halloween? It’s a holiday that runs deep in the American marrow.

Why so serious?

In fact, I have a hard time thinking of any other holiday that screams American as much as Halloween. We spend money on costumes that are worn only once or twice per year. We buy excessive amounts of candy crammed with sugars and artificial ingredients. We revel in gore and violence and fear.

And while all of this may appear to showcase Americans as self-absorbed and consumptive, the intent of these actions actually goes against such notions. Americans buy candy so as to hand them out to children, who are encouraged to enter into a world free from the horrors of reality. These children are shown that the world can be scary, yes, but scary can be entertaining. You can scream in fear and then laugh it off – a lesson that many adults could do well to remember.

Costumes allow expressions of internal desires and thoughts. The very ability to express such things runs parallel to the American culture’s love for personal freedom. We want to be able to wear silly costumes and run wild through the streets and be rebels or heroes or villains or whatever, because personal expression means something to Americans.

At its core, Halloween is a holiday about laughing in the face of reality and standing strong for personal expression. It’s about understanding that, yes, bad things happen and people die and hurricanes can wipe away your home, that’s a fact of life. But so is creative and personal expression, laughing, smiling, feeling the comedown of adrenaline after an intense fright, whether real or imaginary – all behavioral actions that come with intense euphoric emotions. They make you feel alive and energized. They make you feel human.

So I challenge you, reader, during the day of Halloween tomorrow, whether you are handing out candy or partying or trick-or-treating with a child, breathe deep the atmosphere and let life fill your veins.

Because it’s Halloween.

Because you’re alive.


To all of my fellow East Coasters braving the current storm, best of luck!

To everyone else, let’s move on with the usual business!

So, since Halloween falls on Wednesday, last weekend saw all the big parties and all the sweet Halloween costumes. Maybe you went to one yourself. Maybe you won a costume contest. Maybe you did neither and are waiting for the big party come Wednesday. Whatever the case, keep on partying on, because this holiday season isn’t over.

To prove it isn’t over, today we’re showcasing some of our favorite costumes that have recently hit our inbox or the Internet. These are truly awesome costumes.

Full-body UV Demon.

The Simpsons.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Botched Restoration of Ecce Homo Fresco.

Tim Burton's Queen of Hearts.

Tim Burton's Mad Hatter.

Lisbeth Salander.

If you want to show of your costume, feel free to post it in the comments section below. We’re happy to see what you’re wearing for Halloween.


You can’t make this up: Hundred of Marines, Navy special ops, soldiers, police, firefighters and other emergency personnel are preparing for their worst nightmare, a zombie apocalypse, using countless individuals dressed in Halloween costumes and makeup.

“This is a very real exercise, this is not some type of big costume party,” said Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, a security firm hosting the October 31 training demonstration. The event will take place at a 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island in the San Diego bay. “Everything that will be simulated at this event has already happened, it just hasn’t happened all at once on the same night. But the training is very real, it just happens to be the bad guys we’re having a little fun with.”

Honestly, this summit sounds like a lot of fun.

In this specific scenario, “a VIP and his personal detail are trapped in a village, surrounded by zombies when a bomb explodes,” writes the Dallas News. “The VIP is wounded and his team must move through the town while dodging bullets and shooting back at the invading zombies.”

Sometime during the event, some team members will be bitten by zombies and must be treated at a field medical facility for decontamination and treatment. (I’m not making this up – it’s all true.)

“No one knows what the zombies will do I our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do,” said Barker. “If a law enforcement offices sees a zombie and says, ‘Freeze, get your hands in the air!’ What’s the zombie going to do? He’s going to moan at you. If someone on PCP or some other psychotic drug is told that, the truth is he’s not going to react to you.”

If this all feels somewhat familiar, your feeling would be correct. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a “Zombie Apocalypse” campaign, using the idea of a zombie apocalypse to inform people about realistic disasters.

Last month, the Homeland Security Department joined the campaign, “telling citizens if they’re prepared for a zombie attack, they’ll be ready for real-life disasters like hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack,” writes the Dallas News.

If only the public could observe the mock zombie apocalypse...

So what’s the point? Why spend so much money to create a zombie apocalypse, rather than a realistic disaster event?

“The defining characteristics of zombies are that they’re unpredictable and resilient,” said defense analyst Loren Thompson. “That may be a good way to prepare for what the Pentagons calls asymmetric warfare.”

In addition, writes the Dallas News, “organizers can also avoid the pitfalls of using a mock enemy who could be identified by nationality, race, or culture – something that could potentially be seen as offensive.”


Think you know Halloween decorations? Take a look at this: Using a 1,693-pound pumpkin, Ray Villafane created a life-size zombie art exhibit that is now on display at the New York Botanical Garden.

The carving process began on October 20 and ended on October 21, during which Villafane and his team spent hours scraping, cutting, tearing, de-seeding, and constructing numerous pumpkin pieces, the most impressive being the aforementioned life-size zombie.

Villafane’s exhibit is part of the New York Botanical Garden’s Haunted Pumpkin Garden, an event that promotes the artistic uses of pumpkin in displaying the holiday’s themes.

Check out the video below the following photos to see Villafane working away on the life-size zombie.

Taking a look at Villafane’s artistic studio, Villafane Studios, one sees that the man’s passion for pumpkin art goes well beyond the New York Botanical Garden. Here are some of our personal favorite:


As the name suggests, today we’re showcasing ten killer behind-the-scenes photos from classic horror films. These photos lend humanity to films that have horrified and frightened countless individuals, in addition to spawning lots of Halloween costumes. Plus, it’s just fun to see someone dressed in a full Alien costume sitting on a box, looking tired and exhausted from the demand of filming. It’s almost as great as seeing Pennywise get his makeup applied.

Honestly, these photos are bound to put you in the mood for Halloween. So let’s get into it:

Even Hannibal Lector needs to eat.

 

Nick Castle giving Michael a drink.

Putting makeup on the Pennywise.

 

Oh, Carrie, you so crazy.

 

Tony Pantanella gets a zombie ready on the set of "Night Of The Living Dead."

 

Freddy enjoying some tunes with the gang.

 

Nicholson doing what he does best: be insane.

Does his face actually taste of leather?

Toying around on the set of "Child's Play."

One tired Alien.


We’ve all wondered it: which city really is the best city for trick-or-treating. Here at Fright Catalog, we’re happy to talk about the best Halloween costumes or props, but we’ve tried to avoid the topic of our favorite trick-or-treating cities, because it’s bound to get people stirred up and defensive. One person’s perception of the best city may not be the same as another’s, so it’s been best to avoid the topic.

Now, it’s time to put this concern to rest, because Zillow recently released their fourth annual Trick-or-Treat Index, which ranks “…the top 20 cities around the country to get the best Halloween loot…”

The index ranks cities based on “four equally weighted data variables: Zillow Home Value Index, population density, Walk Score and local crime data from Relocation Essentials. Based on those variables, the Index represents cities that will provide the most candy, with the least walking and safety risks.”

Here’s the list:

One thing to note: Zillow follows the list by saying, “There is a common belief that wealthy neighborhoods are the Holy Grail for harvesting the most Halloween candy,” going on to describe their index as a “more holistic approach to trick-or-treating.”

As a child, my family fell into the idea of wealthier neighborhoods = more candy, because we believed wealthier families had more money, thus more candy to give. Unfortunately, wealthier neighborhoods are often more spread out, too, so you spent more time walking than actually raking in the loot. Nothing worse than swollen feet and a pillow sack full of more air than candy.

So, Fright fans, anyone disagree with this list? Anyone feel the need to defend their own city and why it should make the list? Let me know.


Days left until Halloween: Seven.

You know what that means! Halloween costumes, decorations, and props? Nope!

It’s time for me to be a wet blanket on everyone’s Halloween celebrations, by talking about safety precautions that both children and parents should be taking on Halloween.

Today, State Farm reported, “Kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, including the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day.” The company then listed findings from detailed analysis of their internal data:

  • Over the past 21 years, State Farm found that one hundred and fifteen child pedestrian fatalities have occurred on Halloween. That averages out to 5.5 fatalities each year on October 31, which is double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days.
  • Approximately one-fourth (26 out of 115) of accidents occurred between 6-7pm. Over 60% of the accident occurred in the 4-hour period from 5-9pm.
  • Over 70% of the accident occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.
  • Most of the fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 (32% of all child fatalities), followed by children ages 5-8 (23%).
  • Young drives ages 15-25 accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween.
  • Drivers ages 36-40 and 61-65 were involved in the fewest child pedestrian fatalities on Halloween. Together, these age groups accounted for nine child pedestrian fatalities (8%) in the 21 years of the study.
  • Each of the last six years of the study (2005 – 2010) has seen Halloween child fatalities below the 21 year average of 5.5.

So what can parents and adults do to keep children safe?

Keep your little ones safe.

The most noticeable thing is to pay attention to children while walking on streets located away from intersections and crosswalks. The higher percentage of injuries in these areas may be associated with the decrease in attention parents give to their children, because they assume such areas are safer.

In addition, parents may want to hold off on trick-or-treating during the hours immediately after the 5pm workweek release. This increase in vehicular traffic may be the reason for an increase in accidents between 6-7pm, when people are anxious to get home and start their own holiday.

Of course, almost all of this is pure speculation, and in no way am I an expert at interpreting data or preventing pedestrian fatalities. The purpose of today’s post is simply to reinforce the importance of safety during Halloween.


That’s the title of the LA Timesarticle reporting on the incident, and it’s too wild to change.

I mean, you can’t make this stuff up: “A little girl wearing a black-and-white Halloween costume was mistaken for a skunk and shot by a relative at a party,” reports the LA Times.

Apparently the 9-year-old girl was wearing a black hat with a white tassel and hiding “over the edge of a hill outside the house where the party was taking place when she was spotted by a relative.” The relative then fired a shotgun at the girl, believing her to be a skunk.

If the girl were dressed in a skunk costume, would the relative have confused her for a black hat with white tassels?

Before anyone goes getting upset, the little girl was hit in the shoulder and was alert and talking when brought to the hospital. She appears to be doing fine, though she may have some mental scars associated with Halloween and black hats with white tassels.

As for the relative, police are not sure if charges will be filed. However, police did say that the relative had not been drinking alcohol.

But news of the incident sparked more than just shock at the girl’s accident: many have used the incident to speak about gun and animal rights. After all, this relative found it totally acceptable to use a shotgun on what he believed to be a skunk. Even if it were a skunk and not a little girl, is that kind of firepower necessary? Did the relative really have to shoot the skunk?

More importantly, how bad are this relative’s eyes?

Also, some individuals questioned the “wisdom of pulling out a loaded gun at a gathering with children,” states the LA Times.

I picture the hat similar to this one, just with white frills instead of black.

How anyone can mistake a 9-year-old girl in a black hat and white tassels for a skunk, I have no idea. Why someone would shoot a skunk with a shotgun, I also have no idea. It’s all kinds of crazy.

What we should take away from this situation is that safety should always be of an utmost importance. Halloween should always be about fun and entertainment, but we all have to do our parts to ensure it stays that way.


According to my calendar, there are only nine days until Halloween. Nine days – that’s one week and a weekend! Honestly, where has the month gone?

Anyway, hopefully you have all your Halloween decorations, costumes, and props set up, and now you’re putting the final touches on an upcoming Halloween party. Well, my party-hosting friend, we’re here to help you turn a good Halloween party into a great one, with our top 5 Halloween cocktail recipes. These drinks fit the holiday aesthetic, while giving guests the loosening up needed to relax and enjoy an evening of costumed fun.

So let’s get into it:

 

Pina Ghoulada:

Ingredients:

For the blood:

  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon red food coloring

For the drink:

  • 20 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cream of coconut
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 10 ounces good-quality rum

Directions:

  1. Pour corn syrup in shallow bowl. Dip a toothpick into food coloring, and stir a very small amount into the syrup to combine. Hold glass by the stem, dip rim into syrup mixture, and turn glass, coating entire rum. Turn glass upright, allowing mixture to drip down sides. Dip remaining glasses. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together drink ingredients. Place 2 ½ cups ice in a blender, and add 1 cup drink mixture. Blend until smooth; add more pineapple juice, if mixture too think. Repeat with remaining ice and mixture. Carefully pour into prepared glasses; serve.

 

Candy Corn Martini:

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup candy corn
  • 4 ounces Grey Goose Vodka
  • Tonic water
  • Garnish with orange sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Place candy corn into glass and pour vodka over candy. Fill glass with tonic water and garnish with orange sprinkles; serve. Easy!

 

Shrunken Heads in Cider:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 8 large Granny Smith apples
  • 32 whole cloves
  • 2 gallons apple cider
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 cups spiced rum (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together lemon juice and salt; set aside.
  2. Peel apples and cut each in half through stem; remove seeds and core. Using a sharp paring knife, carve a face, as desired, on the rounded side of each apple half. Place apples in lemon mixture for one minute; transfer to paper towels to drain.
  3. Place apples, face-side up on prepared baking sheet and transfer to oven. Let bake until apples are dry and begin to brown around the edges, about 90 minutes. Remove apples from baking sheets and press closed into the “eye” sockets.
  4. Combine cider, lemonade, and rum (if using) in a large punchbowl; float shrunken heads on top.

 

Hot Spiced Grape Juice:

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon grape juice
  • 8 whole cardamom pods
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ whole nutmeg, grated (1 to 2 teaspoons)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Super easy.

 

Blood-Orange Cocktails:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups fresh blood-orange juice (from 7 to 8 blood oranges), chilled
  • 6 tablespoons Solerno, or some other orange liqueur

Directions:

  1. Combine blood-orange juice and liqueur in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Pour into small glasses or test tubes.