Monday, October 25, 2010

Sucktoberfest #5 - Halloween Decorations

Halloween is not your typical holiday.  It doesn't celebrate some historical event, like the liberation of a country from tyranny, or the birth/death of an important figure.  There is no pervading message of peace and goodwill or patriotism.  Halloween has its own ulterior motive: for people to go around, scaring the crap out of each other and themselves while eating shitloads of candy.  Dare I say it - Halloween is the most metal of all holidays.

But, just like crappy nu-metal, Halloween is being emasculated by a bunch of lame-ass bullshit.  The holiday used to have this dark mystique of horror and death.  Now, it's being replaced by this watered down, family approved Halloween substitute with half the calories and none of the scary fun.  Even Halloween for adults seems more about crude, offensive jokes than horror.  And even some of the scary parts suck, because it's just the same old repetitive garbage.

News flash - I'm fucking sick of it.  I'm calling this shit out because I want it out of my holiday.  I'm counting down the top five things that are ruining Halloween in the hopes that, if you see someone committing one of these cardinal sins, you'll have the balls to walk right up to them and say, "You're a fucking retard!"

Welcome to Sucktoberfest!

Number five on the list, like community regulations and "soccer moms," is a product of that unholy blight that is upper middle-class America.  I'm talking about lame Halloween decorations.  Remember when your neighbors decorated their houses to scare the crap out of trick-or-treaters?  The only light sources were the dim, flickering candles in a jack-o-lantern, giving off a pungent, decaying smell.  The ambient sounds of a haunted house would creep from the speakers of a boom box.  Maybe someone put a seizure inducing strobe light and a fog machine in their garage, daring kids to go in there to get candy.  If they were doing it right, children would be debating whether or not they were brave enough to go to up to the door.  Does that sound like the Halloween you used to know?  Well, then what the fuck is up with this mess?!

Unless you live on the Vegas strip, this is un-fucking-acceptable!  What the fuck is up with all these lights?  This isn't Christmas, goddammit!  Let's not forget those stupid, inflatable lawn decorations; don't they just look adorable?  Yeah, that's the fucking problem.  If I came across a house like this as a kid, I'd think they were loaded and were giving out the best candy.  Only problem is they spent so much money on these stupid decorations, that I'd get something lame, like one of those lollipops they hand out at the bank (which they got for free since the lady of the house is a manager there).  That's when I burn the house down and loot their stuff (but not in that order - remember: loot then burn).

Although this scene is, thankfully, rare, I still see people putting up Halloween lights on their house, which is stupid.  Since when was it acceptable to do this?  If you're gonna pull that bullshit, you might as well put up Christmas decorations.  Your house will look just as crappy and, hey, at least you got a leg up on everyone else in the neighborhood.  After all, Christmas is only two months away, dumbass.

The oversaturation of lights is only part of the problem.  Notice in that picture how there is nothing scary about those decorations.  It's just a bunch of cutesy shit.  Granted, cute Halloween decorations have been around for a long time in some form, but this is going too far.  Where's the eldritch scenes of horror?  Where's the severed heads hanging in the trees or the cemetery full of zombies?  This is what I mean by Halloween being emasculated.  There is not one piece of saccharine, family friendly Halloween decorations that I do not completely hate... with one exception.
Yes, it's still stupid crap, but the implied slapstick violence does redeem it a little.  It's kinda funny the first time you see it.  I don't hate it as much as the others, but it still sucks.

Next up on the chopping block are Jack-o-Lanterns.  Let me make this clear, though, there is nothing wrong with gutting and mutilating an oversized gourd for artistic purposes and then, later, turning it into a pie.  The problem is when some lazy, motherfucking son-of-a-bitch decides that they'd rather ignore all that and just plug their damn pumpkin in.

Who the hell thought that electric Jack-o-Lanterns were a good idea?  I guess if you're a single mother, trying to balance work, school, buying candy, making costumes for the kids, etc., you don't have time to supervise your children cutting up a pumpkin with sharp knives.  Well, guess what?  That's exactly what my mom did and she made time to carve a motherfucking pumpkin.  MY MOM IS FUCKING METAL!  You're just goddamn lazy!

The problem with these sterile, plastic, rot-free Jack-o-Lanterns is just that: it's a plastic pumpkin with a light bulb in it.  The charm of a Jack-o-Lantern is that it is this rotting thing with a candle stuck in it.  As the night goes on, these things become more and more eerie as the flickering heat turns it into a wilted, slimy abomination.  You don't get that with an electric one.  Even those crappy foam pumpkins and the battery-powered tea lights that you can put in your pumpkin are a cop out.  Pumpkin carving is a time honored tradition and an art that should not be cheapened by some lame ass shortcut.

Even though electric Jack-o-Lanterns suck, not all light up Halloween decorations are bad.  There are a few that are pretty awesome.  If I had to come up with an example, I would have to say, oh, I don't know... how about a glowing METAL SKULL!!!


Finally, for those with way too much money, nothing says "disposable income" like an animatronic Halloween decoration.  Nothing brings life to your Halloween party or crappy "haunted backyard" quite like a mannequin that unrealistically shakes while some crappy sound effects come out of a tiny speaker.  There are, actually, some pretty good ones, like this really involved guillotine machine.

This horrific beast of a machine has a strobe light that flashes when the unfortunate mannequin's head falls off his shoulders.  It even sprays blood!  The catch: you'll be spending around $7,000 for one of these.  Do you have that kind of money lying around?  Neither do I.

Unfortunately, most of the animatronic stuff you'll find at a Halloween store will look more like this:

Not only does this thing look stupid, it also shakes and screams, uselessly.  Despite how lame this thing looks, you'll have to pony up $100 for this piece of crap.  Another one that's become popular are those ones that crawl on the ground toward you when you step in front of them.  They look horrible and you can tell what they are, so it's not even startling when you come across them.  Most of these things are a joke, at best.  It's much more effective to dress up as a scarecrow, complete with a bit of straw and fabric stuffing, sit out on your front porch, pretending to be a stuffed decoration, and jump at kids who come to the door.  Don't do it to every group of Trick-or-Treaters who come to the house, though - that's too predictable.  Sure, it's a cheap scare, but it worked back in the day and it's certainly cheaper and more effective.

That's enough about P.O.S. decorations.  Tomorrow, I'll talk about something that's eating away at the very heart of Halloween like an accursed cancer.  Right now, I'm gonna plug in Metal Skull and bask in its glory.


  1. inflatable lawn decorations..might as well hang a sign on 'em that says "vandalize me".

    The pumpkin has got to be real, because baked pumpkin seeds are such a yummy salty snack.

    That metal skull is very cool! Almost looks like it was carved from stone.

    $7000 for that guillotine? I bet you could pick up a real one for less, and it would be a lot more practical. Or better yet, just repurpose a log splitter for the day.

  2. You may not be able to tell in the picture, but Metal Skull actually looks more like the head of some skeletal clockwork golem, which is fucking awesome.

    Personally, I would just tear off people's heads with my bare hands instead of using a guillotine, but I liked all the bells and whistles that it came with.

    Also, baked pumpkin seeds fucking kick ass. My mom used to make those, too. Like I said, she's fucking metal.