October-December is my favorite time of year, with the best month of all right in the middle of all the fun. For the first 22 years of my life October, November, and December meant trips to the cider mill for apple cider, doughnuts, and picking out a pumpkin. Fall meant raking leaves and jumping in them after marveling at their beautifully changing colors. This time of year has always been marked by Halloween costumes and parties and of course Halloween candy. November is my birthday month which means lots of celebrating, presents, and cake. Fall time meant pie time – pumpkin pie, specifically and especially. There are a lot of movies released during this time of year. For most of my life I’ve looked forward each November to the next Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Hunger Games installment. In Michigan as November turned to December and fall turned to winter our trips to the cider mill would turn into trips to the sledding hill. This time of year was for bundling up and going to the library, drinking hot beverages and spending time with friends. In high school fall was for homecoming and football games, bundling up and cheering on our guys. In college fall was for basketball season, heading over to the gym and cheering on our slightly older guys. And don’t forget the basketball! Detroit Pistons tickets are 4 for $44 in November.
Since moving to a land where fall does not exist, where the leaves barely change colors and the temperatures drop four or five degrees rather than twenty or thirty, where there is nary a cider mill in sight, and Halloween is only mentioned in condemnation, I have found myself clinging to my fall time traditions. Homemade caramel apples may have taken the place of trips to the cider mill and Dominican baseball may have replaced the NBA, but I still celebrate my entire birthday month and Dominican movie theaters still release those long awaited films. It’s the absence of Halloween that might have me stumped – no dressing up, no candy (at least not any good stuff I can afford), and no haunted corn mazes – if it weren’t for the cheesy goodness that is the classic Halloween movie.
I’ve NEVER been a fan of the horror genre. I don’t read scary books and I don’t watch scary movies. Which means those classically cheesy and not at all scary Halloween movies are the perfect way for me to kick off the fall season in the Caribbean. Thanks to the internet, I get to watch my Halloween movies every year while drinking hot chocolate (and sitting under a cranked up ceiling fan of course) even if I don’t get to do it surrounded by red and orange falling leaves and dressed up in a Halloween costume. This year October managed to fly by and so far I’ve only snuck in these four Halloween classics:
Hocus Pocus (on Netflix). Obviously. I remember watching this one as a child and having no idea what a virgin was. Who has to light the candle? I don’t know. A virgin? What’s that? Whatever it is Max must be one! I also remember being kind of scared of Billy, especially when he cut his lip stitches, but I’m totally over that now. I also remember perching on the monkey bars in my backyard singing that song Sarah sings to lure the children in so she and her sisters can suck out their souls. I wanted to be Sarah, which says a lot about young me.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (on Netflix). Some people really ship Jack and Sally. This movie has a huge fan base, I’m sure you know. I am not one of those mega fans. The movie kind of creeps me out, actually, but October wouldn’t feel right without it. I like the fun idea of each holiday having its own town. I like the idea of exploring the not-fitting-in feeling and if we get real theological with it, I like the idea of exploring what kind of crap goes down when you cookie cutter transplant what works in one culture into another culture without taking into consideration culture, context, and actual needs. But this isn’t that kind of blog post. Maybe another day.
Casper the Friendly Ghost (on YouTube). This may have been one of the most watched movies in my house during my childhood and I’m talking all year round. Who doesn’t love Casper? For some reason when I watched it this year I had a lot of questions. Questions like, why can Casper hold things but he can’t hold Cat’s hand? And how did Cat fix up Casper’s old room so quickly? And how come he couldn’t remember ANYTHING about being alive and then all of a sudden he remembered it all? And did his voice change when he became human/alive again? Fortunately, I know better than to question a classic like Casper. I just shove down the voice of reason and enjoy the ride.
Beetlejuice (here). Another year long favorite in our home. You’d think this one would creep me out more, especially as a young girl, but I never remember being scared by Beetlejuice. I realize now that he is actually super dramatic. Also did he always say the f-word? Because I don’t remember that from years of old. Watching skinny Alec Baldwin play a miniature town building, doting husband is kind of funny. I’ve always loved this movie because of the crazy creativity and other-worldliness of the whole thing.
What are your fall time traditions? What’s your favorite Halloween movie? I spent a couple weekends in the middle of the month babysitting two pretty cool kids who introduced me to Hotel Transylvania. We watched the first one on DVD and then saw the second one in theaters. I’m a fan. Maybe the first will make its way into next year’s Halloween movie line up.