Halloween Idea Factory

By on 25 October, 2011 in Fun, Holidays, Kate and Stephen with 1 Comment

We have already been clear that Halloween is our favorite holiday. We are willing to debate all takers about the superiority of Halloween in the pantheon of American festivals. Still, some of you out there may be scrambling for ideas during this exciting time. We’re here to help. This Halloween you could:

Ride the Harriott – Tickets are $39 per person. The cruise includes punch, hors d’ oeuvres, and live entertainment. There will also be a costume contest for best dressed male, female and couple with prizes. The boat cruises from 8:30-10:30 p.m. and there will be an optional dockside cocktail hour from 10:30-11:30. Tickets must be purchased 24 hours in advance, and it’s a 21 year old and over cruise. No exceptions. To purchase tickets, click here.

Go see Dracula at the ASF – You’ve got to go before the 30th, but we’ve already written about how much we enjoyed our time going to see the adaptation of Bram Stoker’s beautiful classic. But you should go see it if you haven’t. The count from Transylvania is just one of the memorable performers.

Even our cat likes Halloween

Ride the Haunted Hearse – We already wrote about this too, but it’s enough fun that it merits mentioning again. It’s local, affordable, and educational. Oh, and it can be a little creepy. Very well worth calling to make a reservation.

Go to the Fitzgerald party – Speaking of historical stuff that’s fun, there’s a costume party at the Fitzgerald house. Music, booze, costumed literati. And it ends in time for you to make it to another party, should you have the desire. And at $20, it’s not a budget breaker.

The Zoo Boo – October 27-31, from 6 until 9 each night. We’re not big zoo enthusiasts, but this looks like a safe, city-run event that ought to be perfect for young folks. Info is on the zoo’s site here.

Go to El Rey – They are calling it a “cheap zombie party,” so it’s unclear if that means that you have to get your costume at the Dollar Tree or what. But the main thing is that it’s Halloween and they’re going to have a belly dancer, a DJ, and a bunch of chili (including some vegetarian kind for those who, in un-Halloween fashion, prefer not to feast on the flesh of the dead).

Pet costume parade – Yeah, it’s not for us, but we’re throwing it out there in case it’s your thing. It’s for a good cause. The HOWL O’Ween Pet Costume Parade is Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2:00pm. It will start at the Lower Cloverdale Park at the Gazebo. It’s $5 per pet or a pet food donation. All proceeds will go to the Montgomery Humane Society. Last year’s parade was a huge success, so if your dog has a yearning desire (or is passably willing) to be dressed like, say, a bumblebee or have a witch hat strapped to its head, this may be your event.

Go to Leeds, Alabama – We have a fantastic time when we drove up to Leeds for the Atrox Factory one year. We missed it last year, but we really, really like this haunted house. Very professionally done and well worth the trip. It’s quite scary and also features various horror movie stars.

Go to a corn maze – The Internet isn’t especially useful in telling us if they are still doing that corn maze that we did out in Titus, Alabama, several years back. But poke around. Surely someone in rural Alabama is doing one. And take our word for it, it’s totally worth it. They are great fun. Just be careful out there.

Go to Helflin, Alabama – There’s something called the Haunted Chicken House. We’ve never been, so we can’t vouch for the quality of the experience and say whether it’s worth the drive, but it’s worth looking at their website if for no other reason that to watch the promotional video advertisement. Hilarious.

Go to Atlanta – We are still hoping to make it to Netherworld. We have it on good authority that this is one of the top haunted houses in the country. It’s a bit of a drive, and a bit of an expense, but this looks like something that we need to spend our entertainment dollars on.

And then there are the traditional:

Make a pumpkin – It’s simple and provides a great connection to nature. Halloween, after all, is a fall harvest festival. And nothing speaks to the death and decay of a beautiful orange gourd like hacking one up and jamming a candle in it. And it’s a budding venue for creative types too. Would love to see some Midtown Montgomery themed Jack O’ Lanterns.

Watch some horror movies – I’ve always enjoyed AMC’s “Fear Fest,” where they just switch the entire channel over to a full time horror film marathon. This year’s lineup looks pretty good. It’s certainly good if you aren’t feeling picky and don’t mind seeing the edited versions of some classics (and not so classics). Because are you really going to pay money to see the sequels to the Halloween franchise? No. No, you should not.

But for some movies, the edited version just won’t do. Tastes will, of course, vary, and I won’t belittle the experienced horror buffs by suggesting staples of the genre (Romero’s zombie films, Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist, etc.). But I will suggest that if you have not seen them, you can do a lot worse than 2005’s “The Descent” and 2006’s “Slither,” which is gross but also strangely funny. If you’re feeling particularly adventuresome, there’s a 2010 movie that thrilled us called “Rubber.” It’s about a tire that goes around killing people. Yes, a car tire. It’s sort of brilliant. This might also be the Halloween where you do yourself a favor and go back to some of the black and white classics. Watching spooky cinema gems under a blanket provide a great antidote to the high octane scares many people are often hunting.

Trick or treat – Another thing we have already written about. But we’re in a short attention span society, where the only way to break through the noise machine is through repetition. So we’ll say it again: It’s sad that the door-to-door tradition of costumed candy begging is dying out. There’s a thrill to trusting your neighbors enough to provide treats to your children. There’s a community building aspect, where someone you might otherwise have no interaction with, is once a year a part of your reality. Maybe they trick out their house with corny decorations. Or maybe you just aren’t sure. But you ring the doorbell anyway.

There’s no electricity quite like that that’s in the air when the streets are packed with costumed children clutched bags of earned sweets. And while we appreciate school and church-themed efforts to mimic that experience, it’s just not the same when you are doing it surrounded by like-minded pre-approved folks. Even a child can tell that there’s something a bit edgy in approaching a stranger and asking for something, and even the hard-hearted grinches gain something by playing along for a few hours, leaving a light on, spending a few bucks on a bowl of candy, exclaiming over the costumes of those assembled on your doorstep with outstretched bags and expectant eyes.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a cat, a dog, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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  1. Stephen says:

    Update: There’s also a “Monster Mash” party on Saturday the 29th. It’s $35 in advance and $40 at the door and it benefits the “Children First” group, which is a good cause. http://www.alabamachildrenfirst.com/Monster_Mash.html

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