Halloween checklist

James / October 1st, 2013

Here’s all the things I try to do every October, besides of course Monster Madness!



I don’t mean a “real” haunted house, but you could do that too I guess. These things range from innocent hayrides to crawling through narrow corridors filled with blood-soaked cadavers. If you manage to get scared, even once, then you know it’s truly Halloween.



It’s one thing to be at the grocery store and see an aisle full of Halloween decorations and candy, reminding you that the Halloween season has begun, but to walk through an entire store dedicated to Halloween, that’s what it’s about! Even if you’re not buying anything, you have to at least walk through one of these stores to get into the spirit. There’s nothing like being surrounded by masks, bloody limbs, skeletons and all kinds of silly costumes, some are awesome, and some make you laugh. Every year, the decorations seem to get better. Now they have all kinds of animatronic creatures to put in your yard. For a heavy price, you could make your own major haunted house.



Pumpkins don’t last long, especially when carved, they rot within days. But still, it’s a tradition to carve a Jack-o-lantern. Lots of people are real creative and original with their carvings, but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the old classic triangular features. Lighting up the Jack-o-lanterns at night creates the perfect mood. When you’re basking in that orange glow, you know it’s Halloween.



It’s mandatory to watch horror movies during Halloween. You can put on the TV and watch any marathon that’s going on. I prefer Turner Classic Movies, because they actually play classics and are commercial free. It’s a film channel for film lovers. But you can stick to your own DVD’s too. I try to round it out with classics and contemporary horror flicks. It’s one thing to watch these movies by yourself, but sooner or later, it’s nice to watch them with an audience. At least once before Halloween. Either go to a theater that’s playing a few classics, or get some friends together in your own living room.


Even when I lived in small apartments alone, I always found some corner to put up some Halloween decorations. When I was a kid, this was my favorite thing to do to usher in the season.ย It doesn’t always have to be scary things. You could use autumn things like hay and corn to celebrate the coming of Fall.ย Everybody always had those paper decorations like the witch, cat, skull, scarecrow, and Jack-o-lantern. After I grew up, I thought these things were too cheesy, and not scary enough. But now I think back to them with fond memories. They’re classic! I feel like it’s not truly Halloween until you see at least one of these things.



To experience the change of season, you must get outside to enjoy it. Take a walk in a park or place where there’s a lot of trees. Seeing the leaves beginning to change color and blow in the wind calms your spirits.



Get a costume and go somewhere where everybody else is in costume too. That’s what it’s all about. I love it. Whether you’re hosting your own party or going to a friend’s, it’s mandatory to try it do it at least once.


Candy. Of course. As I got older, I felt I grew out of this. Trick or treating is only for kids. But there’s nothing like walking around the neighborhood in costume at night and seeing everybody else doing the same. When else do you get to be so social with all your neighbors whom you’ve never met? Even though I’m older and haven’t trick or treated in many years, I now have a daughter, so trick or treating may come back into my life.


  • sfgfggfgddgf

    October 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Well, thanks a lot, James. Now I feel even worse than usual. All that social talk… think some of us who have no friends, will you? For me, it will just be a lonesome walk outdoors followed by watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on my computer while drinking some lemonade.

    • Alan Abulencia

      October 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      It’s not his fault you have no friends.

    • r3dstar

      October 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      Friends are over rated. Do what you wanna do and enjoy life. My advice: Get one true friend, and that’s it! I would rather walk by myself anyday.

      • October 5, 2013 at 3:00 am

        I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.'” Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, “We’re the So-and-Sos,” take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant. – George Carlin

      • October 5, 2013 at 3:07 am

        People are wonderful. I love individuals. I hate groups of people. I hate a group of people with a ‘common purpose’. ‘Cause pretty soon they have little hats. And armbands. And fight songs. And a list of people they’re going to visit at 3am. So, I dislike and despise groups of people but I love individuals. Every person you look at; you can see the universe in their eyes, if you’re really looking. – George Carlin

    • DMM_poo

      October 3, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      I haven’t been invited to a Halloween party or gone to the movies with friends or gone trick or treating or any of that kind of stuff for years. No big deal. You’re alone when you die, anyway.

      • October 5, 2013 at 3:04 am

        Weather forecast for tonight: dark.

  • October 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    You should add “Make your own horror movie” to your list!

  • October 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Whenever your in Hollywood there’s a great costume/decoration store on the Hollywood Boulevard called “Hollywood Toys and Costumes” on the strip, going through your checklist reminded me of that. To a great halloween season!

  • October 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    This is an awesome list! Thanks for this James! You really know how to celebrate October!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Allen Lucas

    October 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I do walk a lot, so walking outside while looking at the beautiful colorful trees is definitely very relaxing!

  • October 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Look at Dick Tracy, so hardcore.
    I`ll copy that costume this year for sure.

  • taykel

    October 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Nice tradition. When I was a child, trick or treating was my favorite thing. As I got too old for it, we tried to give out candy to other trick or treaters, but not that many people showed up at the door. Since then, we don’t do much for Halloween. From the sound of it, I bet you will have fun trick or treating with your daughter. She is going to love it.

  • BladeRunner

    October 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Sounds like my Halloween checklist, awesome!!!

    • October 1, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      I love watching your A History of Haunted tours every October. Now i’m also inspired to get out and see the scenery, and watch Monster Madness, of course.

    • October 1, 2013 at 11:50 pm

      This is how you Trick-Or-Treat as an adult:

      1)Dress up in a great costume.

      2)Instead of a candy bag, carry a shot glass with you.

      3)Get shots from your neighbor’s liquor cabinet.

  • October 1, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Awesome Halloween list, man!

    Btw, where’s the first Monster Madness video?

  • Sheeyah

    October 1, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    1) I’ve always liked haunted houses. When my son gets older, I’d like to put together a haunted house for the season. I used to decorate my house a bit more spookily before he was born.
    2) Every year. I agree, it’s one of the best thing to get you in the spirit.
    3) I’ve never actually been into carving pumpkins myself, but I envy those that make them. Some people are quite talented at it.
    4) I watch them, but I think I’ll invite some friends over one night for a viewing party of a classic. Nice suggestion.
    5) Decorate every year. And yes, I still have those classic decorations.
    6) Not much of a “going on a walk” kind of person myself, but I understand the sentiment. I do like to sit outside sometimes, though, after the weather cools off.
    7) My high embarrassment factor stops me on this.
    8) This is great with a kid, but only if you actually walk around with them. I don’t get the parents that follow them in their cars. Maybe they’re just afraid of exercise.

  • Thifurious

    October 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    I love the Fall atmosphere too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Aaron1375

    October 1, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I can tell you from personal experience that trying to go to a real haunted place usually ends in disappointment at best and disaster at worst! Tried one place and it was no longer accessible to the public and another that was hard to find and ended up getting lost. Yeah, best to just go to a cheesy fabricated haunted house.

  • Rick

    October 2, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I know exactly what you mean, James ๐Ÿ™‚ I have an annual horror movie marathon with friends and I always get SOME kind of costume… among other things ๐Ÿ˜€ but you’re my Halloween king… ‘Watch Monster Madness’ is near the top of my list of October activities

  • punkbikerdude

    October 2, 2013 at 3:41 am

    #9. Play an old-school Halloween-related video game. ๐Ÿ˜› This year I’m going with Castlevania: Bloodlines and Rondo of Blood (maybe another run-through of Order of Ecclesia too, if I get to it).

    • Al J. Krimson

      October 2, 2013 at 4:26 am

      Oh, that’s great idea. As for me I will be play Castlevania III japanese edition

  • Al J. Krimson

    October 2, 2013 at 4:24 am

    James, make a video where you’re going to haunted house. It would be awesome!
    I prefer to watch horror marathon alone. It creates more dark athmosphere.
    As for the walk to the park it’s good idea. I do it too. Sometimes i use my iPod to listen inspired music, sometimes I just walk and listen silence

  • October 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    hey James, i was looking at your horror movie’s with an audience section. What a coincidence because i’m actually hosting a Universal Horror double feature showing of Dracula and Frankenstein at my High School. Reading this post is making me even more excited to host the event. Thanks for posting this. Alot of the same things you do to celebrate the Halloween season i do as well.

  • frostare

    October 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    After it happens, please consider telling us what would be the first horror movie your daughter will watch

  • smd

    October 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    There seem to be a lot of “real” haunted houses for you to visit in Philly. I was there a few weeks ago to do a tour of the Rocky filming locations and recreate a few scenes, and the night before we did a walking “ghost tour” around downtown Philly and visited a whole bunch supposedly haunted locations, including that park with all the soldiers buried underneath it.

  • erik37

    October 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm


  • avgnfan370

    October 2, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Actually since Halloween has it’s 35th anniversary this year, you can watch Halloween on the big screen!! I thought that was fitting for the “Watching a horror movie with an audience”. Go here for details by the way:

    • October 5, 2013 at 3:21 am

      I myself got the blu-ray a week ago. it is very well made, although I didn’t like the lack of special features on it. we are getting a lot of really good horror movies on dvd & blu-ray recently. The Exorcist 40th Anniversary, Psycho II & Psycho III, Curse Of Chucky, and the many films by John Carpenter being released by Shout! Factory (which also released the extremely cool Halloween II & Halloween III Season Of The Witch collector’s edition dvd’s). I hope in 2014 we get a 40th anniversary collector’s edition blu-ray release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. the only blu-ray I felt deserved a 30th anniversary release, but didn’t, was John Carpenter’s The Thing. seriously Universal?! Shout! Factory should and must release a 30th anniversary collectors edition next year of The Thing. this movie is one of the best horror films ever made, so why not give it the blu-ray treatment it deserves? anyone else agrees?

  • October 2, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Didn’t know you had a daughter til this.

  • WollyTheWolf

    October 3, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Alot of those things I also do around halloween, besides the decorating thing. I really don’t need to decorate my room, because I have, horror posters, horror masks and other things all year around. Anyway, I love the Monster Madness series, they are really great!

  • October 5, 2013 at 2:39 am

    you forgot one extra thing James: play a scary video game. some people don’t watch horror movies on Halloween. some play horror video games as an alternative. people like to experience Halloween by getting scared, and horror based video games are a very effective way of getting scared. here’s my list of some horror games you folks should play on Halloween, James & Mike included: Silent Hill, Resident Evil, House Of The Dead, Splatterhouse, Metroid Prime 1 & 2 or Super Metroid, Super Castlevania IV, Ghosts N’ Goblins and Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts, Doom PSX and Doom 64 (seriously, Aubrey Hodges score is down right creepy), Bioshock, Dead Rising, Doom 3, System Shock, Eternal Darkness, Alone In The Dark, Clocktower, Fatal Frame, Project Zero II Crimson Butterfly, Forbidden Siren, Thief Deadly Shadows, F.E.A.R., Condemned, Amnesia The Dark Descent, Realms Of The Haunting, The Suffering, Sanitarium (this game scared the hell out of me when I was in middle school), Cryostasis Sleep Of Reason, Clive Barker’s Undying, Original Parasite Eve, Demon’s Crest, Alien Trilogy, American McGee’s Alice, Sweet Home NES, D, Dead Space, Left 4 Dead, Slenderman, Enemy Zero, Illbleed, and the final boss of Earthbound. hows that

  • J1a8son

    October 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Unfortunately everyone around where I live dedicate this awesome time of the year to football. There’s even a house that puts up fucking football decorations instead of Halloween ornaments. I hate where I live… a LOT!!

  • Ben_from_G-town

    October 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Sounds good, James. I think I’ve done all of these, and try to do all of them, each year. That was a nice little list, and it’s appreciated. It definitely gets me into the spirit of the season.

  • October 22, 2013 at 8:01 am

    It hurts so freaking much got damn james why do you do this to me WHY? Oh i get it because it is halloween and you want to make us feel deadly sick right? You guessing right not all of us have haunted houses like that and stores that sell those stuff,but thank god we have you with monster madness and the entire internet to remind us.HAPPY HALLOWEEN AND TRICK OR TREAT JAMES BOY.

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