Before this past October, I promised myself that I’d take some time off throughout the 31 days to enjoy the season and recharge before diving back into work. That plan kinda sorta came together. I did take time off to enjoy the witching month - but much less than I’d planned. Still, my eyeballs absorbed a respectable number of horror movies - and I was able to haunt a few frightful holiday festivities - so I am pleased.
These days, most amusement parks celebrate Halloween month in a major way. Roller coasters run in the dark (sometimes backwards), spooky music fills the park, the entertainment is Halloween themed, haunted-house and hayride attractions are added, and, essentially, the entire park becomes a haunted attraction. The Six Flags amusement park a half hour away from where I live is no exception.
For one chilly afternoon and evening, my thrill-ride-enthusiastic date and I explored the mist-filled, zombie-infested amusement park, taking care to not wander over any graves or stumble into any tangles of skeletons. We braved all three of the park’s October-only walk-through haunted houses and mazes. My date was the best possible companion for such an evening: the fun, attractive, and easily-frightened sort. The more scary things got, the more closely she clung to me. As Mr. Burns would say in such situations: “Excellent.” We also fearlessly embarked on the haunted hayride, rocketed through the night on the roller coasters, and climbed aboard an assortment of other rides designed to thrill and chill. It was a very good day off.
Later in the month, we found time to attend one Halloween party. It was a low-key gathering on October 27th at the home of Trevor Williams, who was the production designer on my film Ratline, released last year. The wing-ding was a combo Halloween-celebration-and-40th-birthday-surprise-party for an old friend of ours, Jason Shepherd. On many occasions over the past two decades, Jason – who now has a thriving career in television production – was on my crew, helping bring to life many a feature film and music video. Usually, Jason was on the grip / electric crew, but he wore other hats as well. He was my assistant director on my first movie, Savage Harvest (1995), and he even had a small acting part in that flick. Catching up with old friends, dressing up as a zombie (I’d never been a zombie on Halloween before), and taking part in a surprise party for Jason made for a spooktacularly enjoyable evening. We wound down the Halloween shin-dig / birthday-bash in the wee hours by screening the first two episodes of this season’s The Walking Dead.
By the afternoon of the 31st, I had noted - thankfully - that my friends and associates on the East Coast appeared to be safe, uninjured, and dry. Again we rolled out of the city to the Trevor Williams abode. I helped him set up the skulls, body parts, and creepy lighting in front of his house – preparation for the invasion of the trick ‘r treating whippersnappers. We finished up around dusk, and the costumed children poured in. Halloween trick ‘r treating down at Trevor’s house looks like it does in the movies: houses are lit up and spooky-looking, jack-o-lanterns peer from nearly every yard or front porch, sidewalks and streets swarm with children, and parents pause for brief chats as they cross paths on their kids’ candy-gathering rounds. After trick ‘r treating trickled to an end, we cleaned up the lights, skulls, and body parts, then went inside to watch the most recent Walking Dead episode, followed by Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, which I had not yet seen.
October was a very busy, mostly stressful month for me. The current screenplay on which I’m toiling added to my workload. Even with so many tasks demanding my attention, and even with all the Halloween fun in which I was able to indulge, I managed to crank out about 100 pages of a first draft by Halloween. Not too shabby.
I hope you enjoyed this sinister season as much as I did. I am looking forward to a scaremendous Halloween 2013!
Thanks for reading.
- Eric Stanze