Brian Kongsvik is one of my best friends. I say “one of” because I’ve never liked the idea of saying that one friend is more important than the others. That said, he’s easily the biggest cheerleader that Horror And Sons has ever had. Brian was one of the 1st five people to follow the Facebook Page . He was one of the 1st 3 people to regularly read the reviews, a statistic that held true for a few months. He has been an endless champion of everything I’ve done with Horror & Sons up to this point, and I’m sure that he will carry on in the same fashion from here on.
Brian has also been one of the few voices that have talked me out of killing Horror And Sons on multiple occasions. I know that had he not been there to help out when I’ve needed it, you wouldn’t be reading this piece right now. Then again, you wouldn’t have had to sit through almost 200 words of my kissing his ass. Give and take, I guess.
Brian has also been saying that he’d write a piece for the site for 2 years now. So, when he finally decided to submit a piece for Halloween Horrors, I was both thrilled and saddened. I was thrilled to see what he had to say, moreso after reading a piece that just oozed of Halloween spirit. However, I was also saddened that I could no longer bust his balls about being a damned slacker. Give and take, I guess.
Embracing the Halloween Spirit
I have been a mega-fan of Halloween for as long as I can remember. Dressing up in cheap or homemade costumes as a child and walking for hours around the neighborhood hitting every house that had a light on in order to get candy. I grew up in a small town in Upstate New York where everyone knew everyone. Parents didn’t even chaperone their kids on Halloween when I grew up. We were all on our own and it was a magical evening. Then of course, coming home and pouring out all the candy on my bedroom floor to separate them into categories was a ritual. Chocolate went in one pile, lollipops in another, bubblegum in another, and so on and so on. This made it easier for “trading” with siblings or friends (I could get 3 or 4 lollipops for a Reese cup!).
Of course, horror movies were a huge part of my childhood as well. While I wasn’t allowed to watch R Rated movies until I was a little older, there was no shortage of PG movies to satisfy my craving to be scared. Poltergeist, Jaws, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Salem’s Lot were a few.
Furthermore, where I grew up (as opposed to where I live now) had actual seasons, so Halloween meant leaves turning from green to yellows, reds, and browns and falling off the trees as Winter closed in. There was something about the smell of the leaves on the ground and the crisp air that screamed Autumn, October, and Halloween. Although we never decorated, I can’t forget about the carved pumpkin sitting on our front porch and my Mother roasting the pumpkin seeds. All these things were Halloween to me when I was younger and carried over to me as an adult who has become mildly (ok, highly) obsessed with Halloween.
Let’s jump ahead to the present.
First of all, Halloween is a year round state of mind for me and my wife. It is always a topic of conversation throughout the year as we always have so much going on in the month of October which we have to plan for.
Let me give you a glimpse of what our Halloween is like each year. By “Halloween”, I mean the entire month of October (and a little of September and November as well). I’ll give you a glimpse at this year’s schedule of event and what we will be doing to not only get into the spirit but to embrace and absorb every moment of it.
In just a few weeks, all our decorations will be brought out of storage (attic, foyer closet, spare bedroom closet, and a few miscellaneous places around the house). Everything will be checked over, batteries will be replaced in all the animatronics and electronic devices, and we will begin planning where everything is going to go. Every year we lose a few things or we throw away a few of the older decorations, so new items will undoubtedly be purchased to replace what we no longer have. We always buy a new animatronic item each year as well. Damn, they are expensive!!! Then the inside and outside decorating begins. They go up towards the end of September and stay up until the first or second week of November. Below is what the outside usually looks like to some degree.
The first Halloween event that we have is the Oktoberfest in my hometown of Deland. It is always held at the beginning of the month and this year is no exception. It is held from Sept. 29th-Oct.2nd. This always kicks off the season for us. My wife likes to play bingo with her mother and I like to drink beer, eat food and walk around enjoying the festive atmosphere. Of course, it is still hot here in Florida at that time, but it is easy to get in the holiday mood attending a Oktoberfest festival!
Next up is the Spooky Empire Convention. We look forward to this event for several reasons. We like to meet the stars and get autographs and pictures. We buy memorabilia and new movies. We like to watch all the costumes people wear. Mostly, it is chance to hang out with good friends… some of which we only see a couple of times a year. We have met some amazing people over the years at this event and they have stayed in our life and we are blessed to have them. Dustin and Mandi have become excellent friends and although we may only see then a few times a year, we keep in touch in between events. The same goes for Jessie and Bonnie, Paul, Ryan, Bobby, Damon, etc… This weekend is always a highlight that keeps us super charged for a long time…
Here’s some of the crew…Dustin, Paul, Tim, Yours truly, Ryan
The very next week is Halloween Horror Nights. We go every year with a few friends. My wife’s cousin works there and she gets us a guest assistance pass, which is like the express pass, only better. We hit every house in record time each year (her cousin knows all the short cuts through the park), go back to the ones we really liked a second and maybe third time, and then go ride on the rides that are still open. Although each year a few of the houses are hit and miss, there are usually 4 or 5 of them that totally rock and make it all worthwhile. Looking forward to this year as they will feature Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, Halloween, Krampus, and American Horror Story, to name a few of the houses.
The next week after that, there will be a Halloween party at our house. We have done this over the last several years with varying amounts of attendees, ranging from 6 to 25 people. Everyone dresses up, has a good time and horror movies are playing non-stop all night long.
From last year….
Then we finally arrive at the last weekend in October. We will be attending an attraction this year near my hometown which is a haunted house at the world-famous Cassadaga Hotel. This will mark the first time we will be going to it and are looking forward to the experience. For those that don’t know, Cassadaga has a lot of history when it comes to being haunted. It is literally 5 minutes from our house, so that’s a plus. I will let you all know how this event is, but I have a feeling it is going to be really good.
Halloween is on a Monday this year so depending on when the kids are trick or treating, we always put on a good show for all to see. From fog machines to animatronics, spider webs and strobe lights, skeletons and gravestones, our yard and house come alive. Kids that can make it to the house get tons of candy and soda. Trust me, some cannot make it and we have to go out in the road to give them candy because they are too scared to come closer. We don’t get a lot of kids and that doesn’t really matter, my wife and I and a few of our friends have a blast being dressed up and sitting in our yard waiting on unsuspecting kids to walk past so we can give them a minor scare and hopefully instill the same spirit that we have into them.
All throughout this month (whenever we are actually home), horror movies will be on every night. We always watch all the Halloween movies along with a bunch of other classics. 4 or 5 movie marathon nights are common on weekends or when we are not working.
Horror fans embrace Halloween as a sacred time of year. It is our Christmas, New Years, and all other holidays rolled into one. It is not just relegated to one day. It is a month long experience to enjoy all of what October has to offer.
Have a great HALLOWEEN SEASON everybody!!!!