I am happy that Halloween attractions are starting in September, and at a discounted admission price to boot. Since Christmas starts earlier each year, it doesn’t bother me that the holiday has crept into September and sometimes November. It is my tradition to attend at least one haunted house or hayride each weekend in October.
We visited our first haunt of the Halloween season last weekend. We experienced Fright Factory in Philadelphia, an old warehouse on Swanson Street transformed into an attraction worthy of a mention on The Travel Channel.
It was opening weekend and the line was manageable, as we were there around 8:00 p.m. and they closed at midnight. There were ghouls roaming the premises to entertain the patrons waiting to experience the factory.
Friend or Fiend?
Once inside we made our way through the pews of a church scene. We found ourselves in a hallway waiting for this year’s photo opportunity. Each season they have an area set up for pictures. Fright Factory had a special treat for opening weekend. For two days only, you could have a picture taken with the actual Annabelle doll seen in the film The Conjuring, and soon to appear in her own feature, Annabelle. In addition to the photos, we were given free movie posters and cardboard Annabelle masks. Our group took a photo wearing the masks which we learned was for Warner Brothers. Everyone received free passes to see the movie Annabelle, which opens October 3.
I won’t spoil the rest of the haunt, but I recommend going if you have the chance. The attraction has gotten longer over the years, and scenes change. If you’re looking for some scares, check them out, you just may meet new undead friends.
My Favorite Ghoul
My favorite holiday will soon be here, and while there are several programs to watch for Christmas, Halloween also has its share of television treats. Below are some of my favorite DVDs to view during October, in no particular order.
The Muppet Show – Alice Cooper Episode
This DVD incorporates my favorite holiday and artist, and it’s just not Halloween if I don’t watch it during October. Alice performs three hit songs with his Muppet friends.
It goes without saying that John Carpenter’s Halloween is a holiday staple. Some theaters will show it on the big screen, and I recommend going to better see The Shape in all his white-faced glory. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance if it comes to your area, as the shows tend to sell out.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
This Peanuts cartoon airs on network television every year. Often I exclaim, “You owe me restitution!” whenever something doesn’t go my way. Both children and adults will enjoy this fall classic.
Trick ‘r Treat
This direct-to-DVD release is an anthology that became more popular than expected, with fans urging another installment. I’m not sure we’ll ever see one, but enjoy this original film starring Anna Paquin of True Blood.
Halloween on Ice
Figure skating fans will enjoy this disc of Halloween performances by their favorite athletes. Featuring Nancy Kerrigan, she skates 3 programs out of 14.
Although not an exhaustive list, these are some of my favorites to watch in October. What are yours?
Long before I found the man of my dreams, I met the man of my nightmares. I have been an Alice Cooper fan since the day I wandered into my big brother’s room and raided his vinyl album collection. I was outgrowing such fare as Mickey Mouse Disco and was looking for something new to spin on my blue Radio Shack turntable. I held in my hands just the perfect thing.
The cover wasn’t attractive with a green face on a green background, but I didn’t care, at least it wasn’t disco. The face staring back at me was no Shaun Cassidy, but it didn’t deter me from playing the record. There was a curse word in the title which made it all the more appealing and taboo to my young mind. While Alice Cooper Goes to Hell may not be his most popular effort, it was enough to get me hooked.
The first time I ever saw him perform was on an episode of The Muppet Show. He rose from a coffin dressed as Dracula singing Welcome to My Nightmare. He later sang You and Me with Miss Piggy, and closed the show with School’s Out and dancing Muppets. Lest you think I am crazy, this episode can be found on DVD and is required viewing at my house near Halloween.
Alice Cooper Autograph
I have been a fan as long as I can remember and go to every local show. I have had the good fortune to meet him a few times, and he is very fan friendly. Alice Cooper the man is much different than Alice Cooper the character. (His wife Cheryl is even more beautiful in person).
House of Blues, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Who are your favorite groups?
Spoiler alert: If you plan to catch Mötley Crüe’s final tour, you may want to stop reading now.
Just like the song off their Saints of Los Angeles album, Mötley Crüe did, in fact, go out swinging.
I caught the Camden and Holmdel, New Jersey shows. The sound system played So Long, Farewell from The Sound of Music right before the Hollywood bad boys took the stage. The audience at both venues were treated to almost 2 hours of hits spanning 33 years, complete with dancing girls and pyrotechnics. At one point, bassist Nikki Sixx told the story of how the group met and formed on January 17, 1981. His tale lasted almost 10 minutes, and while the Camden crowd was receptive, the Holmdel audience was annoyed by the interruption in the music. After the brief band history, Mötley Crüe resumed playing their energetic set.
Absent from the Holmdel show was Tommy Lee’s Cruecifly, an apparatus that allows the drummer to play upside down, suspended in air. The Camden crowd enjoyed the spectacle, but his solo was skipped in Holmdel. I learned that not all venues are equipped to handle the Cruecifly, which explains why it will not appear at every show.
Mötley Crüe performed only one encore, Home Sweet Home. It was bittersweet; the boys were going home for good. To paraphrase Nikki Sixx, this wasn’t goodbye, as their music will haunt us until the day we die. R.I.P. Mötley Crüe, 1981-2015.
Sad But True