Alas, my favorite night of the year has passed, and now begins the long trek to Halloween 2016. A part of me always feels excited about the prospect of planning the next year's festivities, while another warns about getting too far ahead of myself. Being that a large component of Halloween is honoring the dead, while also thumbing your nose at death itself, it always occurs to me that nothing is guaranteed in life. The transitory nature of life itself is something that has to be taken into account, and there is no promise of tomorrow for any of us. Of course, isn't that largely the whole POINT of Halloween? Seizing the moment, and reveling in being alive are, to me, a large part of what makes the High Holiday so wonderful. Facing our fears, overcoming the fear of death itself...these are the things that make it all so wonderful.
Early on, I knew that this would be a very different Halloween for me. Having been out of work earlier in the year, and thus having to relocate, meant that some constraints were going to be put on the overall plans. Having my daughter away at college, and my son at an age where he is far more concerned about what plans his friends have for the Night, also contributed to this year being a major departure. Truth to tell, since so much of 2015 has been fraught with disappointment and frustration, I half-expected some sort of disaster to befall us. Rain was also in the forecast, with most of the morning and early afternoon being rather soggy. I had put up some of the yard decorations, but not all, because I just didn't have the time. The inside of the house was left undecorated, since there was little point with many of our possessions still in boxes. Facing all this, I just decided it would be best to roll with it & embrace the differences. I'm glad I did!
The early part of the day, I was drafted by my niece and her husband to put in an appearance at their comic shop. 8th Dimension Comics & Games is Houston's premier comic shop, and they were hosting "Halloween Comic Fest" in the store. They had all sorts of freebies and goodies for kids and adults alike, and they asked me to come in as my Count Baklava character to preside over the fun. The Count is a horror host type character that I came up with when I was asked several years ago to MC a Halloween carnival. He's always fun to perform as, and he usually gets a really good reaction from the audience. Kids, especially, seem to find him enjoyable, and I had a couple of them who seemed to really get a kick out of his antics.
Afterwards, I had to rush home to put the final touches on the yard haunt. Thankfully, the rain subsided by late afternoon, with only mild sprinkles cropping up now and then. One downside was that all attempts to find the various remotes needed to run the projection system were fruitless, so we had to forego this aspect for 2015. Fortunately, this was balanced out by our fog effect looking better than ever this year! I made the switch to Froggy's Fog last year, and it made a huge difference. Something about the placement of the fogger in the bushes at the new place really enhanced this effect further, so it wasn't so bad having the projector out of commission this time around. In many ways, this year seemed like a "trial run" with the new house, and if all goes well we'll easily top the expectations come next year with the elements we were forced to skip this time around.
While we didn't have a whole lot of guests over, two of my best friends stopped by, one bringing his wife & daughter along. His daughter is my honorary niece, with me getting an "Uncle" title for her before she was even born. Having come to my house for every Halloween since she was in the womb, she has long grown accustomed to my spooky costumes and decor, and thus has no fear whatsoever!
Your's truly with my niece!
As the evening progressed, and the traffic of Trick-or-treaters subsided, my other buddy and I headed out to a concert. I normally don't take in concerts on Halloween, but this being a different kind of year...well, it just seemed right! Adding in that one of my ABSOLUTE favorite bands on the planet, Calabrese, was set to appear...well, I couldn't resist. The headliner was Doyle, the solo project for the legendary Misfits guitarist, so it was like the show was tailor-made for me! As always, both bands put on an incredible show, and the Calabrese boys hung around to meet and greet the fans. Those of us who follow this band are rather zealous with our fandom, and tend to go to every show we can, so as a result many of us have gotten to know each other and become friends. Even better, the band themselves tend to remember us, so every show is like a party with friends!
"Butcher" Baker, Bobby Calabrese, Yours Truly, Davey Calabrese & Jimmy Calabrese
Partying with the World's Greatest Horror Rock Band!
The Reaper approves of his likeness being used on Calabrese merch!
Really, you couldn't ask for a better show on a Halloween night! For me, it was all about good friends and damned good music. Sometimes, things going a bit differently than the norm is a REALLY fantastic thing!
At the end of the night, when I had shed my costume, hanging with Davey Calabrese and Brandon Strate from Doyle