I think it’s safe to say that October is the favorite month of most horror fans. Obviously, it’s the month of Halloween A/K/A “Spooky Season,” and there are so many great events and movies revolving around that particular holiday season.
Where I live, summer is a long and very hot season, so that’s just one more reason I look forward to the fall. It’s still pretty warm here in October, but at least the evenings are a touch cooler, and the sun starts to go down a little earlier. It’s just nice to have Halloween around the corner, and it gives me something to look forward to.
With that in mind, here are a few of the things I look most forward to in September and October.
Shudder’s 61 Days of Halloween – In the past, Shudder has always gone above and beyond with their Halloween programming. In fact, they roll Halloween out early, with the September and October additions jam-packed with great horror. I am keeping my fingers crossed that, despite the Shudder shake-up that happened in December, this year will be no exception. The horror-streaming platform did give us The Boulet Brothers’ Halfway to Halloween TV Special back in April, so hopefully that foretells good things for Halloween. There will likely be another The Last Drive-In Halloween Special as well, so that is just the frosting on this yummy pumpkin-flavored cake.
Netflix and Chills – To be fair, Netflix always has a decent selection of horror available to stream year-round. But, they have traditionally gone all out during the end of September and October; that’s when The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass and The Midnight Club all premiered in previous years. Lesser-known but still beloved (and least to me) September / October debuts have included The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, Malevolent and the series Marianne. This year, I am keeping my fingers crossed for Mike Flanagan’s newest series The Fall of the House of Usher. A fall premiere has been announced, but there has been no date specified as of yet.
Floridians understand the terrifying thrill of Halloween Horror Nights
Halloween Horror Nights – I live in Central Florida, and Universal Studios Florida is a mere 35-minute for me. That’s a good thing, because their annual Halloween Horror Nights celebration is one of my very favorite events of the season. Is it expensive? It sure is. But I have fine-tuned my visits to get maximum fun for less money. The earlier into the event you visit, the cheaper tickets are, so my visit is usually in early September. The Express Pass is pretty pricey (it actually costs more than an event ticket), but it’s well worth the extra cost, since it’s the only way to get through all of the fantastic haunted houses in one night. The lines for the houses can get pretty long (well over an hour at times), and when you consider the fact that there ten houses…well, do the math.
Halloween Horror Nights is the perfect start to my Halloween season, and I love to take it all in: the smokey, foggy smell of the houses, the flavor of the pumpkin ale, the dark, creepy scare zones, the delightful Legacy store with great merchandise and awesome decorations, and the thrill of going through those gory, intense haunted houses.
Spirit Halloween stores – I get such a rush when I walk into a Spirit Halloween store for the first time each year (usually in mid-September). As I check out the automated creatures at the front, stepping on their mat to make each one jump up and scream/growl/lunge at me, I can do nothing but smile. On my first visit, I don’t usually purchase anything, I just walk around and drink in the sights and sounds, checking out whatever is new. Even though I know I will be back in two or more times in the coming weeks, that first visit is so special. Thank you, Spirit Halloween for making me feel like a giddy, horror-loving child every year.
Spooky Empire – My Florida friends know how great this horror convention is. It’s home-grown, but don’t let that fool you, Spooky Empire hosts big-name guests during both of its conventions each year. The spring event is good, but they really go all-out in October. Past celebrity guests that I have been able to interact with have included Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Bruce Campbell, Kyle MachLachlan (along with other Twin Peaks alumni), Lance Henriksen, Lori Petty, Joe Bob Briggs and Diana Prince (“Darcy the Mail Girl”), Ken Foree and the late Ricou Browning. But celebrity meet and greets/photo ops and panel discussions aren’t the only things to do at Spooky Empire. You can sign up to attend special workshops of all sorts. There is also a horror film festival, a huge vendor area where you can purchase cool horror-related merchandise and a tattoo festival. And at around $40 when you purchase in advance, tickets are a real bargain! For a higher price, you can get VIP tickets, which allow you to attend private events.
Decorating for Halloween – I keep a small-ish display of Halloween décor set up in my house year-round, but I can hardly wait to pull out all of my decorations every year. I live in a townhome with a very small front garden area out front, but I jam-pack it with outdoor decorations and lights, and mine is the house all the kids in the neighborhood love to visit in the evenings. I decorate during the first or second weekend of September, and in prior years, have had to take everything down when a hurricane is skirting our area (Florida, remember?), then put it all back up again.
It’s a mixture of store-bought and homemade displays, and we add to it every year. My husband is an artist, and inspired by the scary face décor Christine McConnell put up on her parents’ house, he made me some creepy eyes and teeth a few years ago. They are created from about five $1 vinyl placemats and acrylic paint, but they look SO GOOD when they are affixed to the front of our home!
Terror on Tubi – Tubi is another streaming platform, and the number of horror films you can find there is astounding year-round. But, like Shudder and Netflix, they put their horror selection in high gear for Halloween with Terror on Tubi. Unlike the other two platforms, though, Tubi is free. Yes, you read that right. You can watch any film on Tubi absolutely free, and they are not edited. It is ad-supported, so you do have to sit through commercials, but it’s well worth it in my opinion.
There are a lot of low budget horror films on Tubi, but there are also some well-known flicks that you may not be able to find elsewhere, so I recommend giving it a try if you haven’t already.
Just writing about all of these fun September – October happenings makes me excited for spooky season to get here already! Now, if I could only motivate myself enough to finish the Audrey II I have been planning to build for the past three years…