Halfoween Cleveland 2013 – Halfway to Halloween Party


Dust off the cobwebs Halloween fans!  Crawl out of your crypts, rise from your graves, and tighten your electrodes, because it’s time to party!

On Saturday, April 27th, the dead will walk the streets of downtown Cleveland.  This inaugural Halfoween event will be a 3 bar crawl in the warehouse district of downtown Cleveland. The event will be free, with drink specials for those in costume.  A costume contest will be held with sponsored prizes for a number of categories.

You only get so many chances in life to celebrate Halloween.  It’s time to suit up and get your butts out there.  More information may be found on their Facebook page.  I’ll see you there!


Dream Reapers Haunted House presents: Nightmares Before X-Mas

I’ve been a busy monster these past couple weeks.  Between recuperating from Halloween festivities and planning a move, I haven’t had much to report.  However, I caught wind of something today which I had to pass along.

The folks over at Dream Reapers Haunted House have been scaring folks as the #1 haunted attraction in Illinois for 3 years in a row.  Unfortunately, this year, they were the victims of a robbery at the end of their season.  In order to recover some of their losses, they are planning a special event in December.

For 4 days this December, Dream Reapers Haunted House will present a tale of Christmas fear…Nightmares Before X-Mas!

I’m seriously considering a road trip for this one (anybody else interested)?  It would be great if they could recoup their losses.  Beyond that, consider the trend that could be started if a high profile haunt like this has a successful December run.

You can check out their information here.  Spread the word and give me a yell if you’d consider paying them a visit with me.

Thanks for reading.  Hope you’re all making the transition into the holidays nicely.

‘Twas the week after Halloween…

The week following Halloween is typically very calm for me.  Usually I’m so worn out that I do little more than lie around, groaning about getting old.  My evenings are filled with doctoring up my legs, which are generally a mess of cuts and blisters from dancing in the stilts.

This year, I’ve been quite busy.  I’m facing a potential move and have roughly 30 days to decide whether I’m going to stay put in Ohio or run off to some other destination…no stress there.

Today, quite unexpectedly, I heard from one of my customers.  Apparently, my monster made enough of a splash that they would like to hire me for some Christmas related events.  Generally this would be very good news.  However, if I end up leaving Ohio, it will be a moot point.

Now, while I’m trying to decide where I want to live, I’m also mulling over possible holiday costumes which will lend themselves  to the stilts.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Toy Soldier/Nutcracker:  This was the first thing that came to mind.  The holiday connection is there and I believe it would lend itself nicely as a stilt costume.  I can picture a whole Babes in Toyland vibe off it.  Could be pretty cool.

Elf:  Probably the easiest to round-up parts for.  However, something about the thought of running around as a 9′ tall elf just makes me cringe.

Snowman:  This could work I suppose but it seems like it would be hard to pull off.  Also, the bottom of the costume would have to be so big (to keep the proportions right) that I think it would be rather cumbersome.  One of the best parts about the monster suit is that I’m totally mobile.  I’m thinking that a snowman get-up would be too clunky.

Beyond these, I’m drawing a blank.  If you have any ideas as to something that would be a good fit, please leave a comment below.  I’d love to see what you can come up with.

Of course, there is one other that crossed my mind but I suppose it’s just the monster in me coming out.

The party is over

Well, it’s November and the party is over.  Along my walk to work today, I passed trampled candy corn and soggy jack-o-lanterns.  It happens every year.  Weeks of build-up, lead to a frenzied week or two of activity, and then WHOOSH, it’s gone.

My friends over at Costume Hub wrote a great post today about How To Handle Post Halloween Depression and I’ve seen quite a number of other bloggers who are singing the “I miss Halloween” blues.

I won’t go as far as to say I’m depressed.  I mean sure, I’m a guy who loves to dress up like a giant monster, but I like to think I’ve got a bit more to my life than my big, green friend.  Halloween is simply a great escape for me.  Like reading a good book, it allows me to step out of myself briefly and be a kid again.

I suspect it’s that very escape which attracts so many adults to Halloween festivities.  So, if you happen to be feeling a bit blue, following your annual dose of Halloween fun, have no fear.

Remember how quickly Halloween came after you saw the first candy displays back in September?  Well, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, & Christmas will be upon you before you know it.  While the “big” holidays don’t offer up the opportunity to dress up in crazy costumes (unless you feel like giving Santa a whirl), they certainly tend to bring out the kid in all of us.

New Year’s follows right behind.  Again, maybe not a big costume holiday but think about this….wearing the perfect outfit for a big New Year’s Eve party can be just as freeing as wearing a great Halloween costume.  Get your butt out there, find a killer suit or dress and really let your hair down this year.

February brings Valentine’s Day.  If you’re part of a couple, perhaps consider how long it’s been since you’ve really gone all out for your SO.  For single folks in need of a spark, why not consider simply taking a chance that you wouldn’t normally take.  Whether it be finally asking out that person you’ve had the secret crush on or simply paying a compliment to a perfect stranger, you’d be surprised at how good it can feel to just go for it.  Remember, confidence is sexy!

St. Patrick’s Day not only offers a hell of a party but puts you quite close to the Spring thaw.

Now I know some of you are probably saying “Hey Monster, what is this nonsense?  We come to this blog because we like Halloween!”.  Fair enough, I hear you.

If you Halloween folks can just last until Spring, you’ll be all set.  If you’re really hurting for Halloween, fire up the Google searches.  Most large metropolitan areas now have “Halfway to Halloween” bashes.  Mix these up with the emergence of Zombie walks and pub crawls and you should be able to make it to summer.

Amid vacations, pools and barbecues, you have some very important work to do.  This is the time when you want to be deciding on what you’ll be for Halloween 2012.  If you get everything figured out early enough, then you’ll have no regrets once the Halloween season is finally upon you.

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got for you.  Hope it is of some help.

I want to just take a moment to thank my readers.  I broke 4,000 hits last night and it was quite exciting for me.  I realize it’s a relatively minor milestone in the blogging world but I got quite a kick out of it.

Your comments, stories, and insights have provided me with a great deal of fun over the past couple months.  I appreciate it.

In the days to come, I’ll continue to post about my monster.  In addition, I’ve enjoyed this little experiment so much that I’ll also be starting a non-Halloween blog.  If any of you are curious as to the day-to-day adventures of the man behind the mask, I’d be glad to have you along.

How do YOU know when it’s Halloween

Every year at about this time, I get very excited because it’s clearly “Halloween season”.  The weather is changing, leaves are falling, Halloween merchandise is everywhere, and just about every community has its share of decorations.  Conversely, November 1st rolls around and *poof*, it’s all over.

During that span, it would seem that there would be a time when everyone (or at least those who chose to) would be celebrating at the same time.  I mean, the obvious answer here is “Hey Monster, it’s Halloween on the 31st!  You know, on Halloween!”

Sure, technically Halloween is the 31st but aside from the young trick-or-treaters, and I suppose the home haunters, I suspect that Halloween night is pretty quiet for most folks.

So there you have it.  How do you know when it’s Halloween for you?  Is there a particular event that you partake in each year which really seals the deal for you?  Is there some “can’t miss” activity, after which you know you can safely pack up the black & orange for another year?

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I have one.  I’m a total Halloween nut, I take in literally every Halloween event that I can find, but I always find myself disappointed on November first.  It’s as if I fell asleep at 9pm on New Year’s Eve and missed the midnight celebration.

Tomorrow I’ll go into some detail about what would be ideal for me and the closest that I’ve managed to come.  For now, I’d love to hear what you folks think.

Ben Cooper Costumes

     October is finally here and Halloween will be upon us before we know it.  I believe I started seeing the first Halloween items in the stores during the last week of July.  I’m not going to take up any space here to debate whether or not that’s too early.  Instead, I’d like to take you back to a fond Halloween memory of mine from the past.

     I’m 41 years old.  To save you all the math, that put me at prime trick-or-treating age during the late 1970s.  While that certainly wasn’t ages ago, I imagine it will be well before a number of you were born.

     Back then you didn’t see any signs of Halloween until you were within the month of October.  As a kid, I knew it was coming but there was one sure sign that I always looked for.  I would accompany my father to Dox Drug Store in Rochester, NY.  Normally, this would be in hopes of getting a comic book, candy bar, or perhaps some oddity like Mexican Jumping Beans (which were often on display next to the register).  In October, however, I was looking for the Ben Cooper Costumes display.

     Every year, without fail, the entire front of the store would be taken up with a wall of colorful boxes.  Masks depicting the likeness of the most popular characters of the day peered out through cellophane windows in each.   I’m sure you’ve seen them before, even if you’re younger.  They were the ones with the inexpensive plastic masks, held onto your head with an elastic band and included vinyl smocks to wear.

     Ironically enough, my mother always made my costumes by hand.  However the sight of the Ben Cooper Costume display told me that without a doubt, my favorite holiday was right around the corner.

     I’ve been tinkering with this blog for a couple of months now and have crossed paths with a lot of you folks in the process.  I guess for me, this is my new sign that Halloween is fast approaching.

     Do you remember these costumes?  Do you have any special memories which always signified the beginning of the Halloween season?  If so, please leave me a little comment below.

     Finally, I wanted to mention that I’ve joined the 2011 Countdown to Halloween.  Click here to find some other fantastic Halloween blogs.

Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House


     I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that if you’re reading this, you’re a fan of Halloween.  If you also happen to have been born prior to 1980, I’d say that there’s a good chance that you owned this album (for you younger folks, this is one of those black things which we used to spin around to hear music).

     Originally released in 1964, Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House was a collection of sound effects from Sound Effects Department of Walt Disney Studios.  One side featured isolated tracks such as Screams & Groans or A Collection of Creaks.  However, the other side features the same tracks narrated by Laura Olsher in a delightfully creepy manner.

     “You are a bold and courageous person, afraid of nothing…” she begins.

     It’s a Halloween classic, there’s no doubt about it.  Even if you didn’t own the album, you’ve likely heard some of the tracks.  They were a staple at haunted houses and home displays for decades.

     As a youngster in the mid-1970’s, I was afraid of my shadow.  My next-door neighbor Kelly and I used to queue up the record and try to see how long we could listen to it before we’d be scared senseless.  When we’d finally crack, we’d run to my bed, covering ourselves with covers to drown out the noise.

     If you’ve read this far and find yourself reminiscing about the good old days and wishing that you could hear the album again, I have good news.  I spent years tracking down a copy on eBay, only to never be able to listen to it due to the lack of a record player.  However, Disney has released this gem on iTunes and you can find it here! http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chilling-thrilling-sounds/id272258499

     Thanks for reading.  Do you remember Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House?  I’d love to hear about your memories.

The Halloween List


     Chances are good that if you’re reading this post, you’re a fan of Halloween.  We come in different shapes & sizes, all having different things which we enjoy about the holiday.  Crafters, party goers, parents, home haunters, and horror movie buffs are just some of those who make up our ranks.

     Many years ago, I made a discovery which I have enjoyed ever since.  This discovery was the Halloween List!  What is this list?  Well, it’s like a social network of hundreds of other Halloween enthusiasts, all sharing ideas and news of their latest project. 

     The list is run as a “LISTSERV”, which is an electronic mailing list software application, consisting of a set of email addresses for a group in which the sender can send one email and it will reach a variety of people.

     Basically, if you have a Halloween question, you send one email and it is automatically sent to each member on the list.  This process works the same for questions asked by other people, so it is possible to end up with a ton of Halloween emails in your box as Halloween approaches.  That said, if the traffic gets too high, a simple unsubscribe email will shut the whole process off.

     Interested in taking a peek?  You can find more information about the Halloween List here.

Mulled Cider Recipe


     With only 78 more days until Halloween, the nights are getting cooler and the first apples of the season will be showing up in grocery stores before you know it.

     This simple mulled cider recipe would be a great touch for your Halloween party or just a good way to warm up on a cool, fall evening.

     I’ve seen many fall and holiday events over the years where something as simple as this was a big hit. Try it for an after dinner beverage some evening. It’ll warm your bones.


2 qts. apple cider

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. ground ginger

4 cinnamon sticks


Combine all ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a simmer over low heat.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes and serve.  Mugs can be garnished with the cinnamon sticks for an added touch.

Forest Park Retirement Community (Victor, NY) 10.23.09

     This was my first event with an older crowd.  When I say “older”, I mean that most of the residents were over 90 years old.  At any rate, a good time was had by all.

     High point of the night was the fact that a number of them could actually remember seeing Frankenstein in the theater, when it was originally released!