It’s that time of year again, the countdown to Halloween.

Even though it’s one of my favorite holidays, the past couple of years I’ve had a pretty difficult time getting into the proper, spooky mood.

It being 2020, I realized the thing that was required was a plan.


The first step was a calendar laying out the appropriately horrific films I needed to watch — a mix of previously viewed and new. The highlight so far has been “The Church” on Amazon Prime Video, which turned out to be both a stealth Dario Argento movie (he wrote and produced) and a stealth sequel to one of my favorite Italian horror series, “Demons.”

The lowlight — an expected consequence of such viewing — was “The Black Room,” also on Amazon Prime. Avoid it at all costs, even if it does star Lin Shaye.

Next came the question of candy, specifically the distribution thereof. I’ve carefully been crafting a reputation for our house as “the place that gives out handfuls of candy.” But doing so safely in the midst of a pandemic is somewhat of a challenge.

Internet searches have led to some interesting solutions from enterprising Halloweenies (the technical term for those of us who love the holiday).

One couple created a leaf blower-fed candy launcher that was particularly interesting — check it out at However, my lack of engineering skills, not to mention leaf blower, means we’re probably going to go the individual baggie route and set up a table on the sidewalk in front of the house.

It lacks the fun of handing out candy, but at least we’ll get to admire all the costumes and yell, “Take two,” from the porch.

As for auditory scares, I’ve been listening to the podcast “Scared to Death,” where a couple goes out of their way to out scary story one another. Another new addition has been “The Old Gods of Appalachia,” which is a title too irresistible not to check out.

I’ve also been tickling the old ear drums with a personally curated horror playlist on Spotify that includes everything from the “It Follows” soundtrack to “Dream Warriors” by Dokken. Every time Dokken shreds, a ghoul gets it fangs.

I’ve been trying to get in some spooky gaming sessions, though they’ve been few and far between with all the movie watching.

I sat down and finished the classic “Maniac Mansion,” which is a game I’ve probably logged as many hours playing as there are in the entire “Friday the 13th” franchise.

It was one of those games I played a lot with my mom as a kid. Between blowing up the titular mansion in a nuclear explosion and messing with Weird Ed by ding-dong ditching, we never quite found the time to seriously attempt the endgame.

It was interesting because I was so familiar with the game’s contents that, when I did go for completion, it was like second nature.

I’ve been replaying the original “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona” on PlayStation 1. It was the first game I bought for myself and one with a seriously underrated soundtrack.

Hopefully, stewing in all this spooktacular atmosphere, I will be properly ready for Oct. 31 when it comes. If not, you might want to check for a pulse. Muwahahahaha!

Email Anthony at