Thursday, October 1, 2015

It Begins Again.

Well, my friends... my patient, long-standing pubgoers who have been without their S&P for quite a long time... a new post here is long past due, and offered here with my gratitude for your patience and understanding.

My life is a good one, but it shifts focus in various directions, and this homely haunted house has been one of the longest suffering victims of such shifts.

So it is with great joy and renewed fervor that I post a very Happy October to all of the S&P-brains here!

This year is going to be rather different for your humble pubkeep.

I will not be putting on my traditional, massive yard-haunt display, and I beg your indulgence as I try to explain why...

For almost 20 years now, I've been putting on that Big Spooky Shindig every single Hallowe'en night, joyfully so, passionately so. I have thoroughly enjoyed and loved all of it, all of them. But among the victims of that focused direction is the numerous friends and family who also put on their own haunts and creations which I have NEVER been able to see for the last few decades, being unable to leave my own yard for the duration as I make sure everything's running right, people are happy, kids are plenty sugared up, and so on.

An uncle, a cousin, a brother and his wife and son, and many other loved ones in my life are Hallowe'en fanatics just like me -- Hallowe'en runs in the family, deep and devotedly -- and they do all kinds of decorating and creating and showing off and cooking and hosting and... I have never been able to attend any of them. Decades.

Also, and I think even more importantly, is that for the last three or four years, I was getting more and more stressed every October, with building and finishing, programming, painting, all of the myriad creations and processes that go into one of my Hallowe'en displays. It got to the point where I was entirely missing out on the season, missing out on celebrating Hallowe'en the whole month of October!

I couldn't enjoy, even when I had a little time here and there during the crazy busy month, things like TV Hallowe'en marathons and fright fests and specials, because even while watching them I had to be paying attention to my work on figures and props, which became ever more complex and time-intensive as each year 'improved' over the previous, my ego telling me to outdo myself with every coming season.

I missed a lot of wonderful Hallowe'en happenings.

And because of that, my ability to truly create and finish a proper haunt became less fluid and natural, and more forced, the last few years... and I feel as if my last two Hallowe'ens were simply not up to the standard I hold in my heart and have since I was very young. They weren't really worthy, not entirely.

And because of that, my desire to create and display has waned over these past few years.

I need to recharge my Duraskull batteries and find inspiration again, this time in the creations and sweat and efforts of others' displays, others' celebrations.

I plan on hosting a big 20th Hallowe'en Anniversary yard-haunt in 2016, so I am certainly not giving up the ghost of our favorite holiday, no ma'am, no sir. I could never do that. My devotion to and passion for All Things All Hallow's has never wavered, will never change. So next year will be a good one.

But this year, I am going to revel in the entire month, the entire spooky season's worth of tricks and treats everyone else has been able to enjoy for a long time. I am looking forward to it immensely, and I have no doubt it will all inspire and supercharge my Hallowe'en fanaticism again and again.

Will I be back 'better than ever'?  Well... yes and no.

Yes, I will be better than I have been the last three years, I'd certainly hope. But no, I will not be better than ever, I will be as good and worthy as I have always been and was until I got so tired and strung out -- as Bilbo once lamented feeling like 'butter scraped over too much bread' -- and I think that will be the greatest gift of this year's restful revelry.

Of course, we will decorate, oh Hell yes! Just, you know, not like we usually do, but like... well, like NORMAL people do.

Part of my October celebration will be more posts here at the ol' S&P as we gleefully bask in Autumn's chilling magic all month long. I hope to post every few days at least, and I hope that whatever I do post and show and tell and review and celebrate will be of interest and be enjoyable for all of you dear pub-going friends.

I am so very happy to be back here at the Skull & Pumpkin Public House. I've missed it, and all of you.

But this year, rather than resuming my place behind the bar, I will instead be hanging out with everyone else on the other side of it.

And I already know it's going to be one hell of a happy Hallowe'en.

To October, to enjoying the season, to reaffirming passion and to Hallowe'en itself, come on everyone, for the first time in ages... let us lift our glasses...



  1. Hurray! So glad to see your post! I'm glad you're celebrating and enjoying this Halloween...the way it should be!

  2. To quote Colin Clive: "ITS ALIVE!!!"
    It is so good to see you back here at The Skull & Pumpkin!
    Things have been pretty dull around here without you. I dropped by once in a while to dust the shelves and read old posts.
    Know you've been pretty busy performing--hope to make it to a show some day.
    Glad you're back here and am looking forward to the upcoming Howladay season.
    Got a few groats, pence, shekels, dubloons and a wooden nickle on the bar.
    This round is on me.
    Here's to a Happy Halloween!

    1. I saw the groats and pence, and I think I see the shekels and dubloons now but someone must have run of with the wooden nickel!!

    2. Then be very careful when eating those Ritz Crackers down by the cheese ball.

  3. Wait a minute . . .
    Didn't I do that Colin Clive schtick in another comment?

    Well, as they say: The three warning signs of senility are loss of memory, and um . . .where was I?
    Oh, yes. Loss of memory and . . .um . . .
    Did I say its good to have you back?
    Good! Cause it is.
    Happy October from Castle Fester!

  4. Hey Mike! Welcome back, enjoy the season! Happy Halloween!

  5. Hoping to see life from you on the 31st. If not, hope you enjoy the night anyway.

  6. Lazarus, come forth! Great to have you back, Mike. Have a wonderful, fun, and rejuvenating sabbatical.