Login   |   Register

D.I.Y. Halloween (Plus Random Stories)

By Christopher Schonberger

Greetings, GSpotters. I am Baron Von Frankengritz, and I am here to spook the s—t out of you!!!!

I’m joking, of course. But in case you didn’t notice last year, we at Gradspot get pretty jacked up about All Hallow's Eve. Barack O'Lanterns and these have got us in the spirit, as have the pups we've seen wandering the streets. Why is this night different from all other nights?! On this night we dance on graves and dress like maniacs!

For reasons as varied as a lineup of jack o’ lanterns, Halloween holds special significance for me personally. On the one hand, it recalls some of my greatest triumphs: setting my school’s record for UNICEF collections in 1st grade and lightening up hundreds of demented jackos at the 2005 Life Is Good Pumpkin Festival in Boston Common. On the other, dismembered hand, Halloween is the source of some of my biggest missteps: the time when I gave a lady a card that featured a ghost chasing a well-endowed woman while shouting “Booooooooobs!” Or the time when I asked a woman if I could use her bathroom while trick or treating, then proceeded to steal her toilet paper and TP her house. Hoisted by your own petard, sucker! (Even though I made that jokey remark, I am genuinely sorry. If the woman who’s house I TP’ed is reading this, I have two words for you: peer pressure.)

One more tale from the crypt: In 1992, our next door neighbor in Washington, DC, had the audacity to accuse me of stealing all her candy when she went out for a bit and left it on the step with a note saying “Take one please.” Incidentally, I was dressed that Halloween as an Arab, a costume I had put together using my “Spy Disguise Kit.” It was a State Secret that the embassies in the area were prone to give out King Size chocolate bars instead of the mini ones (the Canadians, if I recall, just gave medium-sized ones), so I knocked on the doors of many a diplomat dressed as the caricature of an Arab. No one batted an eyelid. But my next door neighbor, who was to get bat mitzvah’d only a few months later in her mid-forties, accused me of stealing from her after all the times I’d nicely played with her poindexter of a son. I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve seen the world change. I may be young, but my heart bears the burden of many lifetimes.

Ok, enough about Von Frankengritz and his cupboard of Halloween skeletons. If you’re as excited as I am for the 31st, here are some ways to really make it a special day…

Brew Your Own Pumpkin Beer

Follow this step-by-step Flickr guide to brewing your own pumpkin beer in a pumpkin. It looks like a lot of fun, and Pumkin beer is truly a rare delicacy. But if you’d rather have someone else do the work (understandable), I suggest the Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale or Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale.

Make Your Own Candy Bars

This project from Chow.com struck me as a pretty creative idea, and at very least the pictures and behind-the-scenes video are quite tantalizing. There are recipes for “PB Cups,” “Almond Jays,” “Twixt,” and “Snickles.” My brother points out that a huge conspiracy theory masterminded by the major candy producers now ensures that you are not allowed to give out homemade treats on Halloween. Maybe so you can’t try to “kill any children,” or whatever. But I’m guessing not many of us live in buildings overflowing with trick or treaters, so these can strictly be enjoyed alone or with friends.

Carve Some Jack o’ Lanterns

This isn’t a very original idea, but really nothing beats carving a through the beautiful, fleshy pulp of a ripe pumpkin. The only downside is watching the jacko spoil in your apartment and make the place smell horrible. To avoid the latter half of the equation, donate some of your handiwork to a children’s hospital or old person’s home (I’m not promising they won’t call the police or find you a bit odd). Or just stick to the virtual pumpkins using the only Facebook application worth a damn.

Happy Haunting, you freaks!

©2010 Gradspot LLC