Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). Rest assured, it did get watched this year—and of course, I’m happy to report that it is still the best horror comedy of all time.
But other than Bud and Lou, the consumption of horror movies was a bit low this year—although I eventually stayed up to see the first two entries of Herschel Gordon Lewis’ “Blood” trilogy, Blood Feast (1963) and Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), on TCM Underground in the wee insomniac hours. (By the way, I like to thank everyone who offered up their opinions on the merits—or demerits—of these two classics in the comment section. Really, you were too, too helpful. I had to hire a pair of temps to handle the volume of responses. I’ll shut off the Sarcasm Meter now.) I did manage to catch Bravo’s five-part Top 100 Scariest Movie Moments while waiting around for trick-or-treaters, in addition to my usual MSNBC lineup.
On the subject of trick-or-treaters—I wasn’t sure how many of the little beggars to expect, so earlier in October, I took advantage of a Buy 1, Get 1 Free sale at Publix to stock up on Halloween candy. I bought six bags of mini-treats: Nestle Crunch bars, Baby Ruth’s, Reese’s cups, Peanut M&M’s, Snickers bars and Kit Kat bars. (The last item was for me. I am an unabashed Kit Kat nut.) I opened up the Nestle Crunch and Snickers treats first, and dumped them into a big bowl that doubles for popcorn.
Before these preparations, I had a chat with my next door neighbor, asking her if she had remembered to get some candy (intending to part with some of mine if the need arose). She assured me she did—and she even made candy apples…which I don’t think they let you give out anymore because of all those urban legends about razor blades hidden inside. (I had a friend—who, I admit, had a sick sense of humor—who went into a grocery store during the holiday and brought a bag of apples and a bag of razor blades to the counter, which produced a wide-eyed stare from the check-out girl. He then proceeded to ask her for her phone number. I would suggest you younger TDOY readers not try this at home.)
So I also ask her, “Do you get much traffic around here, trick-or-treater-wise?” She told me that she lived in a different area of our apartment “complex” last year but her recollection was that it was sort of slow. And it certainly started out that way: the Athens Banner-Herald stated that “Trick or Treat” hours were between 6 and 8pm—and I didn’t get the first batch of candy beggars until 7:13pm. (Later, it dawned on me that many of the families either didn’t get a paper or memo because I don’t think they stopped until 9:00.)
Anyway, I’m handing out candy to the kids—and I tried to keep a tab on how many I got, but it was almost like they were dropping them off in big groups from vans—and a little after 8:00, the phone rings…and it was that special ring, which means my mother was on the other end.
“So…what’s going on?” she asks.
“Nothing…want to come over and eat some Halloween candy?” I replied.
That’s when I told her that the turnout was nothing short of underwhelming, and that I was going to leave the front door light on until 9:00 to see if I got any stragglers. (Her reaction was: “It’s people like you that create those kinds of stragglers.”) Her only advice was to “Save the Reese’s!” which I had planned to do anyway (I later gave her the bag to take back to the house, knowing that both she and sister Kat would make short work of it in no time).
Just before 9:00, however, I could hear someone knocking on my neighbor’s door, so I got up to get ready to hand out some candy—I open the door and look outside, and there’s a guy with two kids asking her if she has any candy. Her response was priceless: “Candy? I’m getting ready to go out to the clubs!” By the end of the night, the candy inventory stood as follows: one bag of Peanut M&M’s, one bag of Baby Ruth’s, half a bag of Kit Kat’s and a handful of Nestle crunch bars. (It’s a shame I can’t recycle this stuff.) Oh, and I could swear I saw a good number of untouched candy apples in my front yard.