Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween Harvest

Kicked off Halloween morning with breakfast and Raggedy Ann & Andy and the Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile. Chuck Jones directed two holiday specials featuring the perky rag doll duo in the late 70's; this was the second one. Ann (June Foray), Andy (Daws Butler), and their dog Arthur first bring a glum, unwanted pumpkin (Les Tremayne) to a little boy in need of some Halloween fun. They then have to figure out how to convince his stern Aunt Agatha (Foray) to let the boy keep his new friend and join in the festivities.

Dashed out shortly after the cartoon ended. It was an absolutely glorious day for a Halloween farm market, sunny and breezy and just cool enough. Goes without saying they were busy with people buying apples, pears, and squash for their Halloween parties. I even saw a few kids in costume, including the most adorable Elsa and Anna. Corn and eggplant are gone, but I saw the first cranberries of the season. Couldn't resist those cranberries; also grabbed sweet potatoes, little honeycrisp apples, small heirloom tomatoes, red leaf lettuce, and more arugula. 

Took the short way down Bettlewood back into Oaklyn. Need to stop at Dollar General on my way home. I ran out of sugar earlier in the week, and I wanted more peanut butter, too. Grabbed two boxes of sandwich bags with plastic zippers to make treat bags when I realized they barely had any Halloween items left, let alone Halloween treat bags.

Finished out Bugs Bunny's Howl-oween Special when I got home and put everything away. Bugs dodges Witch Hazel and her stew pot between segments from various horror and Halloween-themed Looney Tunes shorts. Witch Hazel turns Speedy into a copy of her so she can go on vacation, but he inadvertently casts a spell on Daffy that turns him into something very strange. Sylvester is first spooked by a Tweety who has transformed into a monster, then by the scary noises in a dilapidated house. Bugs avoids a vampire who would love a little rabbit for Halloween.

Watched Scooby Doo! Music of the Vampire while putting together treat bags with my candy and the mini-bags of cookies, Goldfish crackers, vegetable chips, and pretzels Rose gave me. I go further into the only full musical in the Scooby Doo franchise to date at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Made up my costume as the movie ended. I decided weeks ago I'd be a black cat this year. I already have the ears, tail, and gloves. I was going to add make-up whiskers and a black nose, but I remembered I'd be wearing a mask and ended up wiping them off. I'm not a fan of the black bow choker that came with the original costume, so I put that on my stuffed black cat Luna.

Suddenly remembered as I wiped my face that I needed to feed Rose's cats. Grabbed my coat and bike and dashed over to her house on Kendall Boulevard near the school. Was surprised to see a lot of kids gathered at the school in costume. Maybe they had a school parade, or were getting ready for trick-or-treat.

It took me a few minutes to get into Rose's house. Her front door sticks even harder than mine does! Craig left a Halloween note, a small can of Fancy Feast, and a container of dry food for them. Had no problem giving them the wet food, and their water bowl didn't need to be filled. Spilled the dry food all over when I tried to load it into the bowls, though! Cleaned up the mess as quickly as I could before hurrying out. (And no, I never saw the cats. Guess all the noise outside spooked them.)

Rushed home, switched the coat for a lighter sweater, loaded the bags into a plastic bag and my metal bowl, and went outside. Everyone giving out candy had their wares displayed on card tables or in large bowls on their front stoop. I borrowed the side tables from the porch to display my candy bags. Did pretty well, too, given Hillcrest is a tiny street on the end of Oaklyn along the river. Saw two Incredible Hulks (one a toddler), a toddler police officer, a mini pop star, Iron Man giving out candy across the street, two Day of the Dead skulls, two more cats, a plethora of witches in all sizes from toddler to lady giving out candy, Woody from the Toy Story movies, Yankees and Phillies baseball players, soccer players, Death with a scythe also giving out candy, a knight riding a purple cardboard horse, a tiny toddler butterfly, Skully from Monsters Inc, and a unicorn. Two of the neighborhood girls were X-Men in elaborate coats with brass buttons and Wolverine claws. The kids next-door were Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls and a ninja. 

Sat on the brick steps with Luna and read my Reader's Digest book of Washington Irving short stories between kids. The weather was just amazing. Sunshine warmed my nose, even as I shivered at spooky tales like "Rip Van Winkle" and "Dolph Heyliger." The dressed couple down the street played horror-themed music - hearing "Ghostbusters," "Monster Mash," and the theme from The Munsters added to the warm-yet-creepy atmosphere of the day. 

By 5 PM, clouds drifted in to hide the sun. It was now too cold for sitting outside and reading. I was down to four bags anyway and was hungry for real food. Left the bags on one of the tables for any kids who wanted them, swapped my sweater for a winter coat, and headed out on foot.

First stop was Phillies Phatties. Needless to say on a holiday where most people's minds are on candy rather than dinner, they were really busy. I picked up slices of mushroom and margarita (tomato-basil-mozzarella) and a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi and took them outside. Enjoyed my treat while girls dressed as a unicorn, a gymnast, a witch, and a cheerleader chatted and had their dinners.

Strolled around the neighborhood for a while after that to admire everyone else's costumes and decorations. I love how creative everyone got with handing out candy. Some folks settled for scattering the candy on card tables with signs that said "take one." Others had big plastic cauldrons or grinning hard plastic jack o'lantern bowls. One family stuck lollipops in a pumpkin; another tied them to their railings and let the kids pull out two. Others went the same route I did and handed out treat bags filled with candy or novelties. 

Since I still wore part of my costume, I couldn't resist taking a little candy, too. This is the first time I went trick-or-treating since at least 1992, and it was infinitely more fun than tramping all over Cape May in the freezing cold sea air. Saw lots more great costumes, too. One tiny miss was dressed as a teddy bear, another as a lovely mermaid in a glittering turquoise costume. A little boy was a mini-Spider Man. Even older kids got in on the fun. On my way to Phillies Phatties, I passed a group of teens that included a ballerina, Tigger, a zombie, and an Eagles player. 

The candy spreads weren't the only nifty decorations I saw tonight. Some families, including Rose and her kids, set out hay bales and pumpkins, with wooden pumpkin patch signs on their front doors. Others had elaborately-carved jack 'o lanterns on their front steps. Still others (including Rose) went with gaudy-colored inflatables. I saw Frankenstein strapped to a table and ready to escape, a vampire rising out of a coffin, and several awesome black and orange dragons. As I headed home and the sun sunk behind the horizon, orange and purple lights hanging from porch railings and roof tops flickered on softly up and down Haddon Avenue. 

Put on Ghostbusters as soon as I got home, put away the cat costume pieces, and had apple crisp for dessert. Scientists Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Egon Spangler (Harold Ramis), and Ray Spantz (Dan Ackroyd) are fired from Columbia for their dubious theories and practices. Peter convinces them to go into business for themselves as paranormal investigators and ghost-catchers. Their first client is Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), a classical musician living in an unusual Upper West Side apartment building who claims she saw a monster in her refrigerator. Peter's interested in her, but they may not have the money to pursue her...and her inquiries...further. Suddenly, little green ghosts and skeletal cab drivers are being spotted all over New York, and they go from being broke to getting swamped with work. They have to hire a fourth man, Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson), to help them handle it all. 

It all goes back to Dana and her demonic refrigerator, which turns out to be far more important than the Ghostbusters originally suspected. When she and her nerdy neighbor Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) are possessed by the spirits of two demigods who could open the portal to another world, the quartet have to spring into action. First, though, they need to convince the Mayor of the Big Apple (David Marguiles) and the obnoxious head of the EPA (William Atherton) that they're on the level and New York really is under a spectral attack.

A favorite of mine since childhood, this still holds up remarkably well, especially the incredible special effects. Though Murray generally gets top honors as the most sarcastic and cynical Ghostbuster, the entire cast does well with the hilarious script. The sequel isn't too bad and I still think the all-female remake has an undeserved bum rap, but for most people, this and the Real Ghostbusters cartoon are probably the only version of this story they need. 

As I watched the movie, I saw someone set off fireworks on the river. They weren't as big or glittery as the ones a couple of weeks ago, but they were pretty.

Ran It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown while doing dishes and getting organized. The Peanuts' Halloween festivities aren't quite as spooky. Linus makes his yearly vigil in a sincere pumpkin patch to wait for (non) arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Against her better judgement, Sally joins him. Meanwhile, Snoopy fights the Red Baron and Charlie Brown has trouble trick-or-treating.

Finished the night with two spooky Halloween cartoon episodes on Disney Plus and a vintage special on YouTube. Even though it's set during the summer, Gravity Falls managed to sneak a Halloween episode into its first season. The citizens of Gravity Falls love Halloween so much, they have a second Halloween in June, "Summerween." Mabel Pines and her girlfriends are all going to go trick-or-treating, but Dipper wants to be with his crush Wendy and refuses to go out in costume...until he, the girls, and Soos are attacked by a monster in a yellow emoji mask that demands they go trick-or-treating for 500 pieces of candy or die!

The 2017 Ducktales takes us underground for a unique horror adventure. After seeing a movie about mole people living underground, Huey and Webby head for the subway to see if the mythical race of creatures known as the Terra-firmians are real. Huey refuses to believe in anything he can't read about in his Junior Woodchuck Guidebook, but he learns there's a lot more to life than living by the book when he has to rescue Webby, Mrs. Beakly, his brothers, and Webby's friend Lena from a runaway subway. "The Terror of the Terra-firmians," however, isn't what everyone thinks it is...and neither is Lena, who's getting instruction from one very nasty shadow. 

Dracula (Judd Hirsch) has even more trouble with witches in The Halloween That Almost Wasn't. The Witch (Mariette Hartley) is supposed to fly over the moon at midnight and kick off Halloween, but this year, she refuses to do it. She's tired of jokes about her ugliness and feels underappreciated. He and the other monsters of filmdom do everything they can to convince her otherwise...but it takes two kids to remind her of just how important she is to them and the holiday.

And here's hoping you had a Halloween that was equally fun, whether you did trick-or-treating, held a party like several families in the neighborhood, or spent a quiet night at home with horror movies. 

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