Too Many Miniskirts, Not Enough Serial Killers

My favorite time of year is when the cool crispness of fall settles around us. The leaves turn it up a notch with vibrant oranges and brownish reds, dancing towards the ground like feathers in the wind. Cozied up in sweaters and scarves, drinking spiked apple cider is a seasonal bliss we all should have the pleasure of experiencing.

Oh, and Halloween is where it’s at. I love it all, the decorations, the candy, the horror movie marathons, the candy, the cute kids’ costumes, the candy, the scary costumes, the candy.

But I have a major issue with Halloween that I don’t think I’ve discussed here.

Well, it’s not so much a Halloween problem as it is a social problem that utilizes Halloween for its outlet of all things misogynistic and objectifying. Yeah, I know. We’re going there again.

But, seriously… have you ever noticed the intense gender bias between men’s and women’s Halloween costumes? Even with an awareness of the world we live in, it’s surprising.

Women’s costumes are sooo different. Why?

You know what they say: sex sells. And body objectification has become a better selling point than accuracy, apparently. For instance, doctor costumes with the full doctor-y aesthetic are marketed to men and the sexy nurse with the padded bra, fishnet stockings and heels are marketed to young women.

Don’t even get me started on the whole school boy vs school girl theme.

Some of the worst offenders yet are classic horror movie characters: Chucky, Beetlejuice, Jason, Freddy, Pennywise. Nearly every adult women’s horror icon costume features a miniskirt or hotpants. They are distinctly more revealing than their male counterparts, and often barely resemble the character they’re supposed to be.

What do the decision-makers at these costume companies think? Are women too sensitive to wear monster costumes? Are we too weak to dress up as iconic serial killers? Are we simply too delicate to wear clothes? One thing is true, marketing gurus sure do have a knack for revealing ongoing social ideals; in this case, women are apparently only good for one thing.

Really? I mean, just, really? What the hell, people!? Freddy and Jason were never meant to embody sex appeal. No, just no.

I guess we should be glad that they at least put her in something that sort of resembles Chucky’s iconic overalls. I just don’t remember Chucky being this sexy. Oh, that’s right… because he wasn’t.

If you love Beetlejuice enough to dress up as the character for Halloween, wouldn’t you want to oh, I don’t know, look like Beetlejuice? I’m not sure what this is, but it’s not Beetlejuice.

Anyone who has seen and loved IT would be embarrassed by this travesty. Looks that kill? Not.

Now, I’m not saying this is the most tasteful costume for 2020, but still, if you like the whole plague doctor thing, what the hell is this!? She’s not even wearing a proper plague mask. How is she a plague doctor at all? Oh, it’s a cute costume, but there are no plague-y precautions going on and nothing to associate the wearer as a plague doctor.

In one ad for a costume based off of the 2007 horror film Trick ‘r Treat (excellent movie, by the way, I give it a thumbs up!), the men’s costume is, quite frankly, not good, but the women’s costume is a wildly inaccurate and sexualized interpretation of a horror character who in the film is a child. A demon child with a pumpkin head, yes, but a child, nonetheless.

the original Sam in all his glory

The movie is anthology-style, where this kid, Sam, shows up to enforce the rules or traditions of Halloween. Dressed in raggedy orange footy pajamas and a burlap sack over his head, Sam appears across all the stories where macabre chaos ensues. Did I mention that it’s an excellent movie?

This woman, wearing a bright orange dress that cuts just below her butt, actually pulls the skirt up and out for the publicity shot. She has brown burlap-looking accents on the dress and a hood that sort of resembles the villain in the movie but looks more like a sexy scarecrow in someone’s field of dreams.

No one would ever put two and two together for this one.  Again, if you love the movie so much that you want to dress as the character, why would you choose this monstrosity? (ha! see what I did there? it’s a monster movie and the costume is a monstrosity… get it?)

What would be so bad about an adult female wearing the raggedy footy pajamas with a sack mask over her head? Oh, that’s right. It wouldn’t show off her legs, lips, or breasts.

I’m tired of seeing costumes that feature characters like the female vampire slayer who looks more like a seductive vampire just itching to be slain than a fierce hunter herself.

Women who love horror movies want the full-on scary, gore-splattered costumes. Otherwise, what’s the point? I mean, yes, yes, I get the point, but come on!  Can we please just rid ourselves of the miniskirt where it doesn’t belong? Or is that just too much to ask?

 

It’s Boo-Time, People

Well, it’s Halloween; if you haven’t picked your costume out yet, chances are you are in trouble. Not that it matters if you are a woman, though; if you don’t want to be a “sexy kitten” you were out of luck to begin with.

Why do men get all the fun stuff?  They can be super heroes, bloody monsters, awesome villains, the Halloween world is at their feet.  What do all of their costumes have in common?  They are all warm and cozy.

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at female costumes.  “Sexy” firefighter.  “Sexy” vampire.  “Sexy” witch.  Hey, newsflash, costume makers; we don’t want to be sexy, we want to be warm!  Why do we need to have our legs bare (or covered in thin leggings) and half our chest hanging out on a chilly fall night?   These costumes just aren’t as sexy with a parka, are they?

If women want to be warm, we might as well make our own costumes.  Goodness knows, we have enough ideas at our fingertips.

    1. Mom at the School Bus Stop: Fuzzy bathrobe, fuzzy slippers, flannel pajamas.  Accessories: coffee mug – preferably filled, and hair curlers.
    2. Walmart Shopper: Sweatpants, stained sweatshirt, mismatched socks.  Accessories:  optional hair curlers, oversized purse, smoldering credit card.
    3. Mom’s Night on the Town: High-waisted jeans, loose fitting sweater.  Accessories:  Boots, always boots.  Cell phone with babysitter on speed dial.  Added touch for authenticity: paper clip holding jeans zipper closed.
    4. Mom’s Dream Night: Flannel pajamas.  Accessories:  wine bottle (if it’s empty, don’t judge), favorite blanket, remote control, empty house.
    5. Yoga Master: Yoga pants, expensive top.  Accessories:  body double to properly wear yoga pants. Squeaky clean white sneakers.  Perky pony tail.  Unused gym membership.
    6. Car Pool Mom: Fleece comfy pants, untucked mismatched flannel shirt.  Accessories:  Wet wipes, travel mug, oversized sunglasses, snacks.
    7. Work at Home Executive: Fleece or sweatpants and comfortable slippers, stylish business jacket and professional blouse for video meetings via webcam.  Accessories:  Laptop, coffee mug (again, preferably filled), professional hair style and make up.
    8. Small Business Owner, Retail Version: Jeans, sweater, sneakers.  Accessories:  Mussed hair, cell phone set to nonstop ring, yellow legal pad full of numbers, IV full of coffee.
    9. Small Business Owner, Professional Version: Pants suit, low-heeled shoes.  Accessories:  Mussed hair, cell phone set to nonstop ring, yellow legal pad full of numbers, IV full of coffee.
    10. New Mom Outfit: Puke stained sweatshirt, sweatpants with holes, mismatched socks, tangled hair, perfectly dressed baby. Accessories:  Dark makeup under eyes, trashcan full of coffee, diaper bag stuffed with six weeks-worth of diapers, stroller bigger than most cars.

I wish I knew why “store-bought” Halloween costumes for women cost so much when there is so damn little fabric included.  Even worse, if you are over the age of forty, no one wants to see us in “sexy” vampire, witch, or maid outfits; that reality is a little too much for most party-goers.

Meanwhile, I see men’s costumes that cost a fraction of what women’s do and are way cooler.  Michael Myers?  Freddie Krueger?  Deadpool, Superman, the Incredible Hulk?  I live for a Halloween when men are “sexy Freddie,” “sexy Michael,” and “sexy Hulk.”  Picture it; low cut costumes and skimpy bottoms…

On second thought, maybe not.

Top Ten Ghost and Monster Reality Shows to Watch this Halloween

It’s the season for pumpkin spice, trick or treat, scary movie marathons, and ghostie and monster TV shows.  Especially ghostie and monster TV shows.  Don’t get me wrong, I love these shows for the sheer entertainment value.  It’s not that I don’t believe in ghosts, exactly; it’s that I don’t buy these ghost hunters for one moment.  Most people don’t realize these are heavily edited and scripted for maximum viewer impact.  That said, some seem more realistic than others, some are downright hilarious, and some just *may* make you wonder.  Here is a listing of some ghostie and monster hunting shows you may, or may not, want to check out.

Ghost Adventures

Follow the adventures of Zac Bagans and his crew, including the much-abused Aaron Goodwin, as they seek out haunted buildings that specifically feature nasty ghosties.  Zac must wear a respirator due to allergies when he is in old buildings, but more offensively, he wears it while investigating occupied houses, too.  No matter what the owners of the building claim, Zac is “immediately overcome by feelings of *fill in the blank*.”  He is constantly being “touched” by ghosts yet continues to challenge them despite his hilarious fear.  Poor Aaron is always sent to the most dangerous rooms, and usually shoved in from behind while Zac slams and locks the door behind him, lights off, alone, and against his will.  The show has a fair number of EVPs, orbs and other spooky happenings per episode.  Zak narrates the episodes with a dreary monotone voice that is somehow amusing in itself.

Boo Factor:  3 boos, for sheer entertainment value

Mountain Monsters

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you gave a set of self-professed hunters and trappers rifles and the freedom to track Bigfoot through the mountains while filming them bumbling, firing at trees, and falling over rocks in the forest at night?  Wonder no more; Mountain Monsters is classic goofy viewing for all audiences.  The crew chases a different iteration of Bigfoot (yes, apparently there are countless breeds of Bigfoot) each episode, creating elaborate traps to catch the monsters which, of course, they never do. The combination of stupidity and over-the-top dramatic acting, delivered in deep southern drawls (which, in any other context, I absolutely love), will make you laugh at loud.

Boo Factor: 3 boos, too funny to turn off

Ghost Stalkers

You may know Chad Lindberg from Fast and Furious as well as (ironically, perhaps) Supernatural (where, if you want to know, he played one of my fave side characters).  He teams up with author John Tenney to look not only for ghosts, but for portals that spirits use to travel from the beyond to our world.  Putting aside that Tenney will have you picturing Dragnet the entire time or that Chad can scream with the best of them, the entire premise is hilariously flawed as “portals” seem to be everywhere in every haunted location they visit.  Perhaps people should stop inviting these guys to parties?  They use a wide array of what looks like very expensive equipment but never really seem to catch any evidence whatsoever.  One person locks themselves into the location for half the night, then his partner does the same.  Each monitors the other from inside a van, with very dramatic narration delivered in such a monotone that it makes Zac Bagans seem like he is on speed in comparison. This show is a complete waste of time, unless men screaming and running through empty halls is your kind of entertainment.

Boo Factor:  1 Boo

Finding Bigfoot

This show takes a little more realistic and scientific approach to the hunt for Bigfoot.  A couple of researchers and one skeptic comb the US and check out potential clues, debunking several as they go while finding some compelling evidence as well.  This is a drama free show that may make you wonder if there is a big, hairy monster out there after all.

Boo Factor:  5 Boos for an intelligent quest without overacting and drama

Haunted Collector

What if it wasn’t your house that is haunted, but an item you have in the house?  That’s the premise with this show. It may be of interest to know that “Friday the 13th – the Series” had this idea years ago. I’m not saying that Haunted Collector stole borrowed the idea … just pointing out it’s been done. Anywho, these paranormal investigators somehow track ghostly activity to objects within the house.  At that point, Lead Investigator John Zaffis willingly takes on the burden of the haunted object, storing it in his basement full of other haunted objects.  Interestingly, the objects tend to be high value, rare, or of historic value. Go figure.  It’s still a fun and creepy romp, though.

Boo Factor:  3 Boos for the creepy premise

The Dead Files

If a show *might* make you believe, it *may* be this one.  At the very least, it’s a fun romp for an hour.  Amy Allan, psychic medium, and her partner the infinitely skeptical, tough, ex-New York homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi.  Amy Allan investigates the haunted sites at night, seeing spirits and filming what they are “telling” her, while Steve interviews occupants and researches the property.  The two supposedly never meet until the Big Reveal with the family after the investigation is over when, amazing surprise, all the facts from the two separate investigations add up perfectly.  Still, this is one of the better, far less over-reaching ghostie shows around and while you know it’s fake, well, what if it’s not?

Boo Factor: 4 Boos

Ghost Asylum

Hunky front man and lovable side investigators, these guys now have a live show presented every Friday night.  Known as the Tennessee Wraith Chasers, the team breaks out the usual equipment to investigate haunted locations live on TV, with watchers tweeting what they see as they monitor cameras themselves.  It’s kind of neat that the guys respond and investigate on things the viewers tweet to them in real time.  Prior to this, their show Ghost Asylum was a classic yuk-yuk fest, with them somehow miraculously catching spirits in home-made inventions to take back to their office and store in ghost chambers, just like Ghostbusters.  The show can be little other than ridiculous as it starts with a disclaimer that ghost hunting is dangerous and best left to professionals. Ummm… okey-dokey, guys.  Still, it’s a fun way to pass an hour.

Boo Factor: 4 Boos for the live show on Friday nights

Deep South Paranormal

Remember our bumbling deeply southern Bigfoot enthusiasts from Mountain Monsters?  What if this same type of chaw-chewing, bearded crew hunted ghosts with equipment instead of Bigfoot with rifles?  You will be spellbound by the group’s use of southern rock guitar to draw out spirits (who apparently like southern rock; who knew?), ridiculous homespun sayings, and love of grits.  Sadly, this show lacks the overacting of Mountain Monsters, which let’s face it, is why we watch Mountain Monsters.

Boo Factor:  1 Boo

Ghost Hunters

I couldn’t have this list without including the plucky plumbers who started it all; TAPS.  Sort of like a Hydrox is the original Oreo, this show laid the groundwork for all the rest.   Millions of viewers tuned in weekly to watch this ghost hunting duo justify dust orbs caught on film.  Compared to the shows that followed, this one is stripped to bare bones like EMF detectors and thermal cameras.  At one time TAPS was the “real deal,” in a manner of speaking, but has been overshadowed by its descendants and lacks the nonstop “evidence” displayed by them.

Boo Factor:  2 Boos

Josh Gates:  Destination Truth and Expedition Unknown

Josh Gates is an explorer whose shows cover a wide array of subject matter, from monsters, near death experiences and ghosts to lost treasures and myths.  His approach is very light hearted and fun, and his investigations are free of dramatic emotion; very straight forward and sincere.  As far as great shows covering all kinds of spooky and fun topics, this one is a must see.

Boo Factor:  5 Boos

So there they are, my top ten ghostie and monster hunting shows to watch, or not. I urge you to give them a look though. Seriously, they are nothing if not fun. Oh, and if you do, be sure and come back to leave your own “boo rating” below!

 

The Early Bird and All That …

So, even though it’s a month away, the stores are already selling Halloween candy by the bags full. Which is A-okay by me, quite frankly. This is one time when I appreciate the commercialism that drives this great country of ours. You’ll be impressed, I’m sure, to hear that in a self-serving an industrious effort to binge on sweets be prepared for fright night, I got my first round of inventory of candy today.

Okay, fine. If I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t think this batch is going to make it to October 31st. Ah, well. As my mother used to say: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.

 

Late Night Boogeyman Revisited

So with Halloween right around the corner and enough horror movies marathoning on t.v. to make my twisted little heart skip a beat, I’ve been thinking about monsters and ghosties and boogeymen more than usual. I thought I would revisit an entry I did a while back…to sort of garner a bit of sympathy or empathy (?) for the “other side” as it were.

Original Post ——

There was this movie that came out in 1989 called Little Monsters starring child-actor-of-the-decade Fred Savage and Howie Mandel in a career defining role as Maurice, the monster who lives under the bed in a world full of ghouls and goblins. Sort of like a live-action Monsters Inc. In the movie Fred Savage’s character gets taken into this netherworld and learns that those scary spirits under his bed are by and large pretty fun-loving dudes who just want to live their life and have a good time.

Why did this thought come to me? My mind is hard to shut off sometimes and one night when I was attempting (unsuccessfully) to doze off, I noticed the light in my bedroom closet had been left on. I didn’t remember leaving it on and couldn’t recall even being in the closet at all that day. It made me think about just how long the light had been burning before I noticed it. And then, as so often happens to me late at night (or any other time if I want to be completely honest), my mind wandered off the rails.

Lying there in bed I thought that maybe it wasn’t me who turned it on. Maybe it was a boogeyman. And if it’s a boogeyman, what if he’s afraid of the dark? What if all these monsters children grow up fearing are simply misunderstood creatures that have been swept under our beds or crammed into our closets because eons ago humans forced out all the boogeymen so we didn’t have to cohabit ? Is it possible that the monsters under our bed are refugees? Did we put them there centuries ago and now they only come out at night when they know we’ll be asleep so they won’t run into the scary humans?  But….they’re afraid of the dark.  So once in a while as the others are huddled around trash-can fires in their ghost world, a few adventurous boogeymen (probably children boogeymen…because I doubt the grown up boogeymen can control their kids at all times any better than we can control ours all the time) step out into a human’s closet and, frightened by the shadows and odd shapes that the clothes and sundry items make on the wall, they turn on the light.  Perhaps they are just misunderstood, much like Maurice and his brood, and we should really just hand them a flashlight instead of screaming at moving shadows.

That would definitely account for why my closet light is on…I mean it makes sense, right?  And if there really is a boogeyman in my closet who is afraid of the dark, who am I to get up and turn the light out on him thereby frightening him to death?  So I stayed in my warm, cozy bed, looking at the soft light beaming out from under the closet door and I pondered the various underworld creatures who might benefit from some night-lights and a little empathy.

Yes folks, this is what I think about as I’m trying to pass out after a long day. Maybe instead of worrying about spearheading humanitarian efforts to create a cross-species allegiance between humans and monsters I should just go to Walgreens and buy some Zzzzquil.

Please sir...can you spare a flashlight...??

Please sir…can you spare a flashlight…??

Happy-Merry Hallowgivingchristmas

Have you been to the stores lately? Have you!? It was bad enough when the stores were putting out their Halloween candy in July.  July, people. But now, now our treasured holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are being merged into one mega-holiday season. I don’t know if this phenomenon has hit your area yet, but in my town the stores have Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorations in adjacent aisles. Really retailers?  Just why?

There can be only answer: money. Retail stores will do 30% of their annual business during the “Christmas Season.” It makes sense to make the Christmas Season last for almost 70 days.  Even though the habit is being dialed back, many large retailers are now even open on Thanksgiving Day, denying their employees anything to be thankful for except overtime pay…and even that is not a guarantee given the existence of sneaky Scrooge-like scheduling gurus.

In a stroke of extreme irony, stores now have mega-sales on what is now known as Black Friday; the day after Thanksgiving. People wait in line all night to be among the first to buy something, anything that is on sale. On Thursday they give thanks for what they have, on Friday they are savagely punching and fighting people to get an X-Box or flat screen TV.  Finishing off the Thanksgiving weekend is White Monday. This is the online shopper’s day to stay planted in front of a computer searching for audacious online deals. Using this logic, I expect to see Magenta Tuesday for people to have their own Holiday Garage Sales.

Although, I will interject here – one of my favorite concepts is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is a day of actual GIVING – to charities big and small…so Magenta Tuesday better back the hell off.

I don’t want to sound curmudgeonly, but I really feel that the flattening of the traditional holiday “spikes” turns the last quarter of the year into an amorphous blob of festive displays, shopping guilt, jammed mall parking lots, and a false fear that I might forget to buy a gift for someone.

Someone somewhere is bound to capitalize on this frenzied commercialism by inventing color-coded bins for us to stash our stashes of gifts and decorations: Orange and Black for Halloween; Brown and Orange for Thanksgiving; and of course, Red and Green for Christmas.  This will allow us to keep order in our frenetic final days of the year. Sheesh, I can feel the stress coming on already.

Of course, this begs the question, “When will the madness end?” I don’t want to be forced to buy a brown bin with leaf decor for all the Autumnal Equinox goodies, or a pink bin with red hearts for all my Valentine’s Day gifts.

Am I being unreasonable? I just want to focus on Halloween until it’s time to focus on Thanksgiving.  When that’s over, I can set my sights on getting into the Christmas Spirit.

 

Jumping the Chocolate Loaded Gun

Okay, now I know it’s in the retailer’s best interest to get a jump on the competition, and as for the holidays, well, stores are getting an earlier and earlier start every year on when they put out their seasonal displays, that’s true. But come on people! This is getting freakin’ ridiculous!

 

So, yeah, this is the seasonal display at my local grocery store.

 

Trick or Treat anyone? Who cares if it’s 110 degrees out? Or I don’t know, that it’s July!?

 

I thought it was supposed to be “Christmas in July?” Not this “Halloween in July” bullshit.