Get into the Halloween Spirit!
Life in the Dallas area doesn't provide a whole lot of color-changing leaves during autumn like living in the Midwest does. Half the time it even feels like summer around here! Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I'm absolutely obsessed with all things Halloween. Anything to do with pumpkins, ghosts, creepies, and crawlies... you name it- I'm there! Naturally, as a Magician and Mentalist, I feel like it's my duty to make October my favorite month. A nice little cherry on top is that my birthday, my wife's birthday, and our wedding anniversary are all clustered within my favorite month! Anyway, here are a few ways your favorite magician and mentalist gets into the spooky spirit while living in Dallas!
1. Decorating the Yard
On the eve of October, I'm already dreaming up what I want our yard to look like. All year round, my wife has the front yard full of perfectly trimmed boxwoods, mandevilla, and rosemary. But when October rolls around, that all goes out the window and it gets covered in spider webs and body parts.
A few years back I made some incredibly realistic tombstones for the yard, by following an online tutorial. They were very time-consuming, but well-worth it! The major supplies needed for these durable tombstones are pink foam insulation, a Dremel, Dry-Lock, and some plywood. Anyway, these things have adorned my yard for about 6 years now, and they've been able to withstand some intense Texas weather. Even though they weigh about 10 pounds each, they've been flipped over by strong winds, and they've even survived a storm that tore down several panels of my yard's fence! They've all stood the test of time except for one that got too badly damaged.
I also keep the yard well-stocked with skeletons, (plastic) body parts, dry ice effects, and light effects. Naturally, we get a lot of trick-or-treaters, and we've inspired multiple homes on our neighborhood to join in on the decorating fun. Side note: One year I bought a real casket and I told the kids they had to reach in to get their candy. Somehow that was the scariest thing to date. A lot of them were too scared to get candy!
2. Binge Watching Scary Movies
To get into the ghostly mood, I like to crank out the scary movies all throughout October. Everything from the lighthearted Disney's Haunted Mansion (I don't care what people say, I love this movie), to the more intense Rosemary's Baby and Trick R Treat- it's all fair game in my book.
Another that's probably a staple in most households is Hocus Pocus; we never miss it! Last year we actually watched Hocus Pocus while on a camping trip! We brought along a projector and a big white sheet, and played it so a large group could enjoy the movie outside. Maybe we should have opted for Friday the 13th, to creep everyone out when they went to sleep in their tents.
3. Adding New Items to My Curiosity Collection
One of my many hobbies is collecting curiosities, oddities, and random items of historical or geographical importance. I've been lucky enough to acquire some of these items throughout my travels.
I suppose I'm always in the mood to buy if I happen to spot a particular curiosity, but it just seems more fun to make these purchases during the month of October. Just a few days ago, I added a taxidermy Piranha! I think my most prized acquisition is the human skull. Some other heavy hitters are water from Loch Ness, a rock from Mount Everest, various taxidermy pieces, used mortician's tools, and a piece of coal taken from the Titanic's debris field. The coal is one of my favorites because the Titanic was recently declared a grave site, so no more items can ever be taken from the debris field. Although it's only a piece of coal, I still think it's pretty cool, considering where it came from. It can sometimes be difficult to find these items in the Dallas area, but I've been lucky enough to stumble upon a few hidden gems.
4. Visiting Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights
My wife and I have attended this nearly every year for the past 6 years. COVID messed up our streak! It's a pretty intense event that's not for the faint of heart! The park is open as normal during the day, but it closes right around sunset. They have a special waiting area set aside for Halloween Horror Nights ticket holders, where you wait until the park is cleared out. When you're able to re-enter, the park is littered with "scare zones" that are sometimes unavoidable (again, not for the faint of heart), as well as some incredible haunted houses.
The scare zones get pretty creative and they're always themed really well. One of the creepiest scare zones was "The Purge". The scare actors had the creepy masks on, and snuck up on park guests with weapons, and some even charged at guests, darting in another direction at the last second. They've also done 1950's Vampires, creepy dolls, zombies, and Dead Man's Wharf. As for the haunted houses, some of my favorites have been Stranger Things, Krampus, Universal Monsters, and Tomb of the Ancients. It's so much fun to see the level of creativity and detail that goes into these experiences. Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom also hosts Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. It's obviously geared towards families with children, however, adults can enjoy it just as much as children. It's the one time of year the Disney allows costumes in the park, and even adults can participate in the generous trick-or-treating stations! It's also nice because a limited number of tickets are sold for each night's party, so the park is never crowded, lines are never long, and you get to experience different things that are not available during normal park hours. I highly recommend attending this party, whether you're traveling with kids or not!
This was just a short dive into my usual month of October. Sure, I'm doing some magic and mentalism along the way too, but my main agenda is focused on how to scare those neighborhood kids! You'd better believe that I'm happy all month long, simply because Halloween is on its way, and I get to eat as much candy as I want!