Happy Autumnal Equinox! 40 days till Halloween, here’s a list of 40 days worth of spooky viewing suggestions. Naturally I had more than 40 movies so there are some double features in here. Keep in mind I said *spooky* not scary. Lots of gateway horror on here and things that personally conjure up Halloween vibes. This is not a deep cuts list, and I tried to stick to movies you could find readily available for streaming. Enjoy!
2. The Love Witch
3. The Burbs
4. Return to Oz
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer + What We Do In The Shadows
7. Psycho + The Birds
8. Re-Animator + Return of the Living Dead
9. Hocus Pocus – If you’ve followed along from day one, this puts us at October 1st and what better way to get into the mood than with the Sanderson Sisters?
10. The Addams Family
11. The Monster Squad
12. Over The Garden Wall
13. Are You Afraid of the Dark 2019 mini series + original episodes
14. Death Becomes Her
15. Frankenweenie + Young Frankenstein
16. Tucker and Dale Vs Evil
18. The Witches + The Worst Witch
19. Paranorman + Coraline
20. Little Shop of Horrors + Rocky Horror Picture Show
Happy Autumnal Equinox, creepies! I’m sure many of you have already begun your Halloween festivities, but it’s time to kick it into high gear. Here are 40 Octivities to fuel you through until Halloween. Some of these are Los Angeles or SoCal based because that’s where I am and many of you are as well. For those of you not in the area, find your local equivalent and if you’re feeling generous, share whatever creepy spots you find in your town. Halloween may be celebrated a bit differently this year, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still social-distance-celebrating the hell out of it!
Would love to see what you guys get up to this season. If you partake in any of these HorrorGirl Octivities please tag #Octivities2020 to share with me!
Spooky Movies + Spooky Snacks
Here’s a list if you need inspiration. As for snacks, sweet + salty kettle corn with a handful of candy corn tossed in is my favorite. Ween corn. Granted I do this most days, especially in the Fall. But adding it here as a single activity.
Go Halloween decor shopping or make some decorations
Take a Cemetery jaunt
If you’re in Los Angeles, Hollywood Forever is an obvious choice, but we have more to offer than this ultra famous mecca. Evergreen Cemetery is one of the oldest existing cemeteries in LA, resting place of over 400 carnival workers and circus performers, the Los Angeles Public Library’s first female head librarian, Mary Foy and several other notable graves. Also, did you know several areas of downtown LA are basically a Poltergeist situation? Some of the city’s earliest burial grounds were built in what is now Olvera Street, Cathedral High School and Ramon C. Cortines School. Not all remains were moved to a new resting place as intended and in the Fall of 2010, the remains of at least 100 people were unearthed during the construction of Plaza de Cultura y Artes. Those remains were eventually moved to a churchyard after first being stored in buckets and bags in the Natural History Museum of LA.
Take a walk around your neighborhood to look at Fall leaves and Halloween decor if you’re lucky
Dress up intermittently because why the hell not?
Slasher Saturdays. Werewolf Wednesdays. Theme out your Fridays, or your Mondays, or your every days because there’s no rules anymore.
Visit a pumpkin patch, or the grocery store… and bring some pumpkins home. Congratulations, your adopted glorious gourds are gorgeous.
Read (or listen to) a scary story
Stephen King, Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson are some of my favorites. I’ll also have some short horror stories coming up on the podcast for your aural pleasure, featuring some kickass authors.
Bake/Decorate Halloween cookies (And send me some if you wanna’. But hold the cyanide. Thanks)
Eat/Drink a Pumpkin flavored something Extra points if it’s a weird one
Pound some Hot Cider
You should actually sip it because hot drinks consumed rapidly sounds dangerous
Decorate your home for Halloween
Send Halloween Postcards or treat packages to your Fiends
Well, well, well, if it isn’t Jack Skellington borrowing Christmas traditions and making them spooky
Go Apple picking
I didn’t realize there seems to be a lot of hate for this activity, but I’ll just be over here romanticizing the hell out of it and enjoying all the crisp apple goodness
Plan your Halloween Costume!
Recreate a Scene from your favorite horror film
Grab your camera and re-enact an iconic horror scene, or snap a still
Visit Bearded Lady/Mystic Museum + Halloweentown
If you can get to Burbank, this little row of multiple creepy stores is like a Halloween Town haven. If you’re not in the area, look up your local creepy small businesses or buy something from the Mystic Museum or Halloweentown website
If you’re looking for some very legit props or decor, check out Dapper Cadaver. Sadly the LA location has closed, but you can still shop online and if you’re in Wisconsin… you’re in luck. Dapper Cadaver now calls Madison, WI home.
Make candy or caramel apples
I’m a purist. I go for caramel and I don’t put a lot of shit on mine. Actually, I put zero shit on mine, just caramel. But if that’s your thing, go wild and bedazzle that bad boy. But… with edible stuff. Go nuts with the nuts. Or cookies or sprinkles or whatever it is people put on fancy apples.
Research some creepy local history (and then tell me about it!! Hometown horror is my jam)
For the LA peeps, there’s a sordid cornucopia to choose from but may I suggest this double feature: Millenium Biltmore and the Sowden House. Not only is the Millenium Biltmore gorgeous, it’s also reportedly haunted and on January 9th, 1946 …allegedly one of the last places Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia) was seen alive. (Unrelated, but cool… Ghostbusters was also shot here). The Sowden House is strange and beautiful; designed by Lloyd Wright, and former residence of Dr. George Hodel. Though he wasn’t named as a suspect at the time of the investigation, Hodel is perhaps the most likely suspect in the murder of Elizabeth Short, and it’s likely the basement of this beautiful home was home to some sinister activities. (To learn more about the case and the recent evidence uncovered by Dr. George Hodel’s son, check out Root of Evil podcast)
Does your town have any local horror movie locations? Research it and visit one.
Again, LA peeps have lots to choose from. Let’s go with some franchise giants, A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween. Visit Nancy and Glen’s houses from Elm Street1428 N. Genesee Ave., Los Angeles. Laurie Strode’s house from Halloween1115 Oxley St., South Pasadena Channel your inner scream queen and pose with the pumpkin a la Jamie Lee Curtis. The hedge The Shape hides behind is about a mile away @ 1019 Montrose Avenue
Sugarmynt is a local horror art gallery located in South Pasadena. They’re currently hosting their sixth annual Haunted Haddonfield exhibit. The gallery also does movie screenings in their backyard and The Three Michaels (AKA The Jazz Cartel, a jazz trio comprised of band members dressed in various outfits worn by Michael Myers in the original movie) have been gracing the gallery with their live performances of the movie score. Extra extra bonus- Michael Myers’ house is right next door. If you’re not local, check out Sugarmynt’s website to see the art currently on display and also look into local horror galleries near you.
Visit a Corn Maze!!!
Get lost, ya creep! My obsession with corn mazes probably stems from the same origin as the majority of my obsessions. I didn’t have access to it as a kid and I saw it in a whole lot of movies. Which is also probably why I was so drawn to living in an area where so many of my favorite movies were shot. Cinematic romantic at your service.
Bake an apple pie
I’ve never done this, but this seems like a good year to give it a go! I’ll show you my apple pie experiment if you show me yours. In my ideal fantasy Fall scenario, I will be attempting this with the apples I literally picked off of the trees from which they grew, with my own hands! But if that doesn’t happen, store bought is cool too.
I hope you have some horror themed bars near you because there’s nothing like the ambiance of a horrific watering hole. Was really looking forward to this pre-Knott’s Scary Farm tradition, obviously we have to skip it this year, BUT The Cauldron is still open for to-go orders and patio seating. Go get witchy.
Few things in life make me as happy as Phantom Carriage Brewery. While we may not be able to enjoy the spooky ambiance of the Phantom Carriage theater, we can still enjoy their delicious brews to go. Fun riffs on horror titles, and it’s not just a gimmick, they genuinely brew up delicious stuff.
Yes, I fully realize we are quite spoiled here with very cool eateries and breweries. If you’re not in SoCal I hope you look into finding and supporting your cool local vendors because I sure as hell want to see all these places thriving so we can visit again when the time comes.
Support Indie Filmmakers and Artists
Find a local artist you like and share their work/buy something from them.
Take a drive and look at Halloween yard displays
I believe the official term for this is “yard gawking” or “yawking”
Buy a pumpkin roll or creepy cookie kit from Moe_Sweetz
These pumpkin rolls are quickly becoming locally famous, get your order in early, she sells out quick!
Head into the kitchen and try your hand at one of Kaci’s creepy recipes. What’s it gonna’ be? Candyman Severed Hand Honeybuns? The Last Drive In Lone Star Beer Jambalaya?
Bob for apples in water or jelly (apparently that’s a thing)
In my fantasy Fall version, I’m using the apples I picked from the orchard for this activity as well. Also, probs have your own apples and your own apple bobbing receptacle cause you know… COVID. Temporairly gone are the days of deep throating apples, getting them all slobbery and then passing it along to the next person to have a go.
Consume as many pumpkin flavored delicacies as you can in one day
Ok, I actually really want to see who can document the most pumpkin flavored treats in the course of one day! Also really curious to see what you guys find that’s outside of the typical pumpkin flavored fare.
Carve or decorate pumpkins!
Show me your masterpiece. My pumpkin last year was the worst I’ve ever carved in my life. This year… sweet redemption will be mine.
Look up haunted locations in your area and take a self guided spooky tour
For SoCal peeps I was going to suggest the Queen Mary buuut they’re COVID-CLOSED so may I suggest the most sinister Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker) and serial killer Jack Unterweger both took up residence here for a spell. But that wasn’t this property’s only brush with death. Murder in the 20s and 30’s, suicides in the 60’s, and perhaps most famously now… the mysterious unsolved murder of Elisa Lam in 2013.
Lam was reported missing but it wasn’t until hotel guests complained about low water pressure that the young woman’s body was found in a rooftop water tank. This means, yes… hotel guests were bathing, brushing their teeth and possibly drinking the contaminated water. The surveillance footage from the night Lam went missing is very bizarre, she seems to be interacting with someone we never see. This is one that has really stuck with me over the years, maybe eerily relatable, heartbreakingly tragic and it seems no promising leads as of yet. This haunted hotel has since rebranded as Stay On Main [edit: it looks like it’s currently closed. Not sure if that is temporary or for good] But you can still walk by, peek inside, view the water towers from the street. Cecil Hotel was also the inspiration behind American Horror Story: Hotel, and for good reason. Is it possible for a place to be a virtual vortex of evil? Because if so, this sure seems like a good candidate for Hub of Hell.
Make a spooky terrarium or try another creepy craft
Like everything else this year, Halloween will look quite a bit different. No, Halloween is not cancelled, ya’ spooky bitches. It’s a lifestyle. A frame of mind. A way of existing in the world. And for those of you who embrace that spirit in October alone, you can still embrace it for 31 days in 2020. Haunts as we have come to know them, however, are most definitely cancelled. BUT there are some new reimagined haunt experiences happening and I will compile a list here. This is all new so at this point I obviously cannot vouch for the safety or the awesomeness of the haunts listed below. But take this information, check out each haunt’s specific safety precautions, grab your masks and maybe go get the hell scared outta you in your car. Everyone is hungry for haunts and they are in limited supply, so I’d advise you to jump on tickets quickly if you find something you like because this year more than any other, demand far outweighs supply.
Urban Legends drive through experience @ OC Fair and Event Center October 1st – November 1st Starting at $49.99 per vehicle. 45 min experience
La Haunted Hayride Drive-Up Experience @ San Dimas Select nights September 25th – Nov 1st. Tickets starts at $49.99 for two people
The Bite LA Halloween Food Crawl + Creature Safari @ Legg Lake includes 8 Bites, campfire dessert, fall-favorite warm beverage and immersive entertainment and since this will all be enjoyed from within your vehicle… there will also be a car costume contest. Experience lasts just over an hour. Early bird tickets start @ $105 for 2 person car, $39/person for 5-person car. Prices increasing soon.
Into The Black @ Rancho Cucamonga Walk-through haunt “Follow in the footsteps of a paranormal investigative team as they explore the infamous “Black House”- an eerie Victorian mansion that once housed a family notorious for Devil Worship. Are you brave enough to explore the Black House? Groups of 1-2 guests will be allowed to venture Into the Black and to discover what lies within. After you survive the “Black House” you will immediately enter the macabre Haunted Market featuring dark and spooky vendors.” October 1st-31st Tickets start @$25
Corona Haunt This is a FREE event, reservations are sold out but it is possible to join a “virtual line” for standby. (No actual physical standby line this year) October 22-25 + 29-31
*Family Friendly Nights of the Jack Drive-thru @King Gillette Ranch October 1st – November 1st. Tickets start at $69/ per vehicle. “Expect to see some larger than life pumpkin installations as well as detailed artist depictions of your favorite movie stars, sports heroes and animated characters.” 25 min experience
*Family FriendlyHaunt-O-Ween Drive-thru experience @ Woodland Hills October 9th-31st $70 per vehicle (includes a pumpkin of your choice, candy, video op, “photo friendly environments” 25-35 min experience
UPDATE 9/21 Reign of Terror walk through has been cancelled for the 2020 season 😦
Sometimes you’re in the mood for some happy hearted Halloween goodness minus the horror and gore. As much as I love the horror and gore, I get it! So here’s a list of flicks to get you in the Halloween spirit, even if you’re not a horror hound. And if you are a horror hound… these can still be a lot of fun to round out your October watch list.
These movies will last you longer than a fēowertīene niht,
they may even last you through October’s end.
In the words of one Alex DeLarge…. “Viddy this.”
Labor Day digs a traditional grave to lay sunshine and beach frolics to rest as our Summer of Screams comes to an end. August offerings provided an appetizer, if you will, for the real meat of the year. September 23rd is the Fall equinox and the fact that the calendar reads “September” at all heralds Autumn in the midst of these hellish temps. So here we go… a list of goodies to launch us into full fledged haunt season. I’ll be updating this, as always. For now… enjoy. Continue reading By The Pricking of My Thumbs…. THE HAUNTS ARE COMING!→
It’s maximum melting weather for us baby vamps, but not to worry… here’s an array of climate controlled activities (many involving darkened theaters), to keep the spooky spirit alive all summer long. Your humble Horrorgirl is LA based, so aside from nationwide movie release dates… this list is tailored for you SoCal Creeps: