The Gleeful Gourmand: A Halloween Tale For You

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Halloween Tale For You

I apologize for the lack of posts recently. Remember how my camera broke at the beginning of the summer? Well, I got a new one and it takes gorgeous pictures. Especially of food! And then I went and lost the computer cable it came with to upload photos. In the midst of that my phone broke down with complete finality, and also my computer decided to get in on the act and start working against me. I had to send it out to get it fixed (thanks Kristen and Carter!). It seemed as though technology was literally fleeing from me, but now I have my computer back, and I give you this, without pictures:

As it nears Halloween, visions of cute pumpkins, darling cut-out ghosts, plenty of treats and candy, and maybe even setting up a “spooky” graveyard in the front yard come to mind. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie! Dressing up babies in adorable tiny costumes.

And zombies.

The living dead, walking the earth bloodied, mangled, and with bits of flesh hanging from their lurching (or sometimes incredibly fast, depending on which movie you’re watching) bodies. Certain doom to those who have a pulse.

Zombies are kind of a new thing when it comes to Halloween. For centuries it was all about devils and witches and goblins. And then Hollywood came calling, and with it the horror industry, playing on our darkest fears. Things that used to be alive, and who no longer are, who want to eat your brains. BRRAAAAIIINS!!! That’s really scary stuff. At least, it’s really scary stuff if you’re me.

So, here’s one story I always think of around Halloween: The year was 2005, and Buck and I were engaged. I had declared this year, in addition to my impending nuptials; “Comfort Zone 2005!” This declaration meant that I was supposed to do stuff outside of my personal comfort zone. These were tasks that I had declared too uncomfortable or scary to try. Included in this list was trying sushi (had it, liked it within reason), oysters (hated them), climbing Cadillac Mountain in Maine (accomplished!), and walking a half marathon (also accomplished!).

Also, to watch a zombie movie in the actual movie theater where I could not turn it off, or just get up and go to another room when it got too intense. This was a really hard one for me, but I was determined. I chose the remake of “Dawn of the Dead,” and I was actually kind of excited about it because one of the stars was Sarah Polley, and I loved Sarah Polley! At least, I loved her when I was a little kid and watched “Avonlea” on the Disney Channel (which didn’t have any zombies in it). She’s a great actress, and has matured into an even better director.

So what was the big deal? The big deal is that zombies really, truly freak me out. More than any imagined horror out there. I watched the original “Night of the Living Dead” with my Dad when I was in middle school and I never really recovered. That’s right. I never fully recovered from a cheesy, shaky black and white movie when special effects were but a twinkling in Hollywood’s eye. But there was a particular scene that was my undoing: When the little girl becomes a zombie and kills her mom with a garden trowel. I swear I cannot look at a trowel now without thinking of that scene, and that’s rather unfortunate because I’m an avid gardener.

This new movie wasn’t so bad. I mean, it was intense and I had a hard time not hiding behind my hands all the time. I even stayed to the end past the credits, when they showed how our previously thought saved heroes were, in fact, doomed. And some more gross stuff.  Spooky, but manageable.

Oh, who was I kidding?? It was horrifying, and I was exhausted from how tense I had been for the full two hours. Anyway, on our way home we had to stop at Sheetz to get gas. This was okay. A brightly lit place. The windows were down and I remember that KC and the Sunshine Band’s “That’s The Way I Like It” was playing on the speakers. I bopped along, trying to shove the images I had just seen out of my head. I was going to be okay. Right. The reality was, I was completely freaked out.

Little did I know, but Buck had somehow decided that a little joke should be played on me. A prank, if you will. So there I was, completely strung out in the front seat, and there he was, creeping along the back of the car, staying out of sight. He got to my window and then popped up suddenly, plastering himself against the frame. I screamed so loud that everyone around us looked over, and then I burst into tears. I could not stop crying because he had scared me so badly, and because I was still so tense from the damn movie. Buck felt really bad, opened my door and started comforting me immediately. Well, comforting me and laughing. A lot.

Needless to say, I haven’t seen a zombie movie since. I can barely look at a magazine if it features shots from AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” And if my kids ever want to watch one with me, I’m going to feed them my mom’s line from long ago, which I always thought was lame and in the fraidey-cat category: “No thanks, those things give me nightmares.”

Now go make these cute Ghostly Cake Pops. Happy Halloween. 


Kirsten Oliphant said...

I'm sorry--but I laughed at the story of Buck scaring you and you crying. Nothing worse than a good scare gone wrong. It's interesting that you were so disturbed by the trowel scene because I was ridiculously disturbed by something similar-ish. I watched Children of the Corn with friends in 9th grade, and though I loved horror, I walked out. There was a scene in the beginning with kids locking their parents in a diner and killing them all. It was horrible. Maybe something about the seemingly innocent actually killing? I don't know. I love the Walking Dead. Love. But it's okay that you don't.

Elizabeth said...

Jenna, are you going to let your girls garden? bah ha ha ha!

Next time, watch Sean of the Dead. Little easier to watch. and probably the only zombie movie i've watched.

Jenna said...

Kiki, it's okay that you laughed. It is a funny story in retrospect. I agree with you about the innocent doing dastardly things.

Liz, I have seen Shawn of the Dead, and while I liked it and laughed a lot, it still freaked me out.

alison althouse said...

I'm right there with you on being freaked out by that stuff.... I'm also ridiculously frightened of clowns and anything with a mask. It's just one of those things I avoid... so now, M hands out the candy on Halloween and I try and ignore the holiday altogether. Hope you and yours have a great Halloween! xoxo

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