This Is Halloween, Part Three

Welcome back to my Halloween series, where I recap each year we have traveled to Orlando for Halloween Week!  If you’re catching up, you can see Part One here and Part 2 here.

2012 is my favorite year so far for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party but first, let’s cover Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) at Universal Studios.  Here’s what it looked like:

I don’t typically go through the haunted houses because I actually believe the best scares don’t originate in blood and guts.  I think true terror is in the mind.  The most disturbing horror movie I’ve ever seen, that still haunts me to this day, is The Mothman Prophecies.  No blood.  No guts.  But it fucks with your mind.  I’m a horror snob.  Okay, fine, I’m a pussy but I just don’t like the cheap thrill of slasher films.

When I started reading the buzz surrounding an independent concept house for HHN 2012, I knew I had to see it.  It called to me just like the Edgar Allan Poe house had the year before.  It was called Gothic.  I’ll let one of the reviews I read by Inside The Magic sum it up for me.

“The most immersive, detailed, and impressive maze at Halloween Horror Nights 22, Gothic surrounds its visitors with room after room of rich environments with an incredible level of realism. The setting is an old cathedral, now under renovation, much to the dismay of the spirits that haunt the location. Those spirits all arrive in the form of gargoyles, guarding the cathedral by day and haunting it by night.

The sheer size of the sound stage-based maze is staggering. With two- to three-story individual rooms, guests find themselves looking up and around as the architecture serves as an excellent misdirection away from the lurking gargoyles. This house is also packed with unique moments, including several overhead flying creatures, a wonderfully surprising stilt walker, and two of the most beautiful and inventive scenes ever created at Halloween Horror Nights. One tricks the eye into feeling like guests are standing high above a huge church, looking down on its altar and pews, while the other utilizes hundreds of candles that extinguish in sequence leading up to a surprise moment.”

So once again, I paid Landon $5 and he went in ahead of me, my fingers securely hooked around his belt loops as per our tradition, screaming my head off.  This is what we saw.

I wish the video could have captured the part where it looked like you were walking very high up over the church, pews and altar below.  Everything about this house was beautiful, if a haunted house can be called that.

An hour later, we were walking through another section of the park and I noticed the couple who had went through the house in front of me and Landon.  They were pointing and laughing at me.  I didn’t realize I was that much of a handful going through the houses but I’m giving Landon a raise.  He gets $10 for dealing with me holding onto his belt loops, cowering behind him and screaming in his ear this year.

Here are some pictures from HHN 2012.

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) 2012 is my favorite year so far because our costumes kicked ass.  I won’t even attempt to be all coy and shit.  We kicked every other family there in the ass.  Repeatedly.

Seriously, Landon stole the show as Uncle Fester, Gracie was an amazing Wednesday and E and I didn’t do too bad with our roles as Morticia and Gomez.  It was the most fun we’ve had so far.  We got stopped numerous times by people requesting pictures with us.  Landon hammed it up with his light bulb that really worked.  E had Thing on his shoulder along with the necessary Gomez cigar (it was fake).

There are downfalls to awesomeness sometimes, though.  On Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain, I had to scream repeatedly “Hold on to your wigs!”  Thing almost flew off of E’s shoulder while we were riding Space Mountain.  Gracie was sitting behind him and caught it.  Even with all the near costume malfunctions, these are my favorite costumes so far.  I proposed we make it our yearly costumes but was vetoed by the family.  After this year’s costumes, they may be begging to return to The Addams Family.

Here are some pictures from MNSSHP 2012.

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One more year, y’all!  Thanks for sticking with me.  I will cover 2013 later this week.  2014 costume preparations are fast and furious.  I can’t let myself think about it or I’ll panic.  It’ll be epic.  I can’t wait.

Do you like haunted houses?  Does your town have an annual Halloween event with houses or trails?  Tell me in the comments!  Also, tell me what horror movie still fucks with you to this very day.  C’mon.  I showed you mine.  Now you show me yours.

This Is Halloween, Part Two

Welcome back to my series covering my family’s annual Halloween trip to Orlando.  We are covering the second year we went, which was 2011.  Go back to Part 1 if you don’t love me and aren’t refreshing your web browser every 15 minutes, hoping I’ve posted something new.  Go on.  Look at Part 1.  I’ll wait.

First, a little housekeeping.  I’m a sucky blogger and forgot to include footage from the very first Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) we attended, which happened to be the 20th Anniversary.  Universal welcomed back HHN icons from the previous 19 years and it was amazing.  I think this sums up the event pretty well.

I should also note that Gracie was 10 years old when we attended our first HHN.  We truly didn’t know what we were getting into but she survived the first one and there was no turning back after that.  We tried to avoid the most populated Scare Actor areas.  She mostly hated the chainsaws and still hates the sound of them today.   The chainsaws are music to my ears and let me know that I’m at HHN.

Moving on, here’s a peek at our second HHN in 2011.  Check out the cool projections about the 4:30 mark.  It looked like the buildings were crumbling.  Gracie and I really enjoyed watching this as we were hiding from the Scare Actors.

I don’t do haunted houses and did not go through any at our first HHN but then Universal announced that 2011 would offer a house based on Edgar Allan Poe’s works.  I could not resist.  I’m a huge Edgar Allan Poe fan and had to see it, debilitating fear be damned.  I paid Landon $5 to go in with me and I hid behind him, my fingers through his belt loops and screamed like a little girl.  But I loved every minute of it.  I wish we could have just stopped and taken in the beautiful house scenery because it was like walking into Poe’s works.  It was amazing.

Here are some pictures from our second HHN, 2011.

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2011’s costumes for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) were all about the kids.  Okay, and a bit about us.  Both of them love Harry Potter because E and I read the books long before our kids could read.  We could not wait to introduce them to the HP series via book or movies as soon as we possibly could.  They loved it, and still do, as much as we do.

This is the first year E had to shave his beard off because Snape the character dictated it.  Just a tip, if you want full grown ladies to yell “Snape” at you all night long and ask if they can get a picture with you, go as Snape for Halloween in Orlando.  All we heard the entire night was “Snape!”  It was awesome.  Check out the last photo below where you can see the shadows on the sidewalk.  Perfect Snape silhouette.  I normally don’t kiss and tell but I totally made out with Snape on the Haunted Mansion ride.  Don’t tell Professor Lupin.

Landon was Harry Potter himself, Gracie was Hermione and I was Tonks.

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I’m going to try to finish this series within the next week because 2014 Halloween preparations here are stepping up and my time is increasingly valuable.  We leave for Orlando in two weeks! Two weeks, that’s crazy!  I am taking pictures of the process and can’t wait to post those pictures after the big reveal of this year’s costumes on October 30th.  It is going to be crazy epic.  I did a full dress rehearsal with Gracie last night and it turned out so much better than even I expected.  I absolutely cannot wait to unveil these to y’all.

In the meantime, I hope you’re having a great week!  If you’re dressing up for Halloween this year, tell me what you’re going to be in the comments.

This Is Halloween, Part One

My family loves Halloween.

This is usually exactly when the person I’m talking to or chatting with on Facebook says/writes “Oh, we do, too!”

No.  You don’t understand the level of our Halloween craziness.  Your $50 worth of 100% real juice fruit snacks for the neighborhood rug munchers (I once called toddlers that and my friend Lucinda immediately started laughing and informed me that I was using the wrong term but I’m sticking with “rug munchers”, damn it) and traditional delightful kitty cat costume isn’t really the same thing.  Bless your heart.

We used to live in a gated community in Texas where lots of young families lived.  Halloween was fun and festive and busy.  We’d answer our door and give the little rug munchers candy (not that fruit shit, damn it, it’s Halloween, people!) for about an hour, then we’d leave the huge bowl of future diabetes and death on our porch and the Honor System would reign while we took our kids around the neighborhood for their turn at the chocolate.  Or fruit snacks.  Bastards.

When we moved to Alabama, we chose an older home in an older neighborhood.  Newsflash:  80 year olds don’t like to trick or treat.  Our first Halloween here sucked.  It sucked so bad I think I would’ve taken those fruit snacks.

As the next Halloween was barreling down on us, I looked into going out of town, specifically to Disney World for their annual Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  This after hours, ticketed event happens during select nights in September and October and families are encouraged to dress up in costume.

I also discovered during that time that Universal Orlando was celebrating the 20th anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights.  It is also an after hours, ticketed event held on select nights in September and October.  Costumes are not allowed due to their Scare Actors, haunted houses, etc.

Our first year at Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) couldn’t have been better due to the 20th anniversary.  They brought several of the marquee “bad guys” back from previous years in celebration and it was mind blowing.  We had found our people.

Here are some pictures from our first HHN.  We really didn’t take that many because we were so overwhelmed by the event.

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Our first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) was also quite the event but much more family friendly.  We decided it would be more fun to go in themed costumes so with the popularity of Alice In Wonderland that year, we went with it.

Landon initially refused to be the Mad Hatter so we called a family conference.  I talked to Gracie beforehand and told her that we were going to offer him $20 to go as the Mad Hatter.  She was all in.  He rejected our $20 bribe and Gracie immediately slapped her hand on the coffee table and said “Okay, 50 bucks”! without consulting us.  He agreed to the $50, E and I noted that Gracie was a really shitty negotiator and have since elected not to include her in any costume bribery.

Landon turned out to be the hit of the night.  There were a few other Mad Hatters but none better than he was.  He stole the show from all of us (and that wasn’t the last time he “stole” our Disney thunder but more on that in Part 2) and he enjoyed every single minute of it.  Here are a few pics from that night.

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We have returned for both events ever since.  This will be our fifth year of celebrating Halloween week in Orlando and we are just as excited for it as we were the first time.

This year’s costumes are a secret and there have already been a few incorrect guesses from friends on Facebook.  I will reveal the costumes, with us in them, on October 30th, the night we attend the MNSSHP.

This will be our most epic year ever for costumes but before I get too far ahead of myself, I will be doing blog posts on each year we’ve attended the events and also include pictures of all our past costumes.

Stay tuned!  And return those 100% real juice fruit snacks to Walmart.  I mean it.