Tag Archives: Retro Halloween

Halloween 4 Is The GOAT For Halloween Nostalgia

I’m slightly obsessed with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers as this is the Halloween film I probably watched most as a kid on VHS. Growing up with a father who saw the original in theaters and is just as obsessed with the series, fate would have it that this love for the franchise would trickle down the gene pool as well. Hell, I even find a bit of charm in Dangertainment for fuck’s sake. That’s commitment; and I’ll fight you to the death if you utter any slight against Season of the Witch. However, as much as I love all the films and the original is an untouched classic that will forever hold the top spot as Halloween cinema champion, Halloween 4 is the GOAT for retro Halloween fuzzies and the best film in the series to put you into that spooky season feeling.

The opening credits

I’d be hard pressed not to say this might be the BEST opening in the entire franchise. Had Loomis not screamed, “You don’t know what death is,” and had a skull pumpkin intro in Halloween II, well then shit there would be no contenders. The opening sequence here to the long-awaited return of the Shape after fans booed Halloween III into the pits of cinematic hell (only to be resurrected beautifully later), is the perfect stage of sinister Autumn ambience set in the silent, yet spooky Midwest. The simplicity of this adds an uneasiness to the air, that something evil is lurking and foreshadowing the chaos to come. And that’s something the 80s’ is infamous for via the Halloween holiday. The simplicity of it all with janky homemade decor strung about that adds a slight edge over any animatronic you might find at any Halloween superstore. It’s eerie as fuck and captures the setting of a 1988 Halloween small Midwestern town perfectly. As a matter of fact, this opening alone needs all the awards. Can we make make that happen already?

Jamie’s School

The scenes’ in Jamie’s school are both frustrating and beautifully nostalgic. While you want to punch the shit out of these kids for saying these awful things to this poor kid, the scenic atmosphere that rings all the nostalgic bells in my Spidey Senses go off at a flashgun rate. From the noisy plastic costumes with the Ben Cooper masks, to the die-cut Halloween décor plastering the halls of the school, it makes for one HELL of a nostalgia-fest; including the bullying aspect. We’ve all been there- hopefully not to this extent, but we all know kids can be ruthless bastards.

Vincent’s Drug Store

Aside from the opener, Vincent’s Drug store scene is my absolute favorite part in this movie. My Goddess it’s like a wave of childhood memories drowns me in my own nostalgic mojo goo. Aside from all that, it’s a fairly crucial scene as this is where Michael picks up his mask for the movie. Dwight H. Little did an excellent job here much like with the rest of the film, capturing the ambience of a 1980s’ Mom and Pop shop during the Halloween holiday season. I’ve studied this scene dozens of times. it’s a fun little activity if you’re bored, and there are a TREASURE TROVE of Halloween memories found within Vincent’s Drug. Apart from the cool wall of masks, I’m sure most fans of the film have seen what I’m talking about it here, but in case you need a refresher…

Like a Garbage Pail Kids plastic costume!

Halloween Blow-Molds! *Upper right corner*

And of course the infamous dangly spider we all had along with a Nightmare Makeup Kit!

And finally, the 80s’ ambience of trick or treating

Aside from Halloween III, the Halloween films don’t really focus on this all important aspect of the holiday. In H4 however, we got a whole part of the movie dedicated to it as a set-up to the looming evil that is following Jamie and Rachel. Something about the gloomy blue and black hues scored with a bunch of kids running around in their garbage bag costumes just gets me feeling fuzzy about the whole thing. Also, the Halloween decorations (again) give into that nostalgic feeling of happiness. Numerous jointed skeletons are found in this movie. And I can’t seem to get enough of them.

So there it is. The GOAT for Halloween movie nostalgia. I SAID IT. If you don’t own it, pick it up for yourself; I highly suggest the new 4K version here from Amazon!

Halloween In The 80s’ Ruled- And Why It Remains Unmatched To Today’s Standards

Chances are you’re opening up this article and saying, ” Yeah, yeah… nostalgia and shit, blah, blah, blah…” And while yes nostalgia does have some weight to this, I’m here to make my case as to why this is more than sweet, childhood memories. Halloween in the 80s’ were a magical time that doesn’t seem to hit home by today’s standards. The simplicity of it has been lost by flashy, cheap décor, over-the-top while underwhelming haunted houses, and what little treats given on Halloween night that are simply pathetic in comparison to yesteryear. Maybe it’s the town I live in that leaves me longing for Halloweens’ of the past, but I have an inkling I’m not alone on this sentiment.

The Costumes

Yep. That is indeed a six-year-old Patti Paultertgeist in a plastic Minnie Mouse costume that was all the rage in 1988. Going to our local Sav-On drugstore for the very latest, and greatest in noisy plastic wear was part of the Halloween tradition right along with grabbing a fun horror flick next door from Action Video, (my Mom and Pop rental store growing up). Of course the Ben Cooper costumes were the heavyweight when it came to Halloween; but even the knockoff brands were just as good- well, I mean if they held up until the end of the night, you were in good shape- and most of the time they did. However, while they may look ridiculous, they are FAR more menacing than any kiddie costume you’ll see at the big chain stores today during the October sales season. There is a reason why film and TV use vintage masks for scary-story telling, (look at Trick R Treat as a great example). Would you be more terrified of this Minnie Mouse mask coming at you in a dimly lit street, or something like this…

Credit: Party City

Sure, the quality is better. It most likely won’t rip by you merely looking at it. But what’s the fun in that!?

School Parties and Community Carnivals

Syracuse.com

Kids waited 364 days for their annual Halloween class party and parade and goddamn it was the coolest part of the year. The entire day was dedicated to educational in some form, Halloween activities with brief intermissions with a game of Heads-Up, Seven-Up. And let’s not forget that tiny sliver piece of cardboard tasting pizza that no matter how bad it was, tasted a lot better than a math quiz. Also, parents would chip in bake homemade treats for the party, giving the teacher a bit of a break in the finance department and we would be drowning in rice-crispy treats along with festively decorated sugar cookies until we would sugar crash an hour later. Now a days, kids are lucky to even get that tiny sliver of pizza, and home-baked goods? Forget about it. The schools have implemented such a strict diet code now that even bringing in Yoplait yogurt might be questionable.

On top of school parties, Community Halloween carnivals were THEE TITS growing up. They were usually held a few days prior to Halloween and were filled with cake-walks, bake-sales, tons of games with candy and pumpkin prizes, and of course, THE COMMUNITY HAUNTED HOUSE. The pic above of a cheesy-smiled me along with my younger ninja brother marked the occasion of us right before my little bro got scarred for life at one such carnival held at the Mirabelli Community Center.

I’m well aware Community “Fall Festivals” do exist, as this is what they’re normally referred to as now. But I can guarantee they didn’t have a haunted house that had a Mad Scientist tour guide walking you through it only to be murdered at the end of the house by Michael Myers jumping out behind a few boxes with a knife and pummeling him into the ground scaring the ever loving shit out of everyone inside. As we had to walk gently over the tour guide’s limp body now drenched in red corn syrup, my mother was holding my brother going out as he was absolutely terrified at what had occurred. Good ol’ Michael though; he made sure to go right up to my bro and give him a little tickle on the chin- sending my brother into a full-blown panic attack, traumatizing the kid for life. I sound like a dick, but eh, you had to be there to see how funny it all kind of was. Nowadays, if you can get a few hay stacks and throw them into a grassy field, that will suffice as a haunted maze for the kiddies. Less traumatizing? Yes, but way less fun.

Halloween Decorations

The fact that today’s most popular Halloween decorations are throwbacks to vintage decor, says it all. My parents had a nice selection of paper cutouts that seemed to last for somehow a decade, along with blow-mold wall decor and figures. When they were brought in from the garage, the smell of stale garage dust with the colorful witch cut-outs got me high on life. Sure, DIY crafts are fun and making the most beautiful Pinterest worthy centerpiece of pinecones and leaves is nice and all; but sometimes a giant orange garbage bag full of leaves and a .99 cent jointed skeleton is all that’s needed to get the true feel of spooky season going.

The Great Trick Or Treating Olympic Candy Event

Alright, the night has finally arrived. We pulled on those noisy garbage bag costumes, grabbed our pillowcases and plastic Empire buckets and headed out for five straight hours of trick or treating. We left as soon as the first hint of orange hue hit the sky and didn’t come back until our bags and buckets were about to break. From festive candy like Mr. Bones and Wax Lips, to popcorn balls and homemade cookies, the great candy swap event with friends was the Olympic event of the year. Dumping our bags onto the selected friends’ living room floor sorting, and trying to trade those Bit ‘O’ Honeys’ for a mini Snickers was the Halloween was definitely the perfect end to a solid evening.

These days, you’re LUCKY to get half a buckets’ worth no matter how far you travel in the neighborhood. Halloween scrooges are abound more than ever, pissing on the holiday and unwilling to spare a Tootsie Pop to save their life. Not to mention the cheap buckets chain stores try to pawn off on the kids for candy hauls with such a flimsy handle, it’ll break at the mere glance of a full-size candy bar. Trick or Treating hours are usually over by at the very least, 8 PM with an occasional strangler bunch of teens that normally get the bulk of any of the ONE candy bag I buy for the occasion. Not sure what happened along the way that made this holiday less magical and with scarce participation, but it sure wasn’t what it used to be.

I’ve made my case. And I’m sticking by it. So I’ll just leave you with this photo of me sucking on a candy box in my sweet homemade witch costume from 1986.

“Gimmie Dem Mr. Bones!” 10 Nostalgic Pieces of Halloween Candy

Candy has always been KING at Halloween, and one can’t deny remembering Halloweens’ past in our adolescent years with a great fondness. As we opened our eyes in the comfort of our cartoon character bedsheets on October 31st, we immediately thought of the glorious haul of Halloween treats we would possess that night. Pillowcases full of homemade popcorn balls, candy apples, and even the dreaded nickels and pennies were not only expected, but a Halloween staple in what seems like not so long ago.

Looking inside my child’s trick-or-treat bags these days is a far cry from what they looked like when I was a kid. Homemade treats from neighbors are strictly taboo as urban myths have pretty much put an end to that era. Long gone are the days of accidentally ingesting wax and smoking pseudo candy cigarettes. And I kind of miss it! Kids these days will never know about us giving absolute zero fucks and taking full trust in our neighbors were’t trying to poison or hide razor blades in our Snickers Bars.

However, 2020 ain’t got nothing on the very low possible risk of this EVER happening.

Still one of the most terrifying scenes in “Halloween 2” from a child’s view.

What’s even worse this year, and a big reason why I’m writing this is that we don’t know what Halloween in 2020 will look like for many. Of course, I think most people will make up their own minds on whether to embrace their yearly trick or treating traditions or opt for something different to cater to their own comforts and safety. Either way I feel is OK. And in regards to the current shit show, I dug up this old article I wrote for Dread Central a few years back, revised it, and brought it home to Nightmare Nostalgia for some fuzzy-good childhood-Halloween memories because we could all use some of the good stuff right now!

*Although these candies are still very much available at old-time candy shops and online, I sure do miss seeing that super cool Mr. Bones in my kid’s pumpkin pails. So let’s take a stroll down Halloween memory lane and fondly remember the Halloween candy that has become an obscure item to see in present times. So let’s do our due diligence everyone and seek out some of these fun retro candies to put a smile on everyone’s face behind that mask this October 31st!

10. Candy Cigarettes

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Even with an unsavory past in regards to marketing, these were still pretty cool to get in your Halloween haul. Sitting around with friends negotiating candy trades with one of these suckers in your mouth made you feel like an adult, especially if you suckered someone out of their peanut butter cups. That one small “poof” of glory sugar smoke just made it that much more satisfying, and hey if you’re a rebel you can still pick up a few packs and hand them out to trick or treaters!

9. Whack-O-Wax Lips, Fangs, and Mustaches

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These over-sized red lips and ‘stashes were such a fun addition to our candy stash, even if you ended up shitting out waxy poops the next day. As a matter of fact, I think I still have that waxy taste in my mouth from 1992. In any case, they still ruled. And you can still buy them!

8. Wonka’s Dino Sour Eggs

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This sweet and sour variation of the Gobstopper was way more interesting than its plain counterpart. Depending on how long you sucked on these bad boys, they would change colors and flavors, eventually shriveling up into what looked like dino doo-doo if you got that far without spitting it out.

7. Monster Candy

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Another variation of candy cigarettes was the Monster Candy that came in various tiny boxes that usually contained 2 sticks (if I can remember correctly).  They weren’t the tastiest, much like the latter, but goddamnit if they weren’t one of the coolest things to find in your pile of candy. Just look at that gorgeous packaging with Karloff and Lugosi. Are you really going to disagree?

6. Drac-Snax

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Oh man, Drac-Snax were THE TITS. Just like the Monster Candy mentioned above, this had some of the coolest packaging ever for Halloween treats. The hard fruit-flavored candies were not only good, but they completely captured the essence of what Halloween is all about. Bats, tombstones, and some poor headless sonofabitch.

5. Orange Juice Bubble Gum

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I may be alone on this one; however, I really, really, miss this stuff.  It was hard not to just slide all those tiny nuggets into your mouth all at once.  The Topps gum had different flavors available like grape and lemon, but orange was by far the best. It was pure candy crack, I tell you.

4. Nik-L-Lip

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Yes, the official name for these things was Nik-L-Lip, but we all just called them “wax juice.” You approached this in one of two ways: Either you bit the top off and sucked out all that sugary flavored syrup inside, or you just popped the fucker in your mouth, releasing an explosion of super sweet sugar-water onto your taste buds. Also, if you were like me, you chewed on the wax bottle until all the flavor was gone while, again, trying to avoid the waxy Halloween poops. Worth noting my significant other thinks I’m absolutely crazy for even including this. I say, give me my strange addiction!

3. Garbage Can-dy

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Who remembers sugary fish bones?! Or perhaps the old shoes along with some old soda bottles that definitely tasted a lot better than they looked. These Pez-like candies came in a super cool toy trashcan that you could use for storage. I personally used mine for Garbage Pail Kids stickers. It just seemed fitting.

2. PB Maxx

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Oh, PB Maxx, how I miss thee. The ULTIMATE chocolate-coated peanut butter bar was fuckin’ heaven. If history has taught us anything about nostalgia foods (such as the return of Ecto-Cooler, then we just might get to see it again IF our voices are strong enough. And I would be all kinds of okay with this.

1. Mr. Bones

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Was there really anything more radical than Mr. Bones? I mean, you not only got some delicious tart candy, but you got to build a skeleton out of your food! Oh yes, those sneaky bastards tricked us to use our minds to put together this jigsaw puzzle of a treat, and then devour it like an animal. Brilliance. Plus it came in a cool coffin box! The ultimate Halloween treasure treat was absolutely getting multiples of these spectacular candies. I miss you, Mr. Bones. You delicious little fellow.

While it isn’t TOTALLY the same, Amazon does have a pretty close in taste Skeleton Bones candy packs on their site. No fun toy coffin but if you want to get pretty close to the nostalgia factor, it’s an option!


What is a Halloween candy you would like to see make a comeback? Gimmie your retro rant below and let’s talk about it!