Halloween is upon us and you know what that means: bowls of candy at work from that overly-friendly co-worker that you're suspicious of (WHAT IS SHE TRYING TO HIDE?), houses decked out in cheap Halloween decor (fake cobwebs, gel decals, and plastic skeletons hanging from trees), and those ridiculous Party City commercials (they've got everything you need, whether you want to dress up as a slutty light switch or the trashy celebrity dujour).
Get ready for the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. We've got three TERRIFYING gift guides coming your way (what's terrifying about them is that I spent all weekend writing them. Take my advice and never start a blog).
Every year, as soon as October rolls around, you get an invitation in the mail. It's from your friend Karen, who plans parties with the dead-eyed efficiency of the Nazi Party. Halloween is her time to shine. The invitation is elaborate and earnest, guaranteeing a "spooky" time in the form of a poem, the subtext screaming, "WE'RE ALL GOING TO HAVE FUN OR WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE TRYING." You always go to the party because you've always been partial to real fear on Halloween instead of the fake kind, and this girl is terrifying.
1. Vampire Teeth Bottle Opener ($11.49, Perpetual Kid): From the moment you arrive, everything is coordinated. There's a punch bowl full of something that looks like blood. "It's a fruit cocktail," she assures you, but you're not sure if you believe her. Maybe it's the blood of someone who didn't bother to RSVP and showed up empty-handed with a guest—three major party fouls, as far as Karen is concerned. When you politely decline the blood punch, she directs you to the beer selection. The night before, she stayed up all night, carefully peeling the labels off of the bottles and affixing new labels that say things like "POISON" and "RAT GUTS." "It's Bud Light, isn't it?" you ask nervously, as she looks you and says, "I'm not telling." She doesn't break eye contact for a full 30 seconds, and you realize that you should have stayed home and watched Hocus Pocus on ABC Family. Break the awkwardness by pulling out this Vampire Teeth bottle opener, a hostess gift tailor-made for this psychopath. She can't kill someone who brought her such a thoughtful gift, right?
2. New Castle Brown Werewolf Ale (Various prices, Various locations): You (and everyone else) hope to attend a party where conversation flows casually and where good times aren't forced. At Karen's parties, this just isn't possible. Every minute is tightly scheduled—when you arrive, you are to mingle for exactly one hour. After that, you will play weird Halloween games, like "Pin the toe tag on the dead body" or something equally uncomfortable. Then, you will all be forced to join forces in an overly-choreographed number of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," which she will videotape and immediately post on Facebook. You're gonna need a lot of booze to get through this, and what's more festive than Werewolf Ale?
3 and 4. Zombie Cookie Cutter ($7.95, Sur La Table): During one of your "breaks" from your forced dance routine, you head over to the food table, and you see a wide array of disgusting options alongside the questionable "fruit punch." There's cake balls made to look like eye balls, finger sandwiches made to look like fingers, you know the drill. You can help the world's scariest hostess add to her creepy spread by throwing her this Zombie Cookie Cutter. Same goes for this Frankenstein Bowl ($24, Lenny Mud), which will look great housing those neck bolts she makes out of celery sticks.
Because you are cynical and because you have watched hours upon hours of Dexter and Breaking Bad, you are always suspicious of nice, quiet, mild-mannered people. As far as you're concerned, people aren't nice unless they want something from you, or unless they're hiding a dark, terrible secret like the fact that they have killed 75 prostitutes in Des Moines, Iowa.
So, you've got your eye on this guy. Halloween is his time to shine—everything is supposed to be creepy, lecherous, and drenched in blood. Is he gonna pull a John Wayne Gacy in a clown costume? You want to be the first to know, so you can tell all of those idiots who told you that you were being "mean" when you called him a sociopath.
1. Liquid Bookmark ($5.99, Think Geek): You went over to his house once for an awkward get together, and you got a glimpse of his bookshelf. As we all know, a bookshelf gives you incredible insight into someone's psyche. Crammed with Jodi Picoult books? The owner is an overly-sentimental idiot. Filled with economics, finance, and business books? The owner is desperately broke. What did this guy have lining his bookshelf? Volumes upon volumes of serial killer memoirs and law books, which means he is obviously studying his technique while simultaneously crafting his alibi. This Liquid Bookmark will look incredibly terrifying tucked in between the pages of An American Nightmare: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, or OJ Simpson's If I Did It.
2. Butcher's Apron ($21.99, Perpetual Kid): Even though you love to eat meat, you buy it in non-messy portions. The butcher does all of the really gross and messy work, and it takes a certain kind of person who wants to take that on. This guy is all about it, buying large, unwieldly parts only so he can dismember them. He tells you how great it is to cook with such fresh ingredients that you've butchered yourself, but you know what's up. He's practicing. PRACTICING FOR YOU KNOW WHAT. He'll love this Butcher's Apron, because it's gory and disgusting.
3. The Ex Voodoo Knife Set ($83.99, Perpetual Kid): Speaking of gory and digusting, take a look at this knife rack where you repeatedly stab a human figure with actual knives. Some people go for the whole "country kitchen" look, he goes for the Dexter Morgan kill room look. This Ex Voodoo Knife Set will serve as the finishing touch to the creepiest room in the county.
4. Finger Soap ($4.99, Perpetual Kid): Your mother has hand soap in her bathroom—that's a given. This guy—the one who reads serial killer memoirs while sitting on the toilet—doesn't screw around with hand soap. It's too nice, too cleanly, and too normal. This Finger Soap, though, is perfect for this weirdo. Handcrafted to look frighteningly realistic, it'll add that element of mystery to his bathroom, saying to all of his guests, "GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN."
Thanks to Twilight and True Blood and lesser variations of them, we have been inundated with vampire-centric entertainment. Prior to this wide-spread acceptance of vampires, only weirdos were interested in that crap. Back then, the easiest way to ensure no one would sit next to you on the subway was to be openly reading an Anne Rice novel. Now, these people can't freak out their moms and sisters by their love of vampires—they love them too. So, where do they go? Into the open, smelly arms of Zombie obsessives, that's where!
Zombie obsessives watch weird movies and spend hours playing frighteningly realistic video games that will supposedly prepare them for the Zombie Apocalypse. Each year, they invest in the most expensive Nerf guns, modify them the way that terrorists (or disturbed teenage boys) modify shotguns, and participate in a real-life role-playing game called Humans Vs. Zombies. In short, they do not regularly participate in conventional society.
1. How to Speak Zombie ($16, Fred Flare): They say that the best way to ingratiate yourself into another culture is to learn the language. Zombies have their own langauge, too, apparently. This book includes a breakdown of the Zombie language, including an audio recording for correct pronunciation of things like "ARGHRRYRHHHHH" and "BRAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINS." Your Zombie-obsessed friend will love this book, and your writer friends will want to hang themselves when they find out this book exists.
2. Zombie Jerky ($3.99, Think Geek): Snack foods are very important to geeks, mainly because they spend so much time stationary, watching movies and playing violent video games. Doritos, Pringles, Hot Fries—these are all the preferred, easy-to-reach-for snacks of someone wearing a t-shirt with an in-your-face phrase written on it. This Zombie Jerky can easily be added into the rotation, and it is almost guaranteed that it pairs well with a 32oz Mountain Dew.
3. Zombie Magnet Set ($6.50, How Nice): Because of the typical diet of a Zombie aficionado (see above), it's pretty much guaranteed that a peek into his fridge will show you a couple of bottles of Gatorade, an empty pizza box, and assorted soy sauce packets from nights of Chinese takeout. This Zombie Magnet Set will act as a nice little fake-out for him to distract his visiting mother or a date of the female persuasion (a boy can dream) from the fact that he eats like someone featured on Heavy.
4. Danger! Zombies Gum ($1.49, Perpetual Kid): This Danger! Zombies Gum probably tastes like all gum—flavorful for approximately 60 seconds before it promptly tastes like nothing and you feel like you're chewing on an old deflated balloon. The real fun part about this is the box, which he can proudly display on his desk at work to ensure that everyone will think he's quirky, weird, and unique, as well as guarantee that his boss will never promote him.
Happy Halloween, jerks—if you just can't get enough of my witty skewering of this evil holiday, check out last year's gift guide.