The Halloween Mood Table.

Ehhh, you know what, I’m just going to have to be honest here and admit that I’m not feeling the “daily Halloween madness” this year, for whatever reason. And I don’t foresee tremendous joy for writer or reader if I force myself to do it everyday just because I said I would. I’d rather just add the entries when it feels right, because then the entries will feel right. Hope you understand.

I think a part of the problem is that much of the stuff I’ve found is certainly worth writing about and paying tribute to, but not at any tremendous length. It feels like a bit of a backwards progression at this stage of the game to stretch 400 words into 2000 just for the sake of length.

So, count on daily updates from here on out, but with a bigger split between official Countdown entries and smaller blog entries. Let’s start on that right now.

See that table? It’s no ordinary table. Up until a few years ago, Halloween was an excuse to cover every square inch of my living space with as many decorations as possible. In more recent times, such efforts haven’t been practical. For as much gusto as I always have when I’m putting up the decorations, there has twice as much laziness when it came to taking them down. Year after year, I’d see rubber spiders and cardboard witches next to the television set while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and that’s plain wrong.

So, some time back, I came up with a solution: That table. If I wasn’t going to cover my entire apartment with animatronic Draculas and Freddy Krueger window clings, I’d at least make damn sure to saturate each and every centimeter of that little table with pure, concentrated Halloween goodness.

The good news is that small, dingy tables are by no means a tool exclusive to me. I assume that everyone has access to a small, dingy table of some sort. If you’re facing the same kind of decorating woes that I once did, salvation is at your fingertips. With a little love, you can turn an ordinary little side table into the Halloween capital of the universe:

I call it…Halloween Mood Table. It’s got everything I need to keep my holiday spirit healthy, and its presence is a constant reminder to indulge in the many spooky activities that are only really fun to do before Halloween comes around.

If you decide to create a Halloween Mood Table, it’s important to make it just for you. One of the inherent problems with decorating for the holidays is the notion that we’re prettying up our houses for someone else’s eyes. Who gives a shit about them? It’s your money, your time and your table. Don’t worry about charming the people who may or may not visit your home this October…just worry about charming yourself.

And since that’s the goal, I’m a little hesitant to tell you how to create one. It should be a mood table of your design and your design alone. On the other hand, I’m not sure that life will ever throw me another opportunity to make use of my exhaustive experience in building Halloween Mood Tables, so it seems like too much of a shame to not offer at least a few tips.

Key features of any Halloween Mood Table include…

1) A pumpkin. You need a pumpkin. A real pumpkin, I mean — not some faux, junky one. If you look at the calendar year, there are very, very few opportunities to transform fruit into decorations. Don’t blow this one. I recommend saving the official big carving pumpkin for another afternoon, and just using a little one for your mood table. This is partly to save space for other things, but mostly because little pumpkins are hella cute.

2) Candles. Make sure the candles are on or in some kind of safe holder that will allow you to burn them without worrying about setting all of the other mood table stuff ablaze. At no other time of year is candlelight more fun and appropriate, so take fucking advantage my friends. I like to incorporate a mix of the standard Halloween novelty candles (shaped like demon heads, bleeding hands, whatever) and at least one that just smells good. I’ve got one of those “autumn harvest” Glade deals on mine. Makes our entire apartment smell like pie!

3) Candy. You want to have a reason to consult your Halloween Mood Table on a regular basis, and a nice bowl of candy is a good way to guarantee that. Try to have a variety of sweets that all fall under the trick-or-treat “fun-sized” variety. We’re too old to go trick-or-treating for real, so now we get to sort of knock on our own doors and ask for candy.

4) Books & DVDs. I have three bookcases full of books and a fourth dedicated entirely to DVDs, but I always pull a few out and add them to the mood table. Aside from heightening the overall ambiance, the idea is this: If they’re on the mood table, I must read/watch the book/DVD before Halloween. As such, I try to pick some of the more obscure books and shittier horror DVDs in my collection. It’s kind of a cheat to put your favorites on there, because you’d read/watch them anyway.

5) Decorations. Duh. What I try to do is use decorations that just aren’t cool enough to work as “standalones” anywhere else. Make sure there are at least a few things of real, personal worth. Stuff that’s been with you for years. Look close, and you’ll see that Shrunken Apple Head I made like 45 years ago. Stuff like that.

Halloween Mood Tables take about 40 minutes to build, but they’ll keep your holiday tank fueled for a full month. I urge each of you to go find a tiny table right now and fill it with spooky crap.

EDIT: Just for kicks, and after some suggestions, I turned this one into a “real” Countdown entry.

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153 Responses to The Halloween Mood Table.

  1. glow bright says:

    I gotta say, normally I love Halloween but it’s really dull this year. My Target doesn’t seem to have as many decorations as years prior and what they do have is repeats or nothing exciting (except the maggot that makes noises!). And all the other stores seem to be following suit. Is it just me? I fear for the future of Halloween. And now I feel like this is the beginning of a bad movie.

  2. Dio and Lex says:

    What’s really weird that I have been abnormally nostalgic lately. I’m feeling like I did when i was in middle school (roughly a million years ago), really excited for the fall season. I’ve had to quit my job for school but despite the increased stress, I’m feeling pretty good about this Halloween.

    Its prolly cuz we just got a house after living in an apartment for about 5 years. I’m so stoked with anticipation over scaring kids while they get candy; we haven’t had kids come for candy in aforementioned years.

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