Celebrating Halloween (months ago) at Elgin’s “Monster-Mash Up!”

Bear with me, folks, I’ve had this story sitting in a draft folder since May and apologize for discussing the “Halfway to Halloween” mark when we’re closing in on the big day itself. Regardless, it was too cool an event to pass up and I’m pretty sure I speak for most of us when I say Halloween is a lifestyle and not just some date on the calendar anyway. So let’s get to it…

It all happened on May 5th when I returned from work and found my two youngest kids (both teens) lounging in the living room and staring at their phones. Since February, this single dad’s been working two jobs/seven days a week so the scene didn’t so much annoy me as make me feel guilty for my short-comings. I’ve always prided myself as being a “fun” dad but it seemed like this year I could do very little outside business hours, including weekends. Despite being tired and wanting to zone out in front of my own electronics,  I was determined to make this Friday night different. I’d accomplish this by taking them to Elgin, Illinois for the city’s fifth annual (and our first) Monster-Mash Up. Needless to say, when I asked them to put on their shoes and join me, they weren’t exactly jumping for joy over it. So I sat down and explained that after our seeing the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 the night before, I was reminded of how long it had been since we’d done anything fun together. Even if the event proved a bust and they wanted to glare at me all night long, at least we’d be together. Apparently my locker room speech paid off because they both got up without an argument and prepared for the hour’s journey to Elgin.

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Svengoolie Crashes the Roe Conn Halloween Party!

Roe Conn Svengoolie

I left work early last Thursday to attend the Roe Conn Halloween show in Frankfurt, Illinois. For those unaware, Conn is a well known, Chicago-based talk-radio personality who’s hosted national shows for over two decades. Although I’ve been familiar with his voice since back in his “Roe & Gary” days, I saw him for the first time at last year’s Halloween show  which was at the same venue, CD & Me. Of course my attendance was based on the return of their special guest, Svengoolie, whom I hadn’t seen in almost a FULL week since Elgin’s Nightmare on Chicago Street. Talk about a dry spell! If only I could figure out a way to declare all my Sven-chasing gas mileage at tax time.

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Elgin’s “Nightmare on Chicago Street” 2016!

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There was still sunlight when I arrived at the Elgin Safe Zone for their annual Nightmare on Chicago Street this past Saturday evening. This year I’d be attending alone as most of my friends were back home watching the Chicago Cubs play in a historic baseball game that would see them heading to the World Series for the first time in over seventy years. Under those circumstances, their absence was understandable…and what better reason to skip a zombie Apocalypse than for the possibility of watching Hell freeze over instead? In my world, however, the Nightmare on Chicago Street IS the World Series and there was no place I’d rather be.

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Chicago Botanic Garden’s Unforgettable “Night of 1,000 Jack-O’-Lanterns!”

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During a recent visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden, my friend Elizabeth and I noticed they were planning a special Halloween attraction that neither of us wanted to miss out on. Their “Night of a 1,000 Jack O’ Lanterns” promised guests a cornucopia of expertly carved pumpkins they could peruse after hours during one very special weekend. It was their first year doing something like this and Elizabeth was immediately captivated while I (having attended Roger Williams Park Zoo’s amazing Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular) remained cautiously optimistic. After all, New England’s premier Halloween event is unlike anything I’d ever seen in the Midwest (or anywhere else for that matter) before and I’d praised its grandeur on both this site as well as a 2012 issue of Scary Monsters Magazine.  Sadly, my chances of seeing it again and somewhere between slim and none. The other Terror Dave works there and as his responsibilities around that event increased, my October visits came to an end. For the last several years my admiration of JOLS has been relegated to cell phone pictures he’ll send me every once in awhile. Needless to say, the notion that Chicago was now doing something like this seemed too much to hope for.

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HALLOWEEN NOVELTY SONGS: Music To Die For! Volume 6

Welcome to yet another edition in our very popular series, Music To Die For! Each entry covers an assortment of audio cd’s specializing in music to help get you in the mood for the Halloween season. This is actually the sixth entry and features 8 new cd’s (and a surprise bonus track available for download) that I came across that I recommend for all Halloween music libraries! I initially started this series in September of 2011 (see original post HERE) and it is nice to see that five years later there is still enough material out there for new editions! As of this writing all of these discs are available for purchase on Amazon!

THE BEST OF HORROR

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This first entry is definitely a great starter collection with 75 songs on three cd’s. There is enough music here, all by original artists, to keep a Halloween party rocking well into the midnight hour! Most of these songs can be found on other releases but this collection, by IMS Distribution, is perfect if you are just getting into Halloween-themed songs.

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Svengoolie & the Costume Contest of Nightmare on Chicago Street!

Photo courtesy of Jim Roche

Photo courtesy of Jim Roche

Svengoolie was given new headquarters at this year’s Nightmare on Chicago Street, and a classier one at that. Side Street Studio Arts is yet another reason to love the city of Elgin, Illinois; providing residents an opportunity to express their creative side and a venue to display their work. Consequently, the national TV horror host would find himself sitting amid sinister, yet beautiful, works of art; all part of their Something Wicked: A Dark Arts Exhibit. The line outside to see him started forming almost as soon as the event began and for good reason as he’d only be signing for an hour before hosting the annual costume contest

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