No Hallow Wean Here


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Halloween is perhaps the greatest holiday on planet Earth (I'm not opinionated or anything …), but there is more than one way to honor this hallowed day, whether you're a Halloween purist or skeptic.

Good old-fashioned scary

Movie: Grab a pillow and put in The Exorcist, Silence of the Lambs, or The Shining. As films go, it doesn't get much scarier than these spooky classics.

Costume: Get creative with a tried-and-true Halloween standard. Design your own edition of a Dracula-esque vampire (leave the glitter at home), brain-eating zombie, or horror-movie serial killer, such as Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, or the Scream ghost. Go all-in with the fake blood, scrapes, and fangs. When else do you get to be this (acceptably) creepy? 

Activity: Take a walk down to Oakland Cemetery to see Iowa City's spookiest landmark: the Black Angel. Numerous legends surround this malevolent-looking monument, from the sketchy life of the statue's commissioner, Teresa Feldevert, to the curses that allegedly fall upon those who kiss beneath the statue or look it in the eyes. Test the myths for yourself while getting educated in Iowa City folklore. 


Movie: Revisit a childhood favorite, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas or Hocus Pocus — basically, just keep your TV tuned to ABC Family during its 13 Nights of Halloween.

Costume: Go with wordplay. Slap on a beret, and paint your face like a member of the rock band Kiss to become a "French kiss," or snatch some gray paint swatches, tape them to your shirt, and go as "50 Shades of Grey." Girls — or adventurous guys — can portray a "Freudian slip" by wearing their best underdress and decorating it with psychoanalytical terms.

Activity: Remember the pure joy of elementary-school Halloween parties? Recreate the magic by going overboard with the streamers and fake cob webs, relearning the "Thriller" dance, and cooking up some cute Halloween snacks, such as the classic Oreo and licorice spiders (search Pinterest for countless possibilities). Organize a competitive costume contest. Play musical chairs to "Monster Mash." Channel your inner trick-or-treater.

Movie: Take on the role of Halloween movie critic and compare modern horror remakes with their originals, starting with the newest Carrie adaptation currently in theaters. Some other notables are Evil Dead, Fright Night, and The Crazies (set right here in Iowa).

Costume: Represent your favorite fictional character, from the black-hatted Heisenberg on "Breaking Bad" to the blood-spattered Sheriff Rick Grimes on "The Walking Dead." Get your fantasy on as Game of Thrones' silver-haired princess Daenerys Targaryen or as a creature from The Hobbit (extra points for Smaug the Dragon).

Activity: Infuse a little culture into your Halloween experience by seeing Riverside Theater's production of Birth Witches, a play about a midwife witch scare in 1606 London. This satirical drama was written by local playwright Jennifer Fawcett, and performances start at 7:30 p.m. today and Friday. If you're looking to get out of Iowa City, you might grab tickets to the eerie plays Dial M for Murder or The Legend of Sleepy Hollow playing at the Old Creamery Theater in Amana each at 3 p.m. today or 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Movie: Laugh fear in the face with the Scary Movie films (one through three are the standouts), or better yet, hold a marathon of any number of unintentionally hilarious horror series, such as Final Destination, Joyride, and Wrong Turn.

Costume: You may not be into Halloween, but that doesn't mean you have to be "that guy" who's too cool to dress up. Even the cheapest and easiest of costumes can make you the hit of the party. Keep your day clothes on and carry a sign declaring "Nudist on Strike," or drag a few empty dog leashes and be a "bad dog-walker." Or, if you're of the red-haired persuasion, just grab a loaf and call yourself the "Ginger Bread Man/Woman."

Activity: Forgo the haunted houses and theme parties and enjoy all the apple-picking goodness of Wilson's Orchard before it closes for the season at 6 p.m. today. Later, cozy up in your favorite downtown restaurant and take advantage of Halloween food and drink deals while smugly watching all the skimpily dressed Halloween enthusiasts shiver outside.

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