5 Things to Really Be Scared of On Halloween This Year
When you're out and about this Halloween season, you'll definitely see your fair share of traditional frights in the form of horror movie marathons and "sexy" Halloween costumes on people who shouldn't wear them.
Those are the kinds of things we expect to give us a scare, though, and for the most part, we've all become somewhat immune to their shock value. When that happens, you have to start looking to less traditional outlets to fulfill your yearly quota of scares.
Here are five legitimately terrifying things you'll see on Halloween this year ...
Even if you don't have kids to go out and collect it for you, candy is going to be every damn where for at least the next few weeks of your life. At first, it will be a sugary snack eater's paradise of practically every candy in production, scaled down to serving sizes so small, it's like you're not even really eating.
Eventually, all of the desirable candies are picked clean from the lot, until all that remains is a pile of "treats" the likes of which would cause even a starving hobo to turn his nose up in disgust. The brand name stuff, Snickers and Gobstoppers and such, is usually the first to be claimed. After that, the paring down happens mostly based on flavors. Grape and banana, the latter of which should be banned from use in candy completely, are among the last flavor groups to go extinct from a bag of Halloween earnings.
Banana Runts are one of the five or 10 worst foods ever made.
They are rarely the last, though. That honor is almost always reserved for the biggest of all blights on the candy landscape. I'm speaking, of course, about chocolate-flavored candy.
Before you start howling, please note that I'm not talking about candy made from actual chocolate. Anything coated in real chocolate at least deserves a spot in the bag, even if Junior Mints can suck a dick (hopefully one as unappetizing as they are). No, what I'm talking about is chocolate-flavored candy. For example, remember when Skittles tried to go chocolate a few years ago?
Hopefully not, because if you do, that means you probably tried them, and I wouldn't wish something that disgusting on anyone. Personally, I think it's a matter of texture. With some candy, when you bite into it, you're just expecting fruit. Case in point: Why are there no chocolate Starburst? Because gross. That's why.
But the most heinous entry into the "candy that shouldn't taste like chocolate but does anyway" market has to be chocolate-flavored Candy Corn.
Pictured: Everything that's wrong with the candy industry.
Who even thinks of that trash as candy? Adding "real cocoa and milk" to the recipe is like putting frosting on fruitcake. Despite the added flourish, it's still something only crazy people eat.
And that's exactly what makes chocolate-flavored candy so terrifying ... someone must be eating this stuff. Corporate America would not spend the cash if there wasn't a market for it. So who are these complete and total fucking weirdos walking among us, silently craving the taste of the only "candy" named after a vegetable? What nameless, faceless secret society is influencing market research to such a degree that Chocolate Skittles shows up on store shelves? Who in the hell is eating chocolate Tootsie Pops?
Serial killer food.
I don't know the answers to those questions, and I don't like that one damn bit.
Hey! Speaking of things no one likes, on Halloween night, make sure you steer clear of ...
NBC's Revamped Thursday Night Lineup
Remember when the Thursday night lineup on NBC was something to look forward to? Depending on your taste in sitcoms, you could argue it's been that way for a long time, dating at least as far back as the mid-'80s, when Bill Cosby was the crown jewel in a sitcom dream team lineup that also included Family Ties, Cheers, and Night Court (and then bored you to sleep with Hill Street Blues).
The Cosby Show broke new ground as the first series to feature colorful sweaters as supporting characters.
In the '90s, shows like Seinfeld, Friends, and Frasier kept their grip on the Thursday prime time slot as firm as ever.
NBC sincerely hopes you miss those days, because they're trying to recreate them right now with their revamped Thursday night lineup. While those precious night-before-Friday time slots have been occupied in recent years by shows like The Office, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation, which somehow managed to keep NBC at least partially in the good graces of fans and critics, it's mostly been an Internet kind of acclaim. The online community as a whole just has certain shows they gravitate toward on a given night. Right now, a good example would be The Walking Dead on Sundays. If you check Twitter when that show is on, you'd think AMC would be dominating the television ratings that night. And you'd be right, provided you were only talking cable networks. If you factor in the big four, "everyone's" favorite drop-dead boring zombie show wouldn't even break the top 10.
More like the Talking About Shit No One Cares About for the Past Two Seasons Instead of Killing Zombies ... Dead.
And that's fine! The big networks aren't their direct competition. Now, think about the shows the Internet loved that, no matter how many online petitions we signed, still got canceled. Arrested Development and even Freaks and Geeks are obvious examples. What those shows demonstrated is that, no matter how vociferous the people may be, if you put up The Walking Dead-type numbers on a major network, things aren't going to end well.
Unfortunately, those are the only kind of numbers that widespread Internet acclaim or outcry usually amounts to, so while it might keep The Walking Dead on the air until a zombie apocalypse really does happen, it's not going to save a show that isn't turning a sufficient profit on a corporate-owned network that thinks about the bottom line and nothing else.
With that in mind, let's talk about NBC's current Thursday night lineup, which you'll be subjected to if for some masochistic reason you decide to stay home and take in some National Broadcasting Company fun on Halloween night. If we learned anything from the Conan O'Brien fiasco, it's that NBC gives not a shit about online opinion. They have a business to run. So it should come as no surprise that, even though it's one of maybe two NBC shows people online actually still care about, Parks and Recreation is "going on hiatus."
We'll miss you, Ron Swanson.
Apparently it wasn't providing a strong enough lead-in to the new sitcoms starring the wacky gay guy from Will & Grace (Sean Saves the World) and Michael J. Fox (The Michael J. Fox Show). While I sort of understand the logic, having seen them both, the lead-in would have to laugh me into a literal coma before I stuck around to watch two shows that would have sucked even if they had premiered 15 or 20 years ago like they should have.
I'm using a very loose definition of "should have" in that last sentence.
Sean Hayes confirmed this line of thinking, complaining that NBC "just doesn't have the eyeballs" to make his show a hit. Specifically, they're lacking the type of eyeballs that look at a shitty television show and somehow see a good one instead. If those exist, they're about the only thing that would help his gigantic shitburger of a show become a hit.
Hey, what's the big deal, though? This is Halloween, what's so scary about a gigantic corporation like GE (they own NBC) completely dismissing the opinion of an entire segment of the population when making decisions? It's just television. It's not like they're influencing elections or anything.
So now the Internet has nothing to watch on NBC other than football, and that's usually just on Sunday nights. Oh! But at least one of those now vacant (and probably soon to be even more vacant) slots will be filled with the magic of the NFL (Thanksgiving night!). Unfortunately, that just brings us to the next point.
Thursday Night Football
The NFL probably outpaces every other entity in entertainment when it comes to making people pay for shit they normally never would. Like preseason games, for example, which are really nothing more than glorified practices yet still command regular season ticket prices. They pull a similar stunt, even if it's a less heinous version, with their Thursday Night Football broadcasts.
If you're not familiar, there are three "prime time" NFL games: Sunday night, Monday night, and Thursday night. As the week progresses, those games become less and less interesting. Sunday night is "the game of the week," so to speak.
On Monday night, the drop-off in matchup quality from Sunday night is a big one, but they still manage to put up an entertaining game every once in a while, even after letting Dennis Miller escape the broadcast booth to work in the professional asshole industry.
"That play was big vocabulary words, Foutsy!"
On Thursday, all bets are off. It's as if the NFL looks at the matchups at the beginning of each season, picks out those that not a single person in America could possibly be interested in, and then puts them on a network that your cable company probably charges you extra for, if they even carry it at all. As terrible as the games may be, a lot of fans, especially those who waste their lives playing fantasy football, still have a compelling reason to watch. Making them cough up extra loot for the worst games of the season is a dick move of the highest order.
This season in particular has been especially bad, with some sports sites outright asking if Thursday Night Football is hurting the league by highlighting only the games with the least amount of national interest. Whether they are or not, don't expect too many changes, because despite the complaints, the NFL Network is enjoying record high ratings this season.
This week's game, the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Miami Dolphins, will probably be awful, but on the bright side, it is Halloween and the game is in Miami, so expect the cheerleaders to be in fine form at least.
Finally, scantily clad women at a football game!
Oh, and speaking of costumes ...
Blackface Costumes Everywhere
You can always count on Halloween to inadvertently give us a terrifying look into just how little progress our nation has really made in the area of race relations. It happens when, inevitably, a celebrity or some other less important but equally stupid individual decides that Halloween, in addition to being an excellent excuse to dress like a slut, is the perfect time to give blackface a try.
Some instances are just blatantly racist, like this Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman costume combo that's been circulating online in recent days:
Kill yourself next!
That should go a long way toward destroying any faith you may have had in the misconception that race is no longer an issue in this country. It's a huge issue and, as some celebrity costumes in recent years have demonstrated, it's one that a lot of people still haven't looked into much. Case in point: How did former Dancing With the Stars pro and deflector of "Ryan Seacrest is gay" rumors Julianne Hough not realize that this was one of the worst ideas in celebrity costume history?
"Orange is the new blackface!" said every Twitter account in America.
After the controversy broke, Hough immediately apologized and explained that she was not aware that white people putting on makeup to look like a black person is generally frowned upon. And honestly, how is she supposed to know when we just damn near gave Robert Downey Jr. an Oscar for doing the exact same thing?
In all fairness, he is a man.
That's about as mixed as messages can possibly get. Still, it's always a little bit unsettling when, after all these years, you learn that there are still people out there who are unsure about the appropriateness of this kind of thing. The Julianne Hough incident is especially troubling in that, instead of being a solo decision, her costume was actually part of a large group.
Their crime ... stupidity.
Did not a single person in that group think to yell out, "Oh, hey, just a heads up, that's racist as shit!" as Julianne Hough was slathering black makeup on her face to hit the town? Obviously, the answer is "no," which tells you we're a long way away from unfortunate incidents like this one being a thing of the past.
This should be an especially active year for racist Halloween costumes, as a highly contentious health care bill has Republicans and Democrats alike scrambling to come up with the best Halloween costume representation of the abject chaos and technical glitches that have plagued the new insurance plan in its earliest stages. Unfortunately, most are looking something like this so far:
Oh boy ...
That, apparently, is Slate editor Dave Weigel, likely making everyone at that party unspeakably uncomfortable with his choice of costume. As it turns out, even wearing a Halloween mask of a black face sets off the "potential racist" alarms in a lot of people, because those are exactly the kind of accusations being tossed Dave Weigel's way in the wake of that unfortunate costume choice.
Fucking BuzzFeed, man.
This is the kind of thing that's turning up already, and Halloween hasn't even arrived yet. Sure, it's just a day away now, but have no doubt, that's plenty of time for the racists of the world to up the Halloween costume ante, and there's no reason to believe they won't.
Honestly, there's nothing terrifying or terrible about this final entry. Quite the opposite, really. What's posted below is video I took of an adorably protective pup that I stumbled upon at a Halloween party over the weekend. He's a good little boy. After taking a stroll through America's growing fascination with blackface, it seemed like ending on a pet video was the best and most logical next step. So, here you go ...
Happy Halloween, America. What do you say we try to not be a bunch of fucking racists this week?