The dark, cold month of October is the first true month of autumn, a season that brings to mind multi-colored leaves, pumpkin-flavored edibles, and, of course, the approach of everyone’s favorite spooky holiday. As college students gather in droves to watch the scariest films they can find on Netflix, it’s important that they keep in mind the lessons meant to be learned from horror movies – namely, the best ways to end up painfully, suddenly dead. Here are the top ten ways to avoid death on Halloween:
10.Do not, under any circumstances, enter a house uninvited to inquire about borrowing some gasoline for your car. For all you know, the person who lives there might have bizarre, life-threatening hobbies such as impaling strangers with meat hooks, cutting off their body parts with chainsaws and making furniture from their bones once they’re dead. In fact, it’s probably best to avoid any and all chainsaws on Halloween if possible. The likelihood of a tree needing to be cut down while on your way to a costume party off-campus is probably incredibly low.
9.Try and avoid picking up babysitting jobs anytime during Halloween weekend. Yes, it’s nice to make some extra cash, especially extra cash that’s under the table – but ask yourself: Is it really worth the risk? What if, while you and a friend are babysitting two sweet little kids right across the street from each other, a man in a mechanic’s suit and a 70’s-style hockey mask murders your friend, her boyfriend, and then tries to off you? Something to think about.
8.If you’re reading this from Japan, be careful before accepting jobs caring for demented elderly individuals. Check your facts first. Make sure no one was brutally murdered for revenge inside of the house, and call up the previous occupants to check for any strange sightings of ghost-like children. It is very important to perform this kind of background check before going anywhere near the house itself. If the house is inhabited by an onryo, or vengeful spirit of a murdered individual, that onryo will follow you until your death if you allow yourself to go near it.
7. Take a moment sometime soon and think deeply about your life. Are you happy? Do you appreciate the little things, like a midterm pushed back a week or a care package from Mom? Do you live every day as though it could be your last? If you answered no to any of those questions, then now is the time to recognize your luck in being alive, before some cancer-riddled sociopath decides to chain you to a pipe and give you a hacksaw as your only means of escape. That hacksaw, by the way, would be for your foot, not for the chain.
6.The zombie apocalypse, by this point, is a well-anticipated event about which many survival guides have been written. Pick one up at your local bookstore and give it a read. Once you’ve stocked up on ammunition, food, and water, all that’s left to do in the event of a zombie catastrophe is exercise a lot, to get in shape and avoid any military compounds led by fanatically-minded soldiers looking to repopulate the world.
5.If you’ve recently been having a string of heart-pounding nightmares involving a close brush with death, and if these nightmares have seemed a little too real, it might be wise to invest in some energy drinks. Coffee is a popular favorite, with many UMass dining halls carrying a pumpkin spice flavor this time of year. Another option to increase your safety is to join a sleep lab and log as many research hours as the experiment design will allow. If you absolutely must sleep, get a friend to watch you do so, and hope to everything holy that they don’t decide to go on an Antonio’s run after you conk out.
4.This piece of advice goes out especially to struggling writers and recovering alcoholics: don’t take a job as a winter overseer for a closed hotel. The solitude will not help your writing, nor will it give you a chance to bond with your family. Please note that if you must take this position for financial reasons, do not bring your family with you. This advice is doubly important if a murder has occurred at the hotel. Cabin fever is a serious threat to one’s mental health. If at any point during this season you find yourself cooped up in a hotel, hallucinating bartenders, please seek medical attention immediately.
3.Nearly every county in America has a Crystal Lake. October being a cold month, a weekend trip to the closest Crystal Lake near you shouldn’t be in your day planner. However, if you end up staying at a Crystal Lake cabin over Halloween weekend, just for something different, try to pretend as though your mother is watching you at all times. Even if Mom isn’t watching, a near-immortal killer wearing a hockey mask might be. In short: avoid any Crystal Lakes, and if you can’t, avoid immoral behavior. Otherwise, you might find your make-out session cut short, quite literally, with a machete through the chest of you and your kissing buddy.
2.This applies to every day of the year, but especially on Halloween: don’t get possessed by the Devil or any of the various demons said to inhabit the bowels of Hell (e.g. Beelzebub, Azazel, Pazuzu, etc.). Due to a thinning of the boundaries between our world and the world inhabited by demons and spirits, possessions are particularly common around “All Hallows’ Eve.” Some common signs of possession include distorted facial expressions, speaking in tongues or odd, foreign voices, hovering in the air and projectile vomiting. While you might not have any choice regarding your ‘possessed’ status, some common ways thought to prevent possession include the use of St. Benedict’s medal, nazars or hamsa hands. If you believe you are a victim of demonic possession, please contact a priest or professional exorcist near you.
1.If you’ve ignored all of the aforementioned advice and are still alive to tell the tale, at least take this final word of advice to heart: do not watch any of the “Twilight” movies on Halloween or any other of the 364 days of the year … You might just feel an overwhelming compulsion to go on a homicidal rampage before the movie is over.
Lindsay Orlov can be reached at [email protected]