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It's Halloween (and Then Some): The Spooky Poetry of Jack Prelutsky

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I feel like closing out October with something classy. And since we're no stranger to Halloween poems around here, let's celebrate the onset of All Hallow's Week with some verse, courtesy of the man himself, Jack Prelutsky.
Prelutsky is a distinguished poet whose work tends toward a younger audience. I could give you a full recap of his history, but instead I'll just directly lift this quote from his Wikipedia, which is just...wow:

Jack Prelutsky was born on September 8, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York to Charles, an electrician, and Dorothea, a homemaker. While he was still a baby, a fire killed his family and he was saved by his Uncle Charlie, who was a dad of 56 (Wikipedia)

First of all, this is incredibly tragic and heart-wrenching. Second of all, that 56 has to be a typo, right?
Perhaps fittingly given the horrors of his early life, Prelutsky is best known for his dabbling in some darker material. The best example of this is 1976's Nightmares: Poems to Trouble …

The Soundtrack to My Octobers: Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party

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It's an annual tradition: when October rolls around, it's officially Oingo Boingo season. Well, let me back up a bit. For me, it's always Oingo Boingo season. They're my favorite band of all time, despite being defunct since the late 90's. For the uninitiated, Oingo Boingo is the brainchild of Danny Elfman, who is better known these days as the composer of the score of pretty much every Tim Burton film, the guy who created the theme for both Batman and The Simpsons, and just basically a divine gift from the heavens above that none of us are worthy of.
Before all that, there was Oingo Boingo and their weird, anarchic new wave/ska/surf/punk sound that sounds like it should be absolutely terrible when I describe it that way. They were far greater than the sum of their parts. Basically, they skewered social mores and explored strange and dark topics with biting humor, infectious hooks and more trumpet and saxophone than you can shake a Cherry Poppin' Daddy at. And …

Rebuilding

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On July 29th, 2018, I received a phone call from the storage facility I keep some of my belongings at, informing me of an urgent matter. These ominous words made my blood run cold, and I knew something was terribly wrong. My first thought was towards my Halloween items, especially my pumpkin carving kits (which I have written at length about here, here and here). Had a water main burst and ruined them all? I had just heard several sirens pass by…had the facility caught fire? I couldn’t bear the thought. No, I was informed, there was no elemental disaster in my unit. But someone had forced open my storage locker, and it looked like some things were likely stolen. My immediate presence was required. I felt the Sunday languor that had previously confined me to the couch decaying and falling away, replaced by a newly awoken sense of dread. Still, I reasoned, how bad could it be? I had an Xbox 360 that would have been visible to anyone entering the unit along with a stack o…

Ghosts: Scary Stories' Stepchild

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In 1981, Alvin Schwartz unleashed his horror classic Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark upon the world, and it and its twosequels would scar psyches for generations to come. 1984 saw the release ofIn a Dark, Dark Room, a similar book that Schwartz had tailored to somewhat younger readers. Unlike the Scary Stories books, though, this one never got a sequel...or did it?
Ghosts!, published in 1991, is an oft-overlooked installment in Alvin Schwartz's oeuvre that serves in many ways as a spiritual successor to In a Dark, Dark Room. In belongs to the somewhat redundantly named "I Can Read" book series, like Dark Room, so it is targeted at a similarly young audience, and of course it shares the supernatural theme of the aforementioned works. But how does this one stack up against the veritable murderer's row of Schwartz's earlier classics? Let's find out.
The first thing that jumps out at you is the artwork. Victoria Chess has a strikingly different style than the la…