Happy Halloween!

Homer’s been watching too much Blade II. A still from The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror XXIV” (2013). (Fox) The episode’s intro was directed by Guillermo del Toro. This video shows all its monster movie references.

Well, Halloween’s finally here! Being a vampire enthusiast and fan, October is one of my favourite months of the year. What makes this month special to me? The web gets bombarded with vampire articles, more so than the rest of the year. If you’re lucky you can find every day household items decorated with “vampire” goodness at shops that don’t normally cater to this genre.

October also gets packed full of vampire movies on almost every channel, along with some series marathons. There are usually some highly anticipated media releases that marketing execs plan around this Gothic holiday. This year it was the release of Dracula Untold and Anne Rice’s new novel Prince Lestat.

At Vamped, we get two Halloween posts this year, due to the fact that Anthony and I are an ocean apart. As I joke, I call him “future boy.” The dates will appear differently on the posts—his will be October 31, mine will be November 1, because he’s set the site’s post dates to reflect those in his neck of the woods. That means his post’s for folk south of the equator, mine’s for those north.

So, with in mind, “last night” he published an amazing article called “6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy an ‘Antique’ Vampire Killing Kit,” which I admit is pretty damn hard to top. So, I figured I would go for something more fun and post an eclectic treat bag of sorts from my internet travels this month.

Vampire Comics

How many of you read Snoopy and Garfield comics as a kid? I actually have a collection of Snoopy comics and memorabilia that was passed down to me from my grandpa years ago. I was raised on the stuff so watching It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966) was always a must! The one thing I don’t remember was Snoopy and vampires so when I stumbled upon these  little gems I was pleasantly surprised.

Especially on the spookiest night of the year… (Pinterest)

I managed to look a little further and found Snoopy and Woodstock in proper Halloween attire as well.

Snoopy and Woodstock as vampires for Halloween! (Pinterest)

I know you may not all be Snoopy fans so the other classic comic I found was Garfield. I never was into him much, mostly because I didn’t find him funny and thought he was a bully. For your amusement I included one of the fat cat for you.

Garfield vampire strip, originally published Nov. 4, 1995 (Square Root of Minus Garfield)

Vampires on TV and Film

Speaking of vampire nostalgia, check out Jeff Giles’ Rotten Tomatoes article, “50 Years of Vampire TV Series” (Oct. 2, 2014). The trouble with list-based articles is that they can never include enough to make everyone happy. I thought this one did pretty good starting with Dark Shadows in 1966 and ending with The Strain that just came out this year. It even included Forever Knight from 1989, which I vaguely remember, but few people mention.

10 Most Epic Vampire Films of All Time (Flavorpill)
Here’s lookin’ at you, Louis. Still from Interview with the Vampire (1994). (Warner Bros./Flavorpill)

What would Halloween be without some vampire films? Not very exciting! If you’re struggling for some ideas of what to put you in the vampire spirit for a fun filled evening with friends or just want to chill out on the couch this list has some good suggestions for movie buffs. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with the list, but check out Sehba Mohammad’s Flavorpill article, “The 10 Most Epic Vampire Films of All Time” (Oct. 14, 2014).

An Article to Sink Your Teeth Into

One of the best things I’ve read in a while—which also inspired me to write an article of my own, which will be appearing soon—is Robert Rath’s Escapist article, “How Society Defanged the Vampire” (Oct. 2, 2014). Here’s a sneak peek:

Vampires are mythology kings — a creature so buried in our consciousness that a mere mention draws up a picture in our mind’s eye. But here’s the thing: they don’t really scare us anymore. You find bloodsuckers on cereal boxes, on Sesame Street and in romance novels these days, rather than in the tomb. How did it get this way? How did a blood-drinking servant of evil turn into pretty boys and Muppets? The answer lies in what vampires originally represented, and how our current culture has kicked the legs out from under those old fears.

Exhibition and Parties

British Library
Promotional artwork for the British Library’s Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination exhibition. (British Library)

When talking about “defanging” what better place to start than going back to the roots and look back on a little history? I was in London in September as was pretty sad to find out in October that the British Library would be hosting a unique exhibit in October called Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. I came back to Vancouver on September 15, so I totally missed the boat on this one! Their site describes the exhibit as

From Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick and Alexander McQueen, via posters, books, films – and even a vampire-slaying kit – experience the dark shadow the Gothic imagination has cast across film, art, music, fashion, architecture and our daily lives.

The exhibit is running until January 20, 2015, so I highly recommend checking it out if you are in London. Also, if you’re a book buff—which I know many of our readers are—they’re also having a Halloween party at the library called, “Late at the Library: The Sorting,” on October 31, 2014 at 730 p.m. Sorry for the short notice!

The fun part is this event actually incorporates the Gothic exhibit. For £15 you can have a fun filled evening surrounded by Gothic goodness, books, people, music, and food. Oh, and another bonus is your ticket covers a book launch the same day for The Art of Gothic with a talk by author Natasha Scharf.

This library deserves a pat on the back for orchestrating a partnership with the Gothic exhibit and the new release of Anne Rice’s Prince Lestat by holding a midnight release launch October 29, 2014. For £28 you could’ve gotten a signed copy of her new book and admission to the exhibit. Not bad!

Vampire Drinks and Bites

Vampire Cocktail
Vampire Cocktail (Food Network)

Now, if you’re having your own Halloween party tonight, trying to sort yourself out last minute, getting food and drinks ready, we’ve got some helpful hints to steer you in the right direction to make your party fangtastic!

I was looking for a feature vampire martini to share and found this one making the rounds on numerous sites. I didn’t have time to give this baby a test drive, but knowing my booze since I used to be a bartender the ingredients sounded tasty so I figure you can’t go wrong, especially since it has ice cream! Check out the Food Network‘s “Vampire Cocktail” recipe.

If you want something more along the lines of a martini you can check out a post I did earlier this year, “5 Vampire Cocktails for You to Try” (Jan. 22, 2014).

Red Velvet Cup Cakes from Retro Bakery in Las Vegas (Bombshelleventplanner)
Red Velvet Cupcakes from Retro Bakery, Las Vegas (Via The Bombshell Event Planner)

If you are fretting for a dessert idea and you are super crafty in the kitchen, a quick solution is track down a red velvet cake mix at the store. These are pretty hard to screw up. Bake the mini cakes just as the instructions tell you to and let them cool before you ice them.

Use a white whipped icing either store bought if you are in a hurry or just Google “buttercream icing” and you will do fine. The trick for making them look pretty is swirling the icing. If you don’t have the fancy toys in your kitchen for this a quick fix is use a Ziploc bag. Fill the bag half full with the white icing and make sure to seal it properly. A heads up your hands are warm so you need to work fast, before the icing melts.

Cut a small corner of the bag off, squeeze out the air and swirl away. Large swirl on the bottom first, then work your way up till it looks pretty. The final touch is do the same thing with either raspberry sauce or strawberry sauce. Seal it up in a bag and then pour two little blood trails on each cupcake. You will look like a baking diva to your friends!

Vampire Make-Up

Michelle Phan Us Weekly Magazine
YouTube beauty guru, Michelle Phan, gets her fang on in time for Halloween! (Us Weekly)

Since you have some drinks and goodies taken care of my last tip for you is to get dolled up like your favourite True Blood sexy vampire. Check out Rose Walano’s Us Weekly video exclusive, “Michelle Phan Creates Vampire Makeup Look for Us Weekly: Watch Her Halloween How-to Video!” (Oct. 8, 2014).

A Little Night Music

What would a party be without some vampire tracks? If, like most people, you head to YouTube for music, why not check out the “The 5 Most Popular Vampire Songs on YouTube” (Jul. 10, 2014) Anthony compiled? But keep in mind, we’re talking the most “popular” so not necessarily the best, but you be the judge! A word of advice though, check out number 1 before you play it for your guests. Fair warning.

If you’re looking for a longer playlist, try Joshua Ostroff’s Huffington Post (Canada) article, “Halloween Songs: No Trick, Here’s a Spooky Playlist!” (Oct. 29, 2014) on for size. His list boasts 61 tracks that are perfect for the big night. To be honest, it didn’t have a ton of vampire songs, but I was willing to overlook that for the wide variety the author covered.

Protect Ya Neck!

Blade Trinity
Always go out in pairs and be prepared for anything! Still from Blade: Trinity (2004). (New Line Cinema/Marvel Movies Wiki)

In case you do plan on going out tonight, the folks at Vamped want to make sure you all are equipped with street smarts and stay safe. You should study Can Hoang Tran’s News Hub article, “Best Martial Art Moves Against All Things That Go Bump in the Night” (Oct. 16, 2014), just in case. Here’s a little snippet for you:

Clearing the air on those threats, Halloween’s the time where you have to deal with the “not so normal” threats. What I mean, you have all sorts of supernatural threats lurking around. You have to deal with vampires, banshees, werewolves or other different lycanthropes, mummies, zombies, revenants, ghouls, cannibalistic killers, mutants, spirits, demons, wendigos, succubi (plural for succubus; if male, it’s incubus), wacko cultists, evil fairies, different monsters, evil children, killer toys, possessed puppets, etc.

Anyway, time to get into some Halloween festivities myself. I hope you enjoyed our bag of vampire treats! Make sure you all stay safe, and watch out for thirsty vampires! Anthony and I thank you for your fangtastic support this year! Happy Halloween, everyone!

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