Thursday, October 1, 2015

The 2015 Holidaze Halloween Countdown Begins!

Ladies and gentlemen, boils and ghouls, there is a foreboding spirit among us.  There is a presence that has not been felt in quite some time which has returned to revel in the ominous atmosphere of October.  On this day, a ghoulish phantom resurrects in celebration of the most fantastic season of all.  Yes, my friends, the time has finally come.  Welcome, foolish mortals, to the 2015 Holidaze Halloween Countdown!

My oh my, it has been far too long!  Believe it or not, I have not updated The Holidaze since October 31st of last year.  That's right, since last Halloween, I've let this site become nothing more than a collection of memories.  In a way, that's fitting for this tribute to nostalgia that I've designed, but that's not what I intended.  Comparable to previous years, I aimed to target every passing holiday and season in hopes of focusing on the very best of what was offered in an attempt to socially engage my readers - Yep, all five of you - but real-life got in the way.  Between a promotion at work, moving into our new place, and turning my attention toward new responsibilities, it was nearly impossible to find any time to renew The Holidaze.  It's happened before, but there's one time of year that I refuse to let elude me.  Being the Halloween nut that I am, and it being the very reason for this site's existence, it was a guarantee that I'd be back to share these 31 days of macabre with all of you!

Now, granted, I am starting the Halloween Countdown later than ever before.  For as much as I would have loved to start posting in September, real-life simply wasn't awarding me that luxury.  One day, I'm going to sit my boss down and explain to him just how important Frankenberry, Pumpkin Spice Latte's and Scary Cakes are, but until then I'll focus on the time we do have and put more energy into this Halloween than any other before it.  On paper, this is shaping up to be one of my most memorable to date and I look forward to sharing every second of that with you on a variety of platforms.  Cue social media!

As we kick off the Holidaze Halloween Countdown, I invite you to follow me on my various social media outlets.  While the chunk of what I discuss and review will be found on The Holidaze, there will be a hell of a lot more on Instagram.  Over the last few years, Instagram has granted us the opportunity to tell stories and share experiences with one photo at a time.  It's almost become the new form of blogger and for as much as you see here, there will be slight variations found there and even more by mid-October.  This year, I'll be traveling to Walt Disney World for "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party" and Universal Orlando for "Halloween Horror Nights 25."  While I may write about our quick vacation on The Holidaze, it will mostly be covered on Instagram.  So join in the conversation and follow me @HolidazeBlog

While it may seem as though I'm pandering in an attempt to get more followers and boost my digital ego, the truth is I'll be looking for your help this year via Twitter.  For as much fun as it is to post everyday and interact, it's much greater when I can interact with even more of you.  By following me on Twitter and Re-Tweeting your favorite topics, more poor unfortunate souls are exposed to The Holidaze and the conversation can truly heat up.  Last year, I held a contest on Twitter and Instagram for an 8-Bit NECA Jason figure.  This year, I hope to do something similar.  So give in to my every whim and follow me on Twitter @Holidazeblog

Since we're on the topic of social media, I'm bringing back a favorite of mine from last year - The Holidaze Halloween Challenge!  In 2014, I and those who participated had a blast sharing photos of things that we held near and dear to our black little hearts.  We also got a little personal learned things about one another that we'd never be able to without the power of social media and, of course, our love for all things eerie.  This year, I'm keeping with the same format and invite newcomers to get in on the action.  For those of you that joined me last year, I challenge you - pun intended - to change things up.  Instead of choosing your favorites, now give me your 2nd favorite!  Throw me a few new visions and let's discuss the imagery.  Whether it's on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, share with one another using the hashtag #HolidazeChallenge

Of course, in addition to this TBT, I'll also be bringing you a few new graphic designs and illustrations.  While I can't promise anything as popular as my Hi-C Horror Boxes or the lackluster Funko Holidaze Pops, I will do my best to keep things interesting.  Barring any outside interference from the real world, a few cool ideas may come to fruition.  Tiempo is everything, compadre's!

Now that I'm through plugging my handles for a few cheap pops, it's time to finally dive right into the murky waters of this Halloween Countdown and talk about the products that keep this site (somewhat) alive!  We're starting off in the shallow end as we kick things off with not only a Halloween classic, but an absolute tradition!

I've covered Halloween Oreo cookies in almost every Countdown since I began in 2011.  To this day, those posts are still some of my most clicked topics.  For as great as Watermelon and Cotton Candy Oreo cookies are, there's just nothing quite like the Halloween variety.  In my opinion, the taste, and most certainly the look, rival and defeat the traditional black and white Oreo cookie.  Bold statement? Maybe.. But who can argue with a Trick-or-Treating Skeleton holding a Jack-O-Lantern pale on his quest for Orange Creme?  Say what you want about the blogging 28-year-old who just begged for a few follows on Twitter, but you can't dispute Boney.

In all honesty, what draws me to the Halloween Oreo every year is the bag.  Since I started The Holidaze, I've always hunted for the new items while picking up the legends if they mean something to me, personally.  Halloween Oreo cookies may be a must-buy, but without a change in packaging that would likely change.  Thankfully, Nabisco didn't take that chance and brought us a bag so beautiful that I consider it art.  As a designer, I admire and appreciate the use of colorful vector art and straying away from overly detailed graphics that sometimes draw our attention away from what matters - the freakin' cookie!

As an adult, the shapes don't really matter to me, but I love the fact that Nabisco still takes the time to include them.  We all know the selling point is the Orange Creme and, without that, these simply wouldn't sell.  If you put regular Oreo cookies inside that spooky bag, I'd stop and pick them up before putting them right back on the shelf.  Nabisco knows the name of the game and, every year, they give us exactly what we want and remind us of what it was like to be a child on Halloween which is exactly why those cool shapes still very much matter!

When Nabisco first released Halloween Oreo cookies in 1991, I was 4-years-old.  Did I have one, then? I can't say for sure, but I know they were a reoccurring part of my childhood.  Like WPIX 11 Shocktober, they were always there as an indication of what was to come.  If not a teaser, then a literal taste!  Always being released so early, I remember Halloween Oreo being around all October long.  So whether I was peeking out at Freddy Krueger from the fingers that hid my eyes or painting spooky ceramics with my Mom, Halloween Oreo cookies were right there with me.  What I find so cool about the fact that they're still around in 2015 is that, now, there's a little 5-year-old out there having similar experiences.  Sure, it may be connected to some type of technology we couldn't have even fathomed back in 1991, but there are moments being created and, hopefully, cherished.  Say what you want about cookies, because that's really all they are, but they can hold significance if given value, even if that significance isn't recognized until 20-years later.

If you haven't already, head out there and grab yourself a bag of Halloween Oreo cookies.  If you've never had them before, you owe it to yourself to join the rest of us on our Halloween journey.  If they're tradition, then be sure to remember the reasons behind that tradition.  If you have kids, make these Halloween Oreo cookies so much more important than they actually are.  And finally, if you couldn't care less about the same Halloween Oreo cookies you've been looking at for 24 years, then it's a good thing I have 30 more days before Halloween to find something that interests you!  Until then, enjoy a photo of Ghostface remembering why he became a psychopathic murderer.  Poor Billy Loomis and his Mommy issues.

For so many reasons, Halloween Oreo get a 10 / 10 and they probably always will.  They're usually the first seasonal product to be found in stores and for good reason.  They are the official kickoff to Halloween and, in our case, commence the 2015 Holidaze Halloween Countdown!  Stick with me as we barrel through this amazing month and honor this phenomenal time of year with reverence reserved for only the best of what Halloween has to offer.  Now, go and share this with all of your friends and proclaim "The Holidaze is Here!"

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