Wednesday, October 30

The Trivial Eye: Halloween Costumes of the '70s & '80s

by Jason Toon

For all their cheap, mass-market ubiquity, the boxed costumes of the '70s and '80s manufactured by such outfits as Ben Cooper and Collegeville were pretty avant-garde in their way. Rather than attempt versimilitude, they splashed logos across kids' torsos with total disregard for what the subject of the costume looked like, thus turning the wearer into a walking billboard in a bold commentary on the commercial nature of such commodified celebrations.

Or maybe they were just really crappy. You tell us. And tell us who these eight disturbing costumes were supposed to represent.

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Tuesday, October 29

There Can Be Only Pun: Drinks for Vampires

by Sean Adams

ATTENTION: WATCH FACEBOOK NEXT WEEK FOR A FUN PUN EVENT! SERIOUSLY THIS TIME!

You guys, I have an addiction. I'm addicted to puns. I need them. I can't get enough of them. I HUNGER FOR THEM. That's why I've set up this weekly blog feature: so you guys can feed my addiction. Every week, I'll name the topic, give you some examples, and then you'll pun away in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter. I'll choose the best ones and post them here next week. Sound good? Good! Let's do it!

THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: Drinks for Vampires

In honor of Halloween, we're looking for drinks that vampires would like. Check out these examples:

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Tuesday, October 01

Watch This First: Billy Eye's Rock Scream, 1984

by Jason Toon

What better way to kick off Rocktober than with some bloodcurdling 80s metal wailing? Taken from the 1984 dumbsploitation gorehole Rocktober Blood (IMDb synopsis: "A crazed rock singer returns from the dead to murder members of his former band"), this is 1:42 of the kind of caterwauling yowl that makes survivors envy the dead.
 


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Tuesday, October 23

Kludge-O-Ween: The Woot-Off Where Anything Can Be A Costume

by Jason Toon


What do you do when you can't do it right? You kludge it. Generations of engineers, adventurers, programmers, and backyard MacGyvers have been kludging the world together for years. Now we're bringing that honorable tradition to Halloween.

Presenting the Kludge-O-Ween Woot-Off: two days of ludicrously resourceful suggestions for last-minute Halloween costumes for you to throw together. Some of these items will only reach you in time if you overnight them, and some won't get there in time at all. But a true kludger doesn't whine about shipping times! He or she looks around for what's at hand, cranks up the imagination, and cobbles together something semi-acceptable. When those trick-or-treaters show up, don't freak; you've probably got some oyster crackers or something in the pantry, right?

We hope Kludge-O-Ween inspires you to kludge together a costume, or to show us your improvised costumes of the past. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for our own getups kludged completely from offrice supplies. And most of all, have a very happy Kludge-O-Ween, whether you've prepared for it or not.

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The Debunker: How Was Dracula Killed?

by Ken Jennings

The poet John Keats called autumn a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Let’s leave the “mellow fruitfulness” for November - October is all about the season of mists. We’ve asked Jeopardy! smart-aleck Ken Jennings to fact-check the spookiest Halloween lore he could dig up and fill us in on all these monstrous misconceptions.

Spooky Myth #4: Dracula Was Killed By a Stake Through the Heart.

A wooden stake through the heart is often said, in vampire lore, to be the only way to kill one of the pesky bloodsuckers. But apparently Bram Stoker, the Irish novelist who created Dracula, didn’t get the memo. At the climax of his 1897 novel, Mina Harker describes Drac’s death like this:

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Tuesday, October 16

The Debunker: How Blind Is A Bat, Anyway?

by Ken Jennings

The poet John Keats called autumn a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Let’s leave the “mellow fruitfulness” for November - October is all about the season of mists. We’ve asked Jeopardy! smart-aleck Ken Jennings to fact-check the spookiest Halloween lore he could dig up and fill us in on all these monstrous misconceptions.

Spooky Myth #3: Bats Are Blind.

Bats do have amazing ways of getting around that have nothing to do with eyesight, as you probably know. One suborder of bats, the microchiropterans, can echolocate, which means they emit high-pitched squeaks and listen for the sound bouncing back to help navigate and detect tasty nearby bugs. But echolocation wasn’t discovered until 1938, so it has nothing to do with the popular saying “blind as a bat,” which goes back to Shakespeare’s day. Maybe the cliché originally derived from the confused flailing of bats trapped indoors, or from the assumption that a nocturnal animal like a bat would be, in Bruce Springsteen’s words, blinded by the light.

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Monday, October 15

Crap or Treat: Piece of Crap Giveaways from Woot & Archie McPhee!

by Jason Toon


Put this in your plastic pumpkin and BOO it! All week long on Woot's Facebook page, we'll be giving away single-serving Pieces of Crap with a festively Halloween theme. We're calling it Crap or Treat and all you have to do is "Like" our Facebook page, watch for the twice-daily sweepstakes posts, follow the instructions, and you might be one of the lucky winners!

And thanks to our pals at Archie McPhee, the world's greatest emporium of mondo bizarro, these aren't the kind of lame "treats" that will still be rattling around your bucket in mid-November. No Bits o' Honey. No circus peanuts. No nickels. Just premium Halloween weirdness from the vast McPhee vaults of WTF.

Whatever mask you're wearing, we hope you can see through the eyeholes well enough to watch Crap or Treat unfold on Woot's Facebook page, all week long! And we better not catch you trying to TP us - or YOU might be the treat in next year's bag!

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Tuesday, October 09

The Debunker: Were Witches Burned at the Stake at Salem?

by Ken Jennings

The poet John Keats called autumn a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Let’s leave the “mellow fruitfulness” for November - October is all about the season of mists. We’ve asked Jeopardy! smart-aleck Ken Jennings to fact-check the spookiest Halloween lore he could dig up and fill us in on all these monstrous misconceptions.

Spooky Myth #2: Witches Were Burned at the Stake at Salem.

Before I get into this one, let me stipulate right up front that every Women’s Studies paper on the Salem witch trials was exactly right. The trials were a fascinating and tragic confluence of screwed-up religious, political, and sexual dynamics, and twenty people were executed for the stupidest of reasons.

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Wednesday, October 03

The Debunker: Do Your Hair and Nails Keep Growing in the Grave?

by Ken Jennings

The poet John Keats called autumn a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Let’s leave the “mellow fruitfulness” for November, with its harvest festivals and frost on the pumpkin and whatnot. October, on the other hand, is all about the season of mists: mystery, sinister doings, ghouls and goblins, thrills and chills. In honor of the season, we’ve asked Jeopardy! smart-aleck Ken Jennings to fact-check the spookiest Halloween lore he could dig up and fill us in on all these monstrous misconceptions.

Spooky Myth #1: A Corpse’s Hair and Nails Keep On Growing.

Boy, what a huge untapped market this would be for the styling industry if it were true, especially as those preening baby boomers begin passing away. Permanent Waves and Mani/Pedis of the Living Dead!

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