The two powerful men face one last debate as the countdown to the big night marches on. Signs of the season abound. Neighbors who are polite the rest of the year suddenly reveal their hearts with lawn signage and other loud displays. Hopeful faces campaign door to door, searching for hand-outs and approval. Everything is sugar-coated. The stakes are high. Also, wooden and aimed at vampires. Because that's Halloween for you.
Some are for, some are against. Some love the spookiness, the ghosts and goblins and other feats of creepy derring-do. Others hate it. After all, zombies and clowns, even when they're 3-feet-7-inches tall, can be threatening when they're roaming the streets after dark extorting candy.
Two powerful personalities kindly sat down with me to debate their opposing Halloween positions in advance of the Wilmette Theatre's Spooktacular Halloween weekend, which they both will attend.
On the one side, horror host Undead Johnny, the award-winning producer and star of television's World of the Weird Monster Show, who believes that Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year. On the other side, D.K. Ediger, noted accidentalist and safety expert, who won acclaim as an Andy Kaufman Awards semi-finalist and believes that Halloween is folly-ween.
In addition to personal appearances by Undead Johnny and D.K. Ediger, the Wilmette Theatre's Halloween Spooktacular will present double features, including the Rocky Horror Picture Show accompanied by a live cast, stand-up comedy, costume contests and scarily excellent prizes. And unlike the debates, you can even expect lots of great concessions.
Q: What is the best part of Halloween?
Undead Johnny: Two words, Teme: Free. Candy. Also, I like the fact that it's the one time of year people stop asking me, "Hey, why are you wearing that stupid pumpkin shirt?"
D.K. Ediger: The best part of Halloween is waking up on November 1st and realizing you're still alive and that your loved ones are still alive and have not perished. Halloween is demonic, dangerous and deadly as the day is long.
Q: What is the worst part of Halloween?
Undead Johnny: There is no bad part to Halloween. If there's anything at all bad about the Halloween season it's that every year Halloween keeps getting pushed out of stores earlier and earlier. And I resent that. If I go into a store on a crisp October afternoon to get some candy corn, cob webs and fake blood, I shouldn't have to push past the big jolly fat man in red to get to it. Back off, Christmas!
D.K. Ediger: The danger. Kids (and some adults) think Halloween is a license issuer that issues licenses to be foolish, dangerous and holliganish. It has been statistically proven that mischiefs and horseplay spike in numbers during Halloween.
Q: What is your favorite trick and favorite treat?
Undead Johnny: Anything that puts a little scare into some day is a good trick. As long as it isn't me that's being tricked. But really, there shouldn't have to be any tricks because everyone should be handing out candy. My favorite treat? This time of year, that has to be candy corn. I love candy corn.
D.K. Ediger: I don't care for tricks and I would think you'd know that by now, Teme. A tall cool glass of celery water is the only treat I need. ALL those other treats are poisoned with sugar, fattening agents, and tragically, sometimes actual poison.
Q: What will you be dressing up as this Halloween?
Undead Johnny: Teme, I won the Skokie Cable Awards Producer of the Year. When you're that famous, you don't need to dress up. And really, how can I get all the adoration and praise I deserve if I dress up like someone else? No one would recognize me.
D.K. Ediger: No Ma'am, I will not. I will be offering a safe alternative to Halloween in my presentations where I offer safe alternatives to Halloween aided foolishness.
Q: What is your best tip for warding off vampires?
Undead Johnny: Just stay away from them. Not worth the trouble. I tried dating one or two over the years and they're very high maintenance, will just suck you dry.
D.K. Ediger: To stay away from drugs.
Q: How would you advise Patch readers to prepare for and, hopefully, survive the coming zombie apocalypse?
Undead Johnny: It's a hard thing to properly prepare for since you never know when it could happen. I would say my main advice is to get a baseball bat. It is my belief that a good, solid baseball bat is the perfect weapon for the zombie apocalypse.
But all in all, zombies aren't that bad. I mean, you know what they want, you know what their motivations are: Brains and flesh. They're very predictable, just avoid large congregations. They're not going to out-think you. It's werewolves your readers need to watch out for. During the day they're all "I'm so tortured, I'm so cursed, I don't want to hurt anyone but at night I'm forced to kill" and then the second you start feeling sorry for them, the moon comes up and they'll just tear you to shreds.
D.K. Ediger: I happen to think it will be robots that bring on the apocalypse, but to each his own. America is great because we have room for all sorts of opinions. Whether it be automatons or undeads, I think you can never have enough non-perishable food items.
Q: Do you have any Halloween rituals and what is your favorite Halloween memory?
Undead Johnny: You gotta watch Halloween III: Season of the Witch starring the Man himself, Tom Atkins. You just have to. It's not Halloween without it. That and It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
My favorite Halloween memory is from way back when I first started as a horror host. Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark had somehow seen my show and contacted me that she liked my style. We went out on a haunted hayride, had some laughs, a few drinks and it was a memorable night. Now, I will admit to your readers that this never actually happened. But it should have.
D.K. Ediger: They mostly involve door locking and the flashlighting of unilluminated area patches.
Q: What is your favorite scary movie?
Undead Johnny: Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce. If you haven't seen it, watch it. It's like four movies in one. It's a space opera, then it's a vampire movie, then it's a zombie flick and then finally an apocalypse film. It is full of what fellow horror host Joe Bob Briggs calls the 3 B's. Blood, Breasts and Beasts. It's got plenty of blood, the main vampire chick spends literally the whole movie walking around in the nude and there's tons of zombies at the end. Plus, Patrick Stewart is in it, you know, Captain Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek, so that makes it classy like Shakespeare.
D.K. Ediger: The Death of Richie starring Robbie Benson is the scariest movie I have ever seen and really highlights how drugs can ruin your car, your home and your life.
Q: Where is the best place to hang out on Halloween?
Undead Johnny: A very sincere pumpkin patch waiting for The Great Pumpkin to arrive.
D.K. Ediger: In your home with the door locked.
Q: How would you finish this sentence: "On Halloween, always be sure to ______, but never _____!"
Undead Johnny: On Halloween, always be sure to ignore the advice of anyone who suggests you "split up," but NEVER decide to have your party at that old abandoned house everyone says is haunted. Because it is. And you and all of your friends will die!
D.K. Ediger: On Halloween, always be sure to stay inside and don't tempt danger, but NEVER go outside and tempt danger!
The Wilmette Theatre's Halloween Spooktacular is on Friday night, October 26 and Saturday night, October 27. On Friday, October 26, The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be followed by Shaun of the Dead and on Saturday, October 27, Rocky Horror will be followed by Ghostbusters. Both nights, the doors open at 9:00 and show begins at 9:30. Mature audiences suggested. No one under 12 will be admitted. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at door. Ticket price includes admission to Both Films! Rocky Horror prop kits on sale for $3 each (or 2 for $5!) in lobby before show. Outside audience participation props allowed in are limited; everything you need is in the kits available for purchase in lobby! SEATS ARE LIMITED AND ARE GOING FAST! ADVANCE TICKETS VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Tickets available at box office, purchase or reserve by phone at 847-251-7424, or purchase online at http://www.wilmettetheatre.com/events