Commentary: Halloween is the great gay holiday. Long before June officially became Gay Pride Month and October became Coming Out Month for the LGBTQ community, Halloween was unofficially our yearly celebrated “holiday,” dating as far back as the 1970s, when it was a massive annual street party in San Francisco’s Castro district.
Gay cultural influence on Halloween has become an unstoppable phenomenon. Many straights may attend a gay bar during Halloween, the one time a year they step onto the “other side.” Why? They want to see what crazy and outlandish costumes we will come up with. We never disappoint.
The annual street festival and show in front of JR’s on Pacific Street is attended by hundreds of neighborhood locals, many of whom bring their children to soak in the atmosphere. Costumes vary from Jason of Friday the 13th fame to the obligatory Dorothy and friends from The Wizard of Oz. But it’s the original, current costumes that everyone seems to appreciate the most.
Halloween, like other holidays, has movies and television shows that are must see events. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without A Christmas Story and October isn’t complete without taking in a view must see viewings.
We have complied a list of the top 10 Halloween shows that should be required viewing this time of year.
10. Bewitched (1964-72). One can’t discuss Halloween shows without considering the television series that made witches fun: Bewitched. During its eight years on ABC, Bewitched produced five Halloween episodes. Watch them all with time permitting. The 1969 episode titled “To Trick or Treat or Not To Trick or Treat” deserves props for its promotion of UNICEF. Seeing Endora blow her lid over all the kids in witch costumes is worth the view.
9. The Munsters (1964-66). 1313 Mockingbird Lane was home to Herman, Lilly, Grandpa, Marilyn and Eddie. This short-lived TV series remains 30 minutes of ghoulish fun.
8. The Addams Family (1964-66). Go ahead and admit it. You cannot even read the title without humming the catchy theme song from the TV series. The close-knit family with decidedly macabre interests and supernatural abilities have been creepy and spooky in books, television and the big screen, in live action, and now animated form. Morticia remains every lesbian’s dream girl.
7. Dark Shadows (1966-71). It was Halloween every day when this Gothic soap aired weekday afternoons on ABC. Dark Shadows is the soap that will not die, having more lives than Cher has had comebacks. Depending on the storyline there are witches, werewolves, a phoenix, ghosts, time travel, a parallel universe and, of course, a vampire. Catch reruns of this unique show weeknights on Decades TV. Johnny Depp’s 2012 laughable take on this Gothic soap did not do the original justice.
6. Carrie (1976). You will never look at a school dance the same way again after watching this classic horror film. Sissy Spacek stars as a mocked and bullied high school student with telekinetic powers. She gets the last word in an unforgettable revenge scene. Bullies should take notice.
5. Friday the 13th(1980). Jason Voorhees, who drowned as a boy at Camp Crystal Lake due to the negligence of the camp staff, returns decades later to seek revenge. Hockey masks have been a Halloween staple ever since this film was released 39 years ago.
4. Halloween (1978). The music. The mask. Michael Meyers. There’s a reason this is one of the best Halloween movies of all time, and it’s not about its title. Co-written and directed by John Carpenter, the original of this series tells the story of Michael Myers as he stalks and kills teenage babysitters on Halloween night. The film begins with six-year-old Michael killing his older sister on Halloween night 1963. Jamie Lee Curtis is the star in her film debut.
3. Night of the Living Dead (1968). “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” This is the movie that started the zombie craze. Though in black and white, this George A. Romero classic remains one of the scariest movies of all time. It has some pretty gory scenes. Re-animated corpses are shown eating the organs and entrails of the victims they have recently killed. A young girl turns into a zombie and stabs her mother to death repeatedly with a trowel.
2. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966). “Tricks or treats” abound in this animated favorite. Airing annually since it first premiered 53 years ago, Linus is still waiting to meet the Great Pumpkin and Charlie Brown is still holding a bag of rocks.
1. Hocus Pocus (1993). This cult classic stars gay icon Bette Midler in perhaps her most memorable role. The magical combination of Disney magic and 1990s nostalgia has propelled this little movie to must-see status and inspired marathon viewings, and Sanderson sisters’ costumes rival The Wizard of Oz in the number of Halloween costumes. And did we mention it stars Bette Midler?