Remember trick-or-treating as a kid? If you grew up in the vast wasteland that is America's burbs, like I did, you probably remember that there were always a couple of weird neighbors, usually a retired couple with way too much time on their hands, who went all-out on the Halloween shit -- maybe even a little overboard.
They draped tissue-paper ghosts from the trees in their front yard, or had a dozen pumpkins grinning maniacally while the flickering pyres of votive candles slowly consumed their ropy entrails. Perhaps they stapled Frankenstein monsters to the garage, put gravestones on the front lawn, covered the El Dorado with a sheet and lit the living room behind its curtained windows with a wavering red light so that the ominous silhouette of a man dancing his danse macabre at the end of a rope burned its way into your consciousness. These creepy retired sickos seemed to just get off scaring the living shit out of four-year-olds. And as you crept up to the front door to get your lousy snack-sized Snickers bar or deformed Tootsie Roll, you would hear sounds from inside the house. The sounds of werewolves growling, vampires chuckling evilly, black cats howling, zombies grunting, witches cackling hysterically as if sharing some joke only weird old fuckfaces and the living dead understood.
Those sounds, conveniently enough for the weird old people in the neighborhood, could be bought at Kmart for about two dollars Americanski. They were a critical part of Halloween -- hey, if you didn't hear the werewolves howling, you knew you weren't going to get jack shit when you knocked on that door, because the ancient weirdos had finally wised up and caught a plane to Hawaii for a little Indian summer old-person make-out session on the beach. Lack of grunting zombies meant one thing: You could look forward to a big fat zilcho in your pumpkin pail, and you wouldn't get to make yourself sick on Giant Sweet Tarts and puke seething fluorescent pink-and-green goo all over the family dog. Dammit!
Since you're over 18 or you shouldn't be reading this, Junior, in this day and age you probably use said $2 sound effects tapes to spice up your office Halloween party, where everyone dresses up like Elvira and/or Tarzan, gets all liquored up on vodka and orange Hi-C and engages in behaviors with their co-workers that, come hangover time, they're going to wish they hadn't. There's nothing like spooky Halloween sound effects to pump up the volume on grog-fueled workplace transgressions.
Nowadays, though, you don't even have to go to Kmart to pick up one of those scary spooky booga-booga tapes. You can download 'em in Real Audio from Web-Star, where you'll be able to choose from a plethora of dreadful sounds ominously titled "The Tomb," "Lost Soul," "Pitmaster," "More Agony," and the like. And at Elycia Web Design, you can download such ghoulish Halloween treats as the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes theme song, Bobby Pickett's legendary "Monster Mash," and -- explain this one to me -- The Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian." Elycia also has creepy spooken-word audio of Edgar Allan Poe's stories read by some out-of-work actor.
Delve deeper into madness at MP3.com, where the band Soundscapes inflicts their instrumental "loud noisy drum & scarescape" upon you, and Zoetrope offers their frightastic "Night -- Halloween Mix," complete with inarticulate zombic gruntings, for you and your fellow unfortunates among the living. Some dude with a Casio and a freezer full of bad acid who should have decided to dress up like an English teacher for Halloween presents "SCAREY EFFECTS WAY BETTER THAN STOR BOUGHT!" under the name Wesley Swearingen and the rather Dadaist title "HALLOWEEN HAUNTED HOUSE FX TRACK SCAREY." My favorite part is when he weeps "Trick or treat! Trick or treat!" over and over again hysterically. You really gotta wonder when the government's going to just start putting Thorazine in the drinking water, y'know?
So in the meantime, download some gruesome noises, set your MP3 player on "repeat," and start making that orange Hi-C -- don't forget the healthy dose of generic vodka from the 7-Eleven -- and have a terrorific All Hallows Eve. Muahahahaha!
Thomas S. Roche is hiding under his desk saying the rosary. The "S" stands for "exSanguinate."