This time of year, we see the same famous monsters marched out every Halloween. Witches, Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, Frankenstein, a Mummy if someone’s feeling “ethnic” and only has toilet paper for a costume. They’re mascots of the holidays, go-to classic costumes, an important holiday staple. For me, they’re also pretty stale. We’ve seen them all before. We need new blood, so to speak, this holiday season. I think there’s a pretty easy solution here. You might’ve noticed that some of these classic monsters have their origins in literature. Almost every monster comes from some type of story. Mary Shelley had to stay at a laudanum fueled sleep over with Byron and friends after recently losing a child in a miscarriage and she wrote Frankenstein. Some villager heard tell of a woman that showed signs of having an opinion and being mildly independent and bam–stories of witches soon emerged. Monsters come from stories.
I’ve found a number of stories with brilliantly crafted monsters and picked a few to present as potential new monster mainstays of Halloween.
Cthulhu- So I’ve already admitted to reading quite a bit of Lovecraft. I almost got in an argument with myself whether I should just say Cthulhu here or the Elder Gods at large, or perhaps Azathoth or a Shoggoth. Then I decided not to be even more of an epic nerd than I’ve already revealed myself to be and just pick the most popular one, Cthulhu. He’s a big ole nasty Elder God that has wings and an Octopus head and a fishy body, because we know Lovecraft and his crippling fear of fishy stuff from one of my previous posts. With his monsters, you can actually kind of see where he was coming from with this whole “evil fish. eeeevil fish!” business.
The only barrier would be Cthulhu’s size. This guy is supposed to be an absolute behemoth, a giant monster that could destroy ships just by rising above the water or sinking back into the abyss. He’d have a hard time fitting in banners and photo ops with the other classic monsters, whom are typically human shaped and sized. I know about being the freakishly tall kid in the back of the picture. It gets awkward. Poor Cthulhu isn’t evil, he’s just tired of his head getting cut off in all the group photos. Just take a wider shot, you guys. He’s already self-conscious enough about his looks.
Dementors– Fantasy has a lot of creatures that could easily cross over into the horror genres. Lot’s of them, like dragons, sea monsters, cyclopses (cyclopsi? cyclops?) and the like are classics from old legends. I felt I had to go with a more original creature from a series I loved. Looking at Harry Potter monsters, I almost went with the Boggart, but since it can turn into whatever terrifies you the most, that seemed like cheating, not to mention really difficult to turn into a costume. The Dementor already has a great Halloween look, and that whole soul-sucking thing going on. It’s the whole package, monster-wise. The only thing that makes me think this one might not be the perfect Halloween monster is what’s next on my little monster ballot.
Pennywise the Clown/ Creepy Clowns-Okay, so it seems like reality is already intent on making this one happen, so I probably don’t need to campaign for it very hard. The story of Pennywise the clown from Stephen King’s It is actually kind of convoluted, and not that important. Turns out you need next to nothing to make clowns terrifying. Just give them social media accounts and they’ll start sending out death threats like it’s nobody’s business. O.G. creepy clown Pennywise was actually a shape-shifting demon. In the book it takes a few more eerie forms besides Pennywise, but people realized the scariest one was the clown and so made that the focus of the on-screen adaptation, in a rare instance of Hollywood people actually making a sound decision in adapting a book to a film.
Clowns would be a perfect addition to the classic Halloween monster pantheon. They’ve got public support right now, in that everyone is more terrified of them than ever before, and we’ve got loads of old Bozo the Clown merchandise laying around from when people were idiots thought these guys were funny and endearing. It’s probably all creepily dusty and deteriorating by now, the perfect ambiance for a new Halloween monster.