I never thought I'd find another Halloween tradition in Trick 'r Treat. I already had Halloween and its sequels, and with all of the random horror movies I watch during the month of October, I don't have a lot of time to tack on another ritual. And yet Trick 'r Treat became a staple on first watch, for multiple reasons. One might have been the fact that I received the comic adaptation right along with my first screening, but there was a certain aura about the movie I couldn't shake.
Take the first scene, for example. Director Michael Dougherty revels in the spirit of Halloween. He uses art and drawings to mimic the style of EC Comics in his credits. The first segment, about a woman who douses her jack-o-lantern candle a bit too early on Halloween night, hits every facet of Halloween imaginable. There's no shots of kids trick-or-treating in broad daylight; instead, they're out at night, running amok around town with their creepy costumes as they should be. And the immediacy of the film's focus on Halloween - we're right in it from the first scene - means that Trick 'r Treat never fails to incorporate the viewer in the proceedings. No - instead, they're a passive onlooker participating in the mischief of the night.
Once we get to segment three, the one where the school kids set out to scare a girl to death at the site of a bus accident, we're treated to a giant display of jack-o-lanterns of all shapes and sizes on a cast lawn. It's like a Halloween fanatic's dream come true - dozens of twisted pumpkin faces leer at the viewer like birds perched on power lines, the house behind them dark and vacant. If I had the time and money, or a farm full of pumpkins, I would do it myself.
It doesn't stop there, though. Trick 'r Treat's town has a Halloween parade. A parade! You won't find that in my town - instead, the want to make Halloween trick-or-treating earlier and limit those out at night. Or they want to change the date of trick-or-treating so that it's not on October 31 - what blasphemy! Oh, did I mention that the town finds it suitable to line dark walkways with jack-o-lanterns? Where is this place and when can I move there?
It's the small details that makes Trick 'r Treat the Halloween dream. It's a film obviously directed by someone who loves and appreciates the holiday - and that makes it a perfect way to start off Mayoween, a makeshift celebration of a day that doesn't come soon enough for horror fans.