My “Halloween” playlist is back in the rotation in my car.

The songs I chose aren’t necessarily Halloween-themed, but they all contain elements that make them worthy of inclusion, be it spookiness, creepiness, ghostliness, etc.

Oddly, there are no Smashing Pumpkins songs on this playlist.

But there is some Rob Zombie, “Hotel California” and a song called “Shadowman” (by Black Box Revelation). My 4-year-old is obsessed with that last song, which annoys her mother. Heh.

I love Halloween. In fact, I love October as a whole. It’s my second-favorite month, right behind December, which has the advantage of containing both Christmas and my birthday.

Two things make October great. I’ve already mentioned the first, and the second is that it means we’re smack-dab in the middle of autumn (in theory).

Ideally, October is ushered in by leaves turning bright shades of red and orange and yellow, and it’s ushered out by a day that allows us to reveal our darker selves.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been enamored with Halloween. It forces us to recognize that our existence is not all rainbows and unicorn farts, and that this world houses demons as well as angels – as do our own hearts.

Please don’t get the idea that I think we should indulge our darkest desires on Halloween, or at any other time. We should at least acknowledge that they’re there, though, because nothing is so dangerous as a darkness you don’t believe exists.

“Track You Down,” by Matthew Mayfield, is on my Halloween playlist. It’s about a jilted lover who hunts down his ex on her wedding day. The song suggests the victim is either unaware of the evil stalking her or, more likely, believes she is safe from it.

I’m working my way through season three of “Stranger Things,” and if you’ve seen it, you know all about the upside-down. It’s a sinister dimension that exists right on the edge of what is believed to be the only reality – an idyllic Indiana town where kids are free to ride their bikes everywhere and spend hours away from home. Their parents feel no need to worry.

The evil is always there, even though it’s only ever seen by a handful of people. The collective ignorance of the townspeople only makes the force stronger.

As with my music, my taste in visual entertainment tends to shade dark. “Dexter” is a serial killer who appears as normal as the next guy. Walter White is a meek-looking science teacher whose ambition destroys everything and everyone around him. “The Walking Dead,” when it was still good, showed how easily moral lines become blurred when survival is the highest priority, and how “good” people can become monsters.

One of my favorite teachers was Coach Summerlin, who I had for history in eighth grade. At the beginning of the school year, he talked to the class about how each one of us has the capability to do good – and to do evil.

He stressed that there is no sin from which we’re invulnerable, and so we must be on guard at all times. To think you would never commit a certain terrible act is a form of arrogance.

You have to recognize the darkness, keep in touch with it, try and understand it. And when Halloween arrives, have a little fun with it.

Brad Locke is senior sports writer for the Daily Journal. Contact him on Twitter @bradlocke or via email at

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