Spooky sites sound all right

Posted on October 30, 2000

Maybe you are one of those people who are completely terrified of computers, the Internet and lemon-flavored cough drops. If so, you probably are no where near being able to read this column, and if I had to guess, you are most likely hiding in a basement in Turkey. That is, if they have basements in Turkey. So if you know someone like this, please print this column immediately and send it to them because it could save their life.

Yes, the second-scariest night of the entire year, Halloween, is almost upon us. The scariest night, obviously, is the night they give out country music awards. But today, we don't have time to play games. I unfortunately have to introduce you to the most horrible thing known to man -- Web sites that play music.

Now sound isn't all that bad. Web sites are our friends. But no one, not even the guy who's always at Denny's at 2 a.m., sitting in the booth closest to the women's bathroom, wants to load a Web site and have it play music. I'm not saying it's bad to have music available on a site, but unless the file is tiny, it takes unnecessary loading time. Give your visitors a button to hit if you want to include your high school fight song or the theme for The Jeffersons.

Back to the second-scariest night of the year. Whether you are looking for a costume or party ideas or general eccentric behavior while scaring people to death, you can use the Net to your advantage. The best Halloween site I found was Halloween on the Net. There's history, games and even music. But the music doesn't play until you hit the link, thank God. There's an interesting little graphic that appears at first glance to be pulltabs off of Big Red cans, but upon examination, they are actually rotating skeleton faces. Any site that can disguise skeleton faces as Big Red pulltabs has to be good. The pumpkins also bear a disturbing resemblance to Hank Williams Jr.

Maybe you're the type of person who would rather par-tay, so if that's the case, get off the computer and throw one! Oh, but read the rest of this column first. If you have kids, visit Netscape Netcenter's Halloween Party Planner. The party ideas are meant for children 6 and over, so please don't wear a gorilla mask into the hospital newborn room. If you do, those kids may grow up thinking they were the lone survivors on "Planet of the Apes." There is also a list of recipes for various snacks you can make, including Eyeball punch, Jack-o'-lantern pizzas, and my personal favorite, Kenny Rogers burgoo. True, Rogers is too scary for children under 6, but he's a big hit for the 134-and-over crowd.

Of course you need a costume! And you've finally grown out of the Yoda one, it took you only 45 years. The MyFamily.com Halloween costume message board is where you can find the right fit for you. Even if you don't use one of those ideas, I'm sure you can decide on something better than going for the Garth Brooks-refrigerator repairman look.

Halloween is all about fun, so have at it. Whether it's handing out candy to kids or partying with your friends, it's a break from your normal everyday activities. Sometimes people evoke special powers, like twirling a pitchfork, when inside a costume. Be sure your mask is secure lest the sounds of a Web site or Travis Tritt, whichever is louder, could blow your cover as a Turkish basement dweller.