Blood rain just before Halloween? While it may sound like a festive prank, forecasters are really predicting this bizarre weather occurrence.
The phenomenon is actually a mix of red dust from the Sahara Desert blowing toward Europe. However, because it’s supposed to rain, the dust will most likely mix with the precipitation causing red raindrops, or blood rain.
Other predictions include the blood rain spattering and staining cars to mixing with snow to create a gruesome winter wonderland.
“The warm air has been drawn from a long way south down in north Africa and is spreading north,” London’s Met Office forecaster Emma Sharples told news.com.au. “But there is going to be a sharp contrast in weather as a cold snap sweeps across the country from Friday, which is likely to bring snow to Scotland and the north of England.”
This isn’t the first time the U.K. has experienced blood rain. Throughout history it has been noted, and in earlier times was used to presage unfortunate events. In fact, as early as 685 the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded “there was a bloody rain in Britain. And milk and butter were turned to blood. And Lothere, king of Kent, died.”
Let’s hope this year’s blood rain is nothing more than an uncanny incidence.
So it’s Saturday night, and I’m sitting here surfing the interweb looking for a scary, travel-themed video to post. You know, because it’s almost Halloween (and my social life is a bit lacking, apparently). Here’s what popped up on Google, courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security. It certainly scared the crap out of me.
Is your love of travel part of your identity? Have you trawled every Southeast Asian backwater, and explored the twisting streets and alleyways of little-known European cities? Whether your adventurous spirit takes you abroad for work or pleasure, chances are you’ve seen enough of the planet to know that certain stereotypes exist for a reason.
This year, Gadling decided to come up with some Halloween costume ideas based upon our collective experience as world travelers. Don’t take offense: We’ve all been guilty of travel crimes or attire that make our country of origin painfully obvious. Just remember, there’s a fine line between funny and racist. Don’t cross it.
Trustafarian Backpacker in Southeast Asia(gender-neutral)
Your costume consists of dreadlocks, “indigenous” necklace and bracelet, Lao beer T-shirt, Thai fisherman’s pants, and at least one tribal/Chinese character tattoo (mistranslation optional). This is my variation on Pam Mandel’s “Chiang Mai Blogger,” which includes “a MacBook Air, Nikon DX000 (one-year old, bought at bugout time), fully-stocked 401k, and crumpled-up absentee ballot, because ‘it hardly matters.'”
Euro Trash Guy
Super pointy, expensive leather shoes, douchey scarf, and tight pants n’ high thread-count tee are de riguer. Style a fashion mullet, don your trendy shades, and talk about your last holiday on Ibiza. Chain smoke, and offer mints to fellow partygoers, telling them it’s Ecstasy. Eek!
Striped thigh-high socks, baby-doll dress or plaid school girl skirt, choppy blond or colored wig, outlandish eye makeup (or try mega-size false lashes), and crazy-high platform shoes. Don’t forget the “Hello Kitty” accessories.
Las Vegas Bachelorette Party Chick
“A sash, saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” says McLean Robbins. I suggest adding a tiara, and perhaps some type of phallic paraphernalia as accessory.
Travel Writer (gender neutral)
Do not shower for several days prior. Wear whatever clothes you can find crumpled up in your dirty laundry, and carry an overstuffed daypack filled with coffee- and -wine-stained notebook, decrepit laptop, tattered guide book, and much-abused passport. Look stressed. Mutter about deadlines and bus schedules. Feign confusion, and ask partygoers what city/country you’re in. Scary.
An easy costume for couples: just wear matching his n’ hers outfits, leis, sparkly wedding bands, and big smiles. Carry a camera and mai tais garnished with orchids. For a group, go as “Midwestern Family on Hawaiian Vacation,” and have everyone wear matching Hilo Hattie attire and leis. Before I get angry comments, allow me to note that I’ve lived on Maui twice and yes, these are both a thing.
Yoga pants, kurti blouse, hemp necklace, handmade sandals (barefoot optional), bindi, and glazed eyes. Refer to your spiritual leader by name, often. Cue ghostly sounds.
Canadian (gender neutral)
Sew the national flag on a backpack, deploy lots of “eh’s” and “aboots” in conversation, and you’re good to go. Ask partygoers if they can spare a loonie.
Ugly American(gender neutral)
If under 30, wear Greek letters/house party shirt of choice, or opt for a tee with an obnoxious saying (“Diva,” “Princess,” “Where’s the Beer?” “I’m with Stupid”). Add inappropriately short-shorts (if female) or saggy pants (male). Carry a copy of a Let’s Go guidebook, spendy tennis shoes, and spanking new backpack. Talk loudly about how hungover you are, how much all of your material goods cost (the more expensive, the better), and complain about how no one speaks any English. Shudder.
Older folks can wear a favorite sports team or logo T-shirt (baseball cap optional) or something comparably lacking in style, with khaki shorts, dark socks, and sandals. Carry a map and camera, and in your “outdoor” voice, ask where you can find the nearest McDonald’s, or “why no one in this goddamn country wears deodorant.” Spooky!
Bring lots of beer (not Fosters!), a wandering eye, and a good attitude.
There are thousands of haunted house attractions that open up in cities around the country each year around this time but there’s only one place where you can see the world’s longest snake in captivity, nearly get your leg chomped off by a live alligator and slide five stories from heaven to purgatory to hell. Kansas City’s “The Edge of Hell” claims to be the country’s oldest commercial haunted attraction and some think that it, and its sister attraction, “The Beast,” are the scariest haunted houses in the nation.
When I saw a photo of Medusa, who is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest snake in captivity, I had to find out more about her and the other attractions at this place. I spoke to Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, whose family owns “The Edge of Hell,” about Medua, Clamp the Alligator and why people still love haunted houses.
How old is Medusa?
She’s 8. We got her as a baby; she was tiny. She weighs over 350 pounds. It takes 15-18 people to get her out and hold her.
Why would you want to do that?
She likes to go for walks in the park sometimes. Only in the summer when it’s very warm. And we get her out for media events. She has a lifestyle cage where she lives in the offseason and she’s in “The Edge of Hell” show during the season.
A lifestyle cage?
(Laughs) She has her own slide. “The Edge of Hell” has a five-story slide where you go from heaven to hell. She has her own slide where she goes down to swim. She loves swimming and she likes to climb trees at the park.
You bring a 25-foot-long snake and let her slither around in public parks? Is that legal?
It’s not a public park; it’s a private area.
What kind of snake is she?
She’s a reticulated python.
Did you have any idea how big she’d get?
No. In captivity, snakes don’t usually eat regularly. But she wants to eat all the time. She’s very hungry. She loves to eat.
How big is she?
Twenty-five feet, two inches.
What does she eat?
She still eats rabbits, but they’re really small for her so she might have to eat 7 or 8 of them at a time. She’s graduated up to eating hogs, goats, deer. She really likes raccoons too.
Hogs, goats and deer? You drag an entire dead deer or hog into her cage for to eat?
No. Constrictors have to kill it themselves, otherwise they won’t eat it. We buy her organic hogs and organic food.
So you put the live animal inside the cage and just let her go at it? That sounds grisly, do you watch this unfold?
The trainer stays in there to make sure she doesn’t choke.
What’s he going to do, give her the Heimlich maneuver?
That’s what we always joke. I don’t know what he would do. Our trainer was made unconscious by a snake before. He passed out before he even knew he was in trouble. His wife saved him.
So does Medusa eat an entire hog or deer in one sitting?
Constrictors swallow hole, so she can’t eat half and save the rest for later. They don’t bite that way. She has to eat it all in one sitting and the lump moves down through her body.
How large an animal can she swallow?
She usually eats 50-75 pounds at a sitting. She needs at least a 50-pound meal about once a month, sometimes more.
And does she snack in between?
No. She just has the one big meal.
Where does she come from?
She comes from the Sulawesi Islands in Indonesia. The trainer bought her on the Internet, but you can’t do that any more.
She doesn’t just slither around the haunted house free does she?
I don’t know, you’ll have to come to the show (laughs). No, she has her own cage at “The Edge of Hell” and we’re open two months out of the year. Her cage is probably 20-by-20, but we’ll have to expand it next year because she’s getting too big for it.
How did she get big enough to make it into Guinness?
A combination of her eating habits and genes. Also, she’s very happy and just loves to eat.
Tell me about “The Edge of Hell.”
“The Edge of Hell” is the oldest commercial haunted attraction in the U.S. It opened in 1975 and this is our 38th season. It’s a family business. Before we did “The Edge of Hell,” we did one called “The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe.” It got rave reviews and the next year we purchased the building and opened “The Edge of Hell.”
Is Medusa one of the things people like to see the most?
She’s something people look for. We study the psychology of fear. Every person scares differently and has their own adrenaline reaction to things. “The Edge of Hell” is a five-story warehouse building. The premise is that if you live on the edge, you’ll encounter these sorts of demons – rats, snakes, the hounds of hell, vampires. You get a glimpse of heaven, but unfortunately you made too many bad choices and you go to purgatory down the five-story slide and end up in hell. People gaze at her; she’s a beautiful beast. Mesmerizing.
Does she scare the crap out of people?
She does just by capturing their gaze.
Has she bitten anyone?
Oh no. I was bitten by a black snake when I was young but I still don’t have the snake phobia that others do. Sometimes she isn’t in a good mood when we get her out though. She gets nervous and has to go to the bathroom when people are taking pictures of her. But she’s very loving toward her trainer, Larry Elgar.
Is this something everyone likes to do at Halloween time, visit a haunted house?
“The Beast” is patterned around time travel. You go into a Southern Louisiana mansion; you enter into a swamp where we have a live alligator. His name is Clamp. You look at this live alligator and proceed into the swamp and an animatronic alligator snaps at your leg. And then you go down a shoot slide to Jack Ripper’s London, and you’re in a pub.
And the werewolf forest is a quarter acre in size and over 10,000 square feet. In the old days, people looked over rails into attractions; we pioneered the open theme where you are inside the attractions. In “The Beast,” it’s all about the phobia of being lost. There are people who are in the werewolf forest for 45 minutes and can’t find their way out.
Tell me about Clamp.
He’s growing like a weed. We’ve had him since he was tiny. Now he’s 8 feet long. He’s very fond of chicken.
You throw him live chickens or give him breasts?
He likes all chicken parts. We don’t feed him anything live.
And how often does he eat?
He prefers to be fed regularly – every week. But Larry doesn’t worry about him choking on anything like he does Medusa. That’s his love.
And what does he do in the offseason?
He has a lifestyle cage as well but he’s a real bear about being transported. We have to wrap his mouth but he likes to swat around a lot. He’s funny like that.
[Photos courtesy of “The Edge of Hell” and Kevin Scott Ramos, Guinness Book of World Records]
Want to celebrate Halloween on the road this holiday? Stay at one of these U.S. hotels offering festive packages and programming.
The Sanctuary Hotel New York, NY
Located in the heart of Manhattan, The Sanctuary Hotel is offering a “Haunted Hotel” package this Halloween. Along with luxurious accommodations, guests staying from October 29 to November 4 will receive:
A tour of the city in a hearse, highlighting everything from haunted buildings to where famous mobsters got whacked
A classic horror film screening in the hotel lobby on Halloween Eve, complete with popcorn and candy
Breakfast buffet each morning
Rates start at $554 per night based on double occupancy. Click here to book. Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa Sonoma, California
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is home to many eerie legends. For example, in the evening when the fog rolls in from the bay, people have claimed to see a hauntingly beautiful woman named Victoria strolling the hallways of the inn in period dress, sipping a Sonoma Pinot. Her heritage can be traced back to the founding fathers of Sonoma Valley, and she is said to have celebrated her wedding and many anniversaries at the resort. Additionally, the property was once a sacred healing ground for Native Americans, and guests have commented on the otherworldly presence at the inn. To help celebrate their ghostly past, the property will feature ghoulish offerings during September. Halloween-themed cocktails like the “Bloody-Tini” and the “Twilight Cocktail,” pumpkin-inspired spa treatments, a spirited seasonal wine and dinner pairing and tours of nearby haunted sites, like the Sebastiani Theatre, The Blue Wing Inn and the former Sonoma Asylum will all be available.
Rates start at $229 per night based on double occupancy. Click here to book.
Hotel ZaZa Houston Houston, Texas
At Hotel ZaZa Houston, guests can enjoy a full weekend of tricks and treats this Halloween. From now through October 27, guests can enjoy:
One night of luxury accommodations
Admission for two to Bone-Appetit Pumpkin Sculpting on October 27th from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. with Executive Chef Jonathan Jones
Two complimentary drinks from the Witches Cauldron
Admission for two to Monarch’s Dancing in Dark Halloween Party on October 27, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., featuring nationally acclaimed DJ Lady Bunny
Rates start at $299 per night based on double occupancy. Click here to book.
Congress Hall Hotel Cape May, New Jersey
To help get you in the mood for Halloween, Congress Hall Hotel is offering a “Phantom Ball” package. From October 26 to 28, participating guests will receive:
Two nights of accommodation
A $20 breakfast voucher for two each morning at the Blue Pig Tavern
Two tickets to Congress Hall’s “Phantom Ball” on Friday night
Two tickets to a Cape May ghost tour on the Victorian streets of Cape May on Saturday
Rates start at $284.28 per night based on double occupancy. Call 888.944.1816 to book.
The Stanley Hotel Estes Park, Colorado
If this hotel could scare horror writer Stephen King, it must be terrifying. The Stanley Hotel is said to be a hot spot for ghosts, especially in room 217, the very room that served as the inspiration for King’s novel, “The Shining.” The property has also been featured in several episodes of “Ghost Hunters.” As if this is not enough, the property is featuring themed events, including:
Two tickets to the Shining Ball (October 27)
The chance to go on a five-hour ghost hunt with on-staff paranormal investigators and learn how to use ghost hunting tools and test their new skills in some of the property’s most haunted locations that are inaccessible to the general public
Rates start at $299 per night based on double occupancy. Click here to book.
The Ranch at Rock Creek Philipsburg, Montana
This holiday, The Ranch at Rock Creek is offering a festive “Halloween at the Ranch” package for guests staying between October 31 through November 3. The promotion includes:
Three nights of accommodation in a Western-style luxury lodge
Non-stop festive activities, like trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, a costume contest, bonfires with spooky ghost stories, a photo scavenger hunt, and trips to the Granite County Ghost Hall of Fame and famous Sweet Palace Candy Shop for Halloween treats
Free accommodations for children under 17
A fall-inspired pumpkin scrub treatment for two at their onsite Granite Spa
Guests can also take part in the ranch’s usual fare, like carriage rides, horseback riding, sporting clay shooting, archery, fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, bowling and more.
All-inclusive rates for this package start at $850 per person, per night (aside for children under 17). Rates include all activities, luxury lodge accommodations, gourmet dining, premium beverages, two pumpkin scrub spa treatments and airport transfers. Email email@example.com or call 406.859.6027 to book.
Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa Fort Lauderdale, Florida
At Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa there is fun to be had for kids and kids at heart throughout Halloween week with its “No Tricks Just Treats” package. From October 26 to November 3, guests will receive deluxe accommodations and a special trick-or-treating experience throughout the common rooms. Additionally, from October 27 to 28 and on the 31, themed activities will be held, including:
A Halloween obstacle course
Halloween mask/costume making
Themed arts & crafts
Traditional Halloween games
Themed cookie decorating
A family-friendly Halloween dive-in film on Halloween day
Rates start at $319 per night based on double occupancy. Click here to book.
Hershey Lodge Hershey, Pennsylvania
Halloween is all about candy, so what better place to send it than the country’s chocolate hub, Hershey, Pennsylvania? The Hershey Lodge is offering a “Holiday in Hershey” package, which includes:
Breakfast with the Hershey’s product characters
One-day admission to Hersheypark in the Dark, their family-friendly Halloween alternative at Hersheypark
Admission to Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story’s Museum Experience
There will also be Halloween-themed activities for kids, like a “Witches Brewed Children’s Tea” on Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. where children can come in costume to sample hot chocolate, orange and white chocolate teas and a variety of finger foods. The tea also includes pumpkin decorating, Halloween-themed storytelling and a kid-size apron. The cost is $40 for an adult and child, and $18 for each additional person.
The package is available Fridays and Saturdays from October 19 through November 3, with prices starting at $399 per person.Click here to book.
The White House Inn Wilmington, Vermont
Ghosts and legends are a big part of Vermont’s culture, and have been for hundreds of years. To help celebrate the state’s heritage, The White House Inn will be hosting an eerie event on October 27. With the help of the inn’s own ghost, a baroness who haunts the halls, a séance and haunted tour will be held along with a three-course dinner. There will be two seatings, one at 7 p.m. and one at 9 p.m. The event will be led by a member of the New England Ghost Project, the area’s leading paranormal investigation team.
Rates start at $349 per night based on double occupancy. The dinner and séance event is $100. Click here to book.
Kalahari Resort Sandusky, OH
If you’re looking to get wet this Halloween, Kalahari Resort boasts being home to the largest indoor waterpark in the country. Not only that, but this holiday, they’ll also be hosting a “Halloween Happenings” weekend from October 26 to 28. Festivities include Halloween coloring contests, arts and crafts, trick-or-treat bag designing, pumpkin painting at Safari Adventures, creepy cookie decorating, pumpkin bean bag toss, candy corn bingo, hula hoop competitions, costume parties, limbo competitions, Trick-or-Treating around the resort and more. With the package, guests will receive:
Admission to Kalahari’s indoor waterpark
Four black-light mini golf passes
Four Safari Adventures Animal Park passes
For a two-night package for up to four guests, prices range from $499.98 for a Hut Room to $579.98 for a Nomad Room or Lodge Suite. Click here to book.