Voices of October: Diary of a Halloween Haunt (2015)


For some people Halloween is a state of mind and not just a holiday. For the Counelis family, it’s a yearly ritual that begins in the middle of the year and ends when November finally rears its head. It’s refreshing to see a documentary that’s more grounded and down to Earth, and much like films like “American Scream,” Paul Counelis documents his family’s journey to build and construct a haunted house mainly because they want to give their neighbors some memories. Surely there’s a profit to be had by a haunted attraction, but that’s not what the holiday means to Paul Counelis and his large family.

Counelis and his children are especially rabid Halloween fans, all of whom savor every morsel of the holiday that they can, for as long as they can. It’s fun to see the kids get a rush out of the holiday, and how they think of ways to celebrate the holiday during times like Christmas and the summer. Counelis is a well known Halloween buff who even self publishes his own Halloween magazine, and he uses the film as an opportunity to show how committed he is to the day. Most of the documentary is set during the Halloween of 2011 where Counelis and his family set up some of their classic attractions, including a makeshift grave plot, a haunted tunnel, and an appearance by Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.

Meanwhile we’re allowed insight in to their feelings about the holiday, including director Paul Counelis, who discusses how magical the holiday is and how he tries to re-create it every single year. There’s a real heart to “Voices of October” that open minded audiences might appreciate. Sure the film isn’t polished too much, but that only lends to the home grown atmosphere that Counelis and co. try to convey to the audience. Granted, some of the interviews are tough to hear, but that doesn’t detract from the entertainment value of the film itself. Everyone in the documentary featured are incredibly enthusiastic about Halloween, and by the end of the film you’ll want to get in on their festivities hoping their love rubs off on you. “Voices of October” is strictly for Halloween buffs, and hardcore lovers of the holiday and its rituals. It’s a charming and entertaining glimpse at a unique family spreading their love for all Hallow’s eve.