There are tons of traditions for New Year’s Eve. The most obvious is for those who travel to Times Square to watch the ball drop and hear bad music by bands they never heard of. Here in Pennsylvania, you can travel to Hershey, or as it often called, Chocolatetown USA, and watch a giant Hershey Kiss rise at midnight. In Pottsville, a giant bottle of Yuengling Lager is raised up a flagpole. In Bethlehem, a giant Marshmallow Peep is dropped. And this is just the tip of the New Year’s Eve iceberg.
The Finks have their own tradition, as well.
My sister, her husband and kids and their friends, along with my Good Lady Wife, my sons and myself, along with our friends have Zombie New Year. Yes, the Fink Family celebrates the rise of the Undead as the year comes to a close.
Much of our night is like your own. There are goodies to eat. Some are freshly made, like this year’s marinated shrimp salad and the spicy bacon chicken rolls. Some are leftovers from Christmas, like the cookies and the cheese that never made it to the table that holiday. Of course, there is soda, water and beer, which was the popular Pennsylvania quaff Yuengling, as mentioned above.
It is hard to be a true Pennsylvanian and not have some Yuengling around.
Of course, one year, we did have the mixed drink known as the Zombie. The Zombie is a mixture of varied rums, pineapple and orange juice, apricot brandy, sugar and lime juice. (You can also buy it premixed, which we did.)
Next, there is the feature film.
Normally, it is a zombie movie. In the past, viewed have been such greats as the French classic “Le Horde” and laugh-riots like “Deadheads”. I am usually in charge of the movie. This year, there really wasn’t a choice of full-length zombie films. Granted, there are many zombie films out there that have not been part of Zombie New Year. I never showed the Greek Zombie film “Evil”, because it’s so bad. Same goes for “Survival of the Dead.” This year was a bit more difficult than usual.
Fortunately, having a WiFi BluRay player, I could access YouTube for a group of shorts that were both frightening and hilarious. Included were the short films:
“28 Geeks Later”
“Zombie in a Penguin Suit”
Bloody Cuts’ “Mother Died”
and an Australian double feature of “Waterborne”
Added feature this year was the hilarious parody “Killer Kart.”
After the film portion of the evening, the gaming begins. It has been tradition that a Zombie role-playing game be part of the proceedings. One year, I broke out my copy of the original “Dawn of the Dead” game, which was one of the few movie tie-in games from the early 1970’s.
In recent years, Flying Frog Productions’ “Last Night on Earth” has been the game of choice. The game, for those who have never experienced it, takes all the clichés from all the zombie movies and creates the characters and the scenarios that you have seen before, and puts you right in the middle of it.
It is usually a two team game, with one being the living characters and one being the zombies. My sons and nephews are tough to beat when they are the zombies in the game.
This year was a bit different as a game from the 1980’s took center stage. I am speaking of the classic game “Nuclear War” along with the expansion game from 1983 “Nuclear Escalation.” Needless to say, millions of innocents were vaporized in our living room. After that, more died of horrible diseases during the game “Pandemic.” Meanwhile, in the family room, a hot game of “Cards Against Humanity” was played. Yours Truly was part of that.
As you can see, the Fink household is a hot bed of death, destruction, and depravity.
As midnight approaches, everyone gathers in the family room for New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and toast the New Year with a glass of champagne, while making fun of Ryan Seacrest. It really isn’t the same since Dick Clark went home, like Elvis was said to have in “Men in Black.”
For me, it’s another New Year’s Eve change, as I grew up with Guy Lombardo and watched the movie “The Benny Goodman Story,” which always seemed to play after midnight. I miss that.
From there, we all catch up on each other’s lives in the prior year. This drown outs the bad music that accompanies the New Year’s after party on ABC, along with the scenic views of empty confetti covered streets. By two in the morning everyone is tired and heads for the door. Over the next half hour, the Good Lady Wife and I clean up.
New Year’s Day is usually spent nodding off on the couch with the sound of either the Mummer’s Parade or a college football game in the background.