HALLOWEEN AISLE: We're not sure when you were a kid, but back in our day, the scariest season of the year was just that: a season. The vinyl costumes with their plastic, elastic-backed masks arrived in the drugstores a couple weeks ahead of Halloween, just a few days after the big bags of lollipops. Then, after Oct. 31 had passed, everything was boxed and stored for the following autumn. But nowadays? Halloween, or at least the mischievous, dread-of-the-night spirit it embodies, has flowed into other parts of our year, including hot ol' summertime. And as much as we used to associate scary things with chillier days and the smell of cider, we've come to expect a ghostie or two during the sunblock season. Which is all to get to Zombie-O-Rama, a staggering shuffle through the streets of San Jose. The mirthful moan-about is set for, wait for it, Friday, Aug. 31, which is a good two months ahead of the witchingest day of the year.
O-RAMA OKAY: The downtown crawl route has several tempting stops -- hi, Psycho Donuts -- and a general HQ at the parking lot at 322 S. Market. Things that are making us growl, in a good way? Zombie artists will show up way early in the day, well ahead of the 6 p.m. start time. There's a young zombies parade (oh hip parents, we love you). And the crawl caps with a screening of "Shaun of the Dead" (we're ordering our typing fingers to not devolve into a hail of SotD quotes now, but feel free to quote them yourselves). Love a hot August scare night? Read on, sweet zombie. Read on. (A quick note -- the site says "2011" up top but this is indeed for 2012. Sometimes zombies get caught up in the moaning/shuffling and don't update years; we get that.)