Pete and Pete, Pumpkin Eaters, and Pictures

Captures from the The Adventures of Pete and Pete Season 2 episode “Halloweenie”
A good way to measure how much older you are than someone you meet is to calculate how many years ago the debut of Nickelodeon is from the year they were born. I grew up with the golden age of Nick and so many of my younger friends have a difficult time relating to that era because they weren’t born until later. They started watching Nick in the mid to late ’90s. Nowadays you can just dial up any show old or new on the Internet, but looking back at some ancient Pinwheel episode doesn’t do it justice. Comparing it to shows today is unfair. I’m not exaggerating when I say this, but when shows like Pinwheel and You Can’t Do That On Television were popular they were mind blowing to kids, and especially to stoned adults. I would never say Nick’s lineup throughout the ’90s was any less great, but it’s in a different way because times were a-changin’.


One of the many beloved shows that aired on Nick in the ’90s was The Adventures of Pete and Pete which premiered on Nick in November of 1993. I’d say by 1992 I was pretty much phased out of Nickelodeon for the sole reason that I stopped watching TV so often and getting more into activities that required actual movement rather than vegetating on the couch. Although the ’90s were definitely not my Nick time, I really wish I hadn’t missed out on The Adventures of Pete and Pete, a show that was set in Wellsville, NY, but predominantly filmed in New Jersey.



Recently I asked my friend Steve, resident Pete and Pete expert, if there was ever a Pete and Pete Halloween episode, and he rapidly replied “YES.” I was pretty excited to hear this because I was looking forward to checking out the old Nick show that I never got a chance to watch when I was younger. I recently got a hold of it and my first reaction to the episode “Halloweenie,” which aired in October 1994, was jackpot. Here’s the synopsis taken from Nickipedia:

“Younger Pete decides to enter the annals of history by breaking the record for most houses visited on Halloween and tries to enlist the help of Older Pete. Older Pete is torn between his loyalty to his brother and the coming of age and abandonment of the childhood ritual of Trick-Or-Treating. He must decide whether to face the ridicule of his peers and go Trick-Or-Treating or to join the notorious “Pumpkin Eaters”, a group of vandals who terrorize neighborhood “Halloweenies.”


I’m a kid at heart so little Pete’s love for Halloween and desire to break the trick or treating record appeals to me, but I can totally relate to big Pete’s fear of becoming a Halloweenie. As a fellow suburban kid, there was a definitive point where I stopped trick or treating because I felt that the ritual needed to be reserved exclusively for the kids and I never went back, but I remain a mega-fan of Halloween.

The amount of nostalgic Halloween images contained in this episode was an unexpected surprise. The story was fun, albeit not as horrific as I was hoping for, but it was on Nickelodeon after all. The Pumpkin Eaters looked cool, but they weren’t very formidable, they just made a mess of everything. The episode evokes an awesome Halloween vibe and as the credits rolled I sat wishing it lasted another half hour.

“Halloweenie” Facts:

*Production of the show was moved to Cranford after the show made such a mess of the town during the filming of “Halloweenie.” They did make quite a mess. There’s hundreds of smashed pumpkins and streamers, etc. It looked like a thousand kids who mainlined Ghoul-Aid were let loose on mischief night.

*Iggy Pop appears as, Mr. Mecklenberg, a recurring character who is little Pete’s best friend Nona’s (Michelle Trachtenberg) father. In this episode Iggy Pop calls someone a “Stooge.”

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.55: Nearing Grace

Nearing Grace 1

Scott Sommer’s 1979 novel Nearing’s Grace may have had more impact back then, especially to a young teen male audience. I would wager that more male teens read books back then, before being inundated with computers, video games, and porn in the mid ’90s. The 2005 film adaptation Nearing Grace is set in South Orange, NJ, so as Dr. Evil would say, I’m going to “…throw it a frickin’ bone.” All you need to know about this film lies in that cheesy, overused, but awfully accurate movie description, “a coming of age tale.”

Nearing Grace 3

It’s 1978 and Henry Nearing is a teen coping with the loss of his mother. Since his father and brother are drinking and abusing drugs to cope with her death, the only shoulder he has to lean on is the girl next door. Ashley Johnson, the actress who made me want to plant the remote control into my skull as little Chrissy Seaver on Growing Pains, plays Merna, a girl who adores Henry. She’s his loyal friend and has always been there for him, but Henry’s got a boner for Grace (Jordana Brewster of Fast and the Furious) who he thinks is hot, mysterious, and exciting, but is basically a total skank. Look, we all make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, Henry was just thinking with his dick.

The story was not compelling which translated to a bland film. It’s hard to blame director Rick Rosenthal (Halloween II, Halloween Resurrection, Smallville) since the film seems to be faithful to the novel. Even though I’ve never read the book, the entire film gave me a sense that it had to have been based off a book. I wanted desperately for the film to be one of those cool undiscovered gems, but it lacked a certain edge that other films and TV shows set in the ’70s have. For instance Almost Famous, Dazed and Confused, and even That ’70s Show, all evoked the vibe of that era. I’m not the only one who felt this way. In an October 16th 2006 review, Morgan-23 on IMDB “…didn’t feel one way or another about it.”

Nearing Grace 2

Nearing Grace does offer a heartwrenching performance by David Morse (Disturbia) as Henry’s father, and the kid from BIG, David Moscow, seemed to be channeling Jeff Spicoli as Henry’s stoner brother. The real highlight of the film is the fantastic soundtrack. Unfortunately it doesn’t rescue this film from the depths of downerville. You’ll hear The Kinks, The Ramones, Tommy James and The Shondells, and The Velvet Underground among other bands.

For a teen drama set in the late ’70s Nearing Grace is everything it sets out to be. The only thing it’s not is fun. I would recommend this one only if you were an angsty teen back in the late ’70s OR Jordana Brewster gives you rumblings in your utility belt. And for those interested in the New Jersey aspect of the film, it’s very slight and lacks authenticity because it was actually filmed in Portland, Oregon.

The Beastie Boys: From White Castle to the Nile? Scratch That. New Jersey!


Have you ever wondered what the correlation is between The Beastie Boys, South Orange, Slyders, and Secaucus? No? Well, I’m going to explain it anyway!

Aside from White Castle references that make Harold and Kumar feel inadequate, The Beastie Boys are also associated with NJ. Not only was Adam Horovitz a.k.a King Adrock born in South Orange NJ, but the Beastie Boys also refer to the NJ town of Secaucus in 2 of their songs:
“We’re from Manhattan, You’re from Secaucus”
Rock Hard
“You’re From Secaucus – I’m from Manhattan”
The New Style
In addition to geographical name drops, sprinkled throughout the lyrics of the album, the Beasties make their lust for the mini burgers abundantly clear. It’s unbelievable how many people from around the world first heard of White Castle through listening to The Beastie Boys’ debut album License to Ill. Just type it in a Google search and you’ll see what I mean!, a food blog, claims that “White Castle burgers if you don’t know, were first made popular by a Beastie Boys song back in the ’80s.” All I can say is…wow. If giving each person in the world the power to go on the Internet means granting them permission to spew such innacurate and outrageous comments, then I say people like that need a License to Internet
BTW, Even though they were founded in 1921, NJ is one of only 11 states that have White Castle restaurants. Such a pity for the other 39 states! Now If you’ll excuse me, I’m about to grab two girlies and a beer that’s cold…