On Our Radar: Mr. Doug finds an elusive sweet spot with the spooky-season treat that is "The Halloween Song"

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      As anyone running on four hours of sleep and six cups of coffee will happily tell you, being the parent of a small human being isn’t always easy. There’s the nonstop screaming from 3 to 6 a.m., the endless refilling of the Cheerios dispenser, and the horrors of seven fully loaded diapers per day. And let’s not even get into the guilt that comes from leaving your one-year-old in front of Baby Einstein videos from 2 p.m. to midnight as a way to truly make the most out of happy hour.

      Considering the endless horrors of child-rearing, the last thing you need is for the journey to be even more endlessly hellish than it is. And you know what’s the worst, besides all of the above? That would be finding yourself trapped in a car with a screaming toddler and a road-trip playlist consisting of the Wiggles, Raffi, the Doodlebops, and Rolf Harris.

      Especially Rolf Harris. Having to grit your teeth through endless playings of “Big Red Car” is one thing. Listening to a convicted sex offender go on about “Jake the Peg” with his extra leg is, on the other hand, just plain wrong, especially when he sings “When came the time for cricket/They used to roll my trousers up/And use me for the wicket.” It’s like “Big Six” by Judge Dread, only nowhere near as great, because you’ve got children listening to him sing about someone’s gigantic wooden johnson.

      But back to songs aimed at kids. Here’s a bit of invaluable advice for new parents: you need to get your precious bundles of joy interested in artists that will keep them entertained without driving you crazy. Like, for example, GG Allin. Or former Nashville Scorcher Jason Ringenberg whose A Day At the Farm With Farmer Jason finds a sweet spot between kid-friendly country and clever-enough-for-adults Americana.

      Doug Naugler hits that difficult-to-nail mark with a bull’s eye on “The Halloween Song”, where the video proves great things can be done on a DIY budget when you’ve got an active imagination,

      First, though, let’s look at the sonic side of things. Performing as Mr. Doug, the Vancouver music-scene vet plants his flag in the world of guitar-powered indie-pop, accenting that with splashes of paisley-dusted garage, mesquite-smoke twang, and Munsters-brand goth. Crank “The Halloween Song” in the Phantasm-model hearse on the way to the pumpkin patch, and the whole family can sing along to “There are things that I find scary/Ghosts and monsters big and hairy/Trolls and goblins, vampires, zombies and.....geese”. (That’s right geese! Dispute that all you want, but not until you’ve watched the entire, and entirely excellent, Clarence episode “Goose Chase”.

      As fun as “The Halloween Song” is on the stereo, it’s the video where things truly get entertaining. Channelling, in no particular order, the spirits of Tim Burton, Jim Henson, Sid and Marty Krofft, Bela Lugosi, and the entire Addams Family, the clip delivers two minutes and 50 seconds of spooky-season eye-candy.

      Mr. Doug finds himself surrounded by impossibly adorable monster muppets, glowing jack ’o lanterns, dancing witches, and pop-up skeletons. And let’s not forget the backing band, where the only thing better than the purple-dinosaur keyboard player and spaceman-standup bassist is a human chicken who’s part Chuck Biscuits and part Keith Moon.

      All together now: “Cause candy’s freeeee/On Halloweeeeeen!”

      What’s that you say? Kids are supposed to be taught from an early age that mini-Wunderbars, Tootsie Pops, Twizzlers, and packets of raw sugar aren’t good for them? Well, no one said that being a parent was easy.