Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on October 30th, 2009

Drupal Modules that Scream Halloween

The holiday of Halloween has a very long history, deriving from the ancient Celtic festival Samhain. It was believed that on October 31st, the boundary between the world of the living and the dead blurred and dissolved, and the dead returned to earth to spread sickness and damage crops. The living would wear animal heads, skins, masks and costumes to pacify these evil spirits. The festival frequently involved bonfires into which the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown in as sacrifices to the deities.

In the millennia that has passed the holiday is still going strong, but has evolved along with society. Pop culture icons are now included in the costume mix. (Anyone’s daughter going as Lady GaGa?) Candy is now sacrificed to the child-like deities, instead of slaughtered meat (see Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner). But one thing hasn’t change much, and that is the obsession with the blood and gore of death. Scary horror movies plague the theaters and cable all month long and costumes have grown more realistic as craftiness catches up with the imagination.

As an avid Drupal evangelist, I couldn’t help but ponder how I could contribute to the community in any way “Halloween”. Luckily, the community has done most of the work for me. Here are the top 20 Drupal Modules that SCREEEEEEEEEEAM Halloween:

20. Bad Behavior

Halloween is one of the few holidays that most people tend to let loose and it’s OK to act a little bad. Bed times are non-existent. Kids everywhere are hopped up on candy corn and Red Hots. And I won’t even start in on the female costumes these days. Available for Drupal 6, Bad Behavior is a Drupal module that prevents spambots from accessing your site by analyzing their actual HTTP requests and comparing them to profile from known spambots.

19. Mollom

Why, you ask? Because it sounds like Gollum, who is a scary dude. Plus, who wasn’t considering a LOTR costume at least once this decade? If I was 5’4”, 120 lbs. you bet your sweet PEZ I would have busted out of my office as Gollum at least once. Mollom is available for Drupal 6 and provides a one stop solution for all spam problems and can protect CAPTCHAs, text analysis, and user reputations.

18. Cufon

Once again, I included this one because it can (or cannot) be pronounced eerily similar to “coffin”. And we all know that coffins are a Halloween staple; ask any vampire you run into this weekend. The Cufon module performs text replacement on web pages, using the canvas element and VML to render fancy typefaces.

17. Shadowbox

Halloween is a holiday where most shadows truly hide horror and the last place you want to end up is in a box. Plus, Shadowbox sounded slightly scary. Did you know that people who retire from the military get shadowboxes displaying their medals? I digress. Shadowbox is a JavaScript modal media viewer application for viewing images, video, Flash and other content in a modal window. It supports all of the web’s most popular media publishing formats and will have a full Drupal 7 release on the day that Drupal 7 is released. In the words of Wayne Campbell, “Zang!”

16. Masquerade

Masquerade balls are notorious for costumes and masks. They became popular throughout mainland Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. During this time, according to unreliable online sources, assassinations and “accidents” tended to happen. Ironically, anti-masquerade writers held that the events encouraged immortality. Touché. The Masquerade module is designed as a tool for site designers and administrators. It allows a user with the right permissions to switch users.

15. Table Wizard

Surprisingly, I have never dressed up like a wizard. But according to, Harry Potter is the second most popular Halloween costume of 2009. And Harry Potter, for those confused few, is a wizard. The Table Wizard module facilitates dealing with database tables and allows surfacing any table in the Drupal default database through Views 2. I think I would rather play some Quidditch, but facilitate and surface away, my friends.

14. ImageMagick

Magic has always fascinated humanity, whether it be through mythology, miracles, or movies. When you combine society’s fascination of magic with their fascination with soul-stealing photos and images, you’ve got yourself a pretty spooky module. The ImageMagick module allows you to manipulate images through resizing, cropping, blurring, rotating, etc.

13. Teleport

You can’t include a module about magic and leave out Teleport. Despite the obvious Dr. Who reference here, the earliest story to depict human beings teleporting in science fiction was in 1877: Edward Page Mitchell’s story The Man Without a Body. The Teleportmodule is intended for administrators who have to jump around to specific pages while managing Drupal sites. It's a hotkey-activated launcher utility inspired by Quicksilver, Gnome Do and other desktop launchers.

12. Googtube

This sounds like a toothpaste-tube of fake blood or one of those haunted house TVs that is showing something gory on it in a loop. Either way, it made the list and is neither of those things. The Googtube module allows users to embed Youtube and Google Videos. When users post a URL to videos on either of the two sites, the link is automatically converted to embed code.

11. jQuery Eye Candy

This module made the list for two simple reasons: 1) because candy is given out on Halloween, a tradition that I am convinced was started by dentists; and 2) the evolution of the female costume. The jQuery Eye Candy module is a javascript wrapper module for several jQuery plugins that handle appearance functions like rounded corners, drop shadows, and gradients. Using this module enables using these jQuery plugins on all pages or selected pages without having to edit any theme files.

10. Resizable Body

This module sounds like the politically correct term for “head shrinking”, which really happened, by the way. It happened to Alice in Through the Looking Glass, and it certainly can happen to the obnoxious kid at the haunted house that likes to ruin it for everyone else. The Resizable Body module resizes the body and comment fields, adding options to specify the rows and columns count for the body and comment field.


“How would you like to die via scalding hot water or oil dumped on your head?” was just one of the many effective recruiting slogans used by Alexander the Great, King Richard the Lion-Hearted, and Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor. Scald is a different take on how to handle media (audio, video, image or otherwise) in Drupal and beyond. it is a platform which is designed to make it extremely easy to implement the social features which are so essential -- and so unique -- to web communities.

8. Daemon

Mistakenly pronounced like “demon” all too often, this term was recently re-popularized by Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, the first book in His Dark Materials series. The Daemon module helps you run daemon instances of a Drupal site. You can create a daemon configuration and instantly have your Drupal site running as a daemon in its own process.

7. Stalker

The primary reason for mace, body guards, and chastity belts, stalkers are scary, creepy, and downright spooky. Some may agree this is a harsh term for “secret admirer”, but there is a mighty fine line there, sir. Upon the advent of the Internet, stalkers have been able to take their creepy craft to another level. Which is the Stalker module was probably created. It lists the number of times a user’s profile has been viewed by other users. It is definitely handy for spotting stalkers and secret admirers.

6. Scraper

As in bone scraper? Now we’re talking! Scraping is such aggravating word in itself, invoking sounds in my mind, such as fingers across a chalkboard or going to the dentist. Either one makes my spine dance. The Scraper module is a very simple scraper that can take a URL and beginning and ending code and display the result in a block. From its profile page, it appears that still being improved. Keep an on eye on this one. Or a finger nail.

5. Sawmill

A place where they saw body parts up and throw them through a wood chopper? Maybe not, but it sure does make my imagination go wild. The Sawmill module adds JavaScript to your footer to be added to the bottom of all your Drupal pages.

4. Skinr

“It puts the lotion on it’s skin or else it gets the hose again.” Hose, please! Although, it may not specifically be a Halloween movie, Silence of the Lambs is one of the creepiest, albeit realistic, movies that has ever given me the willies. Skinr’s main purpose is to allow the theme to define a set of reusable and modular CSS styles, and to make those styles available in Drupal’s UI.

3. Devel

Diabolos. The fallen angel. The personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The devil has and will forever reach the apex of his popularity on this annual holiday. The Devel suite of modules, however, will be much more popular throughout the entire year. This suite of modules provides helper functions for Drupal developers and inquisitive administrators. This module can also print a summary of all database queries for each page request at the bottom of each page. A full Drupal 7 release will be out with the Drupal 7 release.

2. Disemvowel

Once a popular form of torture and capital punishment, disembowelment was performed on the tortured while they were still alive, leaving the heart and lungs for removal last so as to keep the condemned alive as long as possible. That’s fun! The Disemvowel module that allows you to disemvowel comments on your Drupal site. Disemvoweling is a moderating technique used where vowels are stripped from inappropriate comments.

1. Zombie Killer

Zombies and vampires tend to go through their peaks and valleys of popularity in pop culture. And if I wouldn’t be darned if both are off the charts right now. People all over the place are trying to set a “Thriller” zombie dancing record. According to members of my staff, the movie Zombieland is quite entertaining and hilarious. Another recent hit was the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, spawning a bidding ware between Hollywood studios to turn it into the next blockbuster hit! On a less tanned note, the Zombie Killer module does exactly what it sounds like, kills zombies. Why? Because someone said "Bet Drupal can't kill zombies". A zombie process or defunct process is a process that has completed execution but still has an entry in the process table. This entry is still needed to allow the process that started the (now zombie) process...

That is all folks! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did putting it together. Let me know if I missed any great Drupal modules that SCREEEEEEEAM Halloween. And remember, be safe! There are lots of kids out there running around with candy that are NOT looking for cars.