for some people, halloween never really ends…

For the vast majority of people, Halloween is an excuse to dress up in costumes and have fun. But for some, it's a time when demons walk the Earth and a perfect opportunity to fight against the modern world.
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Halloween is the time of year we try to celebrate everything that terrifies us, the one holiday during which we’ll go out of our way to have someone scare us rather than avoid something startling or terrifying as we do most of the year. When what we know as Halloween first originated, all the scary costumes and creepy decorations were to supposed to scare off vengeful souls and demons. Today, unless you’re a fundamentalist who has a hard time telling the difference between kids and adults dressing up in costumes and trying to frighten each other for laughs, and demons trying to invade the Earth to turn it into a living version of Hell, it’s just a really fun holiday that gives you an excuse to give out and eat way too much candy and watch scary movie marathons as much as you want. But the important thing to keep in mind is that while most of us see Halloween as a quick, fun escape from reality, there really are people who believe the stuff we mock and treat scary stories as fact.

Just look at the success of ghost hunter shows, those repetitive one hour time blocks in which grown people roam around dark houses and castles with electronic gear you can get at your local hardware store or Radio Shack, talking about “anomalous electromagnetic signatures,” trying to talk to ghosts, and shrieking in terror whenever an old beam creaks under their weight, or the settling house groans as it readjusts itself by a small fraction of an inch in the soil. These pursuers of the paranormal make a living playing on people’s beliefs that the dead are trying to contact them, beliefs that are actually very widespread, beliefs fed by the blurry pictures, white noise interpreted as wails from beyond the grave, and panicked freak-outs by TV paranormal experts as they scare themselves out of their wits in dark mansions, the required elements for a successful ghost show. Likewise, every few years, there’s a wave of reports from small towns in which superstitious locals try to ban, modify, or outlaw Halloween parties and celebrations because they really think it’s a celebration of evil which was invented by secret Satanist cults secretly running the world.

Really, I encourage people to scare themselves silly, to go on mock ghost hunting trips, to invent fun and eerie costumes, and to entertain themselves with as many scary movies as they can handle, hopefully ones with a cool monster and a twist ending rather than the current mockumentaries which rely solely on startling viewers and calling themselves a masterpiece of horror for doing something we all mastered in fourth grade. But after the Halloween fun draws to a close, let’s abandon the goblins, ghouls, ghosts, and zombies where they really belong: the realm of old legends and fun tales from a superstitious past. If enough of us did that, we’d have a lot fewer self-appointed paranormal experts, psychics, and irrational beliefs that lead far, far too many people to spend way too much of their time and money perusing old, random superstitions…

# oddities // entertainment / halloween / holidays / legend / superstition


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