“Well I live with snakes and lizards
And other things that go bump in the night
Cos to me everyday is Halloween
I have given up hiding and started to fight
I have started to fight” —Ministry
Halloween, 2016 edition. In the Year of the Reaper, Halloween is a welcome diversion as we gear up for the end of the year holiday season. October is all about the costumes, the parties, the scary movies, all of the tricks, and all of the treats. While millions of people will be celebrating, horror fans are just happy everyone else is finally getting around to doing what they do on a daily basis. Our lives are consumed by things that go bump in the night. 365 days in a year are spent in anticipation for the time when it’s okay for the whole world to get into horror.
Over the years, Halloween has morphed into this epic cosplay event where people who maybe don’t get into being scared can still participate by donning costumes of things that aren’t creepy. They go all out dressed up as gladiators, pixies, perverted doctors, sexy maids, even demented members of the clergy—nothing creepy about that (sarcasm)—in their best effort to fit in with all the ghosts, witches, and monsters. Some people even push the envelope, either purposely or unwittingly dressing up in the most offensive thing they can imagine, because it’s Halloween, dammit…and they might, but probably won’t, get a pass for being a jerk.
Halloween is much more than just a giant dress up party that happens once a year. For people who love horror, it is the end of a yearlong celebration of all things scary and creepy. November 1st, All Souls Days for many religious folk, marks the beginning of the season. You’ll see people on social media tallying the days left until Halloween. There’s even a song from John Carpenter’s Season of the Witch that people use to count the days left when Halloween gets close, courtesy of Silver Shamrock. While the rest of the world uses Halloween as a time to watch their favorite scary films, horror fans use the time to watch their personal top 31 best horror films because they indulge in horror films year round. They save the best for last. Readers finally pick up those books others have recommended to them to get into the mood, or at the very least return to their favorite Stephen King stories.
There are a few people in the world who want you to believe there’s a war on Halloween. The media is quite adept at creating news where none previously existed…gotta keep the asses in the seats. Those of us that celebrate all things horror know this war is not real, that it is nothing more than a handful of people who complain about everything anyway, and their grumbles can never stop the Halloween machine.
The horror train just keeps on rolling.
This is the one time of the year when everyone gets to embrace their inner spookiness. It’s also the time of the year that horror fans get to share the things they enjoy without fear, and that’s what Halloween is all about. Hallows Eve, the night before All Souls Day, is when the ghosts of our loved ones return to walk among us. A few folklore tales even mention this is when witches are the most active. At least that’s the general idea. We don our costumes, and bob for apples, and go house to house yelling Trick-or-Treat hoping for a treat, all in an effort to face our fears, and to assist others with their own terrors. We become the very thing that scares us the most, as though through direct association we can defeat the ghosts and goblins and witches before they do us harm, or at least blend in with them while they roam the Earth. Halloween allows everyone to blend in with the horror fans for once in the year.
Though the holiday comes from rather serious origins, it is more about fun than anything else nowadays. The decorations, costumes, and candy hit the retail outlets right after Labor Day, which is really good because if that wasn’t the case, we’d have Christmas music playing in all the stores well before Thanksgiving.
That’s not really a bad thing, but let’s have at least have one holiday at a time, okay?
You can always tell the real horror fans during Halloween: They’re the ones going all out on the spectacular decorations. People spend hundreds, maybe even thousands, decorating their yards and homes with skeletons and mock up graveyards, even flying witches strung between trees, often to the chagrin of their neighbors. Some neighbors welcome the decorations, turning it into healthy competition. Thankfully, most people love and welcome the spectacle. Others spend as much on their costumes, going from contest to contest trying to win their money back. The next time you’re at a Halloween party and someone shows up as an eight-foot-tall troll, or a giant vampire with a ten-foot wingspan, and the outfit and makeup is incredible, take some time to tell those people how much you appreciate their costumes, because they’ve spent hours and hours of their time and resources to bring you a little joy, and they deserve the recognition.
Halloween is also a time for safety. More kids are injured, or even killed, during Trick-or-Treating than any other time of the year. While driving on Halloween night, please drive carefully, and watch for kids crossing the streets and walking between parked cars.
As we all embrace our inner spookiness, it’s probably good to mention that horror fans don’t need an excuse such as Halloween to get our scary on. Horror fans constantly fight the good fight, recommending scary movies and excellent fiction to anyone and everyone who will listen. Horror is right now, probably bigger than it has been in nearly 25 years, so it’s not hard to find quality horror in whatever media format you prefer. If you want more horror, latch on to your local neighborhood horror fan, because for them, every single day is truly Halloween.
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This Is Horror Books
This Is Horror Books on Kindle Unlimited and Amazon
- The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud
- The Elvis Room by Stephen Graham Jones
- Water For Drowning by Ray Cluley
- Chalk by Pat Cadigan
- Roadkill by Joseph D’Lacey