Finding My Way to a Scary Halloween
I love Halloween, and I realized many years ago that haunted houses, pumpkins, and costumes are an undeniable passion. When I started collecting Halloween books, props and memorabilia, I discovered that finding good information on Halloween was difficult. There are hundreds of holiday websites but few stood out as a noteworthy sources, and most seemed amateurish at best. The quest to create the ultimate resource for celebrating Halloween begun in 2009 with the launch of MyScaryHalloween.com. The site took a life of its own, and with the help of many dedicated people, it has grown into a wicked guide for a frightful night. The best part of this experience was discovering how many people love and “live” Halloween every day of the year.
Many people consider Halloween to be merely a children's holiday, and who can blame them. The costumes, the candy, the trick 'r treating are all geared towards the little ones, but it can be just as much fun for adults. Maybe it's the nostalgia of reliving an all-to-brief childhood, or a distant memory of a crazy college party, but Halloween evokes a strong following, whether adults admit it is another story. Yet, once you start studying the origins of Halloween, a very questionable history emerges. Many parents would shudder at the thought that this holiday once involved sacrificing animals to huge bonfires, or that teenagers terrorized townsfolk with property-damaging pranks and that those delinquents often faced severe punishments by death or amputation! It certainly doesn't seem like the innocent albeit scary version of the holiday we celebrate today.
Halloween at Retail, at Home, and On the Lawn
Halloween is now the second-most profitable holiday behind Christmas, and entrepreneurs and retail have made it a $7 billion industry. While candy and costumes are the bread-and-butter of the holiday, retail stores have seized the opportunity to serve an adult demographic who loves spooky stuff. Nationwide stores like Target, Michaels, Pottery Barn, and Lowes offer upscale Halloween products for the discerning consumer. How about a black glittered resin skull, or bats made with dip-dyed ostrich feathers? Perhaps a black chandelier for a gothic dining room? And just like Christmas, the dark holiday gets a head start with a retail season that creeps in as early as July! By late-August when the kids are back in school, many stores have their shelves fully stocked with must-have Halloween products.
Decorating the lawn with tombstones and zombies is also proliferating at a shocking rate, sometimes making the overdone Christmas displays seem demure. Halloween enthusiasts call themselves "yard haunters" and every neighborhood has at least one good house where kids flock to the creepy displays with fog and grotesque ghouls. When asked why they go through the effort and expense of putting up these elaborate displays, most yard haunters are at a loss for words. Eventually they say, "It's fun." Some houses draw hundreds of trick ‘r treaters and you see everything from babies in decorated strollers to high school seniors making one last go-round on the candy trail. Halloween night is a block party where everyone is invited.
Why Celebrate Halloween?
Halloween IS just plain fun: candy, costumes, decorations, horror movies and haunted houses. It's one of the few holidays that is not based on religion or government, but rather a cultural holiday that evolved from many traditions across the world, from the pagan Samhain festivals to the Christian All Saints Day celebrations. The Halloween we know today is a very American holiday that is slowly making it's way around the world, and transforming into a global celebration.
This darkest night of the year also beckons us to be scared, and being scared has many positive effects. When you are scared, adrenalin is released, your heart rate increases, and your body gets a little cardiovascular workout. Being scared also reduces stress (just like laughing reduces stress), and by surviving a little fright, you can achieve the ultimate satisfaction of overcoming anxiety and maybe even cheating death. It's all very empowering.
"We build up tension in our lives and we need a way to release it," says San Francisco State University professor Jeff Leroux. "Being scared or scaring others is a way to release that tension. Especially around Halloween you see people testing their boundaries of fear. The further those boundaries are pushed, the greater the payoff." (Oakland Tribune, 10/26/05)
All the better reason to ensure that your Halloween is a scary Halloween. Browse this site, get a few ideas, use it as a jumping off point, and then... celebrate! You don't have be a fanatic to be a fan, just start one small tradition. Even something simple, like a sinister jack o' lantern will do the trick. Whatever you choose, I hope MyScaryHalloween.com will inspire you to make this a very scary holiday.
||About Scary Jerry
I grew up in Southwest Texas (haunting ground of La Llorona), but it wasn't until living in San Francisco, that The Scary found me. Here I experienced the most haunted places and events in my life. Given the city’s storied past, clash of cultures, and unmitigated tragedy there’s bound to be restless spirits. I visited Alcatraz, the most haunted place in America, and it left me chilled to the bone. I lived just blocks from the infamous Winchester Mystery House and witnessed madness intertwined with a well-documented haunting. I lived in a very old gothic Victorian flat (once a home to wayward girls) that was haunted by an old woman who reeked of gardenia perfume (we even captured her in a picture). And, I also had a frightening experience with a dark spirit according to the clairvoyant who helped me. All this changed me as a person, and as a result, my interest in the paranormal, all things scary, and Halloween was rekindled.
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