- Holidays and Celebrations
10 Reasons Why Halloween Doesn't Make Sense
Should Halloween Give You Goosebumps?
When we think of Halloween, we think costumes and candy and spooky good fun. But is Halloween really harmless or is it an excuse to walk on the dark side for a month?
Have you ever thought about what is behind all of our traditions? Have you ever wondered how Halloween got started and why we celebrate it the way we do? Have you ever questioned your own sanity when you bit into a sandwich shaped like a human finger?
If you think about some of the symbols of Halloween, you'll realize just how scary Halloween really is. There are definitely plenty of creep factors to Halloween and I'm not talking about those neighbors down the block.
Not only is Halloween ghoulish, a lot of Halloween customs just don't make sense. The shorter days of fall must addle our brains.
Want to know what these illogical, creepy, scary truths behind Halloween are? Well don't keep staring here.
Scroll on down to find out the 10 things that should freak you out about Halloween.
Halloween, the Prequel
#1 Creep Factor of Halloween
They way we celebrate Halloween now is pretty innocent. Kids dress up as superheroes or princesses and go around collecting candy. But the way Halloween started out was quite a bit different.
Halloween customs emerged from several ancient festivals of the dead. Samhain was a Gaelic festival that influenced Halloween. It was the end of harvest festival that kicked off the "darker half" of the year when everything is cold and dead. One of the main events was slaughtering livestock to stock up for the winter and then throwing the bones into a bonfire.
Another festival that influenced Halloween is the ancient Roman festival Parentalia. During the festival, people would bring garlands and food and go hang out at the family tombs.
The modern day Mexican festival Day of the Dead (DÃa de los Muertos) is very similar to these festivals. Deceased loved ones are honored and gifts are placed on their graves. But even this festival is harmless compared to ancient festivals of the dead where animal sacrifices were common.
So Halloween has a gruesome beginning. Maybe we should get back to Halloween's ancient roots and take the kids trick or treating in cemeteries. We could call it "tomb or treat." They could even play hide and seek around the headstones. We could end the night with a big bonfire and all the kids could throw cattle bones into it just like they did back in the day.
Or maybe we can just stick with the normal trick or treat and let those creepy festivals of the dead just stay buried in the past.
"Halloween wraps fear in innocence,
As though it were a slightly sour sweet.
Let terror, then, be turned into a treat..."
- Nicholas Gordon
Flirting with Death
#2 Creep Factor of Halloween
Walk down the streets at Halloween and it looks like graveyards have gone viral. There are fake tombstones and bones sticking out of the neighbor's yard. There are skeletons hanging up on porches. The guy down the street has a grim reaper blow up.
Why do we court death at Halloween? Are we in a hurry to hop into the grave ourselves? The amount of death symbols we use at Halloween is disturbing.
And unlike many Day of the Dead festivals of the past, our obsession with death at Halloween is not so much about honoring deceased family and friends, but glorifying death itself. Or at least attempting to make death something comical or even corny.
Think of Halloween songs like "The Hearse Song." The lyrics are:
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the jelly between your toes.
A big green worm with rolling eyes
Crawls in your stomach and out your eyes.
Your stomach turns a slimy green,
And pus pours out like whipping cream.
You spread it on a slice of bread,
And that's what you eat when you are dead.
Death seems kind of like a dinner buffet. So at Halloween we not only laugh in the face of Death--we invite him over for tea.
One month out of the year death is our toy. Would you think of playing with bones during the summer? Of course not (at least most of us who aren't taxidermists would agree). Halloween makes us act like death is fun. How creepy is that?
Get Your Own Little Piece of Death
Come on. All the neighbors have death stuff in their yard. Don't you want your yard to look like a cemetery, too? People are going to think you are alive in there.
"As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today...
Oh, how I wish he'd go away."
#3 Creep Factor of Halloween
There are hundreds of superstitions that are specifically about Halloween night. A lot of them involve keeping away bad spirits with different charms or rituals. Like keeping ghosts out by burying animal bones by the door. Where am I going to get a dead animal?
And there's another superstition about walking around your house three times backwards and counterclockwise on Halloween night to ward off evil spirits. If I don't do it, what's going to come in?
I can let a new orange candle burn all through Halloween night for luck if I don't mind the risk of setting the house on fire.
If you see a spider on Halloween, it might be the spirit of a dead loved one watching you. Now I have to worry about stalker spiders watching me with their eight googly eyes.
And hey, if I want to meet a witch on Halloween night, all I have to do is put my clothes on inside out and walk backwards. I guess anyone would act witchy if some fool walking backwards ran into her.
I can try scattering nuts around to ward off the devil because people used to think he gathered nuts. I guess the devil and squirrels have more in common than I thought.
The fun really begins on Halloween night in Purgatory. If the Gaelic superstition is right, all the souls bound in purgatory get a 48 hour pass to roam the earth. Now what were those charms to ward off evil again?
Oh, be sure to pull out your pockets when you pass a place where someone just died or the ghost might hitch a ride in your pocket. And don't step on your shadow or look at it in the moonlight or you'll be the next to haunt a graveyard.
But 90% of the Halloween superstitions are about predicting who your future husband will be using snail slime or flying hazelnuts or ghosts in the mirror. You and your friends can fight over who will get married first using a pile of mashed potatoes. You hide a ring in it and the first to find it without choking to death will be the first to get married. Put some toenail clippings into the fire and you could have dreams of your future husband and children.
Crying babies haunting my dreams? Or analyzing snail slime? I think I would rather let the future be a surprise.
It's enough to avoid ladders and knocking over the salt without having to bury bones and avert my eyes from shadows. This is a message to the old wives out there: Make up some superstitions about Groundhog's Day instead.
"Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with 'scary,' 'spooky,' 'haunted,' or 'forbidden' in the title."
- Scooby-Doo Movie
Attracted to the Haunts
#4 Creep Factor of Halloween
Every October thousands of haunted houses and haunted barns and haunted corn mazes pop up. We shell out money by the bucket load and stand in line for two hours to have people wearing bad masks chase us with chainsaws.
We know they aren't real. We know what's going to happen. The thing lying on the table is going to pop up and someone standing behind us is going to jump out and scare us. The attractions are usually the EXACT same year after year. But we keep going anyway.
We pay good money to get lost in the dark, be irritated with chainsaws, and have people try to get us to wet our pants.
If a place were really haunted would we want to go? The sane among us would say no. Who wants chills on your spine or the possibility of being possessed? I for one want to be the only spirit wearing my shoes.
Yet we flock to fake haunted places like crazy. Maybe we should be careful what we ask for, huh? What if we ran across a real zombie out there in the corn? Think he'll be saying, "Graiinss, graaaiiinns." No. He'll be going for your skull. Good luck getting a refund then.
These houses come with ghosts included. You could say they have a lot of "spirit."
"Why is it when you run into a spider web, you suddenly turn into a ninja?" - Anonymous
Creepy, Crawly, Fuzzy Friends
#5 Creep Factor of Halloween
If we see a bug in the house, we grab the bug spray. If a rat got in our house we'd grab the phone and start ringing the exterminator. Why then do we hang up spider webs and put out plastic bugs at Halloween? Why do have rat decorations and bat garland?
Creepy crawlies and nasty vermin are found in plentiful abundance in the Halloween decoration aisles. There is probably enough fake spider web used at Halloween to stretch to the moon and back.
Why do we want fake versions of creatures we avoid? The creatures we fear or at least cause us the heebie jeebies are the mascots of the holiday. On a normal day house with bugs or cobwebs hanging around would be deemed unclean, unsanitary, and downright revolting. A Halloween house with cobwebs covering it is enchanting, delightful, and festive.
I guess it's like death. Halloween emits some kind of spell over our senses and certain creatures lose their ookiness for a month or so. Come November, spiders are outlawed again.
If I were a spider, I would want to be born at the end of September. I would find my way to one of the posh webs covering someone's porch. Then I would live like a king for the next month.
I guess anything can be cute if you cover it in glitter or make it glow in the dark.
You're not afraid of a little bug are you? What about a big bug?
Creepy, crawly, eight legged freaks
Which would be creepier?
"I don't know that there are real ghosts and goblins, but there are always more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood kids."
- Robert Brault
Begging from the Neighbors
#6 Creep Factor of Halloween
Ding-dong. "Trick or treat!" Candy is dropped into the loot bag. Usually a parent elbows the kid and reminds him to say thank you for about the thirty-sixth time of the night. The kid will mutter something to the person at the door and off they all go to the next house on the row.
What kind of message are we sending to kids? To beg from the neighbors? One night a year we tell kids to live off of someone else. That sticking out their bags for a handout is the way it's done. And you have to hit up as many houses as possible so you can be sure to get a good load.
And what about that treat or else part of the night. Give me candy or I'll get you later. We are teaching them to be hooligans. It's a small step from egging to holding up the convenience store for their Snickers fix. After all, they are likely to become sugar addicts after all those years of gorging themselves on Halloween candy.
Parents not only encourage their kids to talk to strangers. They force them to take candy from people they don't know and to go right up to strangers' houses. Trunk or treat is even worse. The kids go from car to car getting candy.
Hmmm. Let's hope this message of Halloween doesn't stick. Maybe sugar comas are kinda like a brainwash. The night becomes a chocolate coated blur.
Get Your Own Candy
This way you don't have to beg from the neighbors. Plus, you don't have to deal with unloading the nasty candy.
"There is nothing that gives more assurance than a mask."
#7 Creep Factor of Halloween
We can tell a lot about a person by what he or she is wearing. A uniform can tell us the person is a police officer or a postman. A hat can tell you what team somebody is rooting for. Pajamas mean sleepy time.
But all bets are off on Halloween. Everybody is pretending to be something they are not. Or something they secretly want to be. Or even more frightening, something they secretly are.
Halloween is the one night of the year when everybody is supposed to be phony. People who go as themselves are lame-o. It is the night of masks and makeup and subterfuge.
At Halloween, the true self is hidden and a person is free to do as he pleases for the night. A mask can give a person a big dose of courage. With his real identity disguised, who knows what mischief someone may create.
Maybe that's why November 1 is a day to remember the saints. People are penitent about what sort of things they were up to the night before.
Who Do You Want to Be?
There is something downright disturbing about all of these masks. What does it say about a person who want to wear one of these?
"Pumpkins scream in the dead of night"
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
#8 Creep Factor of Halloween
Every year millions are slaughtered and everyone turns a blind eye to the massacre. They are hacked to death or brutally stabbed till their guts spill out on the ground. And the mutilation continues until they are nothing but a hollow, empty shell.
That's right. Every October pumpkins die in mass so that our porches can look pretty for the trick or treaters. Then the pumpkins have no more purpose. They sit outside rotting away till someone takes pity on them and puts them out of their misery.
There are starving people in the world. How many could be fed with the wasted pumpkins, squash, and corn we use as decoration?
Sure, can make pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup. You can even roast the seeds. But honestly, how many Martha Stewarts do you know? Most of us hack up the pumpkin and toss the innards.
Maybe I should start a pumpkin gut recycling movement. Then the pumpkins won't have to die without a cause anymore. They can die so we can have pumpkin muffins. Yum.
Do you eat any part of your Halloween pumpkin?
The Supernatural Is Super
#9 Creep Factor of Halloween
Many of the Halloween customs we have now were things that ancient people used to ward off evil. Like putting lanterns in turnips and wearing costumes. There were charms and rituals to keep things like witches, ghosts, and vampires away.
Now we encourage these legendary creatures to come visit us. Girls ask to be bitten by a vampire and want to run with the wolves. We are obsessed with zombies and we hunt ghosts.
Has our society gone mad? Is it boredom? Are we not getting enough blood in our diets?
Maybe we have just forgotten a little snippet of information. These creatures are EVIL. They hunt humans. They kill humans. They eat humans. We are humans. Therefore, we ought to do all we can to avoid bloodsucking, shape shifting, creatures of the night. They want to hurt us, not take us to the prom.
Paranormal romance stories make us giddy about supernatural creatures. But if you heed the legends, even fairies aren't creatures to cuddle with. Legends about them are a bit on the grim side. They bite and are usually up to malice, especially when it comes to humans.
Maybe these creatures are real. Maybe they are the product of vivid imaginations on dark, creepy nights. Either way, if you come across a real vampire on Halloween, don't give him an all access pass to your carotid. And seriously, wolves lick their butt. You really want to kiss one?
Creatures of the Night
Go ahead. Get one. But if it bites you or turns you into a toad with 23 warts, don't say I didn't warn you.
"Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."
- J. K. Rowling
The Gross Factor
#10 Creep Factor of Halloween
Some synonyms for Halloween are "gross," "gory," "revolting," "repulsive," "nauseating," "sickening," and "disgusting." Something about Halloween turns even the most proper ladies turn into gross fiends. It's like we all become six year old booger-picking, scab-peeling disgusto balls again.
Moms fix spaghetti brains, eyeball cupcakes, and slime juice for Halloween parties. The host would be appalled to hear "mmmm" or "yum." Halloween cuisine should make guests say, "eww," or "ick." Halloween food is supposed to be just on the verge of being gross, but not fall off the cliff of being too disgusting to swallow.
Halloween becomes a gore fest. Bloody body parts are stuck up everywhere. Innards are showing. You can really learn a lot about anatomy at Halloween just by studying the decorations.
There is also plenty of slime and specimens. Not to mention fake poop, fake vomit, fake snot, and plenty of other fake bodily fluids you can use to disgust your friends and/or enemies.
Yup. Halloween is yucky and yicky, and we all eat it up. How revolting are we?
Disgusting Halloween Goodies
Have you had your brains today?
How do you like your brains?
"Be wary then; best safety lies in fear."
Bring on the Creepiness
Halloween is about our fears. We celebrate death and gore and the things that make our skin crawl. Sources of terror are given free reign and nightmares are decorating tools. It doesn't seem to make sense.
But when you think about the way we celebrate Halloween, you realize it is the best medicine. We laugh at the things that frighten us and then the fear loses its power. Darkness and dread are brought out into the daylight and we can see them for what they really are. And it doesn't seem so bad. It's like immersion therapy for phobias. After being overexposed to it, we become desensitized. We aren't afraid anymore.
And that's a good thing. So bring on the scary. Give me the creepy. I love Halloween because it empowers me. I can be anything. I can fight evil and overcome it. And that is real Halloween magic. Hocus pocus.
"A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the snib of the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man awoke in the night."
- J.M. Barrie
Tell me the insane reasons you love Halloween. Tell me why you hate Halloween. Tell me your Halloween grocery list. Just tell me something about Halloween.