Frequently Axed Questions

Why did you create this website?

Many years ago when I started collecting Halloween books, decor and memorabilia, I couldn’t find many good websites about the holiday. In 2006, I began work a resource site for enthusiasts that culminated in 2009 with the launch of MyScaryHalloween.com. I hope to provide old and new fans of the holiday a guide to various aspects of celebrating Halloween.

Isn’t Halloween just for kids?
Halloween evolves with every generation. Originally it was a young adults hooligan holiday filled with pranks and costly property damage. It transformed into a children’s holiday of costume parties and divination games, and eventually trick or treating and decorating. And now as fewer parents encourage trick or treating, Halloween seems to moving back to young adults and haunted amusement park events, and older yard haunters who grew up loving Halloween. This cultural holiday takes its cue from the people and moves further away from its Celtic origins where communities celebrated the final harvest before winter around huge bonfires, and sacrificed a few animals and sometimes people!

Why is Halloween so popular?
Halloween is now the second-most profitable holiday behind Christmas, and entrepreneurs and retail have made it an $8 billion industry. While candy and costumes are the bread-and-butter of the holiday, retail stores have seized the opportunity to serve a nostalgic adult demographic who loves spooky stuff. Nationwide stores like Target, Michaels, Pottery Barn, and Lowes now offer upscale Halloween products for the discerning consumer with disposable income. And just like Christmas, the dark holiday gets a head start with a retail season that creeps in as early as July!

What is a yard haunter?
There’s decorating the lawn with drugstore tombstones, and the there’s turning your lawn in a hellscape of gore and demons. The latter are Halloween enthusiasts who call themselves “yard haunters” and spend hundreds of hours and dollars creating massive, elaborate displays. Some see it as a hobby and some just want to let their freak flag fly. For them, Halloween night is a block party where everyone is invited.

Why is Halloween celebrated?
Halloween is a fun holiday without obligations: candy, costumes, and decorations, instead of forced family time, travel, and gift-giving.  There’s a mysterious aspect of Halloween that quells inhibitions and allows those wilder, darker, inner demons to frolic freely without judgement. It’s also a cultural holiday not based on religion or government so anyone can participate regardless of affiliations. It’s celebration of the boundless and thorny human soul incarnate.

Is being scared a good thing?
Halloween beckons us to be scared, which actually has many positive physical and psychological effects! When you are scared, adrenaline 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)

Is Halloween an evil holiday?
The origins of Halloween are rooted in an ancient Celtic holiday called Samhain where communities celebrated the final harvest before winter around huge bonfires, and sacrificed a few animals and crops. They also believed All Hallow’s Eve to be a time when the veil between the worlds of living and the dead were at its thinnest. To ward off spirits, you put candle lit turnips (later pumpkins) at the doorstep, and wore masks to confuse other spirits roaming about. You gave soul cakes to whoever knocked to appease whatever thing was at your door. In America, the Beistle Company know for its novelty paper decorations began selling a line of black and orange witches, cats, bats, owls, spiders and jack o’ lanterns and thus classic Halloween iconography was born. While some may find some of this history unsavory, Halloween has never been a holiday that celebrates evil. It's a time when communities come together to celebrate the Autumn season with fun parties, costumes, and perhaps a little mischief.

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