Must be the season of the witch
September 26, 2008 1:36 AM   Subscribe

With all the terror in the news lately, it's easy to forget that the Halloween season is upon us. Everyone's entitled to one good scare (besides that loan you need), and there's probably a haunted attraction popping up in your neck of the woods right now to provide it. Born of a storied history including phantasmagoria, the Theatre du Grand Guignol, and Midnight Spook Shows, haunted houses are now a 500 million dollar a year industry and the stuff of urban legend. Whether you prefer something more authentic, theatrical, cinematic, or truly horrifying, there's a spook house for everyone. If, of course, you have the nerve. (Grand Guignol previously)
posted by Roman Graves (26 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Heads up: many links contain cheesy and bloodcurdling sound fx. But really, if you weren't expecting as much...
posted by Roman Graves at 1:39 AM on September 26, 2008

Screw all that blood and guts for Halloween. I'm going to be a LOLcat.

A sexy LOL cat.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:51 AM on September 26, 2008

Halloween season? What are you talking about? It's one day and its over a month away.
posted by biffa at 3:07 AM on September 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

There's more profit in a dragged-out 'season' of parties and haunted houses that you have to plan for and buy tickets and fancy costumes for.

Green Man Season starts the weekend before St. Patrick's Day and runs until the first day of spring. Picnics & Patriots Season is somewhere in the stretch from Memorial Day to Flag Day to Independence Day. From Hanukkah and Winter Solstice through Christmas and New Year's Eve and up to the Chinese/Lunar New Year is Scarfing Season. Canadian Thanksgiving to US Thanksgiving is No, Thanks, I Couldn't Season.
posted by pracowity at 3:50 AM on September 26, 2008

Okay, everybody, sing it with me!

It's the most wonderful tiiiiime... of the yeeeeeeaaaar!

Halloween > every other holiday.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:58 AM on September 26, 2008

I just want to know what in the heck kind of advertising gimmick Fiesta Texas was trying to pull off with the whole "real dead body" thing.

FrightFest, indeed.
posted by resurrexit at 5:00 AM on September 26, 2008

I love Halloween. I love horror movies. When I was a kid, I didn't watch Disney movies. I've never seen Snow White, Lady and the Tramp, The Parent Trap. But I sure as hell have seen every Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and dozens, maybe hundreds, of straight-to-video slasher flicks. I don't dig on the new torture porn, though; it's creepy, and there's no joy in it.

Also, Fright Fest at Great Adventure is outstanding for one reason, and one reason only: Nitro. It's a fantastic coaster in its own right, but during Fright Fest, they kill the lights on the track, blanket the entire park in dense fog, and run it at night. The result is that you have no idea where you're going. It's terrifying and wonderful.

Also, the very word "phantasmagoria" has been ruined for me by the game of the same name. Which is unforgiveable garbage.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:02 AM on September 26, 2008

A sexy LOL cat.

posted by cog_nate at 6:09 AM on September 26, 2008

Nice post, by the way.
posted by cog_nate at 6:09 AM on September 26, 2008

Don't forget Dokken's Dream Warriors, which was the theme to A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:20 AM on September 26, 2008

Oops, wrong tab. But only slightly.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:22 AM on September 26, 2008

Flagged for being Ghostist.
posted by panboi at 6:30 AM on September 26, 2008

I loves me some Halloween and I damn well consider it a 'season', myself, hands down. But I tend to make my own costumes (usually by throwing a bunch of clothes I already own together with stuff I find -- thank you, hubcap I found on the street, for helping with the 'post-apocalyptic road warrior' costume) and decorations so the wallet's not hit so hard.

This year we've been gettin in the mood early having already hit one haunted house (if you're in Ohio hit Land of Illusion up, it's a good time) and really ramped up the B-horror flick watching. I'd love to go to Fright Fest but there's no way I'd get dude on a roller coaster.

And if anyone's around Ohio, you can't do it this year since they're all sold out, but the mister and I have checked out the Mansfield Reformatory and, haunted or not, it looks like an awesome place to spend the night prowling around. (besides, they need more funding to keep the building up and running)
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:41 AM on September 26, 2008

I see the Mansfield Reformatory is listed on your authentic haunted house link. Yay!
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:43 AM on September 26, 2008

This is my first Halloween in my own house, and I live in a neighbourhood with an awful lot of really annoying teenagers. Noisy motorcycles running up and down the cul-de-sac, screaming profanity down the block, drinking the cheapest cider possible, the whole chav experience.

I cannot wait for the 31st. Those little douchebags won't know what's hitting 'em.

(the question is, do I go as Sadako or as a tricoteuse?)
posted by Katemonkey at 6:58 AM on September 26, 2008

Just like to chime in and agree that there is no such thing as Halloween Season. It's not even October, fer chrissakes!

And I will burn this place down if you refer to Nov. 1 as the beginning of Christmas Season.

/shakes cane
posted by unixrat at 7:54 AM on September 26, 2008

November 1? Folloween.
posted by Sailormom at 8:40 AM on September 26, 2008

Beaten to it by several, but yes, season? So strange. When I was a kid it was a holiday for kids, one that lasted several hours on one day. Now it's an adult holiday, a half-billion dollar a year business and a season.
posted by fixedgear at 8:45 AM on September 26, 2008

Actually, fixedgear, the half-billion is just for haunted attractions. The holiday overall is expected to pull down more than five billion this year.
posted by Roman Graves at 9:06 AM on September 26, 2008

unixrat: This year the first ad I saw to book ahead for xmas dinners was in a pub on August 1st.
posted by biffa at 9:08 AM on September 26, 2008


Halloween as a kid's holiday is only a recent development.

For the most part, it was an adult's holiday. Now give me some candy corn or I'll TP your lawn.
posted by The Power Nap at 10:09 AM on September 26, 2008

Halloween as a holiday I rank up there with New Years Eve and St. Patrick's day, as those days people who don't usually do so feel like they can go out and get as drunk and crazy as they way. Amateur nights.
posted by inigo2 at 10:52 AM on September 26, 2008

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Many of my friends and I make runs to Target et al on November first to stock up on decorations. Of course, we're the sort that decorates that way all year... It's so sad to see the Christmas rush extend into October now - not just starting the day after Thanksgiving, but as soon as the first chill hits the air.

The Spook Shows are great fun, and the one at Coney Island is/was legendary. Atlanta has a local one that's sort of a Pee-Wee's Playhouse meets Saturday afternoon Creature Feature horror host thing called the Silver Scream Spook Show. (NB, self-link; I'm in the cast.)
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 12:25 PM on September 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Halloween has gotten out of control, commodified and rammed down our throats. It use to be an opportunity to collect pennies for UNISEF - remember those orange, waxy boxes that you carried around your neck to collect alms for the poor. That was okay - but now it's just an excuse to maraud the neighborhood. It's become an empty tradition that has the inflated claim to being named a season. Pumpkin humbug - bah!
posted by glasskey at 1:36 PM on September 26, 2008

No, no, no, NO.

Halloween is a SEASON. Haunted House makers are most honored and most faithful. I will not hear more heresy.
posted by The Whelk at 5:54 PM on September 26, 2008

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