The Saint

Is Halloween becoming too spooky?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Article by Kara Wheeler, Reporter

Films and media, whether for good or bad, have an effect on culture. This idea is especially true of movies that are centered around Halloween. 

The 2016 clown sightings phenomena began shortly after the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, “It” debuted. Those who participated dressed up as clowns, stood still, unphased and at a distance, and stared at strangers. A handful of times, the clowns physically attacked random passersby. 

The thrill of fear drove thousands of people to partake in the trend, for no other reason than instilling sheer terror.

You have probably noticed that Halloween decorations have changed since you were a kid, turning awfully grim and especially vivid in the past couple of years. Society has transitioned from whimsical bed sheet ghosts to realistic, gory decorations showcasing figures hung from trees or life-sized dead bodies laying with their brains out on the front lawn. 

Children suffer most from an obsession with and a normalization of death and evil, shown through society’s attitude, decorations, and movies. 

For a child, Halloween is a peak time of excitement. When Halloween is centered around costumes that allow for playing make-believe and being with friends, it is a safe holiday for children and their developing psyche. When a hyper-focus on death and evil takes precedence, major psychological consequences may result.

In its proper form, Halloween allows children to understand the difference between reality and fantasy. The problem arises when the line between fantasy and reality is blurred; when children are bombarded with images of real life horrors – death, decay and evil – repeatedly.

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For there to be no long-lasting effects through an encounter with fear, a child has to know that they are safe, according to Jacqueline Wooley, chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas in Austin. Children will encounter fear at some points during their development as a young child, leaving no reason for Halloween to purposefully bombard them with more fear than they already naturally experience. 

This Halloween, pay attention to the type of material promoted in horror movies and the kinds of decorations you see in family neighborhoods. Sure, the movies are for adult’s enjoyment and the decorations are “cute,” but a widespread desensitization can have widespread repercussions. The holiday’s increased sensationalism of gore and evil means that the youngest population suffers for the thrill of the adult.

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