Wasn't That Scary, Kids?

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The most drawn-out Halloween in years has finally arrived. (If your city or hamlet is anything like D.C., you've seen costumed freaks and punks sashaying to parties since Friday.) Need a break from slipping razor blades into your trick-or-treat apples? Dip into the vast, Lovecraftian catacombs of the reason.com archives. You can start with Monday's interview with vampire historian Eric Nuzum and Tuesday's salute to a holiday under siege, then read on…

– In 1994, Jonathan Rauch played Van Helsing to enter the world of the vampire lobbyists.

– In 2002, the X-Files was taken out of its misery and Jesse Walker sang at the funeral.

– In 2003, as Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air, Virginia Postrel uncorked the meaning and message of the long-running series.

– Later that year Julian Sanchez discovered Eichmann at Hogwarts.

– Back in 2004, David Kopel reviewed the first decent (and first scary) Harry Potter flick. Jesse Walker delved into the terrifying world of fanfiction. Later, our managing editor survived the most horrifying event of all: the choice between George W. Bush and John Kerry for the right to run our lives.

– In 2005 friend-of-reason Matt Welch visited Romania, land of the vampyr, and came back with a feature story and two conspicuous neck holes.

– In 2006, Tim Cavanaugh boarded up his house, grabbed his shotgun, and pondered the meaning of the zombie's cultural comeback.

– That same year Jesse Walker pondered the legal problems of black magic and the gloomiest day for sex offenders.

– Earlier this year Katherine Mangu-Ward watched farm subsidies get forked over to the living dead. Jesse Walker asked if Kolchak was our modern Walter Murrow.

And are you shaking and trembling at the thought of missing the headline reference? Click the YouTube below… if you dare.

NEXT: Tandy Steps Down

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  1. Halloween should be banned because some people find it offensive. Halloween is a dangerous holiday that glorifies the devil. No on has the right to offend anyone, it is blashemous, which should be illegal and punished severely, because we are a Christian nation. It is what Jesus would want. Ban Halloween

  2. Halloween should be banned because some people find it offensive.

    Right on!

  3. Need a break from slipping razor blades into your trick-or-treat apples?

    [smiles] Nicely said, man.

  4. I have an apple for you, Juanita.

  5. I vote ed thread winner.

    TWC – how are you? Shaken up much?

  6. I keep checking for Dr. Tongue’s 3D House of Stewardesses but nobody’s Youtubed it yet.

  7. Bhh – This guy might have the DVD, though.

  8. Favorite Halloween quote that ties in with the vampire lobbyist theme:

    Now let’s rob the bank, give the money to the poor, then rob the poor, and shoot the money! Yeehaw!!

  9. SCTV is awesome

  10. The most drawn-out Halloween in years has finally arrived.

    Arrrggghh, so it wasn’t just me! Thank you!

    Could someone with some cultural-sociological expertise please explain why Halloween suddenly grew into this utterly MASSIVE event at some point during the past decade? The whole development has been truly bizarre.

  11. Could someone with some cultural-sociological expertise please explain why Halloween suddenly grew into this utterly MASSIVE event at some point during the past decade? The whole development has been truly bizarre.

    Answer: disposable income and lots of leisure time

  12. Baked, I’m doing well thanks. If you mean the fires, the ghastly smoke is gone. That was the worst of it for us. We had our time three years ago when Dante’s Inferno roared over the hill.

    Didn’t feel the quake though.

  13. Answer: disposable income and lots of leisure time

    OK. That explains HOW Halloween could become a big deal. But it still doesn’t explain WHY. So we have lots of disposable income and leisure time; why was Halloween singled out as a focus of increased attention?

  14. Speaking of the California fires, this headline comes in from the AP:

    Officials: Boy with matches started fire.

    Cue Michelle Malkin blaming this boy’s activities on IllegalImmigration…

  15. “But it still doesn’t explain WHY.”

    Our parents lied to us about Santa. They lied to us about the Easter Bunny. They lied to us about the first Thanksgiving. Halloween was the only holiday where they came clean and said ‘none of this is real’.

  16. I was reading a thread on Digg yesterday about offensive Halloween costumes. One person said they went to a costume party at a bar and someone was there dressed as Superman in a wheelchair, and “people were freaking out when he got up to go to the bathroom.”

  17. TWC – I hadn’t realized the smoke had even made it up to the wine country. I should have though – earlier this year, Georgia had some large fires, and the smoke from them made it all the way down to Orlando, some 200 miles. Glad to hear you can breathe again.

    The first reports I heard about the quake made it sound worse than it was.

    …why was Halloween singled out as a focus of increased attention?

    Because it’s one of the holidays that hadn’t already been completely pimped out to the point of saturation? (Other than by candy makers / costumers).

  18. Halloween got big just like St. Patrick’s Day got big. Excuse to get dressed up, go to a party, drink too much, act up, and be able to palm off any ramifications on the event while avoiding any real responsibilty for your bad behavior.

    Explain NASCAR.

  19. Could someone with some cultural-sociological expertise please explain why Halloween suddenly grew into this utterly MASSIVE event at some point during the past decade?

    Because it is the one holiday devoted to fun? Eating candy, dressing up in costumes, talking to the neighbors, and going to parties.

  20. When the Georgia fires where here, I actually had to drive up north to visit my brother. All the main roads had to close down due to the fires, so I found myself driving through the back-woods of North Miami while covered nearly completely in a blanket of smoke.

    Redemption is possible. The once-evil can change. Vampires can reclaim their souls. Catty alpha girl Cordelia can learn to be nice. But true redemption exacts a price. Penitents must face what they’ve done. They must suffer. Faith, a second Slayer (long story there) who “went all evil and started killing people,” must willingly go to prison for her crimes. Andrew, the nerd manipulated by grandiose dreams of godhood, must admit that he, not some outside force, killed his best friend. There’s no cheap grace in the Buffyverse.
    That one is bunk. At least when it comes to Angel’s story arc and characters involved, the main theme was that redemption was something that was utterly impossible, but at the same time something that needs to be constantly achived.

  21. Halloween got big just like St. Patrick’s Day got big. Excuse to get dressed up, go to a party, drink too much, act up…

    Because it is the one holiday devoted to fun?

    But these still don’t answer the question: why Halloween suddenly grew into this utterly MASSIVE event at some point during the past decade.

    Did people prior to the 1990s not like excuses to dress up and go to a party, or enjoy holidays devoted to fun?

    Look, I know what Halloween is. I’m simply curious why Halloween, and why now.

    Obviously, I don’t know either. The trend is just sort of odd and baffling.

  22. Because people figured it would baffle you, David K…

  23. David K, if you were that curious you’d do your own research. Or am I to assume your trolling is just a “trick”?

  24. David K,

    The Halloween party when I was in college in the early 80’s was the biggest, funnest, nastiest, sexiest party of the year. Everybody got into it – all the cliques and subgroups: frat / sorority types, athletes (who inevitably went in dresses not that reveals anything at all about their darkest desires), College Republicans, even the dorkier Dr. Who type people really got into and some of them even got laid in the bargain cuz they were creative costume makers.

    All you really need to get laid is to have a conversation at the right point in the night where both people are drunkish and horny.

    I don’t really think we were ahead of the curve. What did change is that Halloween has become gradually de-kidified because of bogus scares and more people started putting off marriage and kids until their late 20s and early 30s.

    So instead of escorting their ankle biters around the neighborhood they continued their college behavior on Halloween and went out to a bar or a party to try to recapture that magic night where they banged that tight little cutie in a cat costume.

    Wow, I really learned an important lesson today. Kids suck.

  25. “And if you don’t think the banjo kid from Deliverance is scary, how about Ed Garvey and Gene Upshaw of the NFLPA … ahwoooh!!!”

    Man, SCTV was the shit…

  26. David K, if you were that curious you’d do your own research. Or am I to assume your trolling is just a “trick”?

    Trolling? Is there a new definition for trolling, or are you just stretching the word so it fits your Halloween punning fun?

    David Weigel started this post by wryly noting how lengthy Halloween was this year. I simply bounced off that to pose a question on a blog where smart people talk about stuff.

    As for “doing my own research” … I’ve been over here Googling, trust me. Lots of theories from the social conservatives involving our coarsened, God-less culture, etc., but nothing too insightful yet. Did read one comment about the baby boom generation and its refusal to truly grow up, which sounds fairly promising…

  27. Karen Tandy is coming to YOUR house!
    She’s walking up you front sidewalk!
    She’s at your door!
    RUN! HIDE!

  28. What did change is that Halloween has become gradually de-kidified because of bogus scares and more people started putting off marriage and kids until their late 20s and early 30s.

    Yes, this makes sense.

    All you really need to get laid is to have a conversation at the right point in the night where both people are drunkish and horny.

    And this is an Eternal Truth.

  29. Bobby Bittman on The Sammy Maudlin Show.

    And, Weigel, thanks a fucking sarcastically lot. I was planning on watching 28 Weeks Later tonight, but now I have a hunger for Buffy season 6 and I also want to but SCTV on DVD. Fuck you!

  30. I was planning on watching 28 Weeks Later tonight

    Eh, I don’t feel so bad about that. 28WL has some nice scares and one stupendously oddball scene with a helicopter but it’s nowhere near as good as the first film.

  31. Wow. This months Reason cover looks like an old issue of The Watchtower.

  32. Matthew – if you’re talking about the magazine pic on this thread (with the vampire), it’s from 1994.

  33. Count Floyd’s Reggae Christmas in Transylvania is a holiday classic (well, it should be)…

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