The Spoopy Time of Year
Good morning, friends! It’s a grey, cloudy day here and I’ve got a kitten in my lap and a cup of coffee with pumpkin spice creamer as I continue to pretend that it is indeed fall, even though the weather seems determined to prove me otherwise. It’s supposed to be 85 degrees for homecoming this weekend. I am not amused, weather, not one bit. Despite being depressingly warm, the dreary sky is helping to set the mood for the spooky, creepy time of year we know as October.
First, I’d like to address the word “spoopy.” I don’t actually know where this word came from or how it came to be or who uses it, even, but I kind of like it. I’m not usually into modern slang terms. Most current word trends I hope go the way of “bogus” and “tubular,” to be forgotten by future generations and never spoken of again. But “spoopy” is a word I heard first in a podcast that was guest staring the host’s teenage sister and it sort of stuck with me. I don’t know what it is about this word, but I think it’s fun. So I’m sorry if I have induced any eye-rolling with my use of it here, but it makes me happy, so I’m using it.
Second, let’s talk about the spread of Halloween, shall we? I continue to be a little bit baffled at the way certain holidays spread out to take over all the other months around them. There are people already getting ready for Christmas, it’s ridiculous. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Halloween is the other big holiday reach out and absorb more time. It is also, by it’s nature, a buying holiday. Between candy and costumes and decorations, there’s a lot of money to be made by starting the whole hype earlier, I guess. On top of that, Halloween shares a distinct feel to it, much the way Christmas does. It has it’s own spirit, almost the opposite of Christmas in a way. While Christmas is a calmer, more cheerful, innocent sort of spirit, Halloween has this mischievous, creepy, excitement to it. It’s embracing a sensation most of us try to avoid the rest of the year and turning it into something fun. I suspect this is why people want to draw it out as much as possible.
That being said, this is a touchy subject in many of my circles. Halloween has dark roots and deep connections with pagan religions and spiritual beliefs, so many Christians shy away from the whole thing. I understand the inclination, and Logan and I will have to put a lot of thought into how we want our kids to view this time of year and the traditions we want to allow them to participate in. Logan’s family tended to go out and do other fun things during trick-or-treat time as a sort of replacement. They still had a good time, but avoided all the questionable bits. My family did trick-or-treat, but we ignored the sentiment behind the traditions, instead focusing on the fun of dressing up and getting candy. We also took part in the “harvest festival” my parents’ church put on every year, full of fall themed games and entertainment, and more candy. I personally love the excuse to dress up in costumes, no matter what the excuse may be. I feel comfortable partaking in some of the more innocent aspects of the holiday, without delving into the darker roots, but everyone must decide what’s best for them.
I must admit, I actually kind of enjoy the spooky aspects of Halloween, in moderation. I enjoy haunted hay rides, where people jump out at you and creepy cutouts pop up from the bushes and things like that. I have fond memories of walking a haunted trail with my sister and cousin a few times to see all the creepy decorations and interact with the actors trying to scare us. It wasn’t especially scary, since there were smaller children also taking part, so they kept it pretty toned down, but it was fun nonetheless.
I’m not into the modern horror genre, so much. I don’t like all the blood and gore that they tend to throw in there just for the shock value. But I will say that I do kind of enjoy the older genre of horror, the B-horror films that rely more clever timing and set up for their scares more than jump scares and grisly affects. I would love to watch a bunch of classic monster movies this year, if I could find them, but I never seem to be able to. I bet I could rent some off of Amazon, come to think of it. I’ll have to look into that. My husband got a collection of Alfred Hitchcock for Christmas last year, so maybe we’ll have to pull those out. I’ve only seen like two Hitchcock films ever so I’m way overdue.
I also enjoy the campy, goofy scary movies. Namely, the Addams Family films from the 90s. I’ve seen a little bit of the old TV show, but I really enjoyed the movies growing up. I really enjoy that kind of normalized creepiness, where they are completely oblivious to the fact that they’re the odd ones out and that the way they live isn’t everyone else’s normal. The podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” fills a similar spot in my heart. I should pick up with them again. I listened through the first season, but they have this weird musical interlude in the middle that I never enjoy. It’s not too much of a hassle to skip it, but it is a little annoying to have to do so. Still, it’s good knitting entertainment.
I would love to read more horror as well. I’ve had very little experience in reading horror for myself. I started Frankenstein last year, but didn’t get very far as other things came up to fill my time. I’ve read a little of Lovecraft and some Poe, because no one gets through any sort of lit program without reading Poe, but I’d like to try out some more long form horror. I’m not sure if I can get sucked in the way other people do. I always think about Joey from Friends putting The Shining away in the freezer because he gets too scared reading it. I’d love to get that into a book that it could have that sort of startling effect on me, but I’m not sure with my ADD if I could. I can get invested in books, sure, and often do, but I don’t know that I can get lost in them the way a good horror story requires to be fully effective. Still, I’d like to give it a try again, maybe if I ever get through Emma.
For all my complaints about holidays spreading out far beyond where they should naturally be contained, I’m okay with Halloween having all of October. I know there are people who have been in full Halloween mode since September started, but for the most part, people have the patience to wait until October to let Halloween really begin. I’m okay with having a full month to enjoy some cheesy horror films with my husband, eat Oreos dyed orange, just because, and eat candy shaped like bats and cats and other spoopy things. Upon further reflection on the word “spoopy” I feel like it better captures how I most enjoy my Halloween season. It’s not genuinely meant to be scary, just sort of playfully spooky. Just enough to enjoy the macabre thrill that comes with black and white monster movies and creepy novels, and things set in spooky settings, but telling unrelated stories. That’s what I want my Halloween to be. Just dress up and spoopy fun, with lots of candy, because really, what is Halloween without the risk of cavities?