Hallowe’en is an odd time of the year. Well, all holidays are kind of ridiculous, but Hallowe’en seems to be one where everyone does something completely different. Some like to party in costume, while others stay in and watch horror movies. Those with children revel in trick or treating, and those without long for the day after Hallowe’en when everything goes on sale. Some people don’t celebrate at all due to religious reasons, while others take the Devil’s Day, witch’s night, and All Hallows’ Eve as a semi-religious experience. To try and help those who don’t know what to do this Hallowe’en, we have prepared a list of some of our contributors’ Hallowe’en habits, as well as their favourite Hallowe’en films.
“Hallowe’en is to fall what Christmas is to winter, and I mean, can we even agree on one single unifying holiday for the spring and summer? No, which is why the cooler half of the year is obviously the better half. It’s cozy and crisp and by the time Hallowe’en comes around the trees are almost bare and it feels like fall is at its prime. I don’t exactly prepare for Hallowe’en in any special way but there are certain things that remind me of it. I’ll be the millionth and one person to say Hallowe’entown – but seriously, what’s Hallowe’en without Hallowe’entown? As a culture, I feel it is our duty to Kimberly J. Brown to ignore the fourth and final installment of the series. We all know it wasn’t the ending we deserved. I think Lorde’s “Glory and Gore” is the most Hallowe’en-y song aside from “This is Hallowe’en” from The Night Before Christmas (1993), for obvious reasons. And finally, my ultimate Hallowe’en aesthetic is an impressively tall pile of wrappers from snack-sized chocolate bars that I didn’t mean to finish but next thing you know you’re shaking the box upside down and it’s empty.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: IT (2017)
“I’m prepping by embracing my inner goth and wearing slightly more black than usual. Something dumb like that I guess. I’ve been listening to lots of Joy Division and Bauhaus.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: Sharktopus Vs. Whalewolf (2015)
“My Hallowe’en preparations are usually best described as avoidance tactics. I hate Hallowe’en. I don’t get it and I hate it more and more each year when people say “Oh, whyyy do you hate Hallowe’en?!!?!” Usually I successfully avoid it, skulking off to a bar with another Hallow-phobe, taking greater pleasure in this annual sulk of hours. This year is different. I’m with my girlfriend and she loves it. So I will just pretend it’s not happening and hope for the best. Maybe this is the year I’ll find my favourite Hallowe’en film.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: The video to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (1983)
“While I myself am not partaking in all that many Hallowe’en festivities before the big night, unless you count the anticipation of dressing up in something terrible and staying out until 3 AM while futilely waiting for Hallowe’entown to come on TV, many businesses and initiatives around town are making the most of the Hallowe’en season. Jessica Correa of Random Acts of Green, who was recently featured on Trent Radio’s Electric Entrepreneurs, shared how her and the team have created their own Hallow-green trend with tombstones reading slogans such “Food Waste – RIP Compost.” While many other businesses just gear up their establishments for a flurry of ghouls and goblins to show up and wreck the place.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: Sinister (2012)
“Hallowe’en is a stressful time. Friends make friends pay money to go and see scary movies that are guaranteed to be certified rotten a week after release. Friends make friends do group costumes without offering any help on buying the supplies. The one place where people have control is Instagram. My advice, delete it from October 26th to November 3rd. You can end the cycle of trashy group photos and posts of everyone in their costumes by sending a market signal. Don’t double tap on anything Hallowe’en related. Be part of a movement to reinstate sanity and dignity to Instagram. If the habitual offenders realize that their posts aren’t getting the same pop that they did, perhaps they will grant us a brief reprieve. Delete Instagram, be happy on Hallowe’en.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: Dead Alive (1992) – “most blood in a horror movie ever until the shitty new Evil Dead took its spot.”
“How do I prepare for Hallowe’en? Hmm. It’s hard because I really am one of those people that’s still kind of outgrowing my “emo” and “scene” phases in middle school and high school (rest in peace MySpace). So, I still love skeletons and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Edward Scissorhands (1990). I would apologize for it except I’m not actually sorry. Revisiting them since then, they hold up pretty well – especially the skeletons. Bahdumtss. Instinctively I also want to say something about Donnie Darko (2001), though I can’t imagine what exactly, because it’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s just the creepy aesthetic. Or maybe it’s Frank the rabbit. Otherwise, around Hallowe’en I watch spooky music videos a lot. Think “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by the Backstreet Boys, “Disturbia” by Rihanna, “Bonfire” by Childish Gambino, “Monster” by Kanye West (but really Nicki Minaj). “Thriller” is a given. Listening to “The Monster Mash” and the Ghostbusters theme song also just makes sense. Increasingly I get to flex my creative muscles with clothing and makeup, so that’s always fun. I love seeing the #inspo on Instagram and YouTube around this time of year.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: The Babadook (2014)
“My Hallowe’en consumption involves a mix of fall vibes and reliving Hallowe’en related childhood memories. This time of year I love watching Hocus Pocus and Hallowe’entown. I grew up watching them as a child, and I love the 90’s Hallowe’en vibes. There’s also the 1995 Casper movie which is a great time. In terms of music there is nothing specific I lean towards other than my usual indie–rock fall playlist, but Backstreet Boys’ ‘Everybody’ is definitely a Hallowe’en tune. It has a great Hallowe’en haunted house music video which takes place in a hall that looks like the one from the Casper film – more 90’s childhood stuff. The official Backstreet Boys music video on VEVO is actually not the original music video, which as a hardcore Backstreet Boys fan I found appalling, and you can tell they re-edited parts of the original for some reason. For my apartment aesthetic I like to get Hallowe’en decorations from Dollarama, and go all out.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: Hocus Pocus (1993) or Casper (1995)
“I am waiting on Stranger Things to come on Netflix! I really liked the first season and this will be the perfect time of the year to binge watch the second one. I also watched IT. I am buying costumes online – hoping they get here on time for Hallowe’en. I’m waiting for candy to be on sale after Hallowe’en. This is the time of the year to buy cheap candy and chocolates.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: Frankenstein: The Man Who Made a Monster (1931)
“I am kind of a Hallowe’en scrooge, but I promise there is some logic behind my unpopular opinion. I grew up watching Hallowe’entown and counting down the days until I got to roam the streets in my homemade costume, like much of my generation did. But as I’ve grown older I’ve had the displeasure of recognizing Hallowe’en as an overly commodified holiday that probably does more harm than good. The real horror of Hallowe’en is the capitalism and consumerism it fosters. And I know I sound like another pretentious International Development major (maybe I am) and I will probably end up dressing up this year, but I would love to see Hallowe’en and all the fanfare dialed back a couple notches.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: Scooby Doo & The Cyber Chase (2001)
“7 Spooky Bands to listen to this Hallowe’en season
1. Loreena McKennitt: Haunting soprano vocals, Celtic music fused with Arabic and Spanish influences, and songs on topics like the Lady of Shallot and the Bonny Swans (about murder sisters). Also, you can’t get more explicitly Hallowe’en-y than the song All Soul’s Night. Loreena McKennitt also provided the soundtrack for The Burning Times, a National Film Board of Canada feminist revisionist documentary about the Early Modern European witchcraft trials.
2. Dead Man’s Bones: AKA Ryan Gosling’s band (YEAH. I know, right?). Spectacularly spooky, I love the use of a children’s choir on their tracks. Check out “Lose Your Soul.” The duo of Zach Shields and “Baby Goose” bonded over a love of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, and childhood experiences involving ghosts.
3. Cold Specks: Described as “doom soul,” she takes her name from the line in James Joyce’s Ulysses: “Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil, lights shining in the darkness.” “Old Knives” is a “love song about decapitating your lover in their sleep.”
4. Timber Timbre: So Canadian that one of their albums was recorded in a cabin near Bobcaygeon. Their album Creep On Creepin’ On is full of banging four chords on the piano and eerie lyrics. Also, give a listen to their songs “Demon Host,” and “There Is A Cure.”
5. Daughter: An indie folk band from England, I love their slow atmospheric sound. “Peter” plays off Peter Pan mythology; “Candles” has the great lines “Out of the hum of the street lights and into a forest / I’ll do whatever you say to me in the dark / Scared I’ll be torn apart by a wolf in mask.” Daughter’s music is being used in the Life Is Strange prequel game 2017.
6. TV on the Radio: If you don’t already know it, go right now and listen to “Wolf Like Me.” Also check out their acappella cover of the Pixies’ “Mr. Grieves.”
7. Florence and the Machine: Florence is the queen, what more can I say?”
Favourite Spooky Movie: Either Korean monster movie, The Host (2006) or Canadian indie movie about LARPing gone wrong, The Wild Hunt (2009)
“I put these in [first-name] alphabetical order, which coincidentally ending up putting me last. This is fitting because I eat, breathe, and shit (especially shit) Hallowe’en. It’s not necessarily because I take part in all the festivities, that I consider myself the embodiment of the holiday. Rather, at its core, I am all that the holiday has come to represent. First of all, I’m a big boy, and by big boy, I mean fat fuck. The whole candy thing isn’t lost on me. I’ll eat a whole tray of those little Pillsbury pumpkin sugar cookies, don’t test me. Secondly, I am a very vulgar person. Hallowe’en has been co-opted by costumed children, but don’t forget that at its slow-beating, black heart Hallowe’en is about celebrating the dead. Rotting flesh and maggots has got to be one of the most vulgar things, and if you ask me, one of the sexiest. Finally, to be serious for a second, I love horror films. I could give a list of 20 hours of films, and get so excitable that I need to take an Ativan to calm down. I am Hallowe’en because I love this shit.”
Favourite Spooky Movie: Burger King commercials and snuff films (In reality Motel Hell (1980), and the original Texas Chainsaw (1974))