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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween Crazies

       Halloween is liked, loved, hated, tolerated, and perhaps even ignored.  Many people participate in the event of Halloween each year.  For most of these participants only a few days or a few hours are put into preparing for Halloween and then all thought of the celebration is put aside until the following year. But then there are the Halloween Crazies.

         I use the term somewhat affectionately, although also with some amusement and even bewilderment.  In the sense of fervency, Halloween Crazies are probably not much different than certain sports enthusiasts,  antique hounds, religious fanatics, or anyone else who has a deep interest in a topic to the extent that the topic becomes a focal point of their lives.  The "Crazies" just happen to be fervent about all things spooky,  bewitching, or related to Halloween. For these followers, October 31 is a day that they may prepare for throughout the entire year.  Halloween is more than just a hobby, it's a lifestyle.

         When I added "Halloween" to my interests on my Blogger profile, I looked to see who else had the same interest.  There are 8,900 profiles who include Halloween as an interest.  Perusing the first several pages of profiles, one can see that many blogs are entirely focused on the topic of Halloween. Google "Halloween" and you will find websites devoted to the topic.  There are year-round publications that deal almost exclusively with Halloween.  For some people Halloween doesn't last for just a day, but it lasts all year.

          I'm not talking about the people who are in the Halloween business, although there are some of those that I might put in the Halloween Crazy catagory.  The business people are interested in making money and must keep abreast of the trends in order to stay relevant when it comes to marketing the event.  The Halloween Crazies are just passionate about all the accoutrements of that scary fall season and almost live in an alternate universe to which most of us could never relate.

         Many of the Crazies probably have regular jobs and others may work in less conventional settings, but they often have something about them that sets them apart from the world to which most people conform. They might go the Goth route.  You can often see them with hair dyed black, dark nail polish and make-up, and dark colored clothes --the men and women alike.  They might have tattoos with halloween or occult themes.  Or there is casual Crazy with T-shirts displaying Halloween slogans or images.  Check out their rides-- they more than likely have something identifying with Halloween on their cars or they may even be driving a hearse.  I once knew a guy who drove a hearse with a full size skeleton in the passenger seat.  I doubt whether it gave him any right to drive in the HOV lane on the freeway, but it sure got a lot of attention.

                When I was in the distribution business that was primarily related to Halloween products, I would often attend the Halloween trade shows that are held throughout the year.  Though initially geared toward the Halloween business community, the Halloween Crazies soon caught wind about these exhibitions and found ways to attend.  You could easily distinguish the Crazies from the legitimate business clientale.  This is not to say that the Crazies were all necessarily not legitimate buyers, but most of them just had a passion for the wares on display.  The Crazies would be "dressed for the occasion" complete with costumes, make-up, contact lenses, fangs or you name it.  Some of these folks were dressed quite elaborately and at times even better than some of the costumes the exhibitors were selling.

             The trade show producers have caught on to this.  Not to miss any market there are a number of public Halloween and Haunt shows throughout the year that welcome the enthusiasts and Crazies as well as the simply curious.  Some of the Crazies even follow the Halloween show circuit much like the fans of the Grateful Dead used to do, but the Halloween fans give a whole new meaning to the term "dead head".

            Overall, I don't know that there should be too much concern for the Halloween Crazies.  I think that most of them just have a hobby related to something that they like.  The extent of their interest is certainly not what I would have, but some of you and I certainly have some interests that others may find peculiar.  There may be some of these Crazies that we might be concerned about.  I know I met a few over the years that gave me the creeps or I just kind of wondered about, but it wasn't necessarily because of their fascination with Halloween-- I would have probably wondered about them no matter what. 

            It's good to have interests and hobbies.  Let face it not all of them are especially productive or even meaningful in the long run.  I guess it's just what we do to keep life interesting.  My thought on this is: Keep balance in your life.  It's good to learn about things and to have something that you do well or know a lot about. This is a part of who you are.  But it's also a good idea to keep your mind open to other things and to have other interests.  Don't get so weird that most other people just can't relate to you.

          That's just a thought that I'm tossing out to you.  Got anything for me?



  1. I was just wondering how many of our hobbies may have already been picked out for us by the media. There has been an increase in horror movies, although I can imagine that there has always been a thirst for that. I wonder if it has something to do with being "countercultural." Otherwise, why are people so interested in these things?

    One of my profs wrote a book about horror films and teaches a course in horror movies... I am wishing I would have taken it now! My point is, how many food blogs are out now after the recent Julie/Julia movie. Did people really have this as an interest and did the movie serve as a catalyst; or did the movie create an interest thereby adding a new yet temporary fad?

  2. Hi Diana:

    I would say the media reflects what people are interested in and in turn fuels interest for more people to follow suit. Since the era of silent films the horror genre has has some degree of popularity. In the 50's there was a plethora of horror and monster movies that sated primarily a teen market. These inexpensively made films were profitable and when there is profit there is a proliferation of the genre. The movie companies give people a product that a large audience demands.

    Why horror? I think there is a thrill involved in being scared much like the adrenaline inducing rides at an amusement park. Entertainment typically gives the audience that which is out of the norm of daily life. The counterculteral aspect is probably part of this same paradigm. Horror is just another form of escapism.

    A converse view of this entertainment theory might be exemplified by the "food" movie or other movies dealing with "normal life", such as histories, sports, romance, family, et al. These are story driven and often based on "people like us" risen to heroic levels. We can often identify with the characters in these films because they more within the realms of culture as we know it.

    The movies are probably a mirror of our culture. If the reflection is exciting, i.e. profitable and popular, it will inspire imitators as well as attention in the public arena. A film might have a catalytic effect to some extent if reviews are good, if awards are won, or if the film is just darn good. But I don't think a movie like JULIE & JULIA will inspire sequels like a film series like HALLOWEEN or SAW.
    There will probably be more "food" movies, just not as many as horror movies.


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