Document 61611

Friday, November 1, 2013 | The Torch
Halloween traditions explored
discusses historical
development of
October holiday
the Celtics’ pagan celebration Samhain on Oct. 31.
he Celtics believed that during Samhain the spirits of the dead
would return and roam the earth.
he History Channel’s article explains, “To avoid being recognized
by these ghosts, people would wear
masks when they let their homes
ater dark so that the ghosts would
mistake them for fellow spirits.”
From these roots we ind our travictoria
dition of dressing up in costume.
Torch Staff Writer
Since spirits were roaming the
earth during Samhain, the Celtics
Quick. What’s the irst thing also believed that divining the futhat comes to mind when you ture was easier during the holiday.
think of Halloween traditions? he tradition of bobbing for apples
Commonly, people associate cos- grew out of these divination practume parties, bobbing for apples, tices, and through the 1800s young
jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treat- single adults would play variations
ing with this spooky holiday, but of a bobbing game to foretell who
where did these customs originate? would marry next. Another apple
According to the History Chan- superstition had girls using a knife
nel website, Halloween grew out to peel an apple and then throwing
of a myriad of Celtic, Roman the peel over their shoulder. he
letter that formed
from the apple
In the end Stingy
peel would be the
morphed into the
irst initial of the
holiday we recJack was left to
man she would
ognize today in
wander the earth
America. In the
jack-oChristian church,
with a coal from hell
lantern originatAll Saints Day,
that he kept in a
ed from the Irish
otherwise called
hollowed out gourd
legend of Stingy
All Hallows Day,
Jack. One version
was established in
to light his way.
of the story goes
1000 A.D. comthat Stingy Jack
memorating the
lives of the dead on Nov. 1. All invited the Devil to go to a bar, but
Hallows Eve, then, fell on Oct. 31, in the end Jack didn’t want to pay,
from where the term Halloween so he convinced the Devil, who
originates. Many speculate that the could change form, to turn himself
holiday was placed on the calendar into a coin. Jack didn’t end up paywhere it is in order to discourage ing the tab and instead put the coin
Rachel Rockey / The Torch
Members of Valpo’s MSEED Club enjoy a Halloween Party last week.
in his pocket next to a silver cross
so that the Devil couldn’t change
back. Jack bargained with the
Devil that he would take him out
of his pocket if the Devil wouldn’t
take his soul. Time passed and Jack
died. God wouldn’t let a swindler
like Jack into heaven, but the Devil
had promised not take Jack’s soul
to hell. In the end Stingy Jack was
let to wander the earth with a coal
from hell that he kept in a hollowed out gourd to light his way.
he idea of trick-or-treating
has its roots in the celebration of
All Saints Day in England and the
passing out of “soul cakes” to the
poor. he term itself developed
much later in American tradition.
According to, “Families could also prevent tricks being
played on them by providing the
neighborhood children with small
Halloween has its roots in traditions thousands of years old, and
provides us with one day a year on
which it’s completely acceptable to
dress up in ridiculous costumes
and expect complete strangers to
give children candy.
To learn more about Halloween
traditions check out: www.history.
he views expressed are those
of the writer and not necessarily
those of he Torch. Contact Victoria
Bruick at [email protected]
Halloween movies or horror?
Writer goes against
the gore for the
more fun side of
holiday season
Torch Staff Writer
Halloween is coming, a time
of candy, costumes and celebra-
tions. Zombies will walk the earth,
“Monster Mash” will be played, and
pumpkins and cobwebs will decorate everything. It is time of ghosts,
goblins and spooks, so what better
way to get into the season by sitting down with your friends and
enjoying a good horror lick right?
Wrong. A good horror movie is an
oxymoron, and I’ll tell you why.
I don’t think very many people
would actually argue that horror
movies are truly good pieces of cinema. hey tend to be poorly written. Characters and motivations
are undeveloped, dialogue is cheesy
and the plots, while oten intriguing
and suspenseful, tend to have zero
Photo Provided
depth and usually end without any
satisfying payof. hese stories are
made all the more frustrating by
the fact that most of the bad stuf
that happens in horror ilms could
be completely avoided if any of the
characters actually acted with an
ounce of sense in their heads. How
many times do we have to yell at our
TV screens telling that character
(Note: Closet may be substituted
with attic, basement, creepy backroom, the trunk of a big white van…
etc.) What is the reason, then, that
people watch horror movies? It’s to
feel fear, and I just don’t get it.
Fear is an emotional response
to a perceived threat of danger. In
a sense, by watching horror ilms
we are threatening ourselves, and
we do this because we like the feel
of the rush of adrenaline it causes.
Why do we do this to ourselves voluntarily? Because people are crazy.
Even the scares, if you really are
into that kind of thing, hardly seem
worth it. he majority of scares in
these movies rely are either shock
value from tasteless gruesome or
else from psychological, situational
scares based around atmosphere,
heavy music, and the terrifyingly
placed jump scares that you almost
always expect. Both kinds of scares
are highly predictable, so what’s the
So what’s the alternative then,
for the sane people who do not
like scaring themselves out of their
wits? Well, there happen to be lots
of good Halloween movies out there
that are not horror ilms, and many
of these are ageless movies entire ilm, and to this day I cannot put
families can enjoy, so we don’t have my inger on which holiday this
to exclude our younger siblings and ilm belongs too, perhaps it belongs
the easily scared out of our movie to both Christmas and Halloween?
nights. Who doesn’t enjoy classics “he Nightmare Before Christmas”
like “he Adis an unforgettable
dams Family” and
tale of worlds col“Ghostbusters”?
liding; it’s about
The problem is the
Everyone enjoys a
hope, love, fear,
horror genre takes
good comedy, and
and good old
itself too seriously to fashioned holiday
these ilms are
smart, funny and
fun. Even having
be taken seriously,
cleverly written.
been made in 1993
while there are many the stop motion
At times they can
be a bit cheesy, but
good down-to-earth
in a charming sort
Halloween ilms we
of way, and notoday, the music
can enjoy instead.
where near as bad
is astounding, and
as most horror
the characters are
ilms. he probcharming, deep,
lem is the horror genre takes itself and fun to watch. his is doubtless
too seriously to be taken seriously, one of the best movies you could
while there are many good down to choose to get into the holiday spirit
earth Halloween ilms we can enjoy with, and probably the only one you
instead. And come on, who doesn’t can enjoy again come December.
love Bill Murray?
Whatever your preference, be it
Other good options include Halloween family movies or horror,
children’s’ ilms like “Casper”, a it’s a great idea to grab your favorheartwarming tale about a friendly ite blockbuster, some friends, and
ghost, and my personal favorite as maybe some popcorn and cider and
a child that I doubt many know, sit down together to celebrate Hal“Boo to you Too! Winnie the Pooh”. loween and this time of year with its
If you’re looking for something that chilly transition to winter. I neither
isn’t so kid focused there’s always a like, nor understand the point of
classic Charlie Brown ilm for every horror ilms, but for those that do,
season, and Halloween is no excep- a movie, no matter what kind it is,
tion. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Char- is one of the best ways for friends to
lie Brown” is a nostalgic classic to be come together and have fun on the
enjoyed by all ages. Its story is sim- holidays.
ple, yet heartwarming, and would
he views expressed are those of
be a lot of fun to enjoy around the the writer and not necessarily those
holiday season. hen of course of he Torch. Contact Peter Crapitto
there’s the ever classic Tim Burton at [email protected]