Ben Turner was desperate to share his Halloween art with us. Spook-tacular work!
Ben Turner was desperate to share his Halloween art with us. Spook-tacular work!
There are some very strong links between Halloween as we know it today and the Gaelic festival of Samhain.
Samhain (pronounced ‘sah-win’) – meaning “summer’s end” – marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter, or the ‘darker half’ of the year as it was known. It was one of four seasonal festivals, along with Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh, and it fell at the end of the Celtic calendar – the date being October 31 as we know it today. It was a time when cattle were brought down from the summer pastures and livestock was slaughtered for winter.
During the festival, huge bonfires were lit, which were said to have special healing powers, and divination games and rituals were carried out. However, it is the practise of ‘mumming’ (or ‘guising’) that draws on a more direct link to modern day Halloween – this was where people would dress up and travel door-to-door reciting verses in exchange for food. Ring any bells?
Other similarities are evident in the fact that it was believed that the souls of the dead roamed the streets at night, since the boundary between this world and the Otherwold could easily be crossed. Offerings of food and drink were left out to pacify the evil and ensure that next year’s crops would be plentiful, and feasts were held for the souls of the dead who were thought to return home seeking hospitality.
Time has the ability to alter anything, but a leading factor that contributed to the formation of Halloween as we know it is the establishment of All Saints’ Day. The festival was established on November 1 by Christians as a means of converting Pagans. Over time, the two occasions merged to create what we’d recognise as modern day Halloween.
Happy National Poetry Day!
I haven’t posted any creative writing in a while, so in honour of today I’ve been digging through my personal archives and unearthed this short poetic verse I composed earlier this year.
A flicker of flesh and a scorching flame
The burn of a fang piercing a vein
A hunchbacked gargoyle whispers my name
I bathe in blood that shower like rain
My eyes see well in the night but in daylight strain
All my pleasant thought, like blisters they drain
The pin prick of a needle is a heavenly pain
I search through shadows but surrender in vain
A lost little girl that shrieks like a train
These torturous detached voices drive me insane
By Tyler Turner
The forth theme for Halloween is slashers! I’ve been repping Jason all day with my Friday the 13th t-shirt and Heartless hoodie.
I wanted to try something new in honour of today, so I selected a film at random from The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies by Peter Normanton. I got Microwave Massacre (1983) aka ‘the worst horror movie of all time’- should be interesting.
Also, for an extra bit of fun, I answered 30 spooky Halloween questions found here.
Favourite horror or Halloween-themed song?
The majority of my favourite songs are Halloween-themed so this is actually very difficult. My favourites that actually have a direct link to it in the title would be All Hallows Evil by Fearless Vampire Killers, Halloween by The Misfits and Halloween by Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Name something you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark forest or in an abandoned building.
Probably anything that can hurt me which I can’t hurt back.
Have you ever played with a Ouija Board?
No. I have expressed an interest in doing so but my friend said she’d disown me if I got one.
Favourite horror monster or villain?
John Kramer from Saw is the first to come to mind whenever I’m asked this question. It’s hard to even see him as a villain because his motives were inherently good, and he’s just so clever it makes me want to cry.
The creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?
I’m so boring I can’t actually think of anything remotely worthy of mentioning. I’d say probably any nightmare I’ve had, especially the ones I have of people standing over me while I sleep, where the image lingers a few moments after waking up.
If you were dared to spend the night in a “haunted house”, would you do it?
If I could take someone with me.
Are you superstitious?
Not particularly. I used to have bizarre little rituals like not walking under the bridge while a car was passing, and my mum goes mental if I put new shoes on the table so I avoid doing that.
Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?
This is such a weird question. I think I see people that aren’t there all the time but I don’t think anything of it.
Which urban legend scares you the most?
They all used to creep me out, but the ones that stick in my memory are the home invasion ones, like The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs and The Clown Statue.
Do you prefer gore or thrillers?
I do not discriminate.
Do you believe in multiple dimensions or worlds?
I don’t disbelieve in it, but I don’t actively believe it either. I’m open.
Ever made a potion of any sort?
I used to make mud potions in the back yard if that counts.
Do you get scared easily?
Nuh-uh. Though jump scares are weird, because sometimes I’m desensitised to them but a lot of the time I am overly sensitive to them. So much so that I once propelled myself back into my friend’s fireplace when watching Insidious: Chapter 3.
Have you ever played Bloody Mary?
I believe I did in the school toilets once, unless I was just a by-stander, I can’t really remember.
Do you believe in demons/the devil?
I’m an agnostic-atheist so I don’t believe in them in the religious sense, but demonic infestation and possession fascinates me.
You’re home alone but you hear footsteps in your house, what do you do?
Rookie mistake, I know, but I probably would investigate. I do Jiu Jitsu so I’d be prepared.
If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?
My first instinct was to say Stay Alive, though that would be fatal since I suck at video games. Having thought about it, I’d probably say Night of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead because I already have a sweet zombie apocalypse soundtrack sorted. Also the zombies are Romero zombies (slow, unintelligent), so my chances of survival are automatically higher.
If you could only wear one Halloween costume for the rest of your life, what would you be?
I practically live in Halloween costumes anyway but I’d probably choose Wednesday or Morticia Addams since I dress like them all the time.
would you ever go to a graveyard at night?
Who wouldn’t? Graveyards are rad.
In a zombie apocalypse what is your weapon of choice?
Got to be a cricket bat.
Would you rather go to a Halloween party or go trick or treating?
Depends on who I’m with, but I love doing both.
You’re in a horror movie. Are you the final girl, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?
Id like to think I’d be the smart one – I don’t have much common sense but my Randy Meeks-esque knowledge of horror movies would be enough to get me by.
Do you have to watch something happy after watching a horror movie so you can go to sleep?
I don’t, but I usually have to if I’m with my siblings otherwise they won’t go to bed.
Whilst watching scary movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, the person with their eyes covered the whole time, or the person who falls asleep?
Yells, 100%. I also offer a running commentary and fact files throughout.
Are you the one who gets scared, or the one who does the scaring?
I definitely do the scaring. I almost reduced my brother and sister to tears when I scared them with an April Fools Day prank once. I’m so lovely.
Favourite scary book?
Pet Sematary or Salems’ Lot. Probably the latter since it gave me nightmares. When I was younger, The Babysitter II and The Boyfriend by R. L. Stine freaked me out in a good way.
How old were you when you saw your first horror movie?
God knows. My grandad used to put them on for me when my mum was at work.
What was your first Halloween costume?
Again, God knows. Maybe a witch or something?
What are you going to be for Halloween this year?
I’ll not say now because I’ll probably change my mind 50 times.
If you could have a spooky Halloween pet (black cat, owl, bat, rat, wolf), what would you pick?
Can I be greedy and have them all? If I had to choose one I’d say wolf since I am a huge dog person, but bats are also my favourite. I’d like a cat just so I could give it a cool witchy name, but I’m not overly fussed about cats in large doses.
I was so tempted to crack open the fake blood and smear it all over my face for this theme, but I doubt that would have gone down well at work, so I opted for a blood sodden shirt instead.
In honour of Zombie Day, I’m reading World War Z by Max Brooks (which I might post a review of at some point), then I’m off to the Winchester to have a nice cold pint and wait for all this to blow over.
Good evening, guys and ghouls.
Today, for the second of our 31 themes, I transformed into the queen of Halloween herself, Cassandra Peterson (AKA Elvira).
I’m now off to celebrate with a back-to-back viewing of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Elvira’s Haunted Hills, so I’ll leave you with this wonderful slice of pumpkin pie:
To celebrate the first day of October, we are paying homage to the late horror legend – Wes Craven – with a marathon of his best works. If it’s not Krueger, Ghostface or a Hill Person, it’s not claiming us today.
Here’s me, movie marathon ready, sporting my A Nightmare On Elm Street clobber:
I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from Scream’s own Randy Meeks to see you through the horror movie season – stay spooky:
Happy October, everyone!
May your month be endlessly creepy and, with Lucifer’s aid, might we look forward to many succulent occasions.