With spooky season upon us, it is important to take a step back and reflect upon our cherished, and frankly deranged, Halloween traditions.
As Marnie from the adored movie “Halloweentown” would say, “How are we supposed to grow up if we’re not allowed to go into the world, try new things, and take some risks?”
And she’s right! For many of us around Halloween, these risks include scaring the life out of innocent children, dressing in provocative costumes to impress frat guys, or even using America’s murderous history as a platform for haunted attractions!
The latter risk is the most concerning pastime of the season. Glorious deaths by burning, delightful nooses, and captivating stocks can all be yours to view if you purchase a ticket to any of New England’s popular haunted attractions.
I visited Witch’s Woods in Westford for their opening weekend and to my astonishment, I was surrounded by people laughing in delight on a haunted hayride celebrating the Salem Witch Trials.
I thought to myself, “What kind of culture are we raising our children in where true accounts of innocent murder only serve the purpose of entertainment?”
Our mentality has shifted so immensely that those sitting beside me on the hayride took no second glance at the burning skulls and limp bodies hanging from trees placed for the purpose of captivating the nightly crowds.
What have you done, America?
Well-attended haunted attractions do not need the theme of America’s murderous past as their main selling point.
Even our beloved Six Flags New England has a “Fright Fest.”
Fortunately for attendees, their attractions include an indoor maze full of dreadful nightmares and phobias, fairy tales turned sinful, and a fatal zombie uprising.
If you were to view Six Flags’ “Fright Fest” promotional video on their website, you would see costumed actors drenched in blood, carrying axes, and ride-goers on fire.
Do you find these types of things amusing? What if they happened to you in real life?
If you said yes, let me help you form an educated answer: people really did get burned alive in our country’s history. Actual murderers do go around carrying weapons and drenching people in blood.
These are not fictional scenarios.
We as humans are not invincible to these horrific acts.
If you don’t believe me, try checking out a book from your local library about the Salem Witch Trials or America’s serial killer history.
As a society, we should not be celebrating a catastrophic period that killed 20 “witches,” while accusing over 200 more.
We should not be laughing at tales of bloodshed and sacrifice.
We should not be giving Halloween attractions our hard-earned money just so small children can look at hangings and executions as fictional tales for their delight.
But as wrong as it is, we as a society just can’t seem to refrain from joining in these very morbid Halloween traditions.
Halloween can be a magical holiday – full of ghosts, goblins, and ghouls – but it should not be illuminated by death and gore.
So, as you go about dressing up for Halloween and attending haunted attractions, be wary of the words of Max Dennison: “It’s just a bunch of hocus- pocus.”