Halloween has changed over time

The holiday of scares matters to everyone in some way.

Candy corn, pumpkins and church — that’s was how my childhood Halloweens were celebrated. I wasn’t allowed to go trick-or-treating because my parents didn’t believe in celebrating what they thought of as a Satanic event. I also lived in the northern California projects.

My family and I would often get together with other families and have an anti-Halloween dinner. It would normally end with all of us kids going to a “fall festival” at the church and getting way too many sweets.

As far as the happy, feel-good fall festivals go, they have their place. They are great for young children and families, but for teenagers and young adults, the haunted house or haunted woods are better by far.

When I was 12, I went to one such fall festival. My best friend, Nathan, whose father was the pastor of a small church, hosted what they called “Hell House”. They filled the place with obscure traps and unholy abominations. In one corner of the main cross-section of the maze was an actor who was supposed to be Judas Iscariot.

He had blood running from his eyes and a noose tied around his neck dangling from a tree. He looked as dead as could be — without actually being dead. On the two sides of his tree were tiny hallways which led back into an even darker part of the room.

On one side was a man with a chainsaw who ran it all night long, screaming and chasing people. On the other side was Nathan and I, painted with ghost faces in dark robes and scars running down each of our faces. We tried to get visitors to run back into the maze where other actors were waiting. Sometimes, we would chase them; sometimes, we would lay on the ground as if we were dead; other times we would just watch and follow them as they thought they were free and clear.

Scaring people is not only one of the best things in the world; Halloween is also one of the few times of the year when people want to pee their pants, and, apparently, Americans have lots of extra money to spend, despite what the government keeps telling us about recessions and struggling economies — according to the National Retail Federation, 71.5 percent of Americans celebrated Halloween in some way shape or form in 2012.

Some of the figures are crazy. Last year, Americans spent $2.33 billion on Halloween candy and $2.87 billion on costumes. With everything else related to Halloween, Americans spent more than $8 billion in order to properly celebrate the holiday.

Halloween is obviously a huge shopping and spending holiday when we love to eat a lot of candy and dress up as our favorite superhero or naughty professional. I’m speaking to you, librarians and nurses.

We love to go out and have fun with our friends. Luckily for UND students, two on-campus organizations are putting on haunted houses for us to get our fix of terror for the year. Delta Tau Delta and Delta Upsilon have house tours this coming weekend —  I will be trading in the “fall festivals” for some ghoulish fun.

Micah Dewey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at micah.dewey@my.und.edu.