While young children masquerading as demons and Power Rangers clutter around your doorstep this Halloween and you fill their buckets with candy, you may presume you are going about a tradition - trick o' treating - that has been around for centuries. But you would presume wrong.
The term "trick or treat" was first recorded a few years before the 1930s. In the 1930s, there were no real rules regarding what kind of treat you should provide your cloaked visitors. In fact, candy was sometimes they very least of expectations. Sometime around the 1950s, though, Big Candy saw Halloween as a its golden ticket and pummeled audiences with trick-or-treat-based advertising while flooding stores with Halloween-themed candies.
Handing out candy had the appeal of simplicity. There was no more guesswork behind deciding which treats would be best for the holiday. You could just buy a bag of sugary treats and be done with it.
Due to mass production of candy, though, some less than desirable ingredients sneak their way into Halloween candy. While past lists about the Worst Things Found in Halloween candy mostly focus on more obvious malicious behavior, this years list will mostly focus on sneaky little ingredients that are a bit more scary than you'd think.
Recently, a member of Chamber of Horrors NY reached out after reading 5 Elements of a Good Horror Story and felt the following infographic might be something of interest to all of you. Whereas 5 Elements tried to focus on horror as a whole, their post What Makes a Movie Scary, as you'd imagine, explores what horror elements and tropes make you cringe when you see them on the silverscreen.
When asked "what is Chamber of Horrors NY", they answered, "The Chamber is Long Island’s Premier Haunted Attraction. A dark collection of mazes and rooms, it combines lights and sound with a cast unequaled in imagination and talent, not to mention bloodlust. Owned, built and staffed by industry veterans, we can proudly say that we are 'Where fear lives…'"
I absolutely enjoy haunted attractions, but at first I was a little unsure why this one wrote an article on the scariest elements of a good horror movie. However, after checking out the infographic below and reading the coinciding post - as well as a handful of others - I started to think about the presentation of any good haunted attraction. It wasn't all about dark pathways and ghouls popping out from the shadows, sometimes it was about the little details such as building suspense and drawing of your fears.
If you liked what you saw in the infographic, be sure to read more on their site
Check out my short story "No-injury Policy " from the collection of the same name in time in time for Friday the 13th.
Time runs out on 10.14.17.
In the spirit of Halloween and all things spooky during the month of October, I am starting a series about strange conspiracy theories and legends that exist 'til this day. Or, at least, are said to exist 'til this day.
While it felt a little early to jump into Halloween-centered legends last week, this week we will inch closer to the holiday with the tale of a small town's secret staircase to Hell.
GATEWAY TO HELL
The small town town of Stull, Kansas doesn't see too many residents over the years, but there is one in particular they wish would just go away. A 1974 issue of University Daily Kansan first "reported" Lucifer appears twice a year: Halloween and the spring equinox. This story leads to the investigation of a nearby cemetery, which supposedly holds one of the seven gateways to hell.
Story goes the Evangelical Emmanuel Church was possessed by Lucifer himself even when it became nothing more that rubble. Some said rain could never penetrate the church, even when its roof was torn off during a fierce thunderstorm.
And just further out from the church are said to be a set of steps you must never enter at risk of never returning. These steps lead you through the gateway of hell.
Although the story behind the gateway to hell was debunked and determined to be nothing more than the creative brilliance of some college students, visitors still flock to Stull, especially around Halloween, in hopes of crossing paths with the paranormal.
The visits over the years have left behind footprints on the entire town, unfortunately, and many parts of the cemetery were often vandalized, or tombstones were stolen. There was once an old tree the town allegedly removed to deter tourist. Many other attractions were also removed to keep people from hurting themselves and the cemetery. While the some of the Stull locals may advise you to stay away from the town altogether -- it's a not a tourist stop -- just remember if you're going ghost hunting on someone else's turf, don't be a dick.
In the spirit of Halloween and all things spooky during the month of October, I am (probably) going to start a series about strange conspiracy theories and legends that exist 'til this day. By large, these tales will be centered around Halloween, but it's a bit too early in the month to jump right into those sorts of ghosts and goblins. Instead, let's start by taking a look into the tale of a phantom cat who is said to roam around the government buildings of Washington, DC.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.