Halloween is that time of year when a significant chunk of Western civilization gives in to its lust for darkness, horror and death.

Pictured: darkness, horror and death.

Just The Facts

  1. Halloween officially falls on October 31st.
  2. The holiday is largely an American invention, amalgamating a number of different customs from around the world.
  3. Halloween is associated with the supernatural, the monstrous, the creepy-crawly and all the things that traditionally frighten people.
  4. Children celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costumes and collecting free candy from their neighborhood.
  5. Adults celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costumes and making douchebags of themselves.

Modern Halloween Customs


Perhaps the single most recognized icon of Halloween, the modern Jack O' Lantern consists of a pumpkin that has been hollowed out, carved into a spooky face and lit from the inside by a burning candle, or in modern pussy America, a battery-powered tealight. In generations past, Jack O' Lanterns were crafted from gourds and gourd-like objects of every variety, but pumpkins would gradually overtake the tradition for sheer ease of carving. The earliest known ancestor to the Jack O' Lantern is thought to be the old English "Punky," a carved turnip that children would carry around on "Punky Night."


As night falls on October 31st, children across the country get a taste of comic-book villainy by disguising themselves as colorful, outrageous characters and demanding free confections from innocent civilians with the ominous threat of "trick...or treat." The meaning behind this phrase seems to be lost on the majority of American children, who pronounce it as a single gibberish word and rarely exact any actual trickery on households who fail to meet their treat quota. Other countries take the tradition more literally, with acts of malicious, even dangerous vandalism absolutely soaring on Halloween in the United Kingdom, proving that America is not the only country to fuck up whatever it touches.


In theory, the excuse of the Halloween Costume Party gives adults the chance to shed their mundane, soul-crushing brick-in-the-wall lives for at least one night of the year, embracing the whimsy and imagination of a childhood that never truly leaves us. In practice, it's really just like any other party, but instead of your boss drunkenly feeling up your ex girlfriend, Frankenstein's monster is drunkenly feeling up a giant bumblebee. So in actuality, just like any other party depending on how high you are.


"Spook houses" are a year-round and almost obligatory part of most carnivals, amusement parks and boardwalks; low-budget attractions wherein visitors pay money to traverse through hot, dirty old hallways while mechanical props and costumed actors jump out and snarl at them. During the Halloween season, temporary versions sprout up like dandelions across the nation, with thousands of abandoned buildings, state parks and other public locales dressed up with home-made special effects to simulate disturbing, gruesome images of horror. Many of these attractions work with local sponsors or even their own state to raise money for charities, because nothing says "breast cancer awareness" like a guy in a rubber clown mask pulling spaghetti out of a hole to simulate the disembowelment of a zombie cheerleader.