No glory for gory

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Horrifying decorations is what Halloween is all about

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in the Other Press. Oct. 28, 2015

If you think jack-o’-lanterns, skeleton cutouts, and fake cobwebs are scary, then you’re probably not known around the neighbourhood as being brave. While it’s understood that we all celebrate Halloween in our own unique way, we can all agree that fright should be the theme of the day—not dressing slutty and eating candy.

A community in Parma, Ohio, was left feeling disturbed and disappointed earlier this month when a local resident decorated their yard with scenes of gruesome torture and murder. Human-like and horrifying, the decorations caused neighbours to complain. Generally speaking, people don’t like being scared, unsettled, and disgusted, but hell, this is what Halloween is about.

The argument can be that children should not be exposed to such horrific sight. They might become traumatized by the decoration. It might cause them to grow up and become psychotic killers. Yes, while all that may be true—after all, kids don’t know better—it’s your job as an adult to explain to your children that those are decorations, and they are meant to look real, just like how special effects in a movie are meant to look real. Listen, mom and dad, you cannot shield your children’s eyes forever. You cannot protect them from every scary sight in the world.

I get it; only bad parents would let their children be frightened by some decorations. And it wouldn’t be fair for them to have to deal with a crying child. If they could stop it, they should do anything to stop it. You know what else scares children? Literally anything they want to be afraid of: dogs, weather, insects, nightmares, strangers, anything. If you can teach them rational from irrational fear, you’d be a better parent than one who protects them from every scary thing. You’ll also teach them to be brave, which is useful should they ever need to go down to the basement and fix the burnt-out lightbulb, or respond to an emergency involving blood.

Life is full of scary incidents. A near car accident is scary. Choking on your food while you are alone is scary. Losing your job is scary. Being scared is good. It’s a natural human reaction. Like all things in normal life, the more accustomed you are to that feeling, the better you can cope with it. Halloween should be a time for you to test your limits and face your fears.

It sucks that we live in a world where people who want to share their enthusiasm of fright are shunned and pressured into dismantling their well-made decorations. It’s a shame that people cannot see the beauty in horror, and instead choose the blandness of comfort. Christmas is a great time for comfort. Thanksgiving is a great time for comfort. Halloween should be about disturbance. After all, if loud-ass firecrackers and rambunctious trespassing children are allowed then why not some fake blood?

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