Summary: With all the horror stories played out at Halloween, the scariest story of all is found in the Bible.
Did you enjoy the music that was playing when you came in? Were you looking over your shoulders for Jason or Michael Myers? Was Freddy Krugger stalking you? All of these of course were characters from famous horror films.
We love to be frightened. Last week we went to Scarowinds on Friday night. It was packed. People and monsters intermingling in the most frightening atmosphere imaginable. Saturday afternoon we went back to Carowinds for the kids Pumpkin Patch celebration. For those who don’t know, Carowinds closes at 5:30 and reopens at 7:00 as Scarowinds. As we were leaving, I noticed the front gate was already packed with people who were willing to stand in line for an hour and a half to get in. They had to love horror a whole lot.
I discovered this week that in the list of the 10 top grossing low budget movies, four were horror flicks. “Halloween” was produced on a budget of $325,000, made $70 million for a return of 11,000%. The original 1950s “Night of the Living Dead” was produced on a budget of $114,000, made $47 million for a return of 13,000 %. “The Blair Witch Project” was produced on a budget of $600,000, made $248.3 million for a return of 20,000%. And the number one film of all, not just horror, was “Paranormal Activity” which was produced on a budget of just $15,000. It brought in $197 million for a return of 665,000%. I guess being scared counts for something.
Of course, scary movies and themes do much better around this time of year. Halloween is known as the devil’s holiday along with ghosts and witches. But where did it start? Well, I am glad you asked.
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain (sow-in), when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future, thus the birth of fortune-tellers.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic gods. During the celebration, they wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires in their homes, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.