How to make the most of Halloween this October

Spooky season is right around the corner, and students shared some of their Halloween traditions. 

Halloween makes people feel excited to dress up out of the ordinary for a night, communications graduate Mikila Salazar said. 

Halloween traces back to an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which is Gaelic for “summer’s end.” 

It marks the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac website. The ancient Celts found this time of the year ideal for the living world to communicate with the dead. 

Pumpkin carving

Jack-o-lantern carving originates from an Irish myth about Stingy Jack, who tricked the devil for monetary gain, according to Britannica. 

When Jack died, he couldn’t go to heaven nor hell, leaving him to roam the earth for eternity, which led the Irish to carve demonic faces out of turnips to frighten away his wandering soul.

Irish immigrants arriving in the U.S. began carving jack-o-lanterns from pumpkins native to the region.

Salazar said she usually gets together with friends and has a Halloween party where they vote for the best costume, which she has done since her first year at UTA in 2014. 

She also used to carve pumpkins as a bonding activity with her fellow wheelchair basketball players, Salazar said.

Horror movies

Biology freshman Mia Anderson said she likes to dress up and feel scared during Halloween. 

“I’m a huge fan of horror movies,” Anderson said. “So when the whole season becomes kind of horror-oriented, it’s my absolute favorite thing.” 

She said her favorite horror movies are Coraline and Paranormal Activity. She remembered those films scared her so much she couldn’t sleep in her room for a month, Anderson said.   

TV programming for Halloween

Daryn Trube, marketing and management senior, said they had five friends come over last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their mom, a blood technician who can do rapid testing, tested their friends before they hung out together.

“She’s also one of the people that got me into horror movies,” they said. 

Trube said they tune into Freeform’s “31 Nights of Halloween” programming event, which begins Oct. 1.

The annual programming event started as “13 Nights of Halloween” before expanding for all of October in 2018. The event includes movies like Hocus Pocus, Casper, Halloweentown and The Addams Family (1991).

Trube said they have not kept up with the program because they can watch those films on streaming services. 

“It feels weird kind of breaking that tradition,” they said. 

Besides Freeform’s “31 Nights of Halloween,” Syfy will also air “31 Days of Halloween,” the network’s annual programming event for horror films, original movies and shows all October. 

“I do like Syfy more because they actually do have Alien, and that means they also have Predator,” Trube said.

Haunted houses

Besides horror movies, people can check out haunted houses in the Metroplex such as the Dark Hour Haunted House and the Cutting Edge Haunted House all month long. 

Public health senior Hafsa Panjwani said she and her friends go to a different haunted house every year. 

Last year, they went to a haunted drive-thru at a car wash because the pandemic prevented people from going to haunted houses, Panjwani said. 

Multiple WashGuys car wash locations hosted haunted car washes by creating an alternative walk-through haunted house experience.

“The cleaning thing started, and they were touching our car and scaring us,” she said. 

Halloween last year during the pandemic

Josh Ayala, magic demonstrator at Magic Etc. Costume Shop in Fort Worth, said his family made a pumpkin patch and maze for his daughter in their backyard with checkpoints where she could get candy bags. 

“After that, we carved pumpkins, watched the movie on the little jumbotron projector screen we made,” Ayala said. “It was like a drive-in theater.” 

They watched The Nightmare Before Christmas and Trick ‘r Treat, he said. 

Ayala said he remembered last year’s Halloween because his wife suggested having a Halloween night at their house since most places closed down due to the pandemic. 

His family made the best out of a bad scenario, he said.  

Halloween feels

Ayala said Halloween makes him feel excited and like a child again, getting to dress up and have candy. 

“No matter how old I get,” he said. “I still get excited for Halloween.” 

People can go out in any kind of costume and have candy, and they can have treats and tricks to play on other people or have trivia night, he said. 

“It’s just one of the best holidays,” Ayala said. 

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