Once again it's that time of year again to break out the candy, fake skeletons, monster masks, and colorful costumes. It will be interesting to see how Halloween will be done this year do to the pandemic that's still ravaging the United States, but I doubt it will be cancelled all together. However, I do believe there will be an increase in watching spooky movies at home, which will bring a slight sense of comfort during these emotionally stressful times.
It's hard to imagine something that's creepy and scary bringing comfort to someone, but I find that's the case for a lot of people during the Halloween season. Many people break out their old copies of "Hocus Pocus", "The Nightmare Before Christmas", or "The Addams Family" to watch and unwind with. One great explanation for this is the comforting effect that comes with nostalgia and reliving fond memories from our childhood.
Most of the films people watch regularly during Halloween are older films that they watched when they were children. These are the films they associate with the Halloweens of their childhoods, when they were young enough to Trick or Treat and the holiday held just that extra bit of magic for them. I get these feelings while watching these films as well and it helps me remember happier days. Setting a certain mood can also help you relax during this season.
I know it's hard to believe a creepy mood can be relaxing, but it does help us escape from the horrors of the real world. It's nice to see fictional horrors like monsters, witches, and talking skeletons to distract us from our very real world horrors, such as war, disease, poverty, and racism. It's astounding that we seek such fictional horror to distract us from the very real horror of our world. Lighter, more kid friendly, Halloween films can also help relax people who don't care for the tension brought on by straight horror.
Halloween media meant for children, like Charlie Brown or Halloween specials for kids shows, are usually kind of spooky, but never take a full dive into horror to avoid completely scaring the children. For some people, these create just the right amount of spooky atmosphere without inducing high amounts of stress or anxiety. As I said before, many people like the spooky, but playful, atmosphere. However, many people want to avoid stress by watching these, not increase it. While these pieces of children's media can come across as overly "cute" and "sanitized" to many, they also give comfort and joy to people who have very little in these trying times.
I wrote this article as a way to relax and unwind during this very hard time. Like people who watch films for escapism, I also need to escape from the horrible reality that is our world in 2020. These are just a few reasons as to why people use Halloween media as a form of escapism. Sometimes the spooky scary monsters from our childhood are more comforting than the monsters in real life.