’Tis that time of year when people are either beginning to scour the Salvation Army, their wardrobe or local dumpsters for last-minute costume ideas. Some particularly prudent folks have already dropped 100 dollars on an intricately designed costume that they have been planning since January.
Moreover, fear is a large component of life, but it is especially emphasized during Halloween. Rockefeller Hall is transformed into a haunted house that will make you scream in terror. People’s horrifically executed Halloween costumes will cause shivers down your spine.
Strangely enough though, people’s idea of fear tends to revolve around very similar and supernatural entities. Ghosts, monsters, clowns, demons, vampires and that girl from “The Ring” that crawls out of your television are all commonly and collectively terrifying creatures that will keep you up at night.
However, realistically speaking, there are far scarier things out there in the world—things that have a real and terrifying impact on our lives. I’m talking about the things that are not confined to the set of a horror movie or to the supernatural world, but those that exist within and around us.
Why do we choose to dress up as conventional supernatural creatures when we can easily induce the same level of fear by pasting multiple tax return forms on our bodies (just the sight of one of those forms is enough to send a chill down my spine and a severe migraine to my perpetually confused head)?
Instead of jumping out of closets holding a bloodied chainsaw and wearing an elaborately terrifying costume, we should just dress ourselves in professional clothing and remind students that they have a 20-page essay due the Monday after Halloweekend—that is some scary shit right there.
Why spend exuberant amounts of money creating the perfect ambiance for a haunted house, when we can evoke the same (if not more) fear by bringing students to the dentist’s office? Or we could easily recreate the atmosphere of a gym and have participants attempt to lift weights next to a jacked-out gym bro.
The possibilities are endless! Horror movies such as “The Ring” and the “Paranormal Activities” series are indeed very scary, but do you know what is even more spine-chilling? The day-to-day humdrum routine of classwork, readings and Moodle assignments that a typical college student undergoes.
Need more inspiration? Here are some realistically terrifying things that Halloween should revolve around: undercooked Deece meat, 39 unseen messages from Mom, 8:30 a.m. classes, professors that call out sleeping students (you know who you are), this year’s syllabus, the void, walking into a class full of people you hate and raw kale. The world is a terrifying place.
Perhaps 100 years ago, entities such as ghosts, vampires and zombies were necessary to frighten people because the scariest part of real life was having to go to the bathroom outside. And sure, back in the day there were plagues and the threat of your city being sacked at any moment. But to be honest, I think I could have dealt with that. Yet if I forget to bring a charger with me on a 15-hour flight that’ll really getting me screaming in terror.
So instead of turning to supernatural entities to evoke terror, let’s just observe how frightening our own lives are! Because if you’re not scared of real life you’re either wildly too confident or you’re doing life wrong. (Or maybe you’re doing life right?)
Halloween is a wonderful time to indulge in fears that can’t really do anything to us. But it’s time to change that. It’s time to make Halloween scary again. (Because let’s be real, this will be as productive as “Make America Great Again.”) I’m tired of seeing zombies and sexy clowns; I want to see sexy FAFSA forms and professors holding my midterms to return to me. I want to see people dressed as kale and undercooked meat. That’s the kind of scary stuff that keeps me up at night!