Traditionally in India we don’t celebrate Halloween but many countries across the globe celebrate this scary spooky festival on 31st October each year. If you believe in urban ghost legends, then this festival will surely excite you. As a matter of fact, Halloween is in a sense a paradoxical celebration wherein people really enjoy getting scared.
The history of Halloween
Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. The ancient Celts from Britain and Ireland observed the start of the New Year on November 1 i.e. on All Souls Day. The day marked the end of summer and the harvest. It is believe that on October 31, the worlds of the living and dead overlapped before the start of the New Year. Thus, October 31st became All Hallows Eve, a time where the ghosts of the dead could return to destroy the harvest that was stored for winter. People set bonfires on hilltops to ward off the evil spirits before the start of the winter season.
People also believed evil spirits were especially active during the night of Oct. 31, and often wore masks and costumes to ward off the spirits. They would also carve faces in turnips and put candles in them. They would place these turnip-o-lanterns in their windows to ward off the evil spirits presumably whizzing around the night air.
What makes Halloween so scary?
Halloween started as a festival to ward off evil spirits. It is believed that on this day the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was supposed to be at its thinnest. People felt extra connected with the dead at that time.
Over the years, many other concepts such as zombies, witches, magic, aliens etc. have become add-ons to this festival. Every year on Halloween people pass on scary stories of things that have happened in the past on this day. These fictional stories have evolved over the years and many of them have turned into Urban Legends.
But that’s not all. Considering that the origins of this festival are connected with evil spirits, many film makers use this as a backdrop for horror movies. The most popular ones being –The Collection, Wrong Turn 4, Sinister, Corpse Bride etc.
Some popular Halloween urban legends
In this classic urban legend dating from the 1960s, a teenage babysitter calls the police after receiving prank phone calls from a creepy stranger. “Have you checked the children?” the man keeps asking. While waiting for a patrol car to arrive, the babysitter has a terrifying realization: the stranger is calling her from inside the house
The Body in the bed:
Honeymooners notice a strange odor in their hotel suite and call the front desk to see if they can switch rooms. No, they’re told, the hotel is full and they’ll have to sleep at least one night in the smelly room. When housekeepers arrive the next day to clean the room, they find a body below the bed.
Other stories that have been featured on Freaky Friday such as Bloody Mary and painting- hands that resist him are also some of the popular stories shared on Halloween.
Halloween: Spirits or no spirits?
There is no real proof that there are more spirits around us on Halloween. But given the history of this festival, we all like to believe otherwise. Even today homes have pumpkins with scary faces to ward off the evil on Halloween and people still wear different costumes and masks as a tradition to keep evil spirits away.