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Scary? Sure, but also a lot of fun

Posted on October 9, 2014 | Comments

For the life of me, I don’t know why anyone likes to have the daylights scared out of them and is willing to pay big ticket prices for the experience.  Once again the race is on between Universal Studios, Disneyland and Knott’s to see which one employs the best frightfully high-tech scare tactics.  With the mixers, monitors and animatronics, the gadgetry at Halloween horror shows has advanced dramatically.  No wonder Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday garnering over $4 billion dollars each year in costumes and other paraphernalia alone.

While haunted houses and chaos-filled mazes are not my idea of fun, Halloween trivia is. I am curious how it’s determined that 10% of pet owners dress their pets in costumes or that 90% of parents admit to sneaking goodies from their kids’ trick-or-treat bags.  Suppose it’s much easier to calculate how much candy corn will be produced this year.  Did you guess 35 million pounds?  That equates to 9 billion pieces—enough to circle the moon nearly four times if laid end-to-end.

If you are wondering when and where Halloween was first celebrated, the answer is Anoka, Minnesota in 1921.  However, the symbolic pumpkin showed up much earlier—9,000 years ago in Mexico to be exact.  Even though technology has revolutionized Halloween beyond anyone’s imagination, I think the classic chilling tales written by Ichabod Crane, Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, and Washington Irving deserve to be mentioned.  Who can ever forget the eeriness and pulsing rhythm of The Raven?

What is it about Halloween that gets our attention and has people dressing up in crazy, often scary costumes to join 93% of the children under the age of 12 in some form of “trick or treat” activity?  Even though I generally don’t get into the costume part of it, there have been a few stand-out years and they were indeed fun.  That must be why the holiday is so popular.  It’s just about having plain, simple fun.

Fun is defined as a short-term experience, often unexpected, informal, not cerebral and generally without purpose.  It is an enjoyable distraction, diverting the mind and body from any serious task or contributing an extra dimension to it. Sounds like having fun is right up there with taking a daily dose of vitamins and minerals or getting enough exercise.  Never quite thought of it that way before.  Puts a whole new meaning on the phrase, “Have fun” which is my Halloween wish for you.  Heck…have fun every day!

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