Halloween is approaching fast! However you plan on enjoying the night, we at the Brock Press want to make sure that you get the most out of your Halloween celebrations. Whether you plan on partying, trick or treating, or staying in, you’ll find here some great ideas on how to celebrate Halloween. First the boring and academic stuff. We take a look at the history of Halloween from its origins in pagan myth and lore. We also suggest some ways on how you might enjoy the festivities without alcohol. Brock may not be famous for horror stories or ghosts wandering the meandering halls of Mackenzie Chown, but there are some pretty freaky places around campus. For those who just want to stay in and enjoy the night at home, we look at some of the greatest Halloween films; from zombies, vampires, to good old fashioned slashers and Halloween comedy classics.
Real Student Horror Stories
The month of October may hold the dark day of Halloween at its end, but for students at Brock University the month holds more than just one day of horror. These are just a few of the real life horror stories that students may face this month.
1. The night of the noisy parties:
The late nights of pre-Halloween partying in village has been keeping you up at night. You can’t sleep during the dark hours of the night. You finally get some shut eye when the sun is on the rise. You wake up hours later, you are refreshed. You survived the night. The time is 3:00 p.m.. An inhuman scream escapes your throat as you realize you had a Midterm at 1:00 p.m.. You would have passed it too if it weren’t for those partying students and their Nicki Minaj!
2. Nothing can “save” you now:
Your last assignment is about to be finished. You’ve been typing for days, making citations, stating opinions and the like. You type the last word of the conclusion and mentally reward yourself. Now you may sleep. You go to click the all important “save” icon. The power goes out. You panic. You hadn’t saved the assignment since it was only six words long. The power comes back on, but alas, when you check your assignment, it’s still gone.
3. The curse of the wrong party:
You are about to go to your first Halloween party of the season. You dressed up in your most “adult” Halloween costume yet hoping to finally attract a mate to take home to your parents. Unfortunately, “mate” is the right word as you accidently walk into the wrong party. You are surrounded by friendly Furries taking advantage of the Halloween season: suddenly your “bunny” costume becomes an unexpected success.
4. The nightmare on St. Paul Street:
You are dreaming. It’s the first good dream you’ve had in months. You are walking downtown on Halloween night. It’s a Halloween pub-crawl. You have a few drinks. You try to hail a cab to try to get home safely but none are stopping. One of friends has a plan. They take off a shoe and throw it at a cab to get its attention. It stops immediately and invites you in for a ride. You wake up the next morning in the policestation with your friends and only one shoe. Turns out, if you’re arrested in a dream, you’re arrested for real.
5. The day the bus stood still:
You are waiting at the bus stop to go to the club. you’ve been waiting a long time, the bus is late. it finally arrives and you get on board. It is no warmer inside the bus than it was outside for some reason. The free cover at the club ends in ten minute. you should still be able to make it though. The bus takes off and sputters to a stop. The bus broke down and another won’t be there for 15 minutes. You drop to your knees and cry as you accept your fate. you will have to pay the cover.
Having Fun on Halloween (while sober)
Most university students use Halloween as an excuse to drink like Charlie Sheen on Christmas. People think it’s just a social standard to drink and celebrate Halloween in a bar or club, however, there is a lot that can be done without the consumption of alcohol.
If my friends were cool (and willing) I’d still be going trick or treating come this Saturday. There’s no age limit on trick or treating, and heck, free candy is the best kind of candy (but make sure the candy is not tampered with).
If you do plan on staying in and are in a non-student area, try handing some candy out to those kids. It’ll bring a smile to them and you. More importantly, get yourself prepared to watch some epic Halloween classic movies, like the Halloween classic that consists of 10 films.
You can always travel to Toronto and go to Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland, or head to Niagara Falls and enjoy the haunted houses and mazes on Clifton Hill.
For some people it’s already too cold, but it has been colder in other parts of Canada around this time of the month, so go and enjoy the outdoors if you aren’t planning on being the average university student. But if you’re not a Halloween kind of person, or it’s your least favourite holiday, then have fun by celebrating another holiday with your friends. The best way to not just sit at home on Halloween, and the best way to avoid consuming alcohol on this day is to get as creative as possible. Oh, and make sure you carve some pumpkins into some cool designs. Though, you have the chance to see your pumpkin smashed before the end of the night on Halloween, just sitting down and craving a pumpkin with friends is always a great time. Something I’ve already seen is a pumpkin carved in the shape of Drake’s face (that’s away to represent Canada, eh). You can do the regular ghost pumpkin, but the there are so many other ideas out there. While drinking is fine, and fun in moderation, don’t feel imprisoned by this holy grail of a university-aged holiday.
Essential Horror Films
With Halloween rapidly approaching The Brock Press is here to provide you with your essential horror-guide for the holidays.
Brains: More Brains!!!
What is a Halloween movie list without the infamous “Zombie”? For people looking to get to the origins of the genre, be sure to check out any of the Romero 3 including Night, Dawn and Day of the Living Dead. For those looking for a more modern piece, 28 Days Later, or the 2002 re-make of Dawn of the Dead by acclaimed director Zack Snider( 300, WatchMen etc) will provide you with your Halloween zombie fix.
Again for those looking to get to the root of the genre, be sure to check-out the Original 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Movie as well as the t.v. show. Fright Night is another good example of a classic vampire movie and is definitely worth the view. For those looking for more of a mindless-action movie, there is always the Blade Franchise (make sure you watch the first one first as it is vastly superior to the other instalments in the series). For classic Vampire fans, Rice’s Interview with the Vampire is a quintessential staple.
Killers from Beyond:
What is a good horror list without a homicidal maniac chasing a pretty girl for an hour and a half? I know, a bit of an outdated motif, but for those looking to a simpler time, be sure to check out the three original-genre-defining-classics, The Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th, as well as more the more modern take on the classic troup, Maniac, starring Elijah Woods.
For those looking to get a few laughs, there is alwasy the classic Nightmare before Christmas as well as any Tim Burton film( we recommend Beetle Juice or Edward Scizor Hands). For those like myself who grew up with the Goosebumps books, be sure to check out the film in theatres.
Halloween: A Haunting History
The celebrations on October 31 have changed over the centuries, and so while there are numerous theories, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact origins of Halloween and construct a timeline of how the day has evolved into what it is today.
Many historians think that the earliest influences were the Celtic tribes of ancient Britain. One of the most important festival of their pagan culture was Samhain, celebrated around Oct. 31 to commemorate the end of the harvest season and the start of winter. It was also a day when the divide between the real world and the spirit world was more fluid and even the souls of the dead were able to come back on this day. The Celts would set an extra place at the table in expectation for dead family members.
One theory to explain the custom of disguising oneself is that the Celts would also wear costumes to hide from the more malevolent spirits that passed through the real world. Another suggests that some dressed up to represent the spirits and then asked for small recompenses in order to keep away harm.
The other major influence came from the Catholic religion beginning in the early Medieval period. Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 were considered holy days, the former named All Hallows’ and the latter All Souls’ Day. Oct. 31 became know as All Hallows’ Eve, an evening that was spent holding a vigil in preparation for the holy days and the root of our modern name ‘Halloween’. These three days were dedicated to honouring the saints and praying for the souls of those who had recently died. It was Pope Gregory IV in the eighth century who appointed Nov. 1 as the official day for All Hallows’ Day; some suggest it was done in effort to try and stamp out the pagan traditions of the Celts.
One traditional belief among Catholics in that time was that the souls of the those who died since the last All Hallows’ Day wandered the earth until the prayers of the living allowed them to enter the next world. All Hallows’ Eve became the last chance for the souls of the dead to punish their enemies and get revenge. In order to avoid being recognized, people would dress up in costumes and disguise themselves.
The origins of trick-or-treating may have come from the tradition of “souling” or sharing soul cakes, a small round cake filled with allspice, ginger or cinnamon. These soul cakes would be given to poor people or children who went around door-to-door collecting these cakes in exchange for praying for the dead.
Whatever the true origins of our modern day Halloween celebrations may be, October 31 has been a special day, especially among European cultures, for many centuries.
- Melanie Pfaeffli
5 Places on Brock’s Campus that are right out of a horror flick
Brock students have the privilege of a beautiful campus that is generally very aesthetically pleasing. However, there are also some terrifying locations that could provide the perfect set for the next big horror flick.
A fun fact about Brock is that it was built in 1964, the same year in which American Horror Story: Asylum is set, meaning that many of these locations were built in the same year as the terrifying events of Briarcliff Manor. This is a fun thing to think about when walking through the following locations alone late at night.
Mackenzie Chown is, in general, a fairly creepy building because it is so hard to navigate. There is a very good possibility that there are students from 1972 (when the complex was first built) still wandering the halls today, trying to find their way out.
On the third floor of F and G blocks, there are a bunch of chains hanging off of the walls in the hallways, and display cases full of various eerie things (including a preserved cat membrane in a jar). The chains are for students to keep their things during labs, but the imagery still adds to the disoriented feeling of navigating the building.
The first floor of this area, behind Pond Inlet, also contains a long, winding hallway with a mirror on the ceiling and a large metal rolling gate on one of the walls that is almost always closed and sometimes makes shaking noises as you walk past it. A jaunt down this hallway is always unnerving.
Besides Mac Chown, Brock is also host to a rusty, locked bookcase with two televisions in it that occasionally hiss softly and display a video as you pass by. This is located in South Block and called “La Stanza delle Parole”.
Brock also has several basements that would be particularly good areas to shoot a horror flick, including one basement in Decew that has no rooms in it, but only a winding hallway that leads mysteriously around a corner and up a small staircase to a single exit door. Not to mention the series of underground tunnels (only accessible to students during special tours such as during homecoming) winding beneath our entire campus.
For anyone looking to shoot the next big indie screamer, Brock campus may be the perfect place to film!
- Steve Greenwood