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Nancy’s Brief Overview of Halloween

Posted on October 31, 2010 by Nancy

Flames Rising Reviewer Nancy Greene offers up a brief overview of Halloween. She shares a bit about Samhain and a few links to fiction and zines that are definitely worth checking out!

Halloween is a time for mythological creatures, figures of fantasies and nightmares. They walk the streets; they invade every corner of ordinary life. And over the past few years the popularity of the holiday has risen like a zombie out of a poorly-dug grave.

Here are some popular creatures of the holiday, as well as some brief (probably already well-known) info on the origins:

Samhain: Dating back over thousands of years, many believe that this is where our modern-day Halloween originated. In Celtic culture and religion, this time of the year is considered very important, as it’s the turn of the season and the harvest. However, it is also considered to be the time of the year when people could most easily communicate with the otherworld. Samhain is also — now, anyway — considered a God of the Dead, a demon, a spirit, or any number of other frightening embodiments of Halloween. 

Witches and Warlocks and Goblins, Oh My: Over the years, more and more frightening figures have been added to the Halloween Pantheon. Witches, werewolves, vampires, zombies, disgruntled postal workers. This is possibly because early on in some branches of Christianity the holiday was deemed evil. Or it could be that some inexperienced people didn’t have such a good time communicating with the dead. By all accounts, the dead aren’t always so happy to be that way.

However the tradition of scary, horror goodness began, it is most likely here to stay (huzzah!). Unless the planet overrun by AI robots or is invaded by space aliens that suck up the blasts from our nuclear bombs like nothing more than cigarette smoke (space alien is also a really good costume for Halloween). 

Some stories for the holiday:

Over at Horror World, there’s a wonderful story up by James A. Moore. The Third Boon nicely incorporates a few of the scarier creatures of the season that have gotten pushed to the backburner over the years in favor of the newer scares like zombies (awesome) and modern-day vampires (only awesome if they don’t glitter – sorry, but glittering isn’t scary).

Shroud Publishing has a special Halloween edition out of its popular magazine. Edited by Kevin Lucia, it features stories and non-fiction for the holiday by Norman Patridge, Lisa Mannetti, Jeremy C. Shipp, Scott Christian Carr, Brian J. Hatcher and many others.

And there you have it. A brief look at the many facets of the holiday. Enjoy Halloween. Eat candy. Carve Pumpkinhead(s). And watch out for angry ghosts.

By Nancy O. Greene

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