Tag Archive: Halloween


Horror Films Make Me Laugh

Another sector of the American media that continually befuddles me is — you guessed it — horror flicks. I guess one part of it is that I’ve never really understood the point of them. To scare you? I don’t like to be scared — is that such a weird thing to admit aloud? It seems like a common sense thing to me. “That movie was so good, I had nightmares!” …Right.

But it’s a moot point. I don’t find anything to scare me in most American horror films anyways. The only horrifying thing about them is their storylines (or lack thereof). No, that’s not true; the acting may be worse.

But as a writer, I automatically have the worst possible perspective on horror films. Find me a horror film that isn’t riddled with poorly-woven plots and unrealistic characters, and I’ll find you one without a saggy romance stuffed full of cheesy dialogue. Horror films are by nature sensationalist; they play to your emotions first and answer questions later (or not at all); and I cannot condone such behavior in storytelling.

The horror genre also falls into extremely predictable ruts. I feel like a seer every time I watch a horror flick because I can tell five minutes in advance when a scary, jump-out-of-your-seat moment is coming. The eternal army of netherworldly characters — zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and so on — has lost its fear factor, as far as I’m concerned. Originality is hard to come by with horror flicks, but that doesn’t stop producers from squeezing out contrived crowd-pleasers year after year.

Consider another genre: war movies. Some would say that war movies are all the same, stoic stereotypes leading their motley but brave troops into battles in which one or all of them will die. True, war movies may all have similar plot lines, but at least they have good messages (as long as that message is “war is hell”), and their subjects deserve some respect. Plus, war actually happened. Horror films, on the other hand, have no point other than immediate entertainment.

“Serial killer” horror movies have some redeeming value because at least their subjects really exist (and thus are more frightening but, wouldn’t you know it, that’s not a turn-on for me). True, not all horror films are equally awful, but I can’t lie when I say that I notice similar trends in every horror flick.

I won’t say I’ve never been afraid or jumped up during a scary movie — “The Sixth Sense” scared the living poop out of me when I was little, and yes, I will jump maybe once or twice sometimes if a horror film is any good whatsoever. But I think scary music is the one thing that really rattles me – and quick, high-pitched sounds can make anyone jump.

But as a rule, I’m done sitting there shaking helplessly during horror movies. Instead, I laugh at them. I admit, it can be pretty funny trying to predict what jump is around the next corner, or what uninspired character will die next. I just can’t take it seriously anymore.

– Tim Freer

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Cheap last-minute Halloween costume ideas

Halloween Costumes on the Cheap

For Halloween this year, I am dressing up as Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island. My costume is a checkered shirt, denim shorts and plain Keds. The total cost of my outfit was $4—I just had to grab a $4 shirt from Goodwill to complete the look. The key is to think of costumes you can create from basic closet essentials. Here are some great costume ideas for little (or no!) cost.

  1. Blair from Gossip Girl: She’s the epitome of Upper East Side prep. Channel back to her days at Constance Billard School for Girls and start with a navy skirt. Wear a white button-up shirt tucked in and a string of pearls (faux will do). Top with a flashy headband. Finish the look with knee socks and high heeled shoes of your choice.
  2. Little Red Riding Hood: Go to any costume store and get a red cape (just because it’s red doesn’t mean it’s only meant for superheroes). Wear a white shirt and a gray skirt with flats. It’s easier and cheaper than buying a complete costume.
  3. Angel. Walmart sells cute Halloween T-shirt costumes for less than $15, and the angel one is my favorite. The angel “costume” is a T-shirt with angel wings drawn on the back. The shirt comes with a halo.

-MaryAnn Barone

Carving the perfect pumpkin

 

pumpkin 1

Photo and pumpkin design by Brittany bass

 

Autumn is my favorite time of year. The weather is finally cooling off, the leaves are all changing into gorgeous reds and oranges, and best of all, HALLOWEEN! One of my fondest memories of autumn is carving pumpkins with my family. We’d all go to our local produce farm, pick out the biggest and baddest pumpkins we could find, buy way too much apple cider and head home to carve the pumpkins.

When it comes to picking pumpkins, though, looking for the biggest is not always the best approach. According to the Pumpkin Masters, when selecting a pumpkin you should look for an unbruised pumpkin that is the shape of your design. It should be reasonably smooth for easy design transfer and have a flat bottom to prevent it from tipping over and possibly catching on fire. Also, beware carrying your pumpkin by the stem because that cute little topper might just break off.

OK, so you have your great, healthy pumpkin; you’re rocking out to Monster Mash and sipping apple cider. Now what? If you have not chosen a carving design you should do so now. Maybe a simple spider, or a cool cat, or a ghost with gravestones in the background? You want something creepy and fun, and simple if you’re a newbie carver.

pumpkin 2

Photo and pumpkin design by Brittany Bass

First, cut the lid off the top of your pumpkin. You can trace a small bowl around the top to get a clean circle, and then add a “tooth” to easily get your lid back in place. Use a knife to angle inward toward the center of the pumpkin so the lid can sit on top.

Time to use your handy dandy Seed Scooper (a spoon). Go ahead and scrape out all the gunk, guts and seeds in the pumpkin. You don’t have to get rid of those seeds either! Just rinse, add some melted butter and salt and throw them in the oven for a delicious snack later.

Finally, you are ready to carve your pumpkin. Tape your pattern to the pumpkin and “poke” along all the lines till the whole pattern is transferred like a connect the dots. Now hold the pumpkin in your lap (hopefully you’re wearing your pumpkin proof pants) and hold the miniature saw at a 90-degree angle to the pumpkin, and gently go ahead and cut out your pattern.

Stick a tea light in the center and enjoy your masterpiece! Sit back, pop some pumpkin seeds and watch your neighbors gape at your gorgeous creation.

-Brittany Bass

Fall back

I’ve never been happier than I was at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2.  This is not an exaggeration.  Many might wonder what I was doing up in the wee hours of the morning, but that fact is irrelevant to the awesomeness that occurred.

My cell phone started doing weird things.  And when I say weird, I mean 2 o’clock happened twice.  After careful deliberation, I realized that it was none other than Daylight Savings Time.  As a result, I was in the midst of falling back.

As many might struggle to remember, Halloween was the Friday night before DST, so that weekend was overflowing with reasons to celebrate.  But, I might venture to say that DST was better than Halloween.  Shocking, right?

After attending multiple fiestas Halloween night and after ‘my baby’ had fallen out of my dress one too many times (I went as Bristol Palin), I was by far Halloweened out.  And, it was time to get my sleep on.  Unfortunately though, my Saturday was jam-packed with various rendezvous’ all over the Triangle, thus sleeping was not on the itinerary.

Saturday afternoon when I was running on empty I adamantly warned everyone who would listen that Sunday was my sleeping day.  I had previously set aside the entirety of Sunday to restoring my life back.  In spite of that, the occurrence of DST managed to slip my mind.

At 2 a.m., I was rejoicing DST like it was 1999.  Maybe it was the fact that I forgot we acquired an extra hour or maybe it was because I watched the clock literally jump back in time, but I merrily denounced then and there that ‘Fall Back’ was the best holiday ever.

The United States first adopted the implementation of Daylight Savings Time in 1918 as a way to alleviate economic hardships during wartime.  But in modern day America, I view DST as the answer to college students’ prayers.

The end of October can be grueling on one’s mind and body as the final stretch of first semester is looming ahead.  The weekend offers many outlets for alleviating accumulated stress over the previous school week, and due to the social aspects of college life, sleep can sometimes take a back seat.  Hence, the No. 1 reason for DST’s greatness.

By Halloween, autumn is in full swing as colorful leaves begin to scatter the quad.  Uggs begin to replace Rainbows as the season’s most clichéd college-female footwear of choice.  And, thoughts of pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce begin to ensue.  Yes, Fall has finally arrived and fortunately, so has ‘Fall Back.’

Thanks to DST, I can now wearily walk to my 8 a.m. in daylight.  Thanks to DST, I have a justifiable reason to not go for a jog past 6 p.m. because it’s already dark out.  But most importantly thanks to DST, I had a vital supplementary hour to recover from a hellacious Halloween weekend.

By Anna Feagan