It’s that time of year again.
The second half of October is, in the eyes of the English-speaking world, a time for carving pumpkins, picking a scary costume and reading horror books. In other words, Halloween’s coming!
In Slovenia, we typically never celebrated Halloween as a holiday. We do get a free day for November 1, All Saints’ Day, and visit the graves of the people who meant something to us and passed away. We also light loads of candles. In recent years, however, Halloween parties have become more popular, especially among the student population (costume parties are always a favourite). :)
But I don’t like it. I find it weird that Anglo-American habits are leaking into our culture, even though I’m all for multiculturality. At a risk of souding like a grumpy old lady, it’s a very commercial practice, what with the spooky paraphernalia and costumes – much like Valentine’s Day which was never a huge thing in Slovenia until the arrival of American pop culture. We have a holiday called Pust (at the beginning of Lent), when we dress up in all sorts of costumes and try to chase winter away.
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To be honest, though, much of my dislike for Halloween stems from my intense dislike of anything horror-related. I am a total chicken when it comes to movies and books that are even remotely scary.
I used to watch horror movies, but I stopped because they gave me nightmares. I specifically remember the last horror movie I saw, the original version of Rec, which is so terrifying I can’t even think about it without shuddering. Seriously, it’s a problem for me. I once walked out of the movie theatre when I realised a movie we were going to see was a horror story (it was The Orphanage and I’m really glad I didn’t stay because little kids’ ghosts are just something I can’t deal with).
I’m not sure I ever read any true horror books, unless Bram Stoker’s Dracula counts as one, and I didn’t finish that one because my brother scared the living hell out of me when he jumped at me, yelling like a crazy person, while I was reading it. I’m telling you, I’m not a fan of scary stuff.
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But the truth is that this dislike for everything scary extends to real life situations as well. I hate walking alone at night, even though I live in a safe neighbourhood, and I always had problems with walking through the woods at night, even though I’m a scout. We used to have night orientation races and I always got through them on an adrenaline high and then had to eat loads of chocolate afterwards. I don’t like being alone in houses where I feel people can see in when I can’t see what’s happening outside. Seriously, people, the dark just gets me.
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This is why I don’t participate in any horror readalongs or fall events. Everything seems to be centered around getting scared as much as possible and my fragile self just can’t deal with that! :) I really like autumn as far as the colours and the weather and the clothes and the food go, but I tend to ignore much of the cultural stuff in this time of year.
However, I recently realized that I am not alone! There are other people who hate horror and scary stuff, so I’m thinking about giving this Halloween stuff a chance next year. Here is a very nice list of “Creepy Reads for Squeamish Readers”, if you’re like me and interested in getting into the mood regardless of your fears, and here is a guide to books with witches and dark magic, which, I admit, aren’t all that bad (and not as scary, usually)!
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Do you like Halloween? How about reading/watching horror? Do you share my dislike for anything that gives you goosebumps?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, people, so come and share! :)