From the scary to the sexy, the parties to the places, the movies to the monsters…
The Birth of Halloween
By Joseph Anthony
When most people think of Halloween, images of children in costumes going “trick or treating,” Jack O’Lanterns, and Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin come to mind ~ along with thoughts of which new slasher movie they should see. But the holiday has much deeper cultural roots than the version we’ve come to know and love. While it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact birth ritual and/or location of the holiday, there are many festivals and celebrations to which it can be traced back. There are vague references of Halloween dating all the way back to the Iron Age (600-800 BC): the Roman festival Parentalia and the feast of Pomona, as well as Calan Gaef, an ancient festival held by the Britons, all have their links to the holiday. More commonly, however, Halloween is tied to the Celtic festival originally known as Samuin (or Samhain), which roughly translated, means “Summer’s End.”
The Celts believed the year was separated into two halves ~ the Light Half and the Dark Half. Samuin was a celebration of the end of the Light Half and is also regarded by many as being the Celtic New Year. It was on this date which the Celts believed that the portal between this world and the netherworld, where spirits both evil and benign resided, became weak, making it possible for them to pass through to this side. The festivities included divination, massive bonfires (for cleansing rituals), taking stock of food supplies for the coming winter months…and costumes. The “darker” costumes, however, were not for trick or treating, but rather to ward off the evil spirits, which were believed to bring disease and other forms of harm. But that’s not the only reason; joyful costumes were also donned to honor and welcome the spirits of dead loved ones and ancestors.
The holiday was celebrated in various forms in many cultures throughout the eras, but it was in the Old English era that it finally picked up the specific name “Halloween” (where many of its present day traditions derive from as well). “The Feast of All Saints” (also known as “All Saints’ Day” or “All Hallows Day”) is celebrated on November 1st in Christianity. October 31, then, soon became known as “All Hallows Even” (or “All Hallows Eve”). It was in the 16th century that the Scottish variant “Halloween” was actually first used.
So if you’re tempted to ignore this holiday completely, not wanting any part of the candy or silly costumes, pause a moment and remember the roots of this ancient and culture-rich holiday ~ you may just want to rethink your choice ~ for your own well-being. Better safe than sorry…
By Jenn Russo
The BigGEST, BADDEST Daddy of ‘em All
The 7th Annual Rock and Shock comes to town October 15 – 17 with the sole purpose of scaring the sh*t outta you. Performance-wise, you can catch Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper on-stage (touring as the”Gruesome Twosome”) at the DCU Center and GWAR and TWIZTID at The Palladium ~ and in between, head to the DCU for a horror-lover’s wet dream ~ a mind-bending list of directors, writers, vendors, actors, and artists who are all icons in the world of horror. Visit rockandshock.com for tickets and more info.
Tammany Hall – Show including Worcester rock band Scarlitt, Cash prizes for best male and best female costumes, all ages, $10.
Jillians – 508-793-0900 – Saturday night (10/30) party, costume contest with prizes, live band (Mass Octane), 18+
New England Garage Bands’ Halloween Hell Raiser Concert II will be held at The Raven on Friday, Oct 29th. Cash prize for best costume. Starts at 6pm, lasts ‘til the screaming stops!
The Boulder Café – 880 Main St Fitchburg – Halloween Costume Party With Chris Reddy’s Acoustic Loops from Hell Halloween Edition Friday Oct 29th 9pm
Beemers Pub – 114 River St Fitchburg – Halloween Bash Weekend Fri. & Sat Oct 29th & 30th – Prizes for best costume – no cover charge if in costume – Live Entertainment both nights!
BlackSheep Tavern – Rt12 Sterling – Glow Ball Golf Tourny with Halloween after party – Saturday Oct 30th – call for info on 978-422-8484
Classic’s Pub – 285 Central St Leominster – Saturday Oct 30th Sin City Live – Halloween Bash Sunday Oct 31st – Official Halloween costume party – with Karaoke and prizes for best costumes!
Partner’s Pub – 970 South St Fitchburg – Sat. Oct 30th Halloween Party with New Pond Fondle Live
Loft 266 – 266 Park Ave, Worc. – Halloween Party on Sat., Oct 30 starting at 8pm. Limited # of tickets available and a costume is a must ~ prizes for the best ones: $500 Cash First Place, $100 Cash Second Place, and $50 Loft 266 gift card for 3rd place. Tickets are $20 and include 2 drink tickets and appetizers.
Celtic Tavern – 45 Belmont St. Northboro – Halloween Bash Weekend w/ Saucy Jack Friday Oct. 29th & Auntie Trainwreck Sat. Oct. 30th
JJ’s Sports Bar & Grill – 380 Southwest Cutoff Northboro – Halloween Costume Bash with Probable Cause!
The Red Onion – 29 Main St. Baldwinville – Halloween Weekend Extravaganza with Chyldz Play Fri.Oct.29th – Sat.“That 80’s Band” – Costume party both nights with prizes for best costumes, raffles & give-aways!
Vegas Lounge – 5 Summer St. Lunenburg – Halloween Costume Party with cash prizes for best costumes Friday Oct. 29th!
Tino’s Pub – Winchendon – Scaryoke Party Saturday Oct. 30th Costume Contest & Best Vocal Contest – Cash & Prizes!
Salty Dog – 1 Kelly Sq. Worcester– Thursday Oct 28th College Night Halloween Bash – 9pm – 2am Costume Party with prizes for best costumes! Saturday Oct.30th Salty Dog’s official Halloween Party with Costume Contest – no cover for 21+
On the Rocks – Lakefront Ave Lunenburg – Fri. Oct. 29th Halloween Bash with DJ Louie Costume Party with cash prizes!
Fusion ~ 109 Water St., Worcester ~ Week long Halloween Celebration starting on Wed, Oct 29th and ending on Sun.Oct 31st. Each night the person with the best costume will have a chance to pick one pumkin from our pumpkin patch which will have ten pumpkins filled with a total of $1000 in cash + prizes
Lucky Dog Music Hall – 89 Green St. Worcester– Halloween Party Weekend ~ Beginning with The Flock of Assholes 80s Costume Bash Thurs. Oct. 28th followed by a Fri. 10/29 costume bash with 80s metal by Mullethead and then the annual Sat. 10/30 costume party with The Deadites!
Irish Times – 244 Main St. Worcester – Red Carpet Halloween Bash Thurs. 10/28 Halloween Weekend with Live Entertainment Fri & Sat!
Destare – 220 Main St. Fitchburg – 978-345-5724, www.destare.com
Halloween Parties: Fri. 10/29, Live Entertainment & Sat.10/30 DJ 8pm – 2am
WITCHES’ WOODS HALLOWEEN SCREAM PARK
Before ski season starts, Nashoba Valley in Westford, MA plays host to much freakier fun. Witches’ Woods Halloween Scream Park will be open every Thursday through Sunday in October, when the area transforms into “New England’s scariest screampark.” Take a tour through Castle Morbid, Nightmare Mansion, and the Keeper’s Crypt in 3D. To ease your jitters, the park is loaded with food stands and games, and you can always take a deep, calming breath at The Overlook Bar and Restaurant. Tickets are $28 Thursday thru Sunday nights 6:30 to 10:30, and hayrides run 7:00 ‘til close. 978-692-3033 and Witchswoods.com
SALEM…ALL OF SALEM!
You never know what’s lurking in Davis’s Megamaze at 145 Redstone Hill, Sterling. Now in its 13th season, Davis’ Megamaze is hosting Halloween Fright Nights during the month of October. Wondering what to expect? Well, did you see Children of the Corn? On Oct. 15/16, 22/23/ and 29/30, the maze is open from 6pm -10pm. For the bravest among you, plan on the 9pm admission, since it’s geared specifically towards adults. Adults $16.95. 978-422-8888 and Davisfarmland.com
It’s no surprise that the town of Salem is a can’t-miss hot spot for Halloween festivities, and this year won’t disappoint. Salem Haunted Happenings lists a variety of activities running October 1st — November 1st that includes ghost tours, harbor cruises, and ghostly reenactments all devoted to the town’s morbid history. Visit hauntedhappenings.org for event listings and prices. For those ready to take Halloween a bit more seriously, Salem’s Festival of the Dead runs from October 1st-31st and explores “death’s macabre customs, heretical histories, and strange rituals” with authorities on the spirit world. Events include The Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo, Spectral Evidence: Ghost Hunting 101, and The Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball…a poltergeist party if ever there was. Visit festivalofthedead.com for event listings
FACTORY OF TERROR
For all the terror techies out there, the Factory of Terror at 33 Pearl St., Fall River
has over 35 haunted rooms and underground tunnels guaranteed to scare you senseless. With digital set design, animatronics, and other digital special effects, the Factory of Terror proves that even haunted houses have entered the new age. $12-$15. Sept.17th – Oct. 31st (specific dates online at factoryofterror.com.
KIMBALL FARM HAUNTED MAZE AND HAYRIDE
This haunted maze is among the scariest anywhere and this year will cover 4 acres of spooky fun. Dress warmly (and in costume, if you’d like!) for the haunted hayride across the Merrimac River that is the beginning of your scary adventure. Once you’re at the Halloween Maze, you’ll be spooked and haunted by ghosts and ghouls galore! Located at 780 East Broadway in Haverhill, the Maze and Hayride are open from 6:30 -9:30pm. For more info, visit www.kimballfarmcornmaze.com.
MONSTER MINI GOLF
Now this isn’t something you can find just anywhere ~ 18 holes of glow-in-the-dark, monster-themed mini golf! Test your skills and try for a Howl-in-One! It’s creepy, it’s fun, and it’s right in Webster!
Find out more at www.monsterminigolf.com or by calling 508-949-0334.
The Haunted Houses of Spooky World will scare the you-know-what out of you with their lifelike ghouls, goblins, monsters, and other blood-lusting beasties. Head out to 454 Charles Bancroft Highway in Litchfeild, NH (you can start gathering your courage on the way there!) and if you want more info, just call 603-420-8008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Warning: If you’re going with a screamer, get ready for your ears to bleed!
10 Scariest Movies of All Time:
One Horror Geek’s Opinion
By Craig Lindberg
Compiling this list is something every horror geek does. It’s what we do with our other horror geek friends. It’s what we do when we are by ourselves trying to decide which “B” horror flick would be best to add to our instant Netflix queue, and it’s what we do when we are around people who wouldn’t know George A. Romero from Caesar Romero. Being given the opportunity to make an actual list to share with you all presented its own complications. The horror elitist in me wanted to list movies so obscure, IMDB doesn’t know they exist. The gore hound in me wanted to list movies so vulgar you’d need a vomit bag just to get through the opening credit sequence.
After some soul searching (OK, maybe I take my horror a little too seriously), I believe I have reached a happy medium ~ a mix of the old and the new, the obscure and the mainstream, the gory and the just plain creepy.
Listen, you may not agree with my selections, and frankly, I hope you don’t. Each of these movies has affected me viscerally in some way, which means that these horror movies are somewhat…personal to me. They are like old friends, whom I know I can count on each and every time I press “play.” So without further ado, allow me to introduce you to 10 of my closest friends.
10. Amityville Horror 2: “The Possession: Here is one of the rare sequels that outshines the original. Demonic possession, murder, incest ~ this movie has it all.
9. Day of the Dead (1985): The third installment of the Romero Dead series sets itself apart with superior gore and amazing special effects. Please do not confuse this classic with the sh*tty remake.
8. Dawn of the Dead (2004): Two words: fast zombies. C’mon, in the inevitable event of a zombie apocalypse at least we knew we had a chance of out running them…until this movie came out ~ and gave us quite possibly the most intense opening 15 minutes of any modern horror movie.
7. The Shining: Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1980 film, based loosely (as most King purists will attest) on Stephen King’s novel, still stands as one the most unsettling and visually disturbing movies ever made.
6. Hostel: This Eli Roth-directed film is brutal from start to finish and scarier because there’s a good possibility that clubs like “Elite Hunting” actually exist in Europe…or maybe even closer.
5. Halloween (1978): There’s not a single drop of blood, just buckets of tension and the sense that if death wants you, nothing can stop it. This is the movie by which all other slasher movies are measured.
4. The Evil Dead: This is the only film that made me look over my shoulder as I walked home through the woods. Deliciously low-budget but extremely effective.
3. Hellraiser: Starring the unforgettable Pinhead, this film changed mainstream cinematic gore and my life in 1986. Thank you, Clive Barker.
2. Friday the 13th Parts 1, 2 and 3: It’s too hard to choose and they’re all on my list so… Any of these classics still gives me butterflies before I press “play” on the DVD player.
1. Jaws: Those who know me saw this coming. There isn’t a person out there who has seen Jaws and hasn’t had a second thought or moment of trepidation before that first, refreshing ocean swim. That’s power…that’s truly scary.
Halloween Rituals ~ Piercing the Veil
By Jillian Locke
Halloween is that special time of year when anything goes ~ you are free to transform into your most fantastical dreams, imaginations or nightmares, free to explore unexplored realms, free to do just about anything. And it’s this freedom that lends to some of the more adventurous ` and sometimes dangerous ~ rituals that are most commonly performed around this mystical and darker time of year. Communing with spirits, both familiar and unknown, has become a favorite pastime of the more curious and courageous types, and what better time to do it than on All Hallows Eve, the day when the veil between our world and the world beyond is the thinnest…and most penetrable. Most people fear this contact, but some people relish in it, going out of their way to invite the dead back into the land of the living. Below you’ll find ways to ward off unwanted spirits…and even more potent ways to welcome them in.
Let’s start with some of the more urban legend/folkloric rituals. Firstly, for the more superstitious types, walk around your home three times, counterclockwise, then three times counterclockwise to protect yourself from evil spirits. Placing a turnip on your gatepost will prevent malicious spirits from harming you and your loved ones. If you feel these rituals don’t work, light a candle to detect the presence of a ghost; if the flame goes out, you’re not alone. Keep your cat indoors, for they can bring some pretty devious Elvin travelers on their backs upon returning home. Also, beware the powerful Owl ~ if seen diving, that Owl is certainly on a mission to spirit your soul away.
In Salem, MA, the epicenter of Halloween, local witches gather at the Hawthorne Hotel to celebrate the special day of the year where the veil between this world and the world of the dead is thinnest. To honor loved ones who have passed on, Salem Witch Christian Day hosts a “Dumb Dinner,” a dinner eaten in complete silence. Music is played in honor of the departed, and participants are encouraged to bring photos and mementos of their lost loved ones, thus extending an invitation to the spirits to join the living attendees as they partake in this ancient, solemn tradition.
A much more courageous and even dangerous ritual exists to commune with the dead on Halloween ~ turning to the classic Ouija board. Participants all place just the tips of their fingers on a pointer that is “guided” by whatever willing spirits may be looming, looking for a means to communicate. The spirit spells out words on the board, answering the questions of the curious summoners. But proceed with caution ~ stories of careless Ouija board usage include opening paranormal portals and gateways that cannot be shut, and the participants being forever haunted (even physically tortured, in some cases) by the wayward and sometimes evil spirits they have evoked. Tread carefully.
Some intrepid conjurers ~ usually children and teenagers ~ attempt to evoke the murderous image of Bloody Mary, a gory spectre who is said to appear in a mirror, covered in blood and seething with ravenous rage after a number of steps are taken to snag the attention of her restless, bloody-hungry spirit. Chanting her name, spinning around in circles, running water, lighting candles, and many more variations of this folkloric ritual all appeal to the wretched otherworldly senses of Bloody Mary, leaving victims scratched, scarred, bloodied, and sometimes…deceased.
Whatever your Halloween ritual is, ALWAYS practice with caution, respect, and with at least one other person. So embrace the season, play in the foliage, and brace yourself for ALL that goes bump in the night!!!
By Emily Kopec
Sure, Halloween is all about scary and creepy for some people, but let’s face it, it’s also about getting to dress up in fun, sexy costumes! Here are a few looks that are sure to get you noticed this year!!
A Real Housewife of Worcester County. Who wouldn’t want to be a well-groomed socialite of Central MA? Take that, Orange County! Wear the northern region’s much-loved furry boot, but pick a tall, high heel look-at-me version. Pile on the fake diamonds and cocktail rings. A pashima draped around your neck is a nice touch to show how frickin’ classy you are, as is an expensive-looking handbag. Your beverage of choice? Red wine. Your conversation topic of choice? Worcester’s hottest Botox doc. A perfectly coiffed wig and false eyelashes complete your overly pulled-together look.
The Kardashian Sisters. Gather up a couple of girlfriends and morph your sexy selves into America’s favorite overexposed sisters. You’ll need a long dark wig, a good push-up bra, and a very well padded derriere. You can’t go wrong with a clingy minidress to show off your, ahem, assets. Make-up-wise, go for the girls’ fave look: a dark sultry eye and a nude glossy lip. Khloe, chatter away about how fabulous you and Lamar’s one year anniversary just was; Kourtney, gush about how big your adorable baby Mason’s getting; Kimmie, dish the deets on how much you miss your ex Reggie, and please don’t forget to tell everyone you’re wearing your own fragrance called ~ of course ~ Kim Kardashian. Better yet, also carry it around. Be sure to squabble with each other often, and blow plenty of kisses!
A Guidette. Get that hair bump gravity-defyingly high, or just wear an already bumped-up wig. Slather on the self-tanner by the bucket-full; this is the one time when self-tanning gone bad is not a disaster. Better to be orange than pale, right? Big, BIG sparkly hoop earrings are a must, as are long fake nails. Wear a short, tight dress fit for clubbing alllllll night, bonus if it’s leopard print. Frosted lipstick, heavy eyeliner, and extra bronzer on the face are makeup musts. Watch Jersey Shore for help in perfecting your Jersey accent and picking up a couple key phrases. (Who can forget Snooki’s grand entrance from season one: “Party’s heeeeere!”). Don’t forget the sunglasses, chewing gum, and loud Jersey attitude!
Spartan Warrior. Thanks in part to smash hits like Clash of the Titans and Sparticus: Blood and Sand, most women agree few things are sexier than a man geared up for physical battle. So fellas, get your molded chest piece on! Or, if you have a six-pack, no chest piece required. Really. Other key elements to this thirsty-for-blood costume include a helmet, shield, sword, and cape. Molded arm gauntlets and shin guards complete your irresistible ensemble.
Chef Gordon Ramsay. The man is just a tad on the intense side, and that’s what makes him hot. You’ll need a spiky blonde wig and a white chef’s jacket. Use red makeup to get your face good and ruddy like Chef Ramsay’s, and use face paint to create those really distinct forehead lines. Stand with your hands on your hips and yell at people in your best British accent things like, “WHERE’S THE F***ING LAMB SAUCE!”
Tiger and Tiger’s Mistress (well, one of them, anyway). Woman, get yourself some orange, white and black body paint. Now put on a sexy, seductive dress worthy of a tigress. Paint all exposed skin (face included!) in tiger-like stripes with the paint. Black lipstick, striking black eye make-up (with a cat eye, of course), and black heels add to the tiger theme. Tiger wears a Nike visor, tucked-in white polo shirt, and carries a golf club. Keep your cell phones handy for frequent incoming/outgoing Tiger texts, as well as perhaps a pill bottle labeled “Ambien.”
By Erin Hansen
Most of us are familiar with the “usual” phobias ~ triskaidekaphobia (fear of the #13), arachnophobia (fear of the movie of the same name and of the creepy crawly creatures!), etc. But there are some even more bizarre phobias that nearly paralyze their sufferers with unbearable fear:
Phagophobia – Fear of swallowing (now stop it, I know what you’re thinking!)
Tetraphobia – Fear of the number four (and you thought the number 13 had cornered the phobia market)
Eisoptrophobia (also known as Spectrophobia) – Fear of mirrors (well, on bad hair days, sure…)
Coulrophobia – Fear of clowns
Autophobia (or Monophobia) – Fear of yourself (talk about no matter where you go, there you are!)
Emetophobia – Fear of vomit (can’t say I’m scared of it, just not a fan)
Alektorophobia – Fear of chickens
Automatonophobia – Fear of a ventriloquist’s dummy
Bromhidrosiphobia – Fear of [one’s own] body odor (well, guess that means these folks smell extra good all the time)
Ephebiphobia – Fear of teenagers
…and I saved the best for last…
Ithyphallophobia (also known as Medorthophobia, Phallophobia, and Ithyphallophobia) – Fear of erections (that’s got to be hard to deal with…or not!)
The World’s Most Haunted Places
By Alex Kantarelis
When I was young, I was convinced that my basement was haunted because I kept hearing footsteps down there. That was enough to absolutely terrify me. But that was only scratching the surface of what goes on in some of the most haunted and terrifying places in the world. Here are just a few of the places where paranormal activity is all too common.
If you are like me, and grew up afraid of the basement, then perhaps you should stay away from the haunted Catacombs of Paris. During the 1700s, the French buried all their dead along the walls of the caves that make up the catacombs. The walls are literally made of bones and skulls, making it look eerily like a horror movie. Millions of visitors visit the Catacombs each year, and the reports of the supernatural are overwhelming. Sometimes tours are even cut short because of a general unease from the crowd, and people have reported feeling the ghosts coming in contact with and even grabbing them. On top of that, many ghost pictures have been taken inside the Catacombs.
England’s Tower of London is one of the most historical landmarks in the world. Built in the late 11th century, the castle has continuously been linked to paranormal activity ~ surely a result of all the torturous executions and murders that took place there. Ghosts of prisoners who were beheaded in the 1500s have been seen wandering the halls, sometimes even carrying their own heads and re-enacting executions.
Moving to the USA, now. New Orleans, LA has been known to have some scary places all its own. According to paranormal investigators, it is the most haunted city in the world. And it’s not just one spot that’s spooky. With haunted graveyards, haunted houses, and haunted battlefields, the entire city seems to be haunted. Paranormal encounters seem to happen around every corner, and vampire lore runs deep ~ some say the vampires have all but disappeared from the city, while others believe they are still there, biding their time amongst the humans.
While New Orleans may be the most haunted city, it’s San Diego that is home to the most haunted house in the U.S. The Whaley House was built in the mid 1800s over land that was once used as a cemetery. Many people have claimed to see ghosts floating around the grounds, including a young red-headed girl who is thought to be the Whaleys’ daughter. Her ghost appears so real that it is sometimes mistaken for a real girl. If that’s not weird enough, you can hear the footsteps of an old thief who was hanged there. Even the apparition of a dog has been seen inside the house.
This brings us back overseas to Transylvania, the most famous haunted place in the world, where it’s the legends, not the ghosts, that are most terrifying. The story of vampires may be at an all time high (thank Twilight and “True Blood” for that), but the mythos all started with Vlad the Impaler, who was also known as Dracula. The 15th century Prince was responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths, using his favorite method of torture ~ execution by impalement. Transylvania is home to many castle tours that are sure to keep you from sleeping.
These are just some of the many haunted places that exist throughout the world, and they are not for the faint of heart. Whether you believe it or not is up to you.
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