Study Hal: Week 19 – Spooky Season

Happy first day of fall, everyone! Hal has been looking forward to this day for a very long time, because he finally feels ready to decorate for Halloween! Hal’s not usually spirited about holidays. In this weird year, though, I think he’s happy to take all the excitement and comforting nostalgia he can. Can you tell what nostalgia-inducing movie Hal’s watching to get in the spirit?

Speaking of nostalgia, what things have you found surprisingly comforting this season? For me, it’s been candy corn and pumpkin pie. Hal’s talking about doing some baking if he can find the time. Maybe I’ll ask him to try his hand at a pie or two!

For those just tuning in, Hal is a U-Mich student staying remote for the term! He’s back every week from his childhood home to share his experiences, good or bad. Check out the Study Hal tag to see the rest of the series and come back next Tuesday for more!

Halloween Screams

FORGET pumpkin spice. Tomorrow is the first day of October, which means it’s time to accept what all you non-spooky people of the world have been denying for the entire month of September. IT’S HALLOWEEN. Yes, the official date of Halloween is at the end of the month, but really there is enough to go around for all 31 days and then some, so don’t be a spoil-sport and deny yourself of some of the greatest binge-watching and jump scares (if that’s your cup of tea) that the world wide web has to offer.

Now, I may be a little biased, seeing as my birthday is basically Halloween plus/minus 24 hours, but this holiday is not just for the Scorpios of the world. Halloween is all about nostalgia – connecting to old pagan and folk roots and traditions, celebrating the supernatural creatures that we’ve come to know as myth, and recognizing our connection to the past through talk of the unknown. Sure it’s become an increasingly commercialized holiday that is no longer associated with its religious origins, but the increased awareness of the things that lurk in the shadows is something that is not lost upon us. If the upcoming sixth installment of Paranormal Activity tells us anything, it’s that we still do have an interest in the unexplained, even if we try to come up with any excuse to tell each other otherwise (see: “yeah, man, Paranormal Activity wasn’t scary at all, I totally didn’t have trouble sleeping for a week after”).

So what’s my point? If you spend the entire year living with your face pointed at the sun and avoid the shadows, now is the time to step over to the creepy side. I’m giving you an excuse to watch those ghost shows that you don’t believe at all but that are just so interesting to watch. Give Ghost Hunters a try if you want to watch something that could trick you into believing in the spirit world, or Ghost Adventures if you just want to watch a guy with extreme shark fin hair talk dramatically at the camera. If you want to be creeped out and listen to some famous people, check out Celebrity Ghost Stories – but maybe not at night. There is a new show called Amish Haunting that is incredibly fake and disturbing (i.e. goat baby), but it’s the kind of train wreck from which you can’t look away.

Don’t forget the horror movies – the State Theater will be screening A Nightmare on Elm Street, Goodnight Mommy, and Rocky Horror Picture Show in October. Rocky Horror is a must, but make sure you look up the show’s traditions first. Don’t forget the family movies either. You may not be eight years old anymore, but Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown will still hit the spot. Who doesn’t want Bette Midler to put a spell on them? And lest you forget, Halloween is just another excuse for you to watch Harry Potter. ABC family will of course be showing the boy wizard during their 13 Nights of Halloween, along with gems like Caspar and the Addams Family.

I’ll leave you to it, then, while I go watch something just a tad bit scary. I’ll just put these here to pique your interest:


(Say hi to Kevin McCallister’s mom – yeah I went there, Christmas is around the bend)


As an aside, I would like to thank the unusually large number of trick-or-treaters that breezed through my parent’s neighborhood almost 22 years ago, and my brothers for making my dad take them trick-or-treating so that my 9-months-pregnant mother had to keep getting up to answer the door.