Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

You can keep your haunted houses — I don’t think fear is fun

DebraDeAngeloW

By
From page A19 | October 27, 2013 | Leave Comment

I’ve never been a fan of haunted houses. Probably because I’ve never been a fan of fear. Fear’s right up there with pain — nope, not a fan. Unless there’s a bodice, thigh-high stilettos and a whip involved. But that’s another column, and probably not one that will run in The Enterprise.

What is it with the haunted houses? I’ve been inundated with press releases about them this year. KCRA morning news featured one of the “best” ones the other morning, complete with bloody, hacked-up zombies attacking from dark closets and a disturbing chamber of horrors filled with maimed and bloody dolls — and they were those dolls that already look creepy to begin with.

Of course, there was the obligatory haunted cemetery, with monsters and the undead crawling from fresh graves, and the proprietor grinned as he told the reporter how his staff just loves jumping out at visitors from dark corners and scaring them so badly that they soil their shorts and run screaming for their mommies.

And those are the daddies.

Seriously. I don’t get it. I’m lacking the gene that equates terror with fun. I’ve never liked horror movies, have always refused to watch them, and can’t wrap my brain around how anyone gets their jollies watching other people being tortured. Ironically, some of my favorite movies include “Silence of the Lambs,” “Terminator II” and both “Kill Bills.” All four are disturbing and bloody, but somewhere between Hannibal Lecter chewing someone’s face off and Freddy Krueger slashing his victims to shreds, there’s a line, and I can’t define it, exactly, but I ain’t crossing it.

Whether it’s movies or haunted houses, I just don’t enjoy being frightened or feeling afraid. I don’t enjoy shrieking and screaming. And to actively seek out that experience of terror? Not gonna happen —maybe because I spent much of my childhood feeling afraid. Revisiting fear makes about as much sense to me as a starving Somali child growing up and becoming anorexic.

My refusal to participate in recreational terror has come back around to bite me in the butt, however. Back in high school, I set off to the movies with a group of friends and when we got there, they all wanted to see “The Exorcist.” Oh hay-ull no. I absolutely, stubbornly, flatly refused. I told them I’d rather wait in the car for two hours than see Linda Blair go all Linda Blair on the screen, and they all sighed and grumbled, and we ultimately compromised on seeing “Looking For Mr. Goodbar.”

Anyone remember how that ends?

Yeah.

I still have the bite marks.

Over the years, it wasn’t hard for this scaredy-cat to avoid horror movies and haunted houses, but come October, there’s no avoiding the mass marketing of scary stuff. Monsters and skeletons and headstones are ubiquitous, but I could mitigate that by turning my attention to lots and lots of candy, and costumes that aren’t scary. I wasn’t about to reject Halloween, because, hey, fun is fun, and I’m all about the fun. Fun is the polar opposite of fear, and therefore a safe haven.

So, here we have a holiday completely devoted to fear, but the whole cheesy orange and black harem-scarem thing is decidedly American. (No, kids, they don’t have Halloween in other countries.) When I moved to Winters, I observed that everyone doesn’t do Halloween the way we do. When I first saw all the decorated, dancing Dia de los Muertos skeletons, I found it unnerving, because I’d been conditioned to believe that skeletons are scary.

OK, they kind of are, buy much less so with rubies in their eye sockets, wearing a Carmen Miranda headdress and playing a pink and purple banjo.

Several years back, I covered Dia de los Muertos at the local elementary school, and interviewed one of the children about what the holiday meant to him. He explained to me, quietly and lovingly, that the little diorama he was building was a tribute to his cousin that died, and showed me the little guitar the skeleton played, and the food he liked, and as I talked to more and more children a new way to look at death slowly began to emerge — rather than it being only equated with terror and avoidance, there was another angle: honoring the dead, celebrating their lives, taking this one day out of the year to remember them with bittersweet love and honor.

Wow. You can learn a lot from children.

Dia de los Muertos is sort of a bridge between mass-marketed American Halloween and the true beginnings of what is celebrated on Oct. 31: Samhain (pronounced “SOW-en” or “sah-WANE”). This is how your pagan ancestors (yes, you had pagan ancestors, because they existed long, long before there were Jews or Christians or Muslims) acknowledged this turn in the wheel of the year, believing it to be the time when the veil between our world and the everafter is thinnest, and therefore the best time to honor and communicate with the deceased, as well as all the ancestors you never knew. It’s a day when you stop to ponder yourself as one link in a chain of perpetual life and death stretching back to the first being that ever was. In a very weird way, it makes you feel connected.

Samhain is also the time of year when leaves and temperatures drop, and sunlight diminishes. In the world around you, it’s a time of letting go, of resting for a bit, with the knowledge and confidence that it’s not the end. Life, warmth and growth will return. But for now, it’s time to pull inward. Rest. Rejuvenate. Remember.

So, you could embrace this holiday and remember those loved ones who’ve passed, and what they meant in your life, and contemplate things that need to fall away from your life, like the autumn leaves, so you can make room for new things to spring forth and grow as the wheel turns, turns, turns…

Or you could go to a haunted house.

— Email Debra DeAngelo at debra@wintersexpress.com; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com

Debra DeAngelo

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Going green at church, school, everywhere

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

    Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

     
    Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    UCD to host Global Health Day event

    By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    ‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Online K-12 school holds info night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Schwenger lawn signs available

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Volunteers needed for Grad Night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis grad makes rain collection a business

    By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    A few spots left on history tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event to provide nature scholarship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Students have new options on leasing front

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Groups join for a day of service

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Food for the hungry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    .

    Forum

    Dad makes mom look bad

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Early help is a great investment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    More tax money? Answer the question

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

     
    UCD IS responsible for students

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    In search of great ideas

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    Please keep the nursery open

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    ‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Acacia at Huntington Square

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Suzanne Kimmel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Sheryl Patterson

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Don Guthrie

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Andrew Dowling

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain & Dick Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tim Harrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Team Traverso

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Lori Prizmich

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Open House Map

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20