A decade ago, Halloween was a single night event that involved dressing up, scary stories, seeing friends, eating themed foods, and maybe watching a horror classic. Now, Halloween is an entire season, with many incorporating the theme of Halloween into their daily lives long before the 31st October, from changing their Twitter names to planning outfits and watching every Halloween-themed film, from the soft classics to the genuinely terrifying. But, why do we love Halloween so much?
Why Do We Love Halloween?
Some studies suggest that we enjoy Halloween because we actually like to be scared. When we are scared, our amygdala is activated to produce a fight or flight response. This includes fear from situations, such as loud bangs at night, or fear from innately terrifying things such as heights or dangerous animals. In these circumstances, we genuinely believe we are in danger. Our human minds run away with the possibilities that could happen as a result of seeing these triggers and stimulate the fear responses.
That brings us to Halloween. When visiting a haunted house, our logical brain knows we are in no danger. Similarly, when watching a horror film, we know there is no threat to us. But, our brains get a kick out of tickling the amygdala by producing a fear response while knowing that there is no direct danger to us. The burst of adrenaline quickly turns into excitement. Short exposures to fear in the sympathetic nervous system can relieve tension and are found enjoyable by many people – just look at the popularity of rollercoasters and skydiving.
Halloween is a huge marketing coup for brands. The theme allows them to tie their products into the season and gives a fresh yet instantly recognizable remit for new marketing campaigns. Some of the tie-ins are only loosely related to the season – such as Lush Cosmetics and their response to the abundance of make-up at Halloween and how it will affect skincare – while other brands exist specifically to do their business during October.
But, it’s not just marketers and brands that launch products that get into the spirit. As we can see from online slots at Lucky Pants bingo, who have launched the Monster Meltdown slot to tie into the Halloween theme, even industries you wouldn’t expect are getting involved with the feeling in the air. Our love of Halloween has helped inform those who create content we engage with and products and services we buy in order to offer us something that we have proven we would enjoy. Much like Christmas, Halloween offers a chance for industries to attract new customers by showing them something relevant that they might be interested in.
Halloween reminds us of things that make us scared – but also things that we know can’t hurt us. The pumpkins, Frankenstein’s monsters, vampires and witches are used to stimulate the fear response that allows us a quick hit of adrenaline. Companies understand our love for Halloween and the enjoyment we find in being scared of something with no ill effects and use this to create content and products that we would therefore enjoy.