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12B - The Michigan Daily Weekendi Magazie - Thursday, October 30, 1997
State of the Arts
DRESSED TO KILL
Remember Halloween as a kid? It was a holiday of
innocence, fun, frolic and gluttony.
Remember planning your costume for weeks
beforehand? It was going to be the greatest thing the
Halloween community had ever seen.
Remember trick-or-treating in that great costume?
It was the day and night when your siblings, parents
and friends gathered together to show off and reap
Do you then remember that one kid who just looked
disenchanted by it all; who had a crappy
last-minute costume; and who would
rather pass out candy and laugh at others
than be seen in some ridiculous getup for
more than two seconds?
That was me.
Ah, Halloween. How do I hate thee?
Let me count the ways ...
Actually, there's just one reason I hate
Halloween and it's not because random
strangers gave me candy - forget razor Bryan Lar
blades in Mounds bars and let me rum- Daily Arts
mage through my booty like a horny
pirate! It's not because I was frightened by the All
Hallows Eve scenario -ghosts, ghouls and monsters
didn't scare me at all; only Oompa-Loompas made me
cower in a corner. And it's not because I was worried
about potential diseases being acquired while bobbing
for apples - give me a good game of skill or give me
No, I hate Halloween because of costumes, plain
and simple. I don't even like myself sometimes; why
would I like myself with a sheet over my head?
Call me a mid-autumn Scrooge, call me a party
pooper, call me what you like, I do not like dressing
up; at least not in any public forum.
Seriously now, the only time I remember ever
enjoying a costume was in my early childhood, when
my Halloween costume for three consecutive years
was my beloved Batman Underoos. But hell, with
those Underoos at my disposal to protect and serve the
citizens of Gotham City each and every day, why
should dressing up for Halloween be so special?
It's special because everyone says it's special - you
get free candy for doing it, dammit! So as not to be a
social outcast, I reluctantly succumbed to peer pres-
sure and kiddie greed, and dressed up every Oct. 31,
and paraded myself around the neighborhood in cos-
tume after costume, praying for those Hershey's
miniatures and fearing torment.
The reason I feared torment from my peers was my
costume choices - and not because of their sheer out-
landishness but because of their overall dullness.
Dullness that stemmed not from lack of creative
impulse but lack of preparation.
Year after year, I improvised at around 4
p.m., hoping to transform hou. gold goods
into Halloween perfection. Alas, this turned
(ut not to be the case.
After years of boring baseball players,
average Army men and Osh-Kosh- and
tool-belt-wearing carpenters, I remember
the year, upon giving up the Underoos, that
I tried to make myself over into Indiana
ditor Clad in khaki trousers, tan shirt, brown
leather jacket and a rain hat that doubled as
a fedora, I walked the streets of Dearborn with a
cocky sneer and a last-minute store-bought fake
whip of which I was extremely and almost perverse-
Imagine my dismay when, after all my effort, I was
received by neighbors with comments like, "Ooh, I
haven't seen a lion tamer that good in a few years," or
questions like "Are you one of them nature-channel
With that fiasco in mind, I decided to go back to
basics the next year by simply writing a number on a
pair of white paper painter's coveralls and calling
myself a convict. A little too simple, perhaps, but give
me a break, I was a graduate of the "Mr. Dress-Up"
school of homemade arts and crafts.
The prisoner garb was quickly convicted, as the
coveralls were so huge that I proceeded to trip and tear
a gaping hole in the paper suit before I made it around
If these embarrassments seem childish and trivial,
consider my costume choices as I got older.
Again opting for simplicity around the age of 13, I
put on black sweatpants and sweatshirt, a red sheet
around my neck and a makeshift pitchfork in my hand.
I was the devil, in case any of my dense, misinformed
Dearborn neighbors are reading this.
My devilish antics were briskly halted when one of
my friends pointed out that my sly demeanor and sin-
ful strut made me appear like a "femme fatale."
Feminine side be damned, as I stripped myself of
Satan and sulked in my room.
Or take another sulk-worthy occasion that took
place at a high school Halloween dance when I was
persuaded to participate in a group costume recreating
of the Village People - I was the cop, replete with
handcuffs, which is less embarrassing than, say, the
sailor or the Indian chief. The embarrassing part here
is that at every wedding or dance, my friends and I are
expected to lead the masses in a rousing rendition of
Another dance brought the experience of a group
costume of "Peter Pan" characters. I offered to be
Michael, the youngest, since he reminded me so much
of myself - an embarrassed, hapless child who des-
perately wanted to get out of there and go directly to
Hey, maybe that costume wasn't so bad after all.
Perhaps this year, I can find another costume that
is a thinly veiled, not-too-humiliating version of
Since I don't think I'll have the time before tomor-
row to create one of those hefty, impossibly innovative
over-the-head costumes like a shower, Mount
Rushmore or the Mona Lisa, I guess I'll take my own
youthful advice and go simple.
Maybe, since I'm going to the U2 concert, I
could get a haircut, put on a tank top and some
jeans, get some drumsticks and call myself Larry
Or even better - I could follow Adam Sandier's
advice and not wear a costume at all, just a sour
expression, with which I could walk around Dearborn
saying "Remember me? I'm disgruntled anti-costume
man! Now give me some candy!"
- E-mail Bryan Lark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continued from Page 25
stuck in the darkness in between, and the
devil gave Jack a single ember for light.
He placed the ember in a hollow gourd
to lengthen its life. On Halloween, in
honor of Jack, the Irish harvest gourds
from the fields, and carve them into a
potpourri of shapes and designs.
When Irish immigrants came to the
United States, they brought along
their traditions. But they ditched the
gourd, finding the pumpkin to be a
better vessel for their embers. As a
result, millions of pumpkins shine in
Americans' windows each year on
Some people see Halloween as more
than just a secular holiday. For witches,
Samhain (a pagan name for Halloween)
is the most important of their four High
School of Information graduate stu-
dent Maggie Rohde, a Celtic pagan, sees
Samhain "as a time to honor my ances-
tors and friends who have died. I find
this an excellent time of year to reflect
on what I have done, and begin anew."
Rohde is irked by misconceptions
that characterize Halloween as "evil" or
She asserted that "The occult nature
of Halloween is really just related to the
idea that it was supposed to be easy for
spirits to pass from the spirit to the
material world at this time of year.
"Popular culture has assimilated
these ties to death and spirits as 'evil,'
when in actuality they're just part of the
natural cycle of things;' Rohde said.
But, for most people, this sense of
evil simply adds to the eight's mysteri-
ous and eerie ambiance. Halloween is a
celebration of ghouls, ghosts, monsters
and demons. When Oct. 31 rolls
around, spirits rule the night and every-
one, whether pagan or not, gets a
glimpse into the world of the supernat-
By Nicole Pearl
For the Daily
No, that scream wasn't from the
stress of midterms. It was a sample of
the abrupt shrieks that pierce the air
at Ann Arbor's local haunted houses.
The spirit of Halloween awakens at
"The Dungeon of Doom." This freak-
ish trailer stands in a desolate lot
waiting for those who dare to
approach the haunted house.
Completing the journey through
mazes, pitch-black openings and psy-
chedelic lighting takes about eight
long minutes. The haunted house is
open from 7 p.m. on, but the terror is
heightened at 9 p.m., when the R-
rated, "extremely scary" version of
the haunted house begins.
The Dungeon of Doom has a sec-
ond purpose besides terrifying the
unwary. Most of the proceeds from
the haunted house go to a Li ingston
County boy named Mark Alex, a 7-
year-old in need of a bone marrow
transplant. Every year, proceeds from
the Dungeon of Doom go to support
a charity or good cause, and workers
as well as guests pitch in.
"All of the people are volunteers
working for free," said haunted house
director Doug Opie. "We want people
to know that this is to raise money for
The Dungeon's tremendous effort
to create an authentic haunted house
is readily apparent in guests' chills
and shivers. With no hints of what
lurks behind each corner, the haunted
house's reality is shockingly different
than it appears to be.
In one black area, a horde of illu-
minated Jason masks (like the mask
in "Friday the 13th") scowl at specta-
tors, stripping any of their remaining
confidence. Though the horrific
intensity dwindles in certain parts of
the haunted house, frightening sights
are visible throughout.
There is an option to go through
the haunted house in groups of one or
two, but as LSA junior Jasmyn
Bykowski said, thrill-seekers should
"go alone for the ultimate effect."
Other students agreed that the
haunted house had a chilling effect on
them. "It was scarier than the movie
'Scream'; we were living in it,' said
LSA sophomore Lara Englebardt.
LSA junior Leyla Shashaani agreed, as
she gasped while saying, "My heart
skipped a beat. This is a fun, seasonal
activity to start the night, especially if
you're ready for a thrill."
For those seeking a myriad of fright-
ful sights, Wiard's Orchards is another
spot not to miss. Wiard's puts on a
show for haunted house connoisseurs,
offering a "spooky hayride," "haunted
asylum," and the newest feature added
this year, "the monster maze." The,
variety of attractions provides some-,
thing for everyone: Kurt Zupi, manag-,
er of the orchard, sid, "We gear this to
"It was scarier
than the movie
Scream'; We were
living in it."
- Lara Englebardt
all ages, children during the day, and
young adults at night."
Wiard's haunted house began 10
years ago; today, up to 70 employees
collaborate to transform this apple
orchard into wonderfully grotesque
fields and macabre barns. The terror
begins with the "Notice, proceed at
your own risk" warning signs that
pop up all over the area, successfully
psyching out the visitor.
Each adventure entails 15 minutes
of threatening optical illusions, creepy
scenes and a unique array of live per-
formances. Guides act as seemingly
objective leaders to help those who
might need help navigating in the
dark, but don't be too sure that they'll
put you at ease - Wiard's haunted
house will still prove to be frightening.
"I dropped to my knees," said LSA
sophomore Ali Felton-Church as she
stepped out of the haunted asylum.
University students may be too old
to trick or treat, but they're never too
old to be scared - and in the Ann
Arbor area, haunted-house thrills and
chills are only a short drive away.
The Michigan Daily Weekend
Local haunted houses
provide thrill1s, c hlls Y CII."Y:t7 ::. *i
for Halloween visitors
A masked ghoul stands ready to frighten visitors at the ROTC haunted h
r. r r i r .n +rr
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