The Horrors Of Halloween

Halloween is the one night of the year when kids of all ages get to dress up and be the heroes –or villains — they’ve dreamed of. With Halloween around the corner, horror movies are back in season, but what does that mean for young kids who have yet to see the gory world of horror films?


Rachel Adams via Canva

Age plays a big part in how kids and teens feel about Halloween. When kids are younger, they tend to have more fun, but does that also mean that they get scared easier? While the next generation may love horror films, how this might affect kids at younger ages may keep both kids and parents up on Halloween night.

Rachel Adams and Shaila Patel

The moon is full and bright. The trees are bare, casting eerie shadows on the pavement. Lights flicker as the wind picks up. While this could be any ordinary night at the end of October, this is also commonly depicted in horror movies as the start of various scary scenes throughout the film. 

Communities tend to have specific homes that go all out for Halloween. Just like in horror movies, they have ghosts hanging from trees, grave stones in the ground, and animations, such as lights or inanimate creatures, in the windows. But if the real world decor isn’t frightening enough, trick-or-treaters turn to another Halloween tradition: horror movies. 

Teens and adults have long loved to watch horror movies. Over the years, however, the age kids start watching the horror genre has decreased. Almost half the kids in high school right now began horror movies when they were in middle school or elementary school. In a poll of students conducted by The Blaze, 46% said they started watching horror movies starting from eight years old to 11 years old. “[I started watching horror movies] when I was 12 [because] I saw my parents watching a horror movie and I was really invested,” sophomore Zarha Amusa said.

At a young age, most kids have wide imaginations and look towards the happy things in life. When little kids see gory or scary movies, they tend to get nightmares and parents tend to shield their kids from those types of content. Horror movies to kids are like a rated R movie to teens or adults. The rating doesn’t actually have to be above PG — it’s the contents that cause the effects on young kids. Freshman Shritha Khandavalli has watched horror movies and noticed other kids take inspiration from them for their costumes. “[On Halloween it affected me because] everyone dressed up as dolls, and I was horrified by dolls,” Khandavalli said.

Though these horror movies may be for a mature audience, don’t the shuddering terrors affect all ages during Halloween? From creepy characters to crazy pranks, ideas from all sorts of scary halloween movies transfer into real life trends during the beginning of fall.

For example, in 2017, the rerun of the movie “IT”  led to people obsessing over the clown costumes and the terrifying features of them. As a result, people all over the country began to dress up in clowns to scare people, regardless of their age. This scared kids everywhere and caused a huge phenomenon of clowns being the “new scary thing.” 

The act of dressing up as a clown started in the United Kingdom and scaring people for the fun of it. This “fun” game spread to many other places in the United Kingdom, but it spread to the United States as well. When the clowns came to the US, extreme responses occurred. According to an article from NPR, students throughout the country have had to deal with clown related threats through social media.

Similarly, “Scream,” which came out in 1996, sparked new popularity in Halloween costumes because of the creepy mask the killer wore in the movie. To this day, people are knocking on doors in their ever-so-popular Scream costumes.

When watching horror movies, junior Harneet Singh notices the spooky aspects that are included throughout scenes. “The jump scares freak me out, especially if they are well animated and well thought out,” Singh said. “Psychologically, it doesn’t scare me, but it does get me thinking.” 

But what effect does this all have on the young audience? If young kids start to see these scary characters and horror trends around them, it will start to terrify them. They will start to not enjoy the circus shows because of the clowns, or they won’t be able to go trick or treating without getting horrified. 

Older kids, on the other hand, are able to deal with this and have fun with the horror aspect of halloween. “In a way, I think [horror movies] kind of [do play a role], because if you’re consuming more halloween media or fall media like horror movies it kind of gets you in the vibe [of Halloween],” senior Jack Capobianco said.

All sorts of movies and traditions have an effect on all age ranges. The poll conducted by The Blaze showed that about 74% of students who have watched horror movies started watching them before the age of 11. This could change the lifestyle of young innocent children who are not prepared for the horror that older kids find joy in. It might be smarter to not keep all sorts of scary figures around very young children, and to enforce movie ratings at theaters so kids can be less scared of the horrors these movies contain.