Friday, October 19, 2012

Traditional Halloween means more ghosts

In true hipster fashion I have been ruminating on the true meaning of Halloween. I read up on some old
customs, and I was struck by what has changed and what hasn't.

Things that haven't changed:
-dressing up
-bobbing for apples/eating donuts on a string
-drinking cider
-jack-o-lanterns (granted, some were made with huge turnips, but same idea)

Things we don't do anymore:
-we don't go door-to-door for flowers to put on the graves of our ancestors so they won't haunt us
-we don't make cakes with objects that indicate our future luck (one tradition baked a key, ring, and thimble into a cake. If you got one in your piece, they represented a journey, marriage, and spinsterhood respectively).
-we don't do weird stuff with mirrors/apples to find out the initials of the person we'll marry
-tell ghost stories

In short, I wish our Halloween traditions were more superstitious!

One tradition gamers have is playing horror games (because duh!). I generally dislike horror--it's full of surprising, gruesome, and inexplicable things. And sometimes they're really scary, although I have yet to play a game that has me scared like books or films I've seen. What I would really like to play during Halloween times are games that deal with the supernatural.

Ghosts figure prominently in Blackwell Deception (still available for cheap at the Fall Indie Royale bundle). It's startling to see a ghost, because it means that person has died, but they aren't out to get you, necessarily. The ghosts act like regular people who don't know they're dead yet, for the most part. I also love the rumors in Persona 2 (well, I would love them if I could get anywhere in that game) and how the devils have little personalities. Less scary, more weird!

(my information on Halloween traditions came from The Halloween Book, which you can download for free from Forgotten Books. Or you could buy it on Amazon. The image is from the concept art for Guild War 2's Halloween update coming up on the 23rd.)