Thursday, October 8, 2009

Paranormal Activity & a God-Fearing Woman's View on Halloween

Post-Viewing Update - My Review of Paranormal Activity: Well, I went to see Paranormal Activity. And, being somebody who loves scary movies, I gotta say, for me it was very disappointing on the scary scale. While it did have a slight creep factor to it, unless you are an easily freaked out person, this movie will probably not be at all scary to you. It starts painfully slow and actually, by the time that it even begins to really get creepy and exciting, the movie is over. I was left with that "that's it?" feeling when it was over. Even The Cajun who isn't exactly a big scary movie fan like me, was sorely disappointed in the movie. My rating? One star, only for the slight creep factor. This movie was all pre-release hype, in my opinion, and doesn't hold up to the scare factor. Save your money.

I've gone and glammed up my header for Halloween - hope that doesn't freak anybody out.

I consider myself to be a Christian but I never understood the whole religious fear of Halloween. In fact, I went through a period of time feeling condemned, not by God, but by other Christians for participating, until I realized the ridiculousness in that.  In my mind, it's simply a time for scary fun, haunted houses, cool costumes and trick or treating in the neighborhood. Nobody I know views this as some kind of celebration of evil - and trust me, if God felt it was evil for me to be a part of the fun, He would certainly give me conviction about it, because believe me, He does that regularly in my life. Very regularly.

I just do not find having fun for Halloween to be spiritually harmful at all and frankly find the objection toward it to be, well, silly. Forget about whatever the roots are supposed to be - you can find that in every major holiday we celebrate - nobody cares about all of that, or really even knows about it. It's the preachers and the pastors that create this issue in the Church. Kind of reminds me how the Bible used to be withheld from us for fear we would not be able to understand it. For us regular folks, Halloween is nothing more than just scary fantasy, and fun, and make believe, and masks, and grease paint, and parties, and eating way too many sweets. That is all it is.

One of the best times I have ever had in my life was two years ago at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream in Tampa.  We were vacationing there and Orlando at the end of October, so we treated ourselves to the VIP Tour Package and oh, my, goodness, I had a blast like I was 16 years old.  The scare zones where costumed zombies jump out at you and make you scream, and the seven haunted houses, which with the VIP Package, you get front of the line no waiting treatment to get into - that was worth every penny - and the rides.  It was just the best time. We even did the Fright Feast Dinner Buffet and show to start the evening off.  What fun we had!

Oh yeah, and October means scary movies. They are all over the television for sure, but there are usually a few that show up at the theaters too. I have always loved scary movies - I don't know why, I just have. Have you heard about the movie Paranomal Activity yet? Maybe not, because it's an ultra low budget horror movie, on limited release only in selected areas of the country.

Reminiscent of how The Blair Witch Project {remember that?} was done, with unknown actors, jump out of your seat scare jolts, hide your eyes moments, and shaky camera shots ... except that apparently where Blair Witch created an entire online presence of a somewhat believeable town in which there really was a Blair Witch legend, though there really wasn't... the clever folks behind the production of Paranormal Activity are hoping once you hear about the movie, you will demand it be shown in your area. Paramount has promised to open the movie in all markets once they hit 1 million demands. (see update)

From what I've read, the story centers around a young couple who move into a starter home and begin to experience some odd noises in the middle of the night.  Determined to capture what the strange noises are, they set up a video camera to catch a glimpse of what really is going on in the dark of night as they sleep. The movie is supposed to cover two weeks of increasingly intense nightly encounters, that culminate in a shocking and frightening climax.

Apparently the movie was so creepy, that 35 people from within the test group who first got to view it, walked out before seeing the entire movie, not because it was a bad movie, but because it literally had scared them too much to stay any longer.

Watch the clip and catch the reactions and expressions of the audience. That in itself is pretty good marketing if you're the kind of person who loves to be scared. Are you ready to be scared? Demand it. And maybe I'll share a few scary stories with you in the coming days before Halloween...

UPDATE:  When I first posted this, demands were at about 400,000. Today I checked and the 1 million demands have been met, so the movie Paranormal Activity will be released nationwide! As of 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 13th, all theaters where it will play should be listed at the site.

Click here for the trailer.


  1. I am so glad I'm not the only one!

    I'm also a Christian but I cant help but to take part in the Halloween festivities.

    My son has been invited to a Halloween party and I have been pondering ever so much over if I should take him or not.

    But as he's only 5mths and this will be a great way for me to make new friends in my new town..I'm sure it wont do any harm going! :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

  2. You talked of followers dropping the other day...I noticed a decided dip in comments on my "spooky" story the other day and it was not near as spooky as that video clip...shivers...I don't believe I'll "demand" it...LOL!

    Hey, I remember when my kids were little that the Baptist Churches in Ky would host the haunted houses of Halloween!! Now all of a sudden Halloween is taboo?? If we took away all Pagan symbols none of those upright Christian people would wear wedding rings, because omg...they are a Pagan tradition!

    I feel a rant coming on so I'll close for now and ruminate on this subject some more...just so you know there are at least 2 other bloggers that I read that are bothered by the same subject so it is a hot topic right now.

  3. When I was a child we were told the purpose of costumes was to scare away evil spirits looking for soul's on All Saint's Eve. The candy was to make so sweet they wouldn't want a bite of us. We had a wonderful time. Halloween will eventually go the way of the dodo out of concern for children's safety, not because of any connection to the devil. Till then, I hope all children are allowed to enjoy the holiday.

  4. For the record it infuriates me that pastors and preachers waste their time on this kind of fear mongering. There is much much more important for the Body of Christ to be concerned with these days.

    So Emma, you go ahead, have fun and don't even worry over what others "think." You are right, participating will get you and your baby out and give you the opportunity to fellowship with your new neighbors! THAT is what matters!!!

    Tammy, I already emailed you, but yep just as soon as I put up my header I saw some numbers drop. Doesn't bother me though - live and let live! It's that "judgmental" thing. Isn't the video clip just a fright?!

    Mary, absolutely right! I like that communities have started doing family friendly trick or treat events, but we still get plenty of door to door activity, especially in the well to do neighborhoods!

  5. I love Hallowe'en. I love the fact that it is such an old, old celebration. Its roots go so deep.

    I have a similar post written and waiting to post automatically, tomorrow or Saturday, can't recall, not as good as yers, tho -- it always surprises me that people really don't seem to care about or know their own cultural history and adopt attitudes out of fear.

    What I love best about Hallowe'en is that it is an UNCONTROLLED and UNCONTROLLABLE celebration. Yes, the Disney/Hallmark/Manufacturers have influenced it in recent years, but they cannot dominate it and turn it into another "give a gift" holiday as they'd like to. But drop by any college campus -- if you dare! -- on Halloween night to see it in a very pure form, homemade costumes, revelry, romance, as it was in the beginning!

  6. Last year we had the BEST time going to a church in town that had the trunks decorated for the kids to Trick or Treat in the parking lot. The people were SO much fun! That same church has a lot of youth activities for teens-- this seems to be a cool way to reach out to people rather than judge them for Halloween, you know? I hope they do it again!

    I will HAVE to show that clip to my son. He's in one of those stages teens get in where they are all brave and never get scared. BAHAHAHAHAHA

  7. Hi Mary! I LOVE you new header, and I LOVE Halloween, and I am definitely a Christian! I think that if there is any level of "evil", then it is ONLY because one CHOOSES to see it that way!.. and then fine, I respect them for their views, while they may then walk away from the whole idea, and go on with their own lives however they choose. As for me, serve up the candy and pumpkin cookies, put on the "Thriller" CD, or a scary movie.. And turn on the front porch light for all the cute little Trick or Treaters who are on their way! ~tina

  8. We're Christians and love Halloween! However, my daughter attends a Christian school and they are not allowed to celebrate "a holiday of demons and ghouls". Last year I was allowed to send in pumpkin cookies, but not allowed draw jack-o-latern faces on the cookies. Whatever. And I remember that my cousins weren't allowed to celebrate Halloween when we were kids b/c of their church. I was so sad for them. I say, do what you feel is right, but don't think me less of a Christian b/c we want to put on a costume, eat too much candy, and watch The Great Pumpkin. Good clean fun if you ask me : )

    Now this movie...holy cow! I love a scary movie! This one looks sure to freak me out. I'll check out the site. Thanks!

  9. This makes me want to see the movie...sort of. I can't decide if it'd be better to see this in the theater when I could go home and feel safe, or if I'd rather watch it at home where I wouldn't have to be outside, in the dark afterward. Hmmm...decisions! :)
    I'm blog hopping going from one commenter to another. Happy Thursday!

  10. I just read some of the comments before seriously LOST followers because you put up fun, Halloween decorations on your blog? How incredibly sad that they'd base good reading off of that. Bizarre to me...but then again, I tend to feel that way about a lot of religious things. Don't mind me. :)

  11. Dear Mary,
    What a breath of fresh air your blog is ~ thank you so much for this post and your wonderful attitude. I think I spend too much time worrying what others will think. Gosh darn it, it's my blog!
    Anyway, it's so nice to meet you ~ I live in Ocean Springs, by the way!

  12. Hmm, the movie did come to my town..I had never heard anything about it. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Thank you so much for saying what you have about Halloween.

    I grew up in the 60's and 70's and Halloween was a wonderful fun time of make believe. Just because you might dress up as a devil or witch did not mean that you worshipped the devil or practised the black arts. It was fun to dress up and try and be scary, not to pretend you were Satan or a monster. There are also a lot of princesses and fairies out there. But certain groups of people even put wacked out connotations on that.

    I agree with you, you can take even Christmas and make it out to be bad if you wanted, which some are trying to do.

    I AM a christian and I agree, Jesus does let me know when I do wrong.

  14. Your comments dropped because of your header??? Unbelievable!! Your absolutely right Mary, God will tell you just like he tells you everything He wants you to know.

  15. My own sister does not allow her kids to participate in Halloween....I think it is just's not like we are all out practicing witch craft for crying out loud...we are dressing up like princess and hanna montana and Harry potter for crying out loud! Oh...and Harry Potter...don't even get her started!!lol
    I think that it is innocent fun...and the one time of year that the neighbors will open their doors for the rest of the people on this street!
    I AGREE!!!
    and ...I want to see this movie!

  16. Thank goodness there are more of us :0)

    Thankfully my church is pretty cool on the Halloween front. We have "trunk or treat" every year but NOT in place of Halloween, just in addition to. Our pastor says his kids love getting candy twice!

    My parents were NOT that way. Hated Halloween. To the point they would turn off the lights and go downstairs to watch TV during trick or treat hours. (rolls eyes)

    I usually hand out candy, and once in awhile I dress up...definitely put out some fall decor though!

    And Anthony and I loved the Nashville Ghost Tour last year so much that we're doing one in a neighboring town on Halloween night!

    (and yes, I believe in ghosts. I believe very strongly that there's an active spirit world around us...if we believe angels and demons are real and active around us in our world, why not ghosts? shrug.)

  17. Love the post...I haven't been convicted over Halloween ...and to me it's fun and creepy, I like it. But I know God can and will convict me on many things...sometimes you just never know till He does....and boy, I have been learning

    LoVE the blog and you.

  18. Well, that movie did come to my town and it was completely sold out ALL THREE DAYS!! It looks sooooooo scary... maybe too scary (in an all too real way) for me. Blair Witch scared the crap out of me, so I'm not sure I could handle Paranormal Activity. I'll probably end up trying to watch it sometime down the road and end up totally kicking myself for it. I tend to do that to myself from time to time! Ha...

    We have a tradition of going to see the latest Saw movie that's out - i think they're up to six now. I can take that kind of movie! And though we haven't done it lately, I love to dress up!! Halloween rocks!

    Oh, and thanks for stopping by... I'll be back here for more soon!! :)

  19. Wow, I never realized there was so much controversy over Halloween. We moved from New York two years ago but here in Guntersville, AL, Halloween seems to be celebrated as much or more than it was in NY. The Holiday Inn has a Halloween party for the neighborhood kids and the Fire Dept. does too. Plus at the state park there is a Halloween Trunk Trick or Treat and a contest for the best costume. And we get lots of trick or treaters, much more than my old neighborhood in NY.So I was so surprised at the comments here and also that viewers would leave your blog because of the decorations, etc. I think viewing Halloween as un-Christian is so silly.
    Just my opinion. And Mary, I love your header and the spooky decorations. Karen

  20. girl...I might try to take photos of the thanksgiving meal this weekend!!! I also might submit a really easy yummy recipe for you! lol
    not like you already don't have the bestest ones...

  21. It is considered a pagan religion. I'm kind of mixed on this myself. Being a Grace believer. . meaning I'm savd by grace, I don't know how this fits in.

  22. i think i just pee'd myself... i don't even like scary movies so i am not sure why i thought i needed to watch that clip...

  23. I, too, do not understand the objection to Halloween. I think most people think of it as harmless fun. Those who don't don't need Halloween to celebrate evil.

    As for scary movies, I loved them when I was teen, but not so much anymore. Though I have heard really good things about this very low budget ($15,000) movie. I hope it gets the attention it deserves.


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