English Department Gets Into the Halloween Spirit

English Department Gets Into the Halloween Spirit

Alexzander (AJ) Braaten, Reporter

When most people think of Halloween, they immediately gravitate to the big stuff. The blockbuster horror films, the costumes, and the famed tradition of Trick-Or-Treating. Even though we are unsure if we are getting to partake in these Halloween festivities, we can still count on all the horror media. This year the English department is getting into the spirit of Halloween by teaching about horror literature.

Photo from TheGuardian.com

You might not think of books as a pivotal source of horror, but there has been horror in literature for decades. Some English teachers have gone over and picked out some literary horror icons and famous monsters to read about. Ms. Krause has some of her students reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, which could be arguably the most iconic and referenced figure in literary history. Not only is it iconic, but it also has a great message about morality and science pushing the limit. These topics are talked about to this day and Mary Shelly’s novel is a good reason for it. Individual stories such as Shelly’s masterpiece definitely deserve praise, but so do the monsters that strike fear into the hearts of all. It seems for most that no monsters are as scary as the bloodsucking Vampire and the flesh-eating Zombie.

photo from smithsonianmag.com

Ryan Smith has been teaching his students about a variety of mythology from these celebrity creatures while also getting them to contribute in class. He began with the origins of the Zombie in Haitian culture until its eventual evolution into the zombies we see in popular culture, spearheaded by George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead.” Then the Vampire, which was a creature taken from many culture’s folklore and turned into what we know of today. Many people see Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula as the first vampire story, but there were others that paved the way for Dracula’s success. “Carmilla” was a story¬† that predated Dracula by 26 years and is one of the first depictions of lesbianism in literature. Vampires have a very rich and interesting history thanks to the perception of them not only being horrendous bloodsucking creatures of the night, but also as sometimes sympathetic and very lustful beings. Without spending time learning about these stories they begin to fade and people would eventually forget the origins of these October icons.

Spending a bit of time focused on monsters and horror characters during the month of October is a great way to get into the spirit of the season – while still learning.