Halloween: Not Really Into the Current Traditions

“No one really runs away from anything. It’s like a private trap that holds us in, like a prison. You know what I think? I think that we’re all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch.”

– Norman Bates in Psycho

– – – – – – – – – –

Halloween has become a much bigger holiday than when I was a kid. Back then, we would smear some green makeup on our faces (to get a bit of the Frankenstein Monster look) and a bit of red dripping from the corner of the mouth. Add some old torn clothes and we had a decent costume to go around the neighborhood to collect our yearly treasure of candy.

A house might have the porch light on and a carved pumpkin next to the front door. However it was nothing like the elaborate and over-the-top home displays folks put together today. And there are all those adults, and kids as well, that put together pretty detailed not to mention often expensive Halloween costumes. But I think I’d be a bit embarrassed to still be Trick or Treating when I got to my ‘teens’ as some of these older kids do.

Still, I’ll be handing out candy to the dozens of (something like 8 to 10 dozen) kids in our neighborhood on Halloween. A bit of pay back for all the loot I collected back in the day.


Anyway, I already celebrated the holiday two weeks ago in my own way.

We have a Regency Movie Theater not far from where we live. There they have ‘Throwback Tuesday’ evenings presenting one time showings of classic movies from the 1930-60’s as well as other popular movies from the last 50 years.

I’ve had the immense pleasure of seeing some of these older films, presented on the ‘Big Screen’ – a fantastic experience.

Some films include: North by Northwest (1959), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Vertigo (1958), Jaws (1975), Casablanca (1942), Jurassic Park (1993), Rear Window (1954), Jaws (1975), It Happened One Night (1934),  Ghost (1990), It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), did I mention Jaws (1975), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), and The Third Man (1949).


The ‘Horror’ movies today really don’t interest me. My taste leans toward the Universal Studio’s early 1930’s classics: Frankenstein, The Mummy and Dracula.

So two weeks ago my local theater played Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). My lovely wife for some incomprehensible reason wasn’t interested. But my dear friends Kevin and Annette met me at the theater. And I didn’t find out until afterwards that they had never seen Psycho. It was great fun sitting next to them. Kevin had seen bits and parts of the movie, and Annette had only seen the famous shower scene.

It’s a beautiful black and white film; one of Hitchcock’s masterpieces – a wonderful experience to see it in a theater, with an audience, on the big screen.


Everything about the movie is so much better when seeing it in a theater – visuals: Beautiful Big Screen Black and White, and sound: Bernard Herrmann’s score is of course amazing. Then there is the marvelous performance of Janet Leigh as Marion Crane, and the absolutely spot on Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates – “A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

It was the perfect way to celebrate the month which seems to me to have gotten a bit out of hand. Maybe the only thing left for me besides handing out the candy on Halloween will be to sit down and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

– – – – – – – – – –

It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?

– Norman Bates in Psycho


About VocareMentor

Walk with the wise and become wise - Prov. 13:20 A lot of my blog comes out of the way I grew up. My parents divorced when I was 6 years old and I didn’t see much of my father. I had no understanding of how the lack of his presence in my life affected every choice I made as I grew up. Much of my adult life has been attempting to sort things out and catch up. Thus, what you’ll find on my blog are musings, thoughts, wisdom and ideas from history and pop culture. Themes: mentors, father/son, male/female, self-discovery, courage, stepping up, friendship and more.
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4 Responses to Halloween: Not Really Into the Current Traditions

  1. draliman says:

    I’m not even sure we had a “modern” Halloween in the UK when I was a kid. Of course it “started” in ancient Celtic Britain thousands of years ago as Samhain but we didn’t have the trick-or-treating as such.

  2. Norman, is that you? Nobody does horror as well as Hitchcock. I like your post this week. Just an aside: I went on a first date with my wife in 1965 and we saw Psycho. A hell of a start to a great relationship for 51 years and counting…

  3. throwing in some psychology…maybe the impulse to go over the top on Halloween these days is rooted in people’s desire to externalize the nightmare of the internal trap of which Bates speaks, and by doing so lessen the internal sense of terror by making it not the self, but something out there…adding to it the party atmosphere of Halloween which neutralizes even the scariest of costumes…Psycho is definitely one one of Hitchcock’s masterpieces, in part because he was able to bring to that surface not only that internal going off the rails within the Bates character, but also, thanks in good part to Perkins, making it plausible that the “normal-looking” person next to one just might be a monster, or even that each of us, given the right trauma, could become like Bates.

  4. I love “North by Northwest”! Glad you mentioned it! I like the first part of “Psycho” but the rest is just too creepy–not to mention the music . . . . Two of my favorite Hitchcock films are “Vertigo” and “Shadow of a Doubt.” I think the latter was Hitchcock’s favorite and probably the only film he produced that featured a brunette instead of a blonde. As for Halloween, I gave that up long ago after researching it from a historical and Biblical point of view (Deuteronomy 18: 9-13).

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