Entertainment design students restore Halloween’s fading fear-factor

Let’s face it: Halloween has become scarier than ever before. Unfortunately, that’s happened for reasons that have little to do with the ghosts, goblins and the great gobs of candy that began as Celtic custom marking the death and rebirth signifying the of the harvest season. Over the past decade or so, Halloween has been co-opted by profit-hungry pop-up superstores hawking disposable “Scream” masks and spooktacular inflatable lawn decorations to consumers hoping to purchase a more sanitized version of the collective cultural experience.

But as Halloween has become more homogenized and commodified, there are fewer surprises that await revelers, leaving a major deficit of the kind of adrenaline-spiking thrills that have defined the mythic tales that have defined the holiday, like Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and Edgar Allen Poe’s the “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In other words, all treats and no tricks makes Halloween a very dull holiday.

It’s time fright back into Halloween night. With that in mind, we’ve resisted the temptation to celebrate the proliferation of clever (but defiantly un-scary) costumes referencing politics (the debt ceiling) or pop culture (“Breaking Bad”). Instead, we’ve plumbed the deepest recesses of the creative firepower on hand at Art Center for the kind of mythically unsettling visual storytelling that evokes a low-grade version of the terror that follows a night of spooky campfire stories. The above slideshow is a curated selection of images by current and former Entertainment Design students, whose work often involves conjuring the reference points for otherworldy cinematic sci-fi fantasias. You’ll also find the artist’s explanation for the ideas informing the dark and twisted images which capable of sending the fragile among us sprinting to safety. Care to join us in our effort to re-haunt All Hallow’s Eve?

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