Psychology in Halloween

Mental health and how it ties into Halloween

Halloween has many parts to it- candy, movies, costumes, parties- but no one talks about the hidden elements. Psychology is something that is very present in Halloween because of the representation of mental illness and ideas that surround our favorite things. One example is how horror and thriller movie companies use certain soundtracks to incite fear and excitement in you during certain scenes of the movie. For example,  in the movie “Halloween,” John Carpenter plays the Halloween theme right before Michael Myers attempts to kill. 

Another great element of psychology present is the mental health portrayal in media, decorations, and costumes. Mental health is portrayed in a way that makes every part of the illness look like a dangerous and psychotic killer or person. It also makes mental institutions look like scary and oppositional places to be, instead of the healing and helpful places they really are. 

“The portrayal of mental health during Halloween is disheartening and depressing. I understand this is playing on the classics and not always purposeful,” biomedical major Kora Clark said.

This is true as sometimes people are not trying to poke fun at a serious issue, but it is also due to the portrayal that people began to get terminological confusion-which is the misunderstanding of what a mental illness is and how it affects people- and it leads them to misdiagnose themselves and others with problems they may or may not actually be having. 

A final area of psychology that is used is in the way that movie companies classically condition you to be scared with the common tropes seen in horror and thriller movies. For example, we get scared when someone goes off alone into a basement or attic because we have been conditioned to know something bad is going to happen to them. 

These are just a few examples of how psychology is present in Halloween. It can get us into the spooky spirit, but it can also create confusion and hurtful feelings on an important topic. So, next time you are watching a scary movie or looking at decorations for your party, be aware of the elements being used that you might have never thought of before.