Unplugging the Social Media Machine to Enjoy a Spooky Autumn
As I head into October and the 14th year of working on this Halloween website, I stop to reflect on my limited engagement on the blog and social media. For so many years, I toiled away on posting about Halloween products, events, movies and more, and it was frightfully fun. But with a full-time job that I love, a dive into film studies, and general life issues, my time and energy have been slashed short.
During this same period, I also became a homeowner with a sizable yard and a garage to call my workshop. My attention shifted to making a nightmare come true: a yard haunt of my very own! I drew inspiration from the very websites I featured for years, watched how-to tutorials, and used everything I learned from my theater degree. I started making props, and now moved into animatronics. Every year, a bigger and better haunt materializes on my yard. And who wants to spend time behind a desk editing a website when I can be in the garage making a giant monster mouth out of paper mache?
As social media grew, blogs and sites seemed passé, and I found new immediate ways to chat with fellow Halloween fanatics. I’ve connected with so many wonderful fiends online who shared a love of scary things. Finally, I didn’t feel like the loner weirdo and was virtually surrounded by a community. But just as found my "fam", the pandemic hit and things spiraled quickly. An unfriendly and downright hostile spirit possessed social media as we grappled with the emotional, psychological and physical trauma of Covid. Some of my actual family and friends were suddenly split down political lines and ideologies. It seems everyone forgot compassion and empathy all at once, and we all wanted someone to blame.
To save myself, I spent less and less time online, and soon, most of those virtual circles of fiends disappeared back into the ether. Followers, Likes, positioning – social media revealed itself to be a game rigged for failure, disappointment, and feeling less-than. It didn't connect us. It gave the false belief of connection and importance. All the subsequent documentaries about social media solidified my feelings: social media is monster. It makes millions for a select few, and churns its users into pulpy mush on which to feed on. And yet, I still have accounts. I want to be heard, to be seen, and the only way is to be a player.
By mid-2021, the world seemed to be ending, and it crossed my mind that Halloween could actually be gone forever. That feeling of a chilly fall, pumpkin spice everything, and trick 'r treaters – all gone. It was such a bleak time. I decided then and there to reclaim Halloween for myself. Social media, the blog, the site would all have to be a lower priority. Autumn passes in a blink, and I wanted to slow it down, focus on the splendor. I wanted to enjoy a chilly night staring at the spooky ambience around my house, and not be consumed by Likes. I wanted to enjoy shopping for ghoul things and not wonder what would make a more popular post. I didn't want to feel like I had to document every minute of my Halloween season. I've been mostly successful and I feel so much more grateful for every interaction about Halloween, both online and off.
Luckily, I think we have enough dedicated folks on the social media to take the mantle now. And there's more coming behind them. But that doesn’t mean I’m quitting. I could never quit Halloween. I still want to share a few ghastly things that I find, or horrible things that I have made. Most of the world will never see my haunted yard for themselves and the photos and videos will have to do. I take great effort to capture the feeling of my haunted house as best I can.
This site will remain viable and will be regularly updated. Thank you to those who have written and asked, 'Where is Señor Scary'. Beware! I continue to lurk in the darkest corners of the web (but doing so at my own pace). Thank you for visiting the site, and I hope you find some wicked inspiration for your Halloween.