Halloween, a holiday made for scaring, inspires many Ramapo students to pay to be voluntarily frightened. Haunted houses, hay rides and even scary movies might evoke priceless reactions, but the experience itself is far from free.
“It’s a great way to kick off the fall season,” Melissa Aiello, sophomore, said.
According to America Haunts’ website, an estimated 1,200 haunted attractions charge admission fees in the United States alone. They have also estimated that there are over 300 amusement facilities producing some sort of Halloween or haunted house event, such as amusement parks, as well as over 3,000 charity attractions that are open for one day on Halloween and produced by local charity groups.
“Fright Fest at Six Flags is my all-time favorite. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t go,” said sophomore Chrismairy Acosta. “When Ramapo was offering tickets at a discounted price … that made my Halloween.”
The infatuation with being scared is by no means a recent phenomenon. Haunted attractions have a long history that dates back 2,000 years to a European group called The Celts. They believed that the dead returned to earth on Oct. 31. It was during this time where the living would pay homage to the deceased by giving offerings and sacrifices. History alone, however, does not explain society’s infatuation with being voluntarily frightened.
According to an article published by Today, hormones play a major role in the enjoyment of fear at haunted houses or other fright fests. The reaction people get from a hormone-induced adrenaline rush after being exposed to something potentially threatening makes them feel stronger — both emotionally and physically.
Ramapo, jumping in on the thrill-seeking trend, has also offered its own haunted attraction, the Birch Haunted Mansion. Turning the Birch Mansion into a twisted storybook-themed thrill, Alpha Psi Omega spent the night scaring people for fun. The event was considered a success by many of the participants.
“The Birch Mansion was a great aspect of Oktoberfest this year,” Monica Lucianna, a sophomore, said. “I was actually scared and had a great time.”
Whether it is for the adrenaline rush or just because it is part of the Halloween tradition, haunted attractions have become a major part of the holiday.
“Halloween is an escape from reality for a day,” said sophomore Liza Papageorgio. “Even for adults, you can put on a Halloween costume and forget about your bad day. My favorite tradition is staying up all night long binge watching scary movies with my sister."