From the Editors: October 2023
Spooky season remains a sensation
The month of October is having a moment.
With #trending autumnal obsessions gaining major ground — whether it's the overabundance of pumpkin-patches-turned-all-out-theme-parks (with the cost of entry mirroring that shift), fall festivals happening every weekend in October (and many days in between), or the estimated $10.6 billion expected to be spent on Halloween-related merchandise in America, it feels like Spooky Season is starting to outpace Christmas.
And although it may seem so, with the advent of social media filling us in on the obsessions of everyone we've ever met, our fascination with the true spirit of Halloween — ghosts, zombies, and the dead in general — is nothing new. Corpses being reanimated or coming back from the dead has been a part of human culture for millennia. The Bible has too many resurrection stories to list (one major one in particular, ahem). We started telling stories in America of ghosts and zombies as far back as the 1600s and we've never really stopped.
Our obsession with scaring ourselves with stories of the dead starts in childhood — think sleepovers with burning candles and Ouija boards, reading R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike books with a flashlight under your covers, watching horror movies huddled in the dark, exploring Axe Murder Hollow, and sharing stories around a campfire of the legend of the Vampire Crypt or Witches Circle at the Erie Cemetery.
As we grow up, this obsession can mingle with grief, as we try to contact those we have lost through a medium on a visit to the legendary nearby Spiritualist hamlet of Lily Dale. Or deep-dive into research, learning about those people who once lived in our region hundreds of years ago, and telling their stories.
In this October issue, we're covering all of the #fallvibes — from listing all of the Fall Fests we could muster, to watching scary movies come to life on the stage with Misery coming to the Erie Playhouse, and getting into our creepiest costumes for the upcoming Basement of Terror concert at Basement Transmissions. We've also taken inspo from our incredible cover (created by the G.O.A.T. "Monster" Mark Kosobucki) and shared spooky legends from the Erie Cemetery, discovered some ghosts from Erie's past, unearthed the story of a violent heist from Crawford County's oil boom days, and communed with the dead at Lily Dale.
Whether you have an Instagrammable October full of apple orchards and flannel shirts, a terrifyingly haunted month of ghost stories, gory decorations, and horror movies, or if you'd rather just cozy up with the ghosts in your own home, we at the Reader wish you the spookiest of seasons, however you choose to celebrate.