From Haunted Houses To Death Lore, Explore These Cool, Freaky Halloween Things | KERA News

From Haunted Houses To Death Lore, Explore These Cool, Freaky Halloween Things

Oct 30, 2015

Boo! Did we scare you? Happy Halloween, y’all! To get you in the mood, here’s a frightening Halloween roundup. (OK, it’s not too scary – we are public media, after all …)

The little ghosts and goblins will rob you of the candy Saturday night. (But, once your kiddos go to sleep, you can always pick through their loot!)

Take a haunted house tour! Everyone loves a good scare – especially this time of year. Internationally-known photojournalist Misty Keasler got a behind-the-scenes look at one of the largest haunted house attractions in North Texas, a place called Thrillvania, which is east of Dallas in Terrell. Keasler talks about her photos, which appeared in the October issue of D Magazine. Read more – if you dare!

Why are haunted houses so scary? Did you know professional haunted houses use high-tech scare methods to make you scream? Even neuroscientist Christa McIntyre-Rodriguez, who works at the University of Texas at Dallas, is spooked out by the strange growls. She says that gut reaction is your flight-or-fight response kicking in, which is controlled by a part of the brain called the amygdala. Learn more – if you can handle it!

Ready to get your spook on? This week is prime time to take tours of dirty, dark haunted houses, filled with cobwebs, ghosts, mysterious noises, bloodcurdling screams and kooky creatures -- if you dare. After all, you might not get out alive. And if you do, the hair-raising experience could haunt your dreams for years to come. Take a blood-curdling tour of other haunted houses.

Forget ghosts and goblins. Nothing strikes fear quite like death, which is why there are a lot of superstitions about it. Those superstitions are the focus of a book called Death Lore: Texas Rituals, Superstitions, and Legends of the Hereafter. Author Ken Untiedt is a professor at Stephen F. Austin University and he’s with the Texas Folklore Society. He talks about coffins, why we wear black at funerals and why we’re so freaked out about death. Are you scared stiff yet? Explore!

Even nursery rhymes are frightening! Themes in these rhymes range from infanticide to political treachery, and when you find out what most of these poems are really about, it can be downright scary. We’ve decoded six nursery rhymes. So spooky!

Ready for Día de los Muertos? Texas Standard reports: “It's been a recent switch, but Día de los Muertos (at least in Texas) is no longer what it once was: a solemn remembrance of those who've left us. For better or worse, nowadays it's a pop-culture extravaganza.” Watch Laura Rice transform from a Texas Standard producer into La Catrina. Freaky!

Dirk Nowitzki's getting in the Halloween spirit, too. He isn’t just a star Dallas Mavericks player – he makes a pretty convincing Lurch from The Addams Family. The Dallas Mavericks had a Halloween party over the weekend and Nowitzki showed up as Lurch. The reviews are in … and they are very, very good … says: “Dirk Nowitzki might be getting older but he can still rock a Halloween costume with the best of them.” ESPN says: “Why isn't Nowitzki Lurch every Halloween? And at all costume parties? And in parody sketches and maybe on even just some random days, for fun?” Fox Sports says: “Somethings are so perfect that you wonder how they have never happened before a certain time.”

Boo! The weekend forecast calls for rain, but hopefully the rain clears by prime trick-or-treating time Saturday night. KERA’s Art&Seek explores seven solutions for a rainy Halloween.

KERA's Jeff Whittington, Lauren Silverman, Courtney Collins, Therese Powell and Krystina Martinez contributed to this roundup.