Five stories that have North Texas talking: Don’t try wearing a mask when casting your early vote, the hidden story behind some of the creepiest nursery rhymes, the science of haunted houses, and more.
Today is the last day for Texans to cast their early vote before the Nov. 4 elections. Since early voting and Halloween coincide, you may be tempted to pull double-duty by wearing your costume to the polls. Here’s a tip: don’t. An election supervisor might see that as something called “electioneering.” That’s when a person wears clothes, buttons, or other items promoting a candidate inside or polling place or within 100 feet of the building.
If your Halloween plans don’t include dressing up as Greg Abbott or Wendy Davis, you should be in the clear. However, keep in mind that if you do wear a mask, election officials will need you to remove it – the voter ID law is in effect for this election.
“If someone has on a Batman mask, [officials would] ask you to remove it,” Tarrant County’ elections administrator Frank Phillips told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “But you could put it back on.”
Most polling places are open until 7 p.m. Find your nearest early voting location here.
- Thrill-seekers will be at haunted houses across North Texas tonight, but ever wondered why they’re so scary? KERA’s Lauren Silverman digs into the science behind the scare, which is all thanks to two parts of the brain. However, it can be a challenge for haunted house operators to create a consistently terrifying experience. “It’s easy to scare one person,” says Allen Hopps, the artistic director at Plano’s Dark Hour. “When you have to scare 10,000 people, or 20,000 people, that gets very hard.”
- Expect to see a fair share of Ebola-themed Halloween costumes. After two Dallas nurses contracted the virus, many people don’t find the disease something to laugh at. But as University of Maryland professor Jo B Paoletti told NPR, dressing as the virus for Halloween may be a way for some to express their fear about it. However, there was no 1918 “Influenza Nurse” costume in the early 1900s. Lesley Bannatyne, the author of Halloween, An American Holiday, says kids were the only ones who dressed up for a while. "It wasn't until adults got involved that we got costumes with satire, edginess or humor," she says. Bannatyne believes that the adult costume trend didn’t take off until the 1970s.
- For a different kind of scare, put down your dog-eared copy of Goosebumps and pick up a book of nursery rhymes instead. KERA’s Courtney Collins talked to one SMU professor, who shares some creepy stories behind some classic nursery rhymes. Listen to the radio story for extra chills.
- Speaking of chills, bring a jacket as you head out for Halloween festivities. The National Weather Service promises cooler temperatures, with lows in the 50s as the night goes on. There won’t be any melting chocolate tonight.