Anyone who is a huge fan of Hallowe’en (like me) most likely knows the history
behind the holiday. Some of its background has roots in the
end-of-summer festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-ane or sow-in), a
Celtic festival that celebrated the end of the “light half” of the year
and the transition into the “dark half”.
Over the years, the pagan and Celtic aspects of All Hallows’ Even
were gradually replaced by more Christianized elements, which caused the
holiday to evolve into more like what is celebrated today. Yet despite
theses changes, the original Celtic, Pagan, and Wiccan aspects of what
is now Hallowe’en have never really gone away. Many people still
recognize these facets of the ancient festival – and in many cases –
still celebrate them.
This is especially true when it comes to modern fiction, especially
in movies and television. Shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer and
movies like Halloween III: Season of the Witch incorporate the Celtic, Pagan, and/ or Wiccan practices into their Hallowe’en-themed plotlines. One popular way in
which this is done is by making Samhain a physical manifestation of the
essence of Hallowe’en, imbuing him with supernatural power. He often
uses this power to protect and preserve the holiday.
Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I offer you my two favorite incarnations of this Spirit of Hallowe’en…
Sam, From the Film Trick ‘r Treat
really love this movie. I just can’t shut up about it. Seriously. An
instant Hallowe’en classic, this film follows five different,
intersecting storylines in which characters break the traditions
associated with the autumn holiday.
This is where Sam comes in. Dressed in footie pajamas and wearing a
burlap sack over his head, Sam looks like he might be just another
trick-or-treater. In reality, he’s the physical manifestation of
Samhain, whose sole purpose is to punish everyone who breaks the
And punish he does. Like a pint-sized terror, Sam’s creepy,
burlapped visage pops up frequently throughout the movie, doling out
just desserts either directly or indirectly to each individual who fails
to observe tradition. Sam’s nocturnal activities, as well as his
visual design, help propel him into immediate horror icon status
alongside the greats like Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, and Michael
Myers. In fact, NECA had created an action figure of him long before
the film had been released (shown above)! Not bad for an entity whose
reputation precedes him by several centuries.
Sam Hain, From “The Real Ghostbusters”
This version of the patron saint of All Hallows’ Eve proved to be one
of the best “villains” of this popular, animated series, mainly due to
the fact that his episodes were written by J. Michael Straczynski. He
showed up in two episodes of the original series, and then made a return
performance in the “Ghostbusters Extreme” animated series.
This guy is quite the hellion – sinister, manipulative, powerful.
His position in the grand scheme of Hallowe’en differs from Sam’s in
that instead of just wandering around castigating those who don’t follow
the laws of the We’en, this ugly, red, source of all evil commanded an
army of demonic minions. His goal? To cast the world into eternal
Hallowe’en. Quite a nefarious scheme (and all the Hallowe’en fans
scream “yay!”). The GBs were able to trap him, but it wouldn’t be long
before he escaped from the containment unit, seized the firehouse and
attempted to invoke his All Hallows’ Evils once again. Even though he
was defeated by the Ghostbusters a second time, this entity proved that
he was not a force to be reckoned with.
This concludes my Hallowe’en offering here in the sewers. But there’s no need to fret, boils and ghouls. There are still a couple of days left
until the darkest night of the year is upon us. Until then, grab yourself a
hot beverage of choice, settle yourself in with your favorite scary
movie (might I recommend Trick ‘r Treat?), get your costume ready, and have that bowl of candy set up for those little, monsterish hands that will be grabbing at will.