“To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls.”
– Shirley Jackson, “The Haunting of Hill House”
Halloween season is upon us, and the Weekender staff got so much into the spirit of it that this week’s issue is entirely inspired by the affect of Halloween. In our writings, we confront the things that make us look over our shoulder at night and the monsters that lurk underneath our beds. But we also consider the humanity of terror and turn to both ourselves and the outside world to find meaning in this humanity.
In a very tangible exploration of the Halloween season, staff writer Alex Dang ventured all the way out to the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, humorously commenting on the celebration he found there.
Media and history were key parts of our conversations. Staff writer Sarah Frechette discussed the history of witch hunts and their social implications, bringing light to the sexism that characterized these hunts and how media now represents witches as a result. Also turning to gender bias, staff writer Ashley Soliman commented on the recent “Joker” film and how it underscores societal influences on violence.
And in a long-form commentary, Weekender editor Alex Jiménez looked back on the history of queerness in a selection of classic horror novels and their adaptations, which have recently received reboots that feature better queer representation than their predecessors.
This week’s issue also features two personal essays. Staff writer Kris Shin reflected on the 1981 Polish film “Possession” and its cathartic importance both to herself and to other women. Assistant editor Sarena Kuhn charmingly looked back on the abundant, now-outgrown fears she had as a child.
It wouldn’t be a true Weekender issue without creative endeavors. Alongside our more factual accounts, we present two works of short horror fiction: The first is a tale of what can happen when you’re left alone in a new place by staff writer Holly Burns, the second is a tale of cults and memory by staff writer Aliya Haas Blinman.
Last but not least is an eerie poem by staff writer Paige Prudhon, whose haunting words were inspired by an equally haunting antique photo of a woman holding a child.