Perhaps no other holiday has as much legend and lore, stories and symbols, or mythology and mystery connected to it as Halloween. Its origin dates back centuries and is tied to at least two separate traditions. The ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain, celebrating the end of the harvest, gave it much of the imagery that still exists today. While the Christian church’s celebration of All Saints Day on November 1st gave the holiday its connection to the dead and name for the night before, All Hallows Eve.
Since its religious beginnings, Halloween’s traditions, beliefs, and superstitions have all taken on a life of their own morphing into an enormous secular holiday with costumes, parties, parades, trick or treating, ghost stories, haunted houses, scary movies, and more. CBS Sunday Morning has compiled many of their best reports about all things Halloween in three volumes of videos covering all sorts of things that go bump in the night and send a chill up our spine every October 31st.
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Volume I features, “Faith Salie’s 2013 history of the spookiest musical instrument, the Theremin; Vicki Mabrey’s 1997 story on author Bram Stoker and his creation in 1897 of the vampire Count Dracula; from 1989, Bill Geist offers some neighborhood children valuable tips in “power trick-or-treating”; Martha Teichner’s 2004 profile of special effects master Stan Winston (1946-2008), who created fabulous movie monsters for “Aliens,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”; and from 2011, Tracy Smith explores alleged haunted houses and the craze of ghost hunters on reality TV.”
Volume II includes “from 2009, Anthony Mason examines the resurgence of zombies in pop culture, with “World War Z” author Max Brooks; from 2005, Mika Brzezinski explores the eternal question of life after death, and tours an exhibit of “spirit photography”; Charles Osgood looks at a Halloween favorite, candy corn; from 2000, Anthony Mason investigates the mysteries behind the death of writer Edgar Allen Poe, and talks with actor John Astin, starring as Poe in a one-man show; from 2006, John Blackstone meets the offspring of horror movie actors Lon Chaney Jr. and Boris Karloff, who talk about growing up with famous monsters; and from 2020, Luke Burbank takes a trip through a COVID-friendly haunted house ride – a spooky drive-thru car wash.”
Volume III concludes with “from 2018, Roxana Saberi visits the Swiss villa where the legend of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” was born; from 2017, Lee Cowan profiles horror film master John Carpenter (“Halloween,” “The Thing”); from 1991, Bill Geist attends a Halloween costume trade show; critic David Edelstein offers his pick for the scariest movie of all time; from 2018, Tracy Smith talks with Jordan Peele, director of a new horror classic, “Get Out”; and from 2017, Martha Teichner visits Savannah, Georgia, the “Most Haunted City in the United States,” and takes a tour with John Berendt, author of ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.’”