Death metal: Unmasking the haunting rhythms of Halloween

Discover Halloween’s haunting serenade of death metal, where the sinister becomes strangely beautiful.

As Halloween creeps upon us, people flock to their favourite horror movies featuring psychotic slashers and insatiable monsters. But what if I told you that there’s music centred around these themes that we love to delve into during the spooky season?

Drumroll, please… Death metal!

In the late 80s, pioneered by bands like Death, Cannibal Corpse and Entombed, the death metal genre challenged the norms of mainstream music, pushing boundaries not only through their exploration of themes related to violence, death and misanthropy but also by delivering their message through ferocious guitar solos and guttural vocals, like the bellowing of mythical monsters from the abyss, that truly defined the genre. 

Death metal captures the human fascination with death, providing an artistic outlet to confront mortality. Like horror movies, it offers an adrenaline rush and a controlled space to engage with fear and dark aspects of life. 

Chuck Schuldiner, Death band founder and ardent horror movie enthusiast, holds a pivotal place in the evolution of death metal. Their early albums, like Scream Bloody Gore, took inspiration from horror movies with track 9, “Evil Dead,” paying homage to the 1981 American supernatural horror film of the same name.

While death metal lyrics often delve into and draw inspiration from gruesome themes, they are not necessarily devoid of meaning. Many bands use these themes as metaphors for deeper societal or personal issues. 

Schuldiner’s band often explored the fragility of human existence and the consequences of choice in their songs. They proved that the genre is a lot more than just screams and blast beats (despite what your parents may say). It’s a deep dive into the human psyche, and the intense tunes and dark lyrics make you think about the mysteries of life and where our faith lies afterwards. 

For example, the song “Flesh and the Power it Holds” from their 1998 album The Sound of Perseverance encapsulates this depth of introspection. With lines like, “When you live the flesh, it’s the beginning of the end… / Passion is a poison laced with pleasure bitter-sweet / One of many faces that hides deep beneath,” they explore the transient nature of life, the paradox of passionate emotions and the multifaceted layers of human existence, evoking feelings of contemplation and introspection. 

It doesn’t necessarily seek to romanticize or trivialize death but rather offers a controlled, thought-provoking platform for individuals to navigate their emotions and reflections on the subject. Marcus Gavita, a first-year journalism student at Concordia, expressed, “Death metal typically goes very fast…It allows me to express myself, to get anger or energy out, but without doing it myself. It’s a kind of release.” 

One of the intriguing aspects is the paradoxical beauty within its brutality. Beneath the surface lies a technically demanding realm. Death metal guitar solos evoke a visceral sensation, as if the strings themselves are conduits of unrestrained energy, paired with relentless drumming against unconventional time signatures that twist and twirl to create a whirlwind of musical mayhem that showcases the incredible skill of the musicians. It’s as though the chaos and aggression are meticulously sculpted to create a sinister, symphonic beauty.

To put it in perspective, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” cruises at a tempo of 96 beats per minute. Meanwhile, in the same time frame, Cannibal Corpse’s drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz pummels his drum kit to smithereens during the opening of “Hammer Smashed Face” at a whopping 192 beats per minute.

Death metal’s connection to Halloween isn’t inherent, yet it makes for a fitting seasonal soundtrack, its themes and atmosphere aligning with the spooky holiday. As the haunting night approaches, it reminds us that exploring life’s darker facets can be captivating. Beyond its reputation for violence and gore, it offers diverse interpretations and sources of enjoyment, from the sheer musical intensity to its intricate layers. Embrace the eerie melodies and let your Halloween be filled with the enchantment of death metal.

Arts and Culture Community

Are we Canada’s eerie city?

Montréal might not be Salem…but we’ve got spooky history too!

If you’re from North America, you probably associate Halloween with Salem, Massachusetts, right? That checks out—the Salem Witch Trials  are something we learn about in high school. Personally, I knew of the trials long before we began studying The Crucible in twelfth grade.

Growing up, my mum told me about all the ghoulish things she had experienced over the years—seeing ghosts, spirits, and visiting Salem in 1997. She told me about a re-enactment of a witch trial: “Actors would shout, ‘Hang the witches!’ and children would cry because it would be one of their moms.  Then if it was a girl born into that family  she would automatically be assumed to be a witch as well.” Is that not the coolest? 

Salem, established 1626, had experienced two decades of eerie events before Montréal was established in 1642. The settlers of  New France and New England were new to the land, new to the power that comes with imposing their beliefs, and new to the resulting threats—all of which naturally aroused a suspicious and ominous atmosphere. Rumours and paranoia contributed to the beginnings of the Salem Witch Trials in the spring of 1692. From today’s perspective, the backwards legacy of the trials makes for great  Halloween lore and makes Salem, as my mum can attest, an enthralling tourist attraction. 

So, did Montréal have witches? Honestly, who knows—and if we did, their fate would not have been similar to that of those in New England. At most, they’d have been banished. The closest we got were a few trials, notably that of Anne Lamarque who allegedly owned a book of magic and spells, but due to popular indifference, wasn’t convicted. 

The story surrounding Barbe Hallé is also popular, and one that Concordia history majors may have learned about in their lectures. While Hallé was not tried for being a witch, she did experience some pretty freaky stuff, such as demonic visions and paranoia, which led her to move to l’Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, run under a French canoness named Catherine de Saint-Augustin. Under the care of religious figures, many episodes and supposedly an exorcism later, Hallé eventually returned to normal, and that was the end of that. So I guess you could say that Montréal, and New France overall, did not succumb to the witch paranoia that New England did. We had our own problems.

I think we’ve all taken a nightly stroll around old Montréal, especially Rue Saint Paul, the oldest street in the city. It’s said that many apparitions come to life on Rue Saint Paul, notably the ghost of an enslaved woman, Marie-Joseph Angélique, who was accused of arson with the burning of 45 houses and a hospital along Rue Saint Paul, tortured and hanged in 1734. Many say that her ghostly figure roams the street, seeking revenge for her execution. 

If you’ve braved the set of stairs up and over the old Champ de Mars military parade ground to get to Old Montréal, you’ve definitely walked through Place Vauquelin. Trapped beneath that beauty, is something a bit darker: the first Montréal Prison, which housed some pretty atrocious prisoners who were publicly executed. Now, all that remains are old cells beneath the square. City workers avoid the old dungeon because of a sense of claustrophobia, fear, and dread. Cold spots, muffled sounds, and disembodied voices are reported frequently. Though it is hard to identify who may be haunting the ruins, the cold spots could be the pleads of John Collins, a drifter who froze to death in 1835. Disembodied voices could be remnants of Adolphus Dewey’s prayers: Dewey murdered his wife by slashing her wrists and throat with a razor, while  his own death was prolonged because his neck didn’t snap when he was hanged. 

I could not do this article justice without mentioning our mountain overlooking Montréal: the enchanting Mont Royal which is home to two cemeteries, Mount Royal and Notre-Dame-des-Neiges. One thing is certain, nothing is more haunting than a cemetery. In terms of the former, it has been reported that just after sunset, shadowy figures begin roaming the graveyard and lingering on its bluffs. Strange noises and paranormal activity are frequent, and ghostly images are often captured by ghost hunters. Our “main character” ghost? Supposedly an Algonquin warrior who frequently looks, with sorrowful and vengeful eyes, out over the cliffs to the city below. 

It’s interesting how places that are considered touristy and beautiful may have such a dark history. And I sincerely hope that you, the reader, learned an eerie thing or two from this piece. Maybe you’ll think of what’s really beneath Place Vauquelin the next time you hike up those steps.

Arts and Culture

Spooky, scary, strange short films at SPASM Festival

Viewers enjoy a bizarre cinematic experience at Plaza Theatre.

SPASM Festival is back for its 22nd edition, and it is freakier than ever! This one-of-a-kind annual event offers viewers a unique cinematic experience right in time for Halloween. On the program this year, from Oct. 18 to 31, are equally bizarre short films of all genres. These short films have been divided into themes, and the themes have been attributed to each evening of the festival. So far this year, SPASM has presented the “Sex” evening, the “WTF” evening, and the “Cabaret Trash” evening. All short films are haunting in their unique way, and are (most importantly) destined to an informed audience of 18 and above.

Still from short film “Wendigo” broadcasted during SPASM Festival.

The short films come in all shapes and forms: some of them are live action, some are animation. They last between one and 15 minutes, averaging about five minutes long. A few recurrent themes are nudity, sexual content, gore, and violence. The level of peculiarity varies greatly from one short film to another: they range from head-scratchers to mind-bending. Most movies are in French, others are in English or don’t include speech at all. Nevertheless, almost all films are easy to understand regardless of language. Some movies are very scary, others are not at all scary—some are even moving. There is a little bit of everything for everyone, except for the faint-hearted! 

Besides the content it broadcasts, another unusual aspect of SPASM Festival is that it offers viewers the option to watch the short films from the comfort of their home. Though there are live projections of the movies at the Plaza Theatre, SPASM’s website also offers the option to rent the short films online. Viewers can either buy a pass for the live projections, which gives them access to every evening of the festival in person, or they can buy an online pass, which unlocks every short film on the website. Otherwise, one-time tickets are also available for live projections and online movies. With those one-time tickets, viewers can pick and choose which thematic evenings interest them the most. All short films are available on SPASM’s website until Nov. 1. 

Projection night at Plaza Theatre. Photo by Julie Hey Lee.

SPASM also hosted a few spooky activities this year: a Halloween party on Oct. 28, Mega Horror Ciné-Quizz on Oct. 26, and its closing night on Oct. 31 will be a horror themed evening. For those who like to spend Halloween watching scary movies, it might be worth checking out SPASM’s lineup on Oct. 31!

Arts and Culture Student Life Theatre

The Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to Concordia!

FASA teamed up with CAST to put on a smashing live production of the legendary 1975 film.

Stilted dialogue, heavy makeup, fishnets, cheap wigs, sequences, musical numbers that just grasp the right keys, and dialogue so stiff it might crumble if you take it too seriously—nearly 50 years after its original release, the musical comedy tribute to science fiction films of the 30s and B movies from the late 40s to early 70s, The Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to Concordia for another year. 

To celebrate the excellent shadow performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show from Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) x Concordia Association of Student in Theatre (CAST) on Oct. 27, we will journey into a brief history of the film and how it became a cult classic to screen and perform every year on Halloween. Indeed, not despite, but rather because of the glorious gender-bending oddities of this film, Rocky Horror is a cultural powerhouse.

CAST actors reenacted Tthe Rocky Horror Picture Show. Courtesy of CAST. Photos by Ian McCormack and Kaleigh Wiens.

Originally titled They Came from Denton High, Richard O’Brien began work on a busy script to keep himself occupied between gigs. Something of an homage to his childhood of science fiction, rock and roll, B movies, and struggles with sexual identity, O’Brien eventually shared the script with theatre director Jim Sharman who saw the play’s potential and reserved a space in London’s Royal Court Theatre for O’Brien to bring the show to life. The original runtime was a mere 40 minutes, but the cast was more concerned with fun than phenomenal success. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show originally premiered in a small 60-seat venue, but quickly moved onto larger venues in London. The musical comedy horror caught the attention of Ode Records owner Lou Adler, who, charmed by the unique and campy heart of the performance, decided to purchase the U.S. theatrical rights to the show. He and film producer Michael White loved the musical so much that they wanted it adapted for the silver screen. 20th Century Fox did not share this faith, and gave the project a small budget of $1.6 million and six weeks to film. 

The film was finished without much oversight from the studio, and premiered at the UA Westwood Theatre in L.A in September 1975. The studio claimed that many of the people attending the sold-out shows were repeat offenders, but other test screenings received poor reviews from critics and general audiences. The national release was quickly cancelled, but the film continued screening at the Waverly Theatre (now called the IFC Center), an arthouse theatre specializing in midnight shows to salvage some money. 

From here, The Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings became, and continue to be, something of a festival. Adoring fans return screening after screening, year after year, making friends with other loyal fans of the mesmerizing dialogue and cues. This has led to the creation of a community who gathered around this film to celebrate and lovingly mock its quirks. Eventually, this has also evolved into playful heckling—for which the film is perhaps best known—as fans shout at the screen to mock the film, dialogue, and characters. 

The heckling tradition began with Louis Fariz yelling “Buy an umbrella you cheap bitch” to Janet, played by Susan Saradon, as she held a newspaper over her head as a shield from the rain. This became a culture of quick quips and other funny remarks intended to get a laugh out of the audience. Next, fans began dressing up like the film’s characters and eventually shadow-acting the film underneath the stage. Word quickly spread about the spectacle of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and midnight screenings popped up across the United States and into other countries, as many were interested to experience the antics and freedom of a film, experience, and community that centres personal expression and provides an opportunity to explore a new side of your gender and sexuality.

CAST actors reenacted Tthe Rocky Horror Picture Show. Courtesy of CAST. Photos by Ian McCormack and Kaleigh Wiens.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show creates a space to challenge social norms, to explore gender and sexual identities, and to find a community who accepts you regardless of the shade of cheap red lipstick kissing your lips. The film is the ritual, the film is the community. The film was put on wonderfully by FASA and CAST, and I recommend you catch it next year.

Arts and Culture

Trick or treat yourself to spooky fall reads

Whether you’re in the mood for a comfort read or an unsettling one, we have the book recommendation for you.

Not ready to let go of the spooky season yet? After spending two months reading strictly witchy books, thrillers, historical fiction and dark academia-type stories, I’ve compiled a few recommendations for my fellow fall-loving bookworms.

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for comfort reads, so let’s start with those. When I picked up The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston, I already knew it would be fun, but I did not expect this tear-jerking, pun-ny, cozy book. When ghostwriter Florence Day returns to her hometown for her father’s funeral, she encounters a ghost, who happens to be her very confused and very dead editor. This is a story of grief and loss coloured with humour and wholesome romance.

If you’re into the soft-hearted villain, grumpy x sunshine, (soft) enemies to lovers, and doomed romance tropes, pick up A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley. Mariel is a clumsy green witch who messes up a spell and accidentally summons Ozroth the Ruthless, a demon whose mission is to collect witch souls. This spicy rom-com had a cute environmental activism side-quest and fun world-building. A story of self-confidence, this is a feel-good read—but beware of emotional somersaults.

Because I am nothing if not diverse, here are eerie and (I cannot emphasize this enough) unsettling thrillers. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is artfully done. Noemí’s cousin mysteriously asks to be rescued from the house she just moved into with her new husband. When Noemí arrives, she realises every character is creepy, but the house itself is worse—it’s a living nightmare. This isn’t for the faint of heart and addresses disturbing themes (heavy trigger warnings). It’s an uncomfortable read, but a unique experience thanks to the author’s cinematic writing style.

Sharing that energy, my experience reading K. L. Cerra’s Such Pretty Flowers was tainted with utter disbelief and shock. If you’re looking for something macabre and twisted (again, heavy trigger warnings), this one was very weird and addictive. Holly, who has little to no survival instinct, is investigating her brother’s apparent suicide. The book features sapphic romance, gore and a creepy botanic cult. I literally had to put the book down and just stare into the ether at times before diving back in.

“Gourd” book picks to stretch out the fall season // Photo by Xavier Bastien-Ducharme

Moving into historical fiction, yours truly was enchanted to find Anna Maxymiw’s book, Minique. The story follows Minique through her life in New France as she grows up an odd child, suffers numerous tragedies and becomes an isolated witch. Minique is a man-scaring feminist, bold and authentic. As a witchcraft-loving Quebecer, I loved the references to local mythology, and Maxymiw’s lyrical writing felt like a legend in itself. If you loved The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and Circe, you’d probably enjoy this one too.

Because it’s midterm season and I needed something uplifting, I am currently reading and loving The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna, featuring a diverse cast and the heartwarming found-family trope. Secret witch Mika Moon receives an odd request: a family needs her help training three little witches with their magic. Charming in its colour and personality, this book is a wholesome escape with adorable characters and a side of romance.


This witch is here for the vibes

Oh, you’re obsessed with fall too? Let’s be friends.

Let’s talk—what is it about fall that gets the girlies going? And by “girlies,” I mean this girly, who’s been waiting to cozy up by the fireplace with a hot chocolate in hand, reading a good book or crocheting with her mom.

To me, August and September are just lead-ups to these moments and my trusty autumn playlist, featuring lots of moody Twilight soundtracks, haunting tunes, and nostalgic guitar songs (I’m looking at you, Noah Kahan). One might say it’s been summerween in my head for weeks now. I’ve been brainstorming Halloween costumes for three months.

Now it’s October, the pivotal month of fall. I’m ready to go apple and pumpkin picking, to witness the paint-splattered mountains along my beloved Laurentian roads. But beyond that, what is it about the spooky season that makes me crave the autumn vibes so badly?

Maybe it gives me an excuse to get into character instead of truly unveiling my inner witch. Something about tarot, astrology, crystals and herbal healing seems to give people the heebie-jeebies, which might prompt me to suppress some of my witchy interests. But in fall, it can all come loose, just like those gemstone leaves fluttering about. We can let ourselves be weird and witchy and indulge in pumpkin spice and everything nice. After all, we’re just matching the vibes, right?

The witch is one of the strongest archetypes that women incarnate. It represents the urge to stop withholding pure feminine power, the urge to unleash everything ugly and beautiful. In short, the urge to be authentic. The witch trials may be a piece of the past, but the fear remains—what if I say or do the wrong thing? I think our fascination with the autumn vibes stems from wishing we could be extravagantly colourful and blissfully uninhibited, while also being kind to ourselves when change is all around us.

The girlies who are in love with autumn are in love with the peace and the silence—a self-imposed break that nature gifts itself. They’re in love with the softness with which nature transitions from one chapter to another. They’re romanticizing something simple, yet inherently powerful: we can’t stop change, but we can admire it and resiliently look forward to the space it leaves for something new. No matter the changes, fall will always be a welcome return to comfort and tradition, with a dash of magic over the mundane.

As October waltzes in, I’ll be trying to embrace the (not so) dark academia season at Concordia with a creepy thriller in hand. Autumn is my yearly reminder to slow down and taste the apples, smell the fallen leaves, and feel the comforting breeze through my knit sweater—that’s what gets this girly going. 

This girly, whose dad always encourages her to wear her costume when she gets sad that nobody loves Halloween as much as she does. This girly, whose mom watches Practical Magic every October with her, soaking up how admirable empowered women are. This girly, who’s having a hard time adulting and whose baby inner witch is just waiting to come out and play.

Come on out now. Lana Del Rey says it’s the season of the witch.

Briefs News

Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec launches campaign to fight the eroticization of nursing

According to the OIIQ nurses, the imagery surrounding their profession around Halloween is scary

The Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ) launched a social media campaign last week asking Quebecers to think twice before leaving the house with a stereotypically-suggestive nurse costume this Halloween.

“The profession has evolved, but the stereotypes persist,” stated Luc Mathieu, president of the OIIQ, on the campaign’s webpage. “The choices offered in-store or online are scary! The eroticization of the profession is socially and professionally unacceptable. Nurses practice a scientific profession and their expertise must be better known and valued. It is time for perceptions to change.”

In a video posted to their Instagram page, the OIIQ presents the image of the classic nurse costume as nothing short of scary.

“It’s Halloween, you are looking for a nurse costume,” the video states. After a quick google search, a multitude of sexy nurse costumes pop up on screen, followed by the words: “It’s scary.”

The video then shows nurses in their more conventional scrubs, emphasizing that this attire gives them “a much more credible costume to value the profession.”

“Nurses take care of us, let’s take care of their image.”

The goal for this campaign is to ultimately make people abandon the fetishized nurse costume, and contribute to a more realistic image and perception of the profession.

With over 82,000 members, the OIIQ is the biggest professional order in the health sector of Quebec, representing the interests of nurses around the province.

The campaign will help protect and garner a respectful image of nurses in our province.


Orange you pumped for Halloween?

Citrouilleville, a pumpkin village located one hour away from Montreal.

For all you fall fanatics out there, I have a fall activity that is a one hour drive from Montreal. 

Citrouilleville credits itself to be ”the most original pumpkin village in Quebec.” 

It is a little pumpkin village that is located in Saint-Zotique at the Ferme Benoit Vernier. 

This pumpkin village features an abundance of activities. Citrouilleville is not only family friendly but dog friendly as well! 

The creators of the pumpkin village got extremely creative and built various houses made out of pumpkins, and many vintage cars that you can pose with. 

These vintage cars include a Volkswagen beetle, a Volkswagen bus and a Dodge pickup truck.

For the lovers out there, they’ve also set up a kissing booth.

Around the farm you can get whisked away in a tractor ride, or you can choose to get lost in the cornfield maze that they have set up.

On weekends, Citrouilleville has a lot of activities set up for kids. The staff put on performances for kids at different times on Saturdays and Sundays, and children can also indulge in facepainting and carnival games offered on-site. 

The other nice thing about Citrouilleville is that they offer $1 squashes sold on-site as well as lots of different sizes of pumpkins. They also sell a variety of handmade goods like local honey and handmade jewelry. 

There are snacks offered if you want to grab a bite to eat, including freshly popped popcorn (the smell wafts through the farm and honestly makes you salivate), corn on the cob, etc.

If you choose to visit the site at night, you will be dazzled by the lights that line the paths around the farm.

Citrouilleville is open on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Sundays, they are open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Admission is $17.50 for adults. Visitors can buy their tickets online and on-site. 

Aside from weekends, they are exclusively open on Thanksgiving, Oct. 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as on Halloween, from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.



The Concordian staff’s favourite Halloween books

Why not opt for a chilling read in lieu of a horror movie this Halloween? We’ve got some creepy suggestions for you!

Instead of engaging in the typical Netflix horror movie binge each October, why not spice things up this year and opt for a chilling book instead? Here are some spooky reading material recommendations from our staff members that are sure to give you goosebumps!

Ashley Fish-Robertson, Arts Editor

If you’re like me and you find yourself falling prey to every jumpscare in a horror movie, a spooky book can be a better alternative. For those seeking a short read that packs a punch, In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami won’t disappoint. This gruesome, fast-paced story takes place in Tokyo and follows Kenji, a young Japanese tourist guide, who suspects that one of his customers may be behind a string of violent murders. Cue the eerie music.

If you’re not looking to commit to a novel because the midterm season has deprived you of the joy that comes from reading, I’d recommend turning to Junji Ito’s manga, specifically Gyo. Between Ito’s masterful albeit nightmarish illustrations and the book’s palpable suspense, you may find yourself devouring Gyo within a day or two.

Mélina Lévesque, Features Editor 

Full. Body. Chills. That is exactly what I felt when diving into Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient. This psychological thriller will keep you up all night, enticing you to endlessly rip through each and every page to find out what happens next. After shooting her husband five times, Alicia Berenson is placed in a secure psychiatric unit, and never speaks another word. Freaky, right? We follow criminal psychotherapist, Theo Faber, on his mission to unpack Alicia Berenson’s story.

Michaelides’ storytelling will seriously make you feel like you’re silently tiptoeing behind each character, desperately trying to stay hidden and out of danger as you watch disturbing events unfold. He really takes you right to the scene. Don’t even get me started on the ending. *SPOILER ALERT* You won’t see it coming. Trust me.

Lucy Farcnik, Copy Editor

For those not super into gore, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia provides a suitably unsettling combination of psychological horror and historical fiction. It follows socialite Noemí Taboada, who goes to visit her cousin Catalina and her new English husband after receiving a disturbing letter from her. She finds a burnt-out mining town, a new love, a terrifying family, and a house that is more than what it seems. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but this just adds to the creep factor. The author also curated a playlist to go along with the book, which really sets the tone!

Victor Vigas, Music Editor 

This isn’t a Halloween book, but it certainly spooked me. Misery by Stephen King is the only book to really creep up my spine and freak me out. The story follows novelist Paul Sheldon after being kidnapped by a superfan, Annie Wilkes. The novel’s textured prose invites readers to get lost into what quickly becomes a haunting and gruesome tale. When the prose meanders into tangents of introspection, it gives readers space to digest every horror that’s been laid out prior. If it is any indication of how crazy this book can get, King said in an interview that out of any character he’s written, the character of Annie would be the worst lockdown partner during COVID-19. That’s big talk coming from the same guy who wrote a book about a clown that feasts on children. In any case, Stephen King threads the needle masterfully in this book, and will easily spook readers at any time of the year.

James Fay, Graphics Editor

For something as playful as it is dark, I would recommend Edward Gorey’s Amphigorey,  a collection of  comics that includes The Gashlycrumb Tinies and The Doubtful Guest. The stories appear as though they are meant to be read to children, but the content and art style brings you to a much darker place. The Gashlycrumb Tinies list children alphabetically, as if to teach readers the alphabet, but each child is meeting their untimely demise in one way or another. For example: “J is for James who took Lye by Mistake.” The art is a particular selling point for me, giving off a sketchy gothic look for all of the Victorian characters and settings.

Hadassah Alencar, Editor-in-Chief

Remember the joy of reading a scary novel as a child? It’s that feeling of losing yourself in a book until late, but knowing deep down the suspense will make you keep your light on for the night. Even now that we’re older, there’s a special nostalgia in reading your favourite classics and re-discovering the story. For me, it’s been The Witches by Roald Dahl; a fantasy story featuring a boy and his grandmother in a world where a community of secretive, child-hating witches exist around the world. While I have not forgotten the main story plot, I find there’s so much I haven’t held on to all these years. The experience feels like I’m riding a roller coaster: I can foretell when the suspense will build and climax, but even so I love the ride.


Visuals courtesy of James Fay

Horror in Paradise

Spooky new statistics show a major uptick in breakups due to couples costumes this Halloween season, as reported in a study by a local ghoul. The study was conducted with hundreds of couples aged 18 to 28 in Montreal, but is representative of a greater worldwide trend.

Students make up 66.6 per cent of the demographic surveyed, with 13 per cent of them being Concordians. Of the Concordia students, a dismal two per cent of couples are slated to survive this Halloweekend without breaking up over their costume, and one per cent is expected to make it through without a heated screaming match.

“My girlfriend wanted us to dress up as peanut butter and jelly,” said Ben Shee, a third-year computer science student. “Normally, I’d be all for a couple’s costume, but I’m literally allergic to peanuts,” he said tearfully during a phone interview. Shee explained that after he vetoed this idea, his girlfriend dumped him because he wasn’t accommodating her need to wear the thrifted pink crushed velvet dress she had gotten specifically for the occasion.

Perry Noid is a second-year sociology major who broke up with his boyfriend because of their indecision. “One day he wanted to be Toopy and Binoo, the next day he was set on Linguini and Ratatouille.” Noid lamented his six midterms in the coming hours, and his lack of time to deliberate and plan their outfits.

“Don’t you think my degree is more important than a costume?” he remembered saying to his partner, who replied, “‘Absolutely not.’” From there, Noid explained that there was nothing else to do other than end the relationship and dress as a Montreal Canadiens player for the seventh straight year.

Dating expert Diane Rott noted that this year’s breakup numbers greatly surpass those in the past, and attributes this phenomenon to what she dubs a “high-stakes-Halloween.” Those who have yet to soft-launch their relationships need a clear and concrete way to claim their beloved in a sea of Britney Spears and cats, and therefore turn to couples costumes. However, since people are so excited to properly celebrate Halloween after last year’s terrifying turn of events, they place an absurd amount of pressure on themselves to have the best costume and the best time, throwing all concern for the person they’re with out the window.

So, dear Concordia couples, please beware of these gruesome figures, and remember, the only thing scarier than being alone is having a lame costume.


Feature graphic by Madeline Schmidt


A memorable Halloween night for children across the province amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Kids and parents kept their “spirits” up on Halloween

A few weeks ago, Quebec Premier François Legault gave children the OK to trick-or-treat on Halloween despite the current pandemic.

However, the premier stated during a press conference that there were two rules to follow. One: “Children will have to stay with the people they live with,” and two: “People who give candies will have to stay at two-metres [distance from trick-or-treaters].”

Social Distancing Rules

For the most part, people respected rule number one that night. Most kids seemed to be with their immediate family members. Additionally, families kept a two-metre distance while anxiously waiting in line to get candy.

A few older kids bent the rules and went trick-or-treating with friends that did not live at the same address as them.

“The cases are already high, it doesn’t change anything if we go together or not,” stated 11-year-old Grace* who went trick-or-treating with two of her friends from school. She also added, “It’s really hard not to see my friends on Halloween.”

Outstanding Creativity

“Houses found incredibly original and ingenious ways to give out candy without having to get close to the children,” stated David Bruno, a father of two who resides in Town of Mount Royal (TMR).

Many stood on their porches and used PVC pipes to shoot candy down the tube as kids collected it in their bags. Some created DIY candy scoopers using shovels and other household tools. One lady even rolled up an old carpet and shot the candy down that.

Some households left bowls of candy in front of their houses for the children to take, and a few created creepy displays for children to interact with as they grabbed their treats. These displays featured scary carved pumpkins, frightening props, and even fog from smoke machines. Some households spoke to children via their doorbell speaker systems to spook them as they took candy.

“My favorite display was a house where a couple dressed as fishermen and gave out candy with a fishing rod,” said Bruno.

However, a few houses still gave out candy the old fashioned way, where kids rang the doorbell. Some wore no masks, despite public health recommendations to wear a mask when you’re not socially distancing.

Halloween Traditions Continue

Annie Dupe, a mother of two from TMR was not too worried about letting her kids trick-or-treat this year, saying, “I feel confident because lots of people are taking adequate measures to avoid contaminating others.” She also expressed that, due to the difficult circumstances, it was important to celebrate Halloween this year.

“It’s a beautiful celebration. We need to celebrate it to keep our spirits up.”

During this challenging time, children could have fun, be kids and forget about all the horrible things happening in the world.

“I think this Halloween was super fun. It was the funnest one,” stated four-year-old Carl enthusiastically.

Overall, the spirit of Halloween is still alive despite the pandemic. It’s great to see that people are willing to adapt to keep Halloween traditions alive while respecting government safety regulations.




*This name has been changed to protect the subject’s identity.


Photo by Kiana Gomes

Sick or treat!: Halloween, pandemic edition

Wishing you a spooky COVID Halloween!

It’s hard to be festive during a partial lockdown. Though last year Halloween was cancelled because of bad weather, this year, the pandemic is the one who has set the brakes on our Halloween cheer.

I feel especially disappointed for the children whose trick-or treating-experience is going to be a careful endeavour. Growing up, this tradition was the only time of the year that my mom would allow my sister and I to raise our blood sugar levels that high. At the time, the most dangerous part of going door-to-door and meeting complete strangers for free treats was to inadvertently ingest poison, drugs, or needles just like the horror stories warned us about on the news. Part of the experience was also to show up to school the next day with all the candy we didn’t like (i.e. Tootsie Rolls) and hope to find something to our taste during the annual post-Halloween barter with our friends.

As we grew older, going out for Halloween became a much less COVID-safe activity, though we upkept the culture of spoiling ourselves for one day. I can’t say I’m not jealous of my past self who was able to see her friends at crowded house parties.

For me, it was also an opportunity to meet up with people I hadn’t seen in ages; our increasingly busy schedules are already pushing us away from our friends for longer than we would like them to.

Halloween is the first festive event that has really made me feel the effects of the pandemic on our celebrations. Christmas seemed really far away when we first started confining, and my family is too small for our Thanksgiving dinner to be a big problem. But knowing that the day after Halloween inevitably marks the first acceptable moment in the year to start playing Christmas songs, it feels weird to suddenly find myself needing to change my traditions.

I asked university students what their plans for Halloween were this year, to see if the season’s spirit will still be honoured despite our red zone restrictions. Here’s what they had to say:

Catherine Jarry, Concordia: Movie marathon, pumpkin carving, and cupcake decoration!

Alain Kalubi, UQAM: Like I’ll spend Christmas: bored in my room.

Bryanna Frankel, Concordia: Giving out candy, then going to Illumi!

Mégane Dandurand, UDEM: Cramming school projects.

Sannie Chie, University of Toronto: Gonna show up to Zoom class all dressed up.

Nanor Froundjian, Concordia: Dressing up as the devil and sipping on some boogie wine (mixed with some tears).

Marie Figuereo, Concordia: Home, baking, and movies!

Emmanuelle Morin, McGill: Might watch movies with two friends!

Hopefully, Montrealers’ Oct. 31st activities, however safe the restrictions required them to be, still celebrated the one day of the year we can be somebody (or thing) else. Happy Halloween!


Feature graphic by Taylor Reddam

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