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Social media has had an enormous impact on every single aspect of our lives, so it’s no surprise that social media has fundamentally changed the way we experience Halloween. Here are four of the ways that Halloween has changed in just the past few years:
The Viral Meme Costume
Remember back to your childhood, when people used to get dressed up as famous historical figures, fairy tale characters or instantly recognizable heroes or villains? Over time, costumes have steadily evolved, and now what we’re seeing is the rise of what can best be called the “viral meme costume.”
Which is to say that the costume is not necessarily a real character at all – it’s just some concept or idea that went viral on the Internet. No doubt, there will be people dressed up as “Bad Hombres” this Halloween after Donald Trump used that term in the third presidential debate.
The risk in all this, of course, is that viral memes are notoriously short-lived. So what might have seemed like a great idea a month before Halloween might seem a bit “dated” by the time you’re ready to go out trick-or-treating.
The Pinterest Pumpkin
Back in the day, carving a jack-o-lantern was a pretty basic endeavor. You’d buy a big pumpkin, carve a smile in it, and you’d be done. But visual social media networks like Pinterest and Instagram have forced everyone to up their game. Have you seen all those amazing pumpkin pins and photos people post every year? This year, people are creating “Trumpkins” – highly stylized pumpkins made with straw on top and an angry Trump-like scowl.
Halloween Makeup Effect Videos
There’s a huge archive of “Halloween Makeup Effects” videos on YouTube that will teach you how to turn yourself into just about any scary creature out there. This goes way beyond just buying some fake blood and hoping to scare a few friends with a severed finger. When you watch videos on a YouTube channel like Ellimacs SFX Makeup, you’ll get step-by-step, detailed video tutorials on how to transform yourself into a witch, a Cheshire Cat, a zombie or a werewolf, among others. It’s like having personal access to a team of Hollywood special effects experts.
Personalized Haunted Houses
What’s scarier than going to a haunted house and seeing a tombstone with your name and date of death on it? Or seeing pictures of your loved ones covered in blood? That’s the premise of “The Nest” haunted house in Chandler, Arizona, which has been called “the scariest haunted house in America.” Prior to entering the haunted house, visitors hand over information from their social media accounts, and the haunted house operators go to work, crafting a very chilling experience that’s been customized to scare them the most.
Ultimately, social media has made Halloween more social. It is now a holiday that you celebrate with more than just your kids and local neighborhood. You can post photos of your costume on Instagram and get instant responses from hundreds of people at any time, from all over the world. And you can stream live experiences right from your smartphone, turning your encounters with real-world devils, ghouls, and werewolves into a truly made-for-TV experience