Halloween | St. Louis Public Radio


File photo | Washington University

All month long, families have channeled their spooky senses and prepped their homes for Halloween. Decorations, costumes and candy all have to set the right vibe. But parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities have additional things to consider when preparing for the holiday, particularly for children whose disabilities aren’t visible. 

An estimated one in 59 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder each year, so it’s likely that a child with a disability will be stopping by households that aren’t aware of their condition this Halloween. 

To help ensure a successful holiday for children with disabilities, Jeanne Marshall and Melanie Mills of Easterseals Midwest joined Friday’s St. Louis on the Air with guest host Jeremy D. Goodwin. Marshall is the organization’s executive vice president of services and chief program officer. Mills is the director of autism services. 

Richard Ivey (Left), and Bailey Gettemeier (Right) wearing shirts that say Darkness Saint Louis.
Alexis Moore | St. Louis Public Radio

Tomorrow is Friday the 13th, and it’s the first time the full moon will be visible in the U.S. on Friday the 13th since the year 2000. It’s also the opening date of The Darkness, the St. Louis haunted house celebrating its 26th year in business.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske was joined by Richard Ivey and Bailey Gettemeier, the actor managers of The Darkness and Creepyworld, respectively. They talked about running haunted houses, getting punched in the face on the job, and what it means to work as a scare actor. 

“It’s an honor for us to make somebody soil themselves,” says Ivey. He says it in jest, but it’s a commitment the actors take seriously.

“We always tell people to check their embarrassment at the door,” said Gettemeier. “You just have to kind of embrace it. If you’re confident in whatever you do, it’ll translate well.”

Jeff Zacks is a Wash U professor of psychological and brain sciences and the author of "Flicker: Your Brain on Movies."

Halloween is here, and many are turning to their favorite horror films for an additional fright this season.

Despite the popularity of horror movies – and extensive work by humanists, scientists and psychologists to explain this popularity – Wash U neuroscientist Jeff Zacks told host Don Marsh on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air that the human affinity for horror movies is “one of the big mysteries.”

(via Flickr/SoumyadeepPaul, creative commons)

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Robbi Courtaway about supernatural activity in St. Louis.

Courtaway is the author of two books on the subject, "Spirits of St. Louis: A Ghostly Guide to the Mound City’s Unearthly Activities" and "Spirits of St. Louis II: The Return of the Gateway City Ghosts.”

Marsh has a ghost story of his own and wrote about it in his 2008 book, Flash Frames: Journey of a Journeyman Journalist.

St. Louis’ Halloween joke tradition is still adorable

Nov 1, 2016
St. Louis children go trick-or-treating armed with funny jokes to deliver.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As a newcomer to the region who has never once heard of working for your Halloween candy with a joke, I find the St. Louis tradition endlessly charming — even after the 15th “What is a ghost’s favorite food? Booberries.”

Garrett Ziegler, Flickr, Creative Commons

Do your kids need to settle down before a sugar-infused round of trick-or-treating? Does your spooky drive down an abandoned road need a soundtrack? Do you just want to get into the Halloweekend mood?

We have the perfect audio for you: excerpts from a dramatic retelling of the classic “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” from local historic interpreter, Anne Williams.

Scarefest Haunted Houses

The National Retail Federation recently found that 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year. Not impressed? That equates to over $6.9 billion in spending—on costumes, parties, candy and…wait for it…boo! Haunted houses. Nearly 20 percent of those 157 million will step foot in a haunted house this season alone.

Black Cats And Halloween: Danger Or Urban Legend?

Oct 31, 2014
Numerous adoption agencies said there is no evidence that black cats are more at risk than other animals around Halloween.
Kaitlin Davis/Instagram

Many people have heard the stories about black cats disappearing around Halloween and that adoption agencies don't allow adoptions of all-black or all-white pets in October. But for cat owners in the St. Louis area is this danger real or an urban myth?

Dr. Kelly Ryan of the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America in St. Louis said she has seen no evidence locally that black cats are more at risk than other animals.

Willis Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Like most old cities, St. Louis has its share of ghost stories.

There’s the Lemp Mansion, haunted by the the tragic history of the beer baron’s family.

There’s the Rock House on the campus of the Edgewood Children’s Home in Webster Groves, and the spirits that roam the land near Ralston Purina, which was once the site of a medical college and later a Civil War-era prison.

This commentary first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When I was a kid, Halloween was the day we gave thanks for attending Catholic school. Because the day after is All Saint’s Day in church liturgy, we were off for a holy day of obligation while our public-school counterparts attended classes as usual after a night of trick or treating. (Suckers.)

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 31, 2013 - When I was a kid, Halloween was the day we gave thanks for attending Catholic school. Because the day after is All Saint’s Day in church liturgy, we were off for a holy day of obligation while our public-school counterparts attended classes as usual after a night of trick or treating. (Suckers.)

It's fall y'all! No tricks here, just treats: check out these NPR-themed stencils to inspire your pumpkin carving.

If you use these templates to carve a pumpkin or if public radio otherwise inspires your Halloween celebrations, email a picture to thisisnpr@npr.org. We'll post the collection here and on our Facebook page on Halloween.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 24, 2012 - It started out with an urge to dance again, as I had as a child, and later, to temper the stress of raising three children.

By the time they were grown, I’d traded my dance shoes and piqué turns for sneakers and an elliptical machine. Then, last summer, I found STL Flashmob’s website and its more than 1,000 members.

Being a comedian, Joe Marlotti is always afraid he won't get laughs. But he grows especially nervous this time of year. After all, a comedian doesn't want his kids to bomb when it comes time to tell jokes.

Marlotti hails from St. Louis, where local Halloween tradition calls for children not to say "trick or treat," but to tell a joke in order to earn candy.

"I've been all around the block — literally — telling them that it's important to tell the joke right, or it makes me look bad," Marlotti says.

Morning headlines: Monday, October 31, 2011

Oct 31, 2011
(via Flickr/ellie)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines (other than yesterday's World Series rally):

Cold pill sales jump after new law in St. Charles County

Now that St. Charles County requires a prescription to purchase cold pills containing a key ingredient to methamphetamine, sales of the over-the-counter medications are soaring in three nearby St. Louis County towns.

Halloween traditions range from sweet to creepy

Oct 30, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 30, 2011 - So maybe there are two questions you'll get only in St. Louis.

Where'd you go to high school and, for those costumed kids wanting candy on Halloween night, what's your joke?

Grover Webb / Via Flickr

Photo taken by Grover Webb on Flickr.com.

Join the St. Louis Public Radio Flickr group to see interesting photos taken in the St. Louis region and submit your own. Each week we feature, on our website, one outstanding photo from the group.

What has candy and floor mats?

Oct 26, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 26, 2010 - So much for tradition.

The mummy shrouded from head to toe in linen strips did not care that she had to walk only one car's width to arrive at the next outstretched hand of candy. Nor did this particular mummy, known as Amanda Stoker, age 10, the other 364 days of the year, seem to mind that instead of climbing up to door stoops and porches looking for candy, she just had to walk up to the open trunks ghoulishly decorated in Manchester United Methodist Church's parking lot.

Collecting in the Heartland: Halloween paper

Oct 28, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 28, 2009 - They are wonderful little time capsules of Halloweens past, novelty catalogs filled with jack-o'-lantern party invitations, black cat table covers and wide-eyed, crepe owls that seem ready to fly up and off the page.

To holiday collectors, they are known simply as "the Bogie Books," or even "Bogies." The beautifully illustrated booklets distributed during the earliest part of the 20th century are some of the most widely recognized - and popular - of all Halloween paper ephemera.

Collecting in the Heartland: Halloween noisemakers

Oct 15, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 15, 2008 - Let's bob for apples and sing and play 

In the good, old-fashioned way;

Greet Hallowe'en with a party gay,

For spooks and witches but a short time stay.
--from Kiddies' Halloween Book by Marie Irish, 1931

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 9, 2008 - What's scarier right now: the economy, or the fake severed head dangling from a tree, still screaming, in the neighbor's yard?

How about this -- despite bad financial times, the National Retail Federation expects consumers to spend $5.77 billion on Halloween this year. That's a rise of 14 percent, according to AdAge.com, a trade Web site of the advertising industry. Holiday spending in November and December is only expected to rise by 2.2 percent.

Celebrate Halloween all month: Part 2

Oct 8, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 8, 2008 - So what do you do on Halloween if you're too big for the door-to-door and looking for real thrills?

A Hallow-tini does sound kind of good right about now, and basically every bar in the area will have some kind of Halloween-theme bash, both the weekend before Halloween and the actual night itself. There are way too many to list, so call your local dive for details.

Celebrate Halloween all month: Part 1

Oct 7, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 7, 2008 - Halloween can get a little predictable: pumpkins on stoops, cottony cobwebs in doors, cheap costumes at your local big-box store.

Maybe a few too many nips from your little ones' stash, or the tiring sight of young women making innocent costumes "bad" by adding fishnets and eyeliner, adds to the gloom. But parents shouldn’t despair.