It's about confrontation through escape. It's about scaring your mind into another placer. Horror is a very potent form of fantasy. You confront images of life but a masquerade of it. There is an art to the horror movie or the haunted house, to black metal, to Halloween costumes, the jack-o-lantern. It reminds you of the world's borders. The darkness, the impossible does. And then we see the world we live in from a different vantage as if we looked into the black night hard enough and saw that backs of our own heads. We're all frightened, at least most of us are, of death and a lot else. Horror as an art is escapism but it's an escape to our fears, which is very different than other kinds of fantasy.
We're all scared and many of us don't know what we're scared of, the things we can't quite think about, the dreams we can't remember. In the Halloween movie credits, Michael Meyers is referred to as "The Shape." He's as bland a villain as there can be. Pure white mask, no motive, no weakness, no qualities. He just kills. He is an empty shape, a container for our dread. Anxiety, depression, guilt, loneliness, the things that lay in a ragged pile at the dim end of the hallway, are given names and faces in horror. Freddy, Michael Meyers, Dracula, Bob.
I'm tempted to write off Halloween celebrations like trick or treating and getting drunk in skimpy outfits as some kind of perversion of Halloween, but both actually maintain the same idea that I like about Halloween. Going to a bar with zombies and nurses and superheroes names what's unreal in the world. Halloween is the signpost at the border of the Twilight Zone, making realit that much more acute when it's woken up to in the morning.