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Halloween Video From 1988 Shows How Chicago Got Spooky 30 Years Ago

The video shows a rat circus, people going into a haunted house, a bloody performance at a club and pagans calling to Satan.

A video from 1988 shows how Chicagoans celebrated Halloween that year.
Media Burn Archive/YouTube
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CHICAGO — A newly released video shows how Chicagoans were celebrating Halloween in 1988 — namely, with big hair, haunted house visits and pagan rituals.

The 12½-minute-long film was made by Dan Dinello and recently released through the work of the Media Burn Archive, a nonprofit that restores and distributes the work of activists and artists.

The video explores different parts of Halloween in the city: young people go into a haunted house, a troupe of actors stage a bloody performance in a “Splatter Show” at the now-defunct Limelight night club, a woman shows off her circus of rats and the Heartland Pagan Society calls to Satan.

Several people also explain how Halloween partly originates from the Celtic holiday Samhain and talk about the differences between Halloween and Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday.

And, of course, people are shown dancing and partying in costumes.

“I look at Halloween as a great American and a great bar, more theatrical kind of holiday,” one man, who sports a melting candle on the top of his head, tells the camera.

Watch the video here (WARNING: fake gore):