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  • Tash

Stories for the Dark

We’re well into November, but something of Hallowe’en has remained. Maybe it’s just that we haven’t taken our decorations down yet, but it’s a feeling that has been building for a while.

Horror movie box office numbers are up, and Netflix has doubled down on scary series (recently the hugely popular adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House, and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Teenage Witch), while Wicca has hit the mainstream with an actual witches’ curse placed on new Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

A few years ago, ‘hygge’ was the word of the moment. People flocked to stock up on blankets and candles, in the hope that warmth and softness could calm anxiety caused by the world outside: a tiny space of exaggerated calm.

But that’s not the way things work. The part of the world that gave us hygge is also famous for its crime dramas, troll folklore, and witch tales. Because hygge is only ever one part of the story: it’s part of a balance that humans have kept as long as we’ve been human. Build yourself a campfire, then scare yourself silly around it.

Just as listening to sad music is sometimes the only answer when you’re upset, you sometimes need fear to deal with fear: stories for the dark. It may be your favourite true-crime podcast, it could even be an endurance run that pushes you to your limits; but in times of uncertainty, a little self-induced, controllable adrenaline is necessary.

How can brands make the most of this trend?

  • Engage consumers through arcane visuals and grunge aesthetics.

  • Offer opportunities for spooky escapism, with immersive murder mystery evenings, and magical bars like The Potion Room and The Cauldron, for Harry Potter fans looking for the ‘Hogwarts Experience’.

  • Consider that Magical rituals like tarot and palm-reading have been reclassified as a form of self-care, often offered at events alongside manicures and cocktails.

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