Spoopy vs. Spooky: The most important debate of our time

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Spoopy vs. Spooky: The most important debate of our time

Written By Laura Byko and Beth Turnbull

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There are times in this world when we must choose a side. Some issues are too important to remain silent on. Too much is at stake.

Such is the case of the word “spoopy,” which, with October impending, will soon create a storm of controversy on campus. Some people hate the word, but some people love it. We at the Globe have been locked in debate about the subject and therefore decided to give both sides an opportunity to present their respective arguments.

PRO-SPOOPY: Beth Turnbull 

I remember exactly where I was when I first saw the word spoopy: Tumblr. We’ve all seen the image of the cheaply made Halloween sign with the misspelling that started it all. But spoopy is more than just an unfortunate misspelling of spooky, more than a meme: It’s an attitude, a way of life.

With Halloween just around the corner, there is no better time for this debate. The word spooky is limited. Spoopy covers it all. Spooky is too specifically scary. Spoopy is more of an umbrella term for things that might not even be frightening at all.

For example, a children’s Halloween cartoon is probably not spooky, but it is probably spoopy. The movie “Hocus Pocus” is not actually scary, but it is spoopy. Spoopiness can be a blend of humor and horror. It covers a spectrum.

Another reason I like the word spoopy is it brings people together. Whenever I find another person who knows what it means, I am delighted. I feel like we are part of a secret club – a club of people who appreciate the fluidity of language and realize that words are more about what they mean than what they sound like.

The word spoopy just flows off the tongue; it feels so right. It makes me want to wear a cape and chase people around.

Nothing else evokes the spirit of Halloween within me quite like this word. Spoopy is a feeling. It’s the wind beneath my wings come October.

And it’s fun. Just let us have fun. Let us be spoopy.


I’m pretty sure the first time I heard the word “spoopy,” I cringed so hard my spine lost a couple vertebrae. That’s my instinctive reaction, and it’s not just because it sounds like “spooky” but with poop.

No, it’s because spoopy belongs on the internet, not spoken aloud.

A friend of mine once reacted to seeing mac and cheese using the doge meme, but verbally. “Wow,” she said. “Much mac. Such cheese.” It a horrifying sight to witness, in the same way that spoopy is a horrifying sound to hear.

I believe spoopy to be a meme of a word, and memes belong on the internet. There are two surefire ways to know that a meme has reached its expiration date: First, if brands co-opt a meme, it is no longer fun. Second, if the meme is spoken aloud, it is probably oversaturated in popular culture. Spoopy has fallen victim to both.

If people used spoopy separately from spooky, I think I’d have less of a problem with it. The two aren’t synonyms; spoopy is inherently more adorable (and therefore more cloying) than spooky.

But rather than the two existing harmoniously within our language, it seems that spoopy is entirely replacing spooky.

Halloween should be spooky, not spoopy. It should be frightening, ideally full of goblins or ghouls that leave you a little unsettled. It should not be cute.

It’s my favorite holiday precisely because there’s no sentimentality attached to it. Spoopy threatens the spooky core of Halloween, turning the holiday instead into something cute, sweet and sappy.

We have every single other holiday for cuteness. Preserve what makes Halloween great. Make Halloween spooky again.

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