Oct 24, 2014

Halloween Web - Reis O'Brien

I'm thrilled to be putting one of my blogging inspirations under the spook-o-scope today.
I will always proudly be Member #13 of the Dorke Horde.


Welcome...well come in and introduce yourself.

My name is Reis (rhymes with “geese”), I am a reformed blogger (Geek Orthodox, Lair of the Dork Horde), currently a toy designer for Funko and I make a whole bunch of weird little toys on the side which you can find in my online store at BimToy.

Do you have a particularly fond/funny/scary Halloween story?

My favorite Halloween story is from my first Halloween. I was three but I remember it vividly. I remember being in the living room of our house and my mom explaining that we were going to walk around the neighborhood that night and ask people for candy and then they would give it to us. I think all I heard was “candy”.

The next thing I know, my Mom is cutting two holes into a white pillowcase and pulling it over my head. Just like that, I was a ghost! Again, I had no idea what was going on, but I knew what a ghost was thanks to my Weebles Haunted House so I was okay with everything that was happening.

But we had a hard time keeping the eye holes lined up and the whole pillow case wanted to sort of spin around my body with every step, so my Mom wrapped my cowboy gun belt around my waist to keep it from moving, plopped a cowboy hat on my head (I guess they were plentiful in any household in 1976) to keep the eye holes lined up and BAM! I was a cowboy ghost.

It was one of the greatest nights of my life.

What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?

The greatest thing about my childhood Halloween seasons was that you always got to pick out two costumes. I grew up in a very small town called Blissfield, Michigan, which in my memory was like living in a Norman Rockwell painting (with a dash of Charles Wysocki thrown in). And every Halloween in Blissfield, the town put on this huge bonfire down at the Sandy Koufax baseball field on the Saturday night before Halloween. Everyone would bring anything made of wood that they didn't want any more and pile it up on the pitcher's mound and then someone from the volunteer fire department would set the whole thing ablaze.

It always felt like the entire town showed up, and we'd all parade around the bonfire in our costumes, meet up with our friends, drink hot apple cider, go on hayrides and generally soak in the Halloween season.

Before the night was over, we'd all head up to the community pool which was just outside the centerfield fence and would line up nervously to enter the "haunted pool" which was put on my the high school students and usually scared the bajeezus out of me.

So, unless you wanted to be soundly ridiculed on Halloween night, when all the kids went trick or treating, you had to have one costume for the bonfire and a completely different one for trick or treating. That's just how it was. I don't know of anyone, other than the kids that grew up in my hometown, that got to pick out two halloween costumes every year.

reis4

Any favorite costumes from past Halloweens?

I had a lot of great ones, but my favorite might have to be from the Halloween of 1989, when I was in 11th grade. By the time I was 16, I had gotten pretty deep into monster make-up and horror movies. I’d spend way too much time looking through Fangoria magazine and watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I had experimented with gory make-up effects using scar goo and stage blood that I’d buy at a local theatre supply and costume shop.

So that year, I decided to go to school looking like I had been in some sort of industrial accident, and the machines won. I bought a few prosthetics, some spirit gum, some scar goo and a lot of blood. I ripped up some clothes, and covered them in fake viscera. I had to get up at 4 AM (no easy feet for a teenager) to start applying everything, but by the time I walked into homeroom, I was a bloody mess, covered in ripped flesh, exposed bone and muscle tissue with a compound fracture on my left arm that almost made one girl faint. Most people thought it was cool and many were repulsed which was my preferred reaction. I think it took a week to wash all of the blood out of my hair.

How do you celebrate Halloween today?

Halloween these days is much calmer. We usually meet up with friends, make a giant batch of chili, take the little ones around the neighborhood and hand out handfuls of candy on the front porch. Every year I threaten to make a full blown haunted house out of my garage, but I've yet to do it.

Do you have any seasonal rituals?

There are several movies I tend to watch around Halloween, like Nightmare Before Christmas, but the absolute must for every Halloween season is It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. In fact, I usually end up watching it several times before October comes to a close. It's just not Halloween until I see that classic.

reis3

What do you think it is about Halloween that keeps it in our hearts?

That’s a tough question. Sadly, I don’t think it does keep in peoples’ hearts as they get older, generally speaking, anyway. Your average Joes just seem to lose the true spirit of Halloween as they get older; they forget about what made it so magical to the point that Halloween gets watered down to “decorative pattern” Martha Stuart pumpkins, slutty anything costumes and forcing our poor kids to trick-or-treat on a Saturday afternoon in a brightly lit mall. (Amen, brother!)

In fact, maybe it’s this watering-down of modern day Halloween that has kept me looking back to those amazing nights from my childhood when we ran around in the dark dressed as horrifying creatures to the dimly lit doorsteps of total strangers who handed us home-made popcorn balls that we greedily devoured without the slightest thought towards poisoned stick pins or razor blades.

Every year, around mid September, I start to get that “Halloween twitch”. I find myself thinking back about life-size posable cardboard skeletons on every door, and actual burning flames flickering inside every jack-o-lantern. I can still remember poring through a dog-eared copy of a Don Post monster mask catalog, trying to pick out the perfect gruesome rubbery mug, which I would beg my parents to buy for me (they never did). I think back on planning the perfect costume, the hours of work that would go into it and the anticipation leading up to officially announcing what you were going to be that year to all your friends. Then I walk into a drug store and see row after row of Duck Dynasty beards and it breaks my heart. So I go back to thinking about the old days.

Inisde the Spooksters' Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was a toothbrush. Every year, our local town dentist gave every kid a toothbrush. I understand that he meant well, and I give him props for trying to fight the good fight, but considering the several pounds of sugar I was carrying in my trick or treat bag, the last thing we wanted to think about was dental hygene. I also hated root beer barrels and Necco wafers. Lame.

Where can people find you online?

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and see all of my home-grown hand-made toys at my BimToy store, many of which are rather Halloweeny like my Obvious Cause of Death Ghosts and Shadow Goblins.

Candy Scorn
Candy Scorn, the candy that doesn't approve of anything

Before you head off to your next house, swing by Halloween Mixes.
They're posting a themed mix album every day of the month!

And of course, check out all the other folks participating in the Countdown to Halloween!

Oct 23, 2014

Halloween Web - Miss M

Fellow blogger and toy enthusiast Miss M joins the Halloween rogue's gallery.

MissM Halloween 5
"I was a steam punk saloon girl and was able to take a picture with a fun Macho Man."

Thanks for coming, Miss M. Please introduce yourself to the readers.

Thank you for asking me to be a part of this. I'm Miss M. My real name is Michael Lynn, but I go by Miss M. Some of your readers might already know me, but for those that don't, I write a lot of dorky material on a blog called Diary of a Dorkette. I also write for a website called Nerd Society and was an official writer for the fabulous Retro-Daze. I am also a co-host on the always fun Geek Fallout podcast. And in the spirit of the season, I did a brief voice over snippet for the upcoming Halloween Special over at The Sexy Armpit. I enjoy being able to share in fun dorky conversation and story, so I am beyond thrilled to be a part of this questionnaire.

 Do you have a particularly memorable Halloween story? 

Let's see, I have quite a few I am almost certain, but one Halloween that I always enjoy recalling involves the Halloween during my sophomore year in high school. My plan was simple, I was able to dress up for school during the day and I wanted to have a get together at my house that night. There was a local mom and pop video store down the street from my house and I had gotten my mom to agree to having some friends over. During the school day we were all able to dress up. (This was awesome because it was high school. I don't know if they allow that anymore these days.) So I had made a makeshift Tatum costume from the movie Scream. She was my favorite character and Scream had come out the year before, so it only made sense that I'd be dressed as Rose McGowan's Tatum. After the epic Halloween day, night time soon came upon us and I had my friends come over that night. We rented a bunch of horror movies at the video store, some slasher and zombie flicks were the order of the night and we just had a great time. We had food and snacks. One of my friends was this goth girl (everyday was Halloween for her, she was just the best) and she was hiding in the bushes in my front yard scaring the neighborhood trick or treaters. Everyone was wanting to stop by the house for some candy and scares. It was just a really nice Halloween.

MissM Halloween 2
"My brother and his custom made Edward Scissorhands and me just goofing around."
Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past? 

I do have some favorite Halloween costumes. Growing up my mom would make my costumes. Most of what we'd do would be stuff that was creatively put together. One was a makeshift Supergirl costume. I had red tights, red shorts, and blue shirt with cape and some pink Converse sneakers. If you were to squint, you could maybe see Supergirl, but in my heart I felt like I was her. I also loved my Tatum costume in high school. I was so proud of that costume. For the most part I never really had many elaborate costumes; I've never been good at coming up with amazing handmade costumes. My brother on the other hand has always created some amazing stuff. This picture above is an Edward Scissorhands costume that he made when he was in high school. Incidentally, a couple years ago I had a Pizzazz costume from Jem and the Holograms that I was super excited to wear, but I didn't because the green wig that came with it was just awful. Truly, truly, truly awful. So for this year I am thinking I will either find another nice green wig and go as Pizzazz or go as Wonder Woman. We'll see what happens.
 
What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?

I grew up in a suburb just south of Houston Texas, and Halloweens growing up were the best. There were kids everywhere. Costumes galore. There was just a magical energy in the air. My childhood Halloweens were during the mid 80's and early 90's, and it was such a different time back then. We all knew each other and got along for the most part. There was no texting or other electronic obsessions to deter us from just having fun. We were able to run amok at night with bags of candy. Some houses would convert their garages into haunted houses. It was just a really exciting time. The excitement is still there of course, but it certainly has shifted. When I was married, my ex husband and I lived in a neighborhood that contained some of that spirit, lots of kids and families walking around. Decorations all over the place. Times may have changed, but the spirit hasn't gone anywhere.

MissM Halloween 3
"A picture of me and my best friend celebrating his birthday/Halloween. This was the year I was supposed to go as Pizzazz."
What do you do to celebrate these days?

Celebrating today is still so much fun. My best friend's birthday is on Halloween, so we always do something fun. Usually we will go to a block party where the adults dress up and we'll visit some local bars. I don't drink or party, but I love being a part of a festive spirit. My aunt also has a Halloween party every year that I go to as well. We will go and celebrate with yummy food and family. It's always a great deal of fun and something I look forward to every year.

Do you have any yearly rituals?

I do have some rituals. For a number of years I spent Halloween at home ordering a pizza and playing Final Fantasy IV, every Halloween. This was before my aunt had her annual party. There are certain candy items I have to buy. I love PayDays and Sweetarts, so I usually get some sort of Halloween themed bag of candy. I also pull out cute Halloween t-shirts and wear some fun Halloween jewelry. I do not really listen to Halloween music, though Brian from Pop Pop! It's Trash Culture sent me a Bollywood horror movie soundtrack last year that will get played some more this year. I do try to watch some horror movies. The Halloween film series gets heavy rotation this time of year as does other great scary movies I enjoy. I also try to catch up on new movies that I have never seen before. There is one thing I do not do though during Halloween, and that is Haunted Houses. I am terrified of them and barring the garage haunted houses from my youth, I have never been to an official super scary Haunted House. I just am too scared.

MissM Halloween 4
"Me with my aunt at her house for her annual Halloween party. There were other people there!"

What do you think it is about Halloween that keeps it in our hearts as we get older? 

I think Halloween is still in our hearts as adults because some of us value the traditions of holidays and want to keep that magic alive. I am 32 and I still enjoy the holidays so much. They are exciting and a great way to make memories with family and friends. Halloween is truly special for me though because it is not only the kick off to the holiday season, but it is a holiday that contains elements of some of my favorite things. I love candy and scary movies. Costumes are always fun. And in the past number of years or so, the marketing campaign for toys and other Halloween merchandise has just exploded. I love toys and other cute pop culture items that celebrate holidays, so for a dorkette like me, this stuff is just pure candy corn catnip!

Inside the Spooksters' Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was Jawbreakers. I've never liked those.

My favorite thing to get was anything sweet and sour or sweet and savory. Like Sweetarts, Nerds, or PayDays.

That about wraps it up. Where can people find you online?

I'd just like to add again my thanks for wanting me to be a part of this. I am honored to have answered these questions. And if anyone would like to have some fun dorky talk with me, they can follow me on Twitter or follow me on Instagram. Happy Halloween!

Before you head off to your next house, swing by Halloween Mixes.
They're posting a themed mix album every day of the month!

And of course, check out all the other folks participating in the Countdown to Halloween!

Oct 22, 2014

Halloween Web - Spooky Vegan

Another of the Countdown bloggers joins us for an interview. 
Let's welcome Spooky Vegan!

Sarah_Pumpkin Queen

For the home audience, tell us a little about yourself and where they might know you from.

My name is Sarah, I’m the ghoul behind The Spooky Vegan, where I blog about my three passions – Halloween, horror, and food! I used to run the now-defunct horror site Fatally Yours. Right now I’m enjoying the best time of year and participating in the annual Countdown to Halloween event, where I’ll be sharing a Halloween-themed post all 31 days of October!

Do you have a particularly memorable Halloween story?

Taking my sister out as a junior in high school is one of my favorite Halloween memories…we had just moved to a new, affluent town, and actually lived in town, so we could walk out the door to go trick or treating without our parents having to drive us into town. I was the new kid, so I didn’t have anything to do for Halloween and ended up taking my little sister out. I dressed as the killer from Scream, so no one could really tell I was a 16 year old girl and deny me candy. I totally fooled everyone that night and got gobs of candy! Since we were on our own, there was just a special feel to the night. Plus, the residents there went all out with their decorations and really got into the spirit! My sister and I were both in awe of all the decorations, and were delighted at the massive candy haul we came back home with! We even got a good number of full-size candy bars! That was the last time I went trick or treating, so it holds a very special place in my heart. 

Sarah_Black Death
"For a serial killer themed party, I dressed as the embodiment of the Black Death."
What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?

I grew up in rural central and northern California, so trick or treating was usually restricted to school events or doing “trick or treating” at home (my parents would give my sister and I candy or a Halloween basket). In elementary school I remember we used to have Halloween parades where all the kids would dress up in costume and we would parade in front of the school and parents. In junior high, I did a bit more trick or treating with friends, and in high school I took my little sister out trick or treating.

Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?

When I was around 6 or 7 my mom sewed me a witch costume and bought me a little broom to go with it. I loved that costume so much! My mom put so much  time and love into it too, so it made it all the more special.

Sarah_Witch

How do you celebrate Halloween today?

I usually celebrate a few months beforehand by buying new Halloween décor, sprucing the house up with said Halloween décor (most of it stays up year-round) , watching tons of Halloween-themed horror movies and just horror movies in general, seeking out all the pumpkin-flavored vegan food I can get my hands on, and participating in the annual Countdown to Halloween!

Do you have any yearly rituals?

Every year I go to the Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch, where gourds are lovingly grown (a real rarity in SoCal), on their opening weekend. Every year I also make a bucket list of things I want to do during the Halloween season and then on Halloween I go back and check off everything I have done.

Sarah_JackoLantern

I could listen to the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack on repeat forever, but I also love God Module’s spooky industrial music, vintage Halloween tunes, and even Midnight Syndicate’s atmospheric albums that get me in a haunting mood. As for movies, I have a very long list of Halloween and horror movies I watch this time of year, everything from Satan’s Little Helper to the old Disney Halloween cartoons. I have this huge list of Halloween-themed movies I’ve compiled on my blog and I refer to that every year (and keep making additions!). My favorite place to be in October is the pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive.

Why do you think Halloween stays with us as we get older?

I think as the years go on, I fall more and more in love with Halloween and autumn in general. For me, I think the reason is that I get to embrace the holiday with childhood abandon and glee. It is a joyful celebration of all the things I love, and generally begins months before Halloween itself! I get so excited when I first see Halloween stuff in stores, I sometimes feel like I’m having a mini panic attack – my heart starts thumping, I can barely breathe, and I kinda just wanna run around and scream “this is Halloween, this is Halloween!”.

Sarah_Little Dead Riding Hood
"I hosted a twisted fairy tale-themed Halloween party called 'Unhappily Ever After' one year and dressed as Little Dead Riding Hood!"
Inside the Spooksters' Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was those green and white striped peppermint candies you usually find near the cash register at crappy diners or on a receptionist’s desk. I mean, who hands out those icky things at Halloween? YUCK!

My favorite thing to get was those king-size candy bars! Those were the ultimate treat! Also, I really loved the homemade treats, like caramel apples and popcorn balls you would occasionally get. Growing up in or near small towns, we weren’t too concerned about poison or razor blades! And red licorice – there was never enough licorice handed out at Halloween. Nowadays, I favor Sour Patch Kid or Go Max Go candy bars, both of which are vegan! 

Where can people keep up with you online?

If there's anything else you want to add, such as social media places for people to find you, go for it.If you want to keep up with me, you can find me on www.thespookyvegan.com, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and many other places – just check my site for links. I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween and stay spooky!

Thanks for joining us, Sarah!

Before you head off to your next house, swing by Halloween Mixes.
They're posting a themed mix album every day of the month!

And of course, check out all the other folks participating in the Countdown to Halloween!

Oct 21, 2014

An Evening with Victoria Price

Last night I attended an event in Salem and had the wonderful experience of meeting Vincent Price's daughter Victoria. I wanted to share it with everyone because it was such a high point of my October. She appeared at a local horror con (Rock N Shock) over the weekend and came to Salem yesterday. While I could have gone to the con, I figured her appearance in Salem would be a more intimate event and since I got tickets, I wouldn't have to wait outside a room at the con in advance to try and get a good seat.

Count Orlock's Nightmare Gallery
Hanging around outside Count Orlok's

The event was put on by Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery in Salem. If you ever come to Salem, put this at the top of your 'to do' list! The Gallery is an awesome monster museum. I could probably go on about it in a separate post, but photography isn't allowed inside so it would get pretty boring with me telling you what was in there! They have a few photos on their website. The owner, James, was great to chat with and has some good stories to tell.

The event started with a brief tour of the Gallery with Victoria. Along the tour, we stopped at figures of Price from "House of Wax" and "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" as well as a life mask of his. James talked about the pieces and Victoria told anecdotes and answered questions.


Next, we went next door to the Salem local access station. There was a nice little room set up for the 30 or so of us with a seats, a projection screen and a podium. Victoria showed a slide show and talked about her dad for close to an hour. The presentation was called "A Life Well Lived" because that is what he did. He lived life every day. From now on, I'm going to be thinking "WWVPD?". It was very interesting hearing about Price's career. Believe it or not, he struggled to get cast in any school productions! It ended with the below clip, which is hilarious. She thought it best to leave us laughing.


After the talk, we walked a few blocks down to The Scarlet Letter Press for socializing. They have an amazing Poe art exhibition going on, by the way! Victoria was selling her book Vincent Price: A Daughter's Biography, signing autographs, and chatting with us. She also brought some of the new Vincent Price Signature Wines. I don't drink, but I may have to buy a bottle or two just for the art! You can read more about them here.

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Victoria showed off a copy of  the cookbook A Treasury of Great Recipes that she found on Etsy for $35, and it was even autographed by Vincent! She sought it out because she didn't want to bring the family copy on the road with her. It is #8 of the top out of print books but a new edition will be released next year for its 50th anniversary. She also mentioned there will be a dark roast coffee coming out soon as well!

She also did a giveaway where we all filled out cards. The cards were also used to put us on the Vincent Price.com mailing list which she personally handles. Every week she sends out a photo from her mother's photo albums and a story to go with it, sort of like a travel log. It sounds like it will be fun to read! The prize drawings were for a copy of her book and a bottle of wine. One of the attendees got drafted into drawing the winners.

DSC06892

After waiting in line and chatting with people for a bit, I was at the her table. I hate meeting celebrities. I always feel insanely awkward! I thanked her for coming out and told her how much I enjoyed the presentation. I also said if I was able to go back in time and meet anyone, that her dad is always at the top of the list. And I wasn't just saying that! I think he and I have a similar sense of humor and he just seems like such a nice person. She said of the 250 people she interviewed for the biography, not a one had a bad thing to say about him.

I had her sign my ticket.

Victoria Price autograph

And we took a photo with her.

Victoria Price

I don't know if any of them will see this but I want to thank Count Orlok's, Scarlet Letter Press, and of course, Victoria Price for an amazing night! If you have the chance to see her on the road, definitely do so!

For sticking around, here's an extra special out of print treat from 1973!
Click on the album cover to drop it in your treat bag.


Before you head off to your next house, swing by Halloween Mixes.
They're posting a themed mix album every day of the month!

And of course, check out all the other folks participating in the Countdown to Halloween!

Oct 20, 2014

Halloween Web - Justine's Halloween

We've got yet another artist coming by for cider and doughnuts today. I first "met" Justine a few years ago through Ebay when I was searching for Halloween games and ended up buying a set of her Old Maid Halloween cards. At some point after that, we started chatting on Twitter and we've been talking about everything from Halloween to genre TV ever since.

She's the first interview I ever did for the site, so I thought it only fitting to have her back for the seasonal festivities. You can read that interview, where we talk about artsy stuff, and see more of the cards in this Countdown post from 2012.

Justine
Justine throws awesome Halloween parties!
Welcome back! Tell the readers a little about yourself.

Hi, my name is Justine. You might know me from my blog, "Justine's Halloween". My blog centers around my love for the holiday, but covers a large range of topics. For those who haven't visited my blog, you can find it here: justineshalloween.blogspot.com

Do you have a particularly fond/funny/scary Halloween story?

I have a Halloween story that's all of those things! Years back, I went to an old mansion in Milwaukee (The Brumder Mansion) to see a play titled "Dracula vs. The Nazis". The play was performed in the basement of the house on Halloween night. I went with my mom and a friend. The funny part was the play. The cast consisted of only two men who had to quickly change costume for each role. It was ridiculous!

The scary part is that we came in contact with the home's resident ghost. I had no idea the place was haunted at the time, though. After we first went in, my mom and my friend walked around checking the place out while I stayed in the entryway. I was alone and getting the feeling I was being watched. I looked up the staircase and could feel someone looking at me and coming closer, as if they were walking down the stairs in my direction. This feeling grew stronger until I felt like there was someone staring right at me, inches from my face. Specifically, it felt like a grumpy older woman. I didn't see anything with my eyes, it just felt that way. I tried to act normal and walked into the dining room where my mom and friend were.

Weeks later, I asked my mom if she felt anything weird while in the house. She said she did in the dining room, as if someone were watching her closely. She said it felt like someone didn't want her touching anything and didn't want her to feel welcome. I asked my friend if she felt anything, and she described the same feelings in the dining room. It's like whatever this was followed me in there and then started to watch the other people in the room. At this point, I decided it was time to Google the house. As it turned out, the mansion does have a reputation for being haunted! According to the owner (who has turned the place into a bed and breakfast) and a psychic who visited, the house is haunted by the spirit of an older woman. Some say she is the previous owner's aunt and others say she managed the place. Either way, she knows how she likes things! There's said to be a lot of trouble in the dining room. The table will be set the night before, but people will wake up to see all the silverware turned sideways! People say the woman's ghost is still trying to run things her way and is very watchful of visitors. To think she came downstairs to "welcome" me in.

Old Maid cards_closeup
Justine's Halloween Old Maid cards

What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid? 

I grew up in Wisconsin, which is a pretty traditional Halloween setting. We get definite seasonal changes, so the leaves are a beautiful array of colors. It gets colder and windy, which makes for some spooky October nights. So Halloween for me as a kid was a colorful and exciting time weather-wise.

I remember planning ahead throughout the year for what my Halloween costume would be. These thoughts would fill my head during boring classroom moments. So by the time the actual trick-or-treat day rolled around, I was pretty excited! I remember running from house to house, and being thrilled by the occasional adult who had the spirit to dress up to answer the door. After trick-or-treating I did what probably most kids did which was dump out the contents of my bucket all over the floor and start trading for the good stuff with my friends.

When I was younger, I thought about Halloween obsessively throughout the year. I'd pick up whatever Halloween craft or history books I could from the library during all the seasons, and watch whatever spooky movies were available at the time. There was a lot less available then than there is now with the internet! Back then it was the thrill of the hunt as far as Halloween entertainment went.

 Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?

I've been a witch and a pirate many times. For over a decade I've been each of those things around Halloween. It's fun to try different variations on those costumes.

Justine2

What do you do to celebrate today and/or what do you do Halloween night?

Well, it depends on which night Halloween falls. There's not so much going on during the week. If I'm lucky, there will be a Halloween play or old scary movie playing somewhere. A nearby town sometimes has adult trick-or-treat on a couple of streets. People dress up and have their houses seriously decorated. I remember all these great inflatables. I went one year with my mom. Some guy who was dressed like Michael Myers from the Halloween films was slowly following us. It might sound silly, but I was pretty freaked out! Maybe it was that it was pitch dark or that I'd seen all those Halloween movies, but we were moving pretty quickly away from him! I think we both stepped in some mud in our hurry. It was the most fun I'd had being scared in a long time. I hope that neighborhood does this for Halloween again this year!

Do you have any yearly rituals?

One of my yearly rituals is our annual Witches' Gathering. Those who read my blog will be familiar with that. I also dress up as a pirate each year and bring out my pirate skull for handing candy out to the kids. As I said before, I remember those houses where people cared to dress up. I hope some of the trick-or-treaters remember me when thinking back on Halloween.

As far as movies go, I usually watch Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, The Lost Boys, and any cheesy old B-Movies I have on hand. House on Haunted Hill comes to mind. I also like to bring out the DVD/VHS sets of Are You Afraid of The Dark? The Simpsons Halloween Specials, The Addams Family, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

The CDs I bring out are the Halloween music mixes my blog friends have sent me, my Midnight Syndicate albums, and Nox Arcana. Of course, I also listen to the mixes I've created and some collections of spooky classical music.

What do you think it is about Halloween that keeps it in our hearts as we get older?

There's something about the Halloween season that will never fade for me, no matter how old I get. There's a real change in the atmosphere. The air changes, there's a little bite in the wind. The light shifts. It's like there's a charge in the air as the leaves swirl around and along the ground. It's like they're haunted. The nights seem a little darker, and we get to see those great Harvest Moons. There's a kind of magic in the season that seems possible even for adults.

Inside the Spooksters' Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was a stale old popcorn ball. The people who gave those out were very sweet and I'm sure that was an old-timey, quaint thing in their minds to do, but those things were awful!

My favorite thing to get was Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I loved those. They felt like a big prize at the time. I'd always trade for some. Oddly, I'm not so into them now. Perhaps their recipe has changed? Those and Butterfingers taste so salty to me now. I still love KitKat Bars as much as I used to.

Where can people connect with you online?

You can find me in these places: Justine's Halloween Blog, on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube and the Halloween Forum.

Before you head off to your next house, swing by Halloween Mixes.
They're posting a themed mix album every day of the month!

And of course, check out all the other folks participating in the Countdown to Halloween!

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