Usually I'm the one playing in the Strange Kids Clubhouse, but today I've lured the Strange Kid himself to my corner of the interweb by laying down an intricate path of candy corn.
For those unfortunate enough not to know you...who are you?
Hello internets! My name is Rondal and I am the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club, an online and print magazine dedicated to dumpster-diving through 80s and 90s pop culture obscurity. Our mission? ...well, we don't really have one, but we do have a lot of fun. *laughs* Anyway, aside from that I am also Co-Founder of Circle Jerks Stickers alongside my bud Michael Anderson, a co-host on the Monsters & Metal podcast, the creator behind Closet Monsters digital trading cards, a standing member of the Countdown to Halloween.
Why do you think Halloween sticks with us as we get older?
I can't speak for every boil and ghoul, but I know for me Halloween is about shedding my inhibitions and embracing the chaos and darkness that life throws my way. It's taking what we fear most and turning into that fear into a celebration, essentially taking it's power away.
Of course, there's loads of commercialized products and confectionary sweets that come along with it---that stuff doesn't hurt either---but it's mostly about releasing (or at least loosening) our inhibition.
What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?
It's hard to say. I moved around a lot as a kid since my father was in the Marines (Ed.: OOO-RAH!), but for the most part I remember Halloween up around North Carolina the most. I'll admit, I was a greedy kid, maybe greedier than most, so Halloween always meant more candy to me growing up. Well, it meant two things (often enjoyed together): staying up late watching monster movies and eating candy until I wanted to throw up.
Despite moving around we generally lived in the 'burbs with a large community so there were plenty of houses to hit around Halloween. That also meant some people went all out with decorations. There was always at least one house who would transform their garage, sometimes even their entire home, into a haunted house. Those were always cool to check out.
Any favorite costumes from previous Halloweens?
As much as I love Halloween I tend to be the worst procrastinator when it comes to costumes. I have these grand ideas at the beginning of October which are eventually whittled down to last minute MacGuyver-like displays of creativity. I think my Zombie Smurf costume from 2012 would definitely be a top contender as a favorite, it even won me Best Costume at my then-day job's Halloween office party.
Do you have a particularly fond/funny/scary Halloween memory?
I don't think I've ever had a truly "scary" Halloween experience. After all, as I mentioned above, the holiday is about celebrating what scares us... which in turn makes it less scary. I do, however, remember one Halloween that I'll never forget. It wasn't remarkable in the sense that something life-changing occurred, but for whatever reason it just stuck with me.
I was at a friends house for his birthday party, I can't even remember his name now, and it was a sleepover. We ate way to much pizza and ice cream before settling down in front of the TV to watch Ernest Scared Stupid. It was the first time I had ever seen the movie, or any Ernest movie really, but it remains one of my favorite Halloween flicks of all time. Each of us had a Battle Troll (basically these rad, muscular Troll dolls for boys) and we acted out our own version of the film as it played.
After that we took turns played Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (another first for me) and while I wasn't particularly good I did outlast everyone else. Long after my friends had gone to bed in their sleeping bags I was still side-scrolling my way through ghosts, goblins and demons. I think I passed out around 2 or 3 in the morning - it was awesome.
What do you do to celebrate these days?
I'm a lucky guy in that my girlfriend and daughter both get as excited about Halloween as I do. We start decorating in mid-late September which puts us in the right mindset for October. October itself is sort of tough because I've got a lot going on with Strange Kids Club, but I try to at least take off the last week in October to do nothing but watch monster movies and old Halloween TV specials on tape (well, DVD now).
On Halloween night, we'll all pick our favorite movies (mine, of course, is Ernest Scared Stupid) and we'll just veg out on the such with some candy or cookies and watch movies until we fall asleep. Naturally, I a bit of a night owl, so once the girls go to bed I break out the more hardcore horror stuff like Nightmare on Elm Street, The Fly and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I'll stay up watching those until I either pass out or my eyes start bleeding... whichever comes first. *laughs*
Do you have any yearly rituals?
Rituals? Like sacrificing chickens or eating the heads off of bats? No, nothing like that. *laughs* Really just what I mentioned earlier with the movies. I do have a tradition where I'll carve pumpkins with my daughter, that's always a lot of fun for both of us. We'll usually rock out to some old school Rob Zombie, or sometimes the Misfits, as we clean out the pumpkin guts.
For just me, I usually have a playlist full of Halloween/horror tunes that I'll listen to ad nausea while I'm at work. There aren't really any specific songs or albums that come to mind, though I'm a sucker for Dokken's "Dream Warriors" and The Dudes Of Wrath's "Shocker." Anything by Dangerous Toys usually puts me in the Halloween spirit too.
Inside the Spooksters' Studio
The worst thing I ever got while trick or treating was a half-eaten candy bar. Seriously, there was still saliva on it and everything - it was disgusting.
My favorite thing to get was candy corn. I know, I know... there's some haters out there, but a man likes what a man likes. There's a reason stores keep selling it, you guys!
Thanks for taking the time to celebrate the holiday with us!
Thanks for including me on this, Dex! For those interested in joining the Strange Kids Club, we're all over the social internets including Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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!