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 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.


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!


  1. Thanks for interviewing me! It was fun answering your questions and I learned a little about myself in the process. I've seen a bunch of interesting looking interviews from other people on your blog and I'll have to take the time to read them. I've been super busy lately with the party preparations. I'm glad you found a few extra pictures to share on here, because I was wishing I'd sent you more after seeing the other interviews. So, are you planning to answer your own questions before Halloween? I'd like to read your answers too!

  2. I agree. I would like to see a self interview!

  3. I had actually thought about turning the questions on myself. I have to check if I have room to do it. I sent out so many interview requests, expecting to only get a fraction of replies, and almost all of them came back!
    My daily posts will be mostly interviews til the end of the month.