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.


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.


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!

1 comment:

  1. Reis is a pretty awesome guy and it's cool we all connected with him thanks to our blogs.