Oct 2, 2015

Halloween Web - Barbecue17

I had such a blast doing the Halloween Web series of interviews last year, I decided to resurrect them for another year. So here we are kicking off the 2nd Annual Halloween Web!

For the people that may not know you, tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Barbecue17 and I review action figures daily on my website ActionFigureBarbecue.com. I'm also a co-host of the Collection Agency Podcast on Geeks With Wives Radio along with my good friend, Brad Bell. I started writing about Halloween stuff on a former site I worked on, The Epic Review, which was part of the Countdown to Halloween in 2013 and 2014. You may also know me from the Confirmed Epic Podcast which lasted for around 40 some episodes.

What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid? 

We moved quite a bit when I was a kid but my most vivid memories come from growing around Streamwood, IL. (kindergarten to grade school) and Hendersonville, TN (middle school through college). For me, holidays were always the most magical times of the year and for me, barring the religious significance of Christmas and Easter, Halloween was the most pure fun! While I was a bit of a scaredy kid who didn't watch a true horror movie until I was in 7th grade, I loved everything about Halloween and fall in general: Pumpkins, ghost stories, treats, and dressing up in costumes! My parents worked very, very hard to make Halloween as special as it could be and they absolutely indulged me. We carved and painted pumpkins galore! In Illinois where we lived there were multiple pumpkin farms and we'd go to each one. Multiple times. In a heartbeat my parents would take a Saturday and jump in the car with cups of apple cider and drive around to multiple pumpkin farms, go through haunted houses, listen to Halloween songs or ghost stories on cassette tapes, go to places like Six Flags: Fright Fest or the Halloween events at Opryland (RIP Opryland!) and overall just have a fun, spooky time. As I got a bit older and started to spend time hanging around with friends, I remember that my dad would happily come out and tell ghost stories in the front yard (one time he surprised us by actually dressing up as some menacing specter), host a Halloween party, or drive me and friends around to haunted houses (and sometimes driving us straight back home or to Blockbuster if we decided that "we didn't really want to spend the money" (were too afraid to go in!).

We'd also decorate our house as much as possible.Here's a great picture of the homemade Halloween display my parents and I made one year. My dad used to do a lot of wood working and he could easily crank out fake tombstones and stakes like nobody's business. We'd fill the yard with tons of crazy stuff! Heck, we'd actually drive around to look at people's Halloween decorations the same way that normal people drive around to look at Christmas lights (which we also did). While Halloween itself was always fun, it actually always paled somewhat in comparison to the amazing things my parents and I would do in preparation for it!

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

I do! One of the best things I remember was that not only could my parents be talked into almost any Halloween activity, but my grandparents could be as well. Here are some awesome tombstones my grandma helped me make as a little kid.

I also have a vivid memory of one year on Halloween that, before beginning Trick 'r Treating, my grandma dropped a new TMNT figure in my Trick 'R Treat bag (Mike, the Sewer Surfer, for those wondering). I also always loved the Halloween parades at my elementary school! Definitely my favorite day of the year to be in school!

Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?

I always wanted to be heroes on Halloween and I can only think of about two or three years where I dressed as something scary. My personal favorites were my Ghostbusters costumes and my TMNT costumes.

What do you do to celebrate now, out in the real world?

Quite a bit! Now I have a two year old and It's vitally important for me that Halloween is as fun for her as it was for me (she just said Halloween for the first time today!). While she's still limited in what she can do we still go to pumpkin farms, corn mazes, and look at decorations at stores. I also make treks to haunted houses with any friends I can scare up. I also decorate as much as possible (as much as my wife will allow, actually). I still dress up for Trunk or Treat at my church and Trick 'r Treat with my little one. Heck, I dressed up every year before, too, just for fun! I also watch a steady diet of horror movies, read a ton of horror novels, and review lots of horror themed toys on my website!

Do you have any yearly rituals?

My biggest are that I must watch Halloween and Trick 'r Treat, I must carve a Jack O' lantern (and not blow him out until after midnight), and I must go to some sort of corn maze or haunted house. Oh, and I listen to Werewolves of London like nobody's business.

A friend and I also developed a new ritual a few years ago called Re-Halloween. He was having a rough year and Halloween just didn't work out for him, so we decided to redo it one week later. We pretended that the following Sunday was Halloween so we made sure to wish each other a Happy Re-Halloween, ate candy (that we bought on clearance), carved a Jack O' Lantern, and watched horror movies. Our Re-Halloween celebrations have been so successful that we're looking to launch Halloween this coming May 31st. Tell your friends! It's a real thing!

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

To me, Halloween is the ultimate celebration of what it means to be a kid: It's about wearing funny costumes and pretending to be something you're not, and getting stuff that's taboo (boatloads of candy), and putting up tacky decoration, and of course it's about confronting your fears. When I walk out of a haunted house, or read a particularly scary novel or comic, or watch a horror movie, in so many ways I feel like a kid again. There's a sigh of relief that I've done something that challenged me a bit and that maybe, just maybe I couldn't have done the previous year.

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was Raisins.

My favorite thing to get was Sixlets. The only time of the year I ever eat a Sixlet is Halloween night. They're usually all gone by November 1st.

Thanks for joining the festivities this year! Where can people find you online?

At actionfigurebarbecue.com and the Collection Agency Podcast.

Before you run off to check out all the Cryptkeepers at Countdown to Halloween, don't forget to grab today's audio treat - Full Moon: The Curse

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