Oct 8, 2017

Halloween Web - FunDead's Amber

It's unofficially FunDead week here at AEIOU and Sometimes Why. All week long, the Halloween Web series will feature the people behind the screams at FunDead Publications.

Welcome...well, come in, Amber and introduce yourself.

Hello to all of you out there in interweb land! I’m Amber Newberry, Editor-in-Chief and Founder of a small Gothic and horror press out of Salem, MA called FunDead Publications. I write things, I edit things. You might have seen a couple of my Halloween pop culture articles on Bloody Disgusting, or maybe you follow FunDead on Instagram or Facebook! If you’re very obscure, and a true Halloween nut, you also might know of my Halloween TV Episode Facebook page, Halloween in TV Land!

What was your childhood Halloween like?

When I was a young kid, I lived in a small neighborhood in a little town called Acworth, GA. I frequently stayed at my grandparents house, and had lots of schoolyard chums living in that neighborhood (some I’m still Facebook pals with today!). It wasn’t the most swanky little street, but everyone knew one another, all the kids would run around and ride bikes together, and we often trick-or-treated as a group. Oh… and an important tidbit… there was a HUGE old cemetery behind my grandparents house/farm. It may not seem like an important piece of information, but I feel very strongly about how that cemetery affected my life-long love for the macabre.

Do you have any especially fond Halloween memories to share?

Fond memories? There are so many of them. I even had my first kiss on Halloween night (but that was later, after I moved to Florida). One of the major standouts was when I got to do my first grotesque costume, around the age of 9. We had a friend who did great special effects makeup and I wore an 80’s prom dress and he made my face look like I’d been run over by a truck and then lit on fire. That year, the reactions when people opened the door to me trick or treating was much different. I loved that.

As for scary memories, there’s one in particular. Remember that old cemetery I mentioned before? Well, when I was about 7 years old, and trick or treating with my best friend and some other neighborhood kids, we were walking by the cemetery with our pillow cases and someone lit one of the graves on fire. As the blaze went up, we heard someone scream and then everyone took off running. I was too little to realize it was just a bunch of hoodlums being rotten and destructive, but I do remember it as the scariest Halloween of my youth.

Do you have any favorite costumes from past Halloweens?

I wish I had pictures of the dead prom date costume. Sadly, I don’t, but I do have a couple of great ones featuring some fabulous costumes. These would be around 1990-1992. While I love my black cat costume (above), I have to say that my brother’s California Raisin costume takes the cake from these old pics!

How do you celebrate Halloween these days?

Well, I live in Salem, so the celebration runs deep, like some spiritual thing that I know I’ll never let go of. Halloween starts in September for Salem, and running a small business that revolves around Gothic and horror themes means October is hugely important for us. I always host an enormous Halloween gathering. Last year we made my house look like it was abandoned by covering all of the furniture with white fabric. Then I made the parlor look like a room set up for a funeral… I even fashioned a casket out of my living room ottoman. Sadly, we’ll be too busy to throw our home party this year, but we’re hosting tons of Halloween events in Salem this year, including a Nocturnal Tea Party, and a decade hopping book release party at Notch Brewing. That event is to launch our upcoming Halloween anthology, ‘One Night in Salem’, which features 23 stories set on different Halloween nights throughout history in Salem!

Do you have any yearly rituals to get into the seasonal spirit?

Too many to name, but I’d say the one I’m most known for is that I watch Halloween TV episodes annually. Everything from Roseanne and Home Improvement to Happy Days, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and The Donna Reed Show. Of course, I also watch all the old classic made-for-TV Halloween specials, as well. I joke that I’m an expert on Halloween TV Specials. If you remember a Halloween episode of something, chances are I’ve seen it and probably have many times over. I’m a good team mate for Halloween pop culture trivia. I’m pretty basic when it comes to the movies I watch at Halloween. It’s become a tradition for us to wander downtown Salem in costume during the day on October 31st, but when it starts getting cold, we got back to my place and warm up over drinks and watch Hocus Pocus.

And what about spooky tunes?

I build a new Halloween playlist every year, and it always has plenty of repeat music. I love classic Halloween tunes because they have such a creepy feel to them with the crackling record sound. I’m a big fan of horror movie soundtracks, so plenty of Goblin and John Carpenter, of course.

Why do you think we, as "adults", still love Halloween?

I believe that my generation in particular is very nostalgic. I also believe that my generation is the last to experience trick or treating in the ’old-fashioned’ way, before it got too ‘dangerous’ and before trunk-or-treats and lock-in parties. I’m lucky if I get two trick-or-treaters at my house! But I digress, I think it’s the fact that it has changed so much over the years that makes us nostalgic for the way Halloween was when we were kids. That, and I believe we all crave something a little dark, and Halloween gives us that opportunity to have fun with it in the mainstream, when everyone, even the people who don’t leave their decorations out all year, are excited about pumpkins, fake blood, and skeletons. (I’m the one that leaves the décor out all year…)

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was a toothbrush!
My favorite thing to get was Green Apple flavored anything, especially Blow Pops!

Where can folks find you online?
Our main site is FunDeadPublications.com and people can find our books, shirts, and cemetery jewellery at FunDeadShop.com.

Amber, thanks so much for stopping by and readers, stay tuned all week for more interviews with the staff of FunDead Publishing!
Be sure to visit all the participating bloggers by clicking the link below!


  1. Such a great interview! I added her book to my wishlist, and I am now following her FB Halloween in TV Land site! Happy Halloween!

    1. I have One Night in Salem waiting for me after I finish another horror anthology. Can't wait to get into it because they're all set around Halloween!

    2. Hi Joe! Thanks so much for the support!