Oct 3, 2020

Halloween Web - Michael May

Those of you on the outside of the Countdown to Halloween may not know that we have new organizers this year. Since the Halloween Web interviews started seven years ago with the folks that were running it, I thought it was only fitting that we start this year with the new crypt masters. 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I’ve been blogging for years and used to write about comics for Comic Book Resources and School Library Journal. But more recently I’m a comics writer and pod-caster. I wrote a graphic novel called Kill All Monsters (with artist and co-creator Jason Copland) that was published by Dark Horse.

I host or co-host a bunch of different podcasts, but the one that’ll be most interesting to Halloween fans is a show called Filthy Horrors with a couple of friends of mine, Jessica Hickman and Darla Ecklund. We focus mostly on what we call “old-fashioned” horror: ghosts and witches and monsters and spooky Gothic stuff. 

 What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

It was always a fun time. I grew up with a couple of younger brothers and our mom would usually make our costumes. She was a good seamstress and could pretty much make anything we came up with. So we’d grab our plastic Jack O’Lantern buckets and head out into the neighborhood, sometimes with other kids, but always accompanied by an adult. The ‘70s and ‘80s are often looked at as the Wild West of parenting, but I didn’t know anyone (at least not our age) whose parents turned them loose unchaperoned in the neighborhood.

When we got home, we’d dump out our buckets and see what we’d got. We weren’t allowed to eat it all that night, so I remember organizing and prioritizing what I was going to eat right away and what (usually the crappier stuff) I was going to save for the coming days.

Do you have any stand-out Halloween memories?

One year I won first place in a costume contest at our church’s Halloween party. It was a rare time when my mom didn’t make the costume, but a friend of ours did. I went as a scarecrow with a burlap mask and real hay sticking out of my sleeves and pants legs. It was a cool costume. My medal was a styrofoam ball painted like a Jack O’Lantern and hung on orange-and-black ribbon.

What about a favorite costume?

Even more than the scarecrow costume, I loved the Luke Skywalker costume my mom made me the Halloween of 1977. My brothers both went as Jawas that year.

How do you celebrate these days?

When Halloween is on a weekday, I take the day off. I love passing out candy to neighbor kids, so I don’t want to miss the early arrivals because I’m still at work. So I’ll just stay home and watch scary movies all day. We’re pretty lazy, so we don’t go all out on decorations, but there are a few that we put out every year to let kids know we’re a candy house. And there’s a life-size skeleton that my wife and son and I take turns posing around the house to try to surprise each other.

Do you have any yearly rituals to help celebrate?

When my son was younger, my wife would take him Trick or Treating while I stayed home with the candy basket. When he got older, we all stayed home to take turns giving candy away. Dinner is always a pepperoni pizza with the pepperoni cut to look like a Jack O’Lantern face. During dinner we watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and the Sleepy Hollow half of Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. We’ll also often make hot apple cider and always watch old horror movies in between visitors. 

Are there any particular movies or music you enjoy?

I have a long playlist with three-and-a-half hours of Halloween music on it. Lots of different genres from Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby to Creedence Clearwater Revival and Johnny Cash to The Cure and Concrete Blonde. I usually put it into serious rotation the week of Halloween.

I used to have a list of movies to watch every year (mostly Universal Monster and various Frankenstein films), but it got so long that I had to start watching the films in August. So I gave up the list and now I just watch whatever the Halloween Spirit moves me toward.

What is it for you that still makes Halloween special?

There’s a deep connection with childhood, of course. A lot of it is nostalgia and wanting to pass traditions on to a new generation of kids, whether they’re our own kids or our neighbors. It’s a fun connection to the past, which is appropriate since it’s a holiday built on rituals about remembering and connecting with those who came before us and have moved on.

For me, it’s also about connection with our living neighbors as well as our deceased ancestors. It’s one of the few occasions where we get out of our houses and visit the people who live near us. Or stay home and welcome visitors, as the case may be.

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was...I feel like the right answer is “toothbrush,” but I never got enough of those for that to be a real problem. I wasn’t crazy about caramel apples (we still used to get those when I was a kid). I’d just chew the caramel off and toss the apple. I also don’t love those peanut butter toffees in the black and orange paper wrappers, but you better believe I still ate them.

My favorite thing to get was full size candy bars. Very rare. That's what we pass out now at our house. 

My favorite monster cereal is Frankenberry. Part of it’s an affinity for the Frankenstein Creature, but I do love me some artificial strawberry.

Where can folks find you online?

My website is michaelmay.online, which is where I celebrate my own Halloween countdown and collect the various podcasts I’m on. I’m also on Twitter @michaelmaycomix for anyone who likes to interact that way.

A huge thanks to Michael for not only kicking off the interviews this year but also for taking on the co-hosting duties for the Countdown. Stay tuned to meet the other half!

Be sure to visit all the other houses with their lights on for you by clicking below.


  1. >I’d just chew the caramel off and toss the apple.
    Oh, man, you just fired a memory for me. I distinctly remember doing the same thing Halloween night and tossing the apple. I do like carmel apples now though, especially those Happy Apples coated in nuts and chocolate chips.

  2. What a great interview about you. Ironically, we are very similar. I too would eat the candy off the apple. lol Remember getting Ric Crispy treats too?