Why I Love Halloween

Why I Love Halloween

Halloween is very nearly my favorite holiday of the year – it’s closest rival is Christmas which I think I give the edge to because of the giving of presents.  It used to be the receiving of presents (and don’t get me wrong, I still like to get presents), but I love seeing the look in someone’s eyes when I get them the right Christmas present.

But Halloween is the next biggest holiday in our household.  And it started from when I first had my own place. That year, my (now) wife and I threw a Halloween costume party for our friends which was an annual occurrence until our son was about two years old. When we moved to our current house (a century plus old Carpenter Gothic style house), we created treasure hunts that went to scary themed rooms through out the house.  Once our son started to trick or or treat, the parties ended, but we still decorated.  For a couple of years, we had a graveyard of terror for kids to explore if they dared.

Why do I love Halloween so much?  I blame it on two things: a love of theatre and a love of horror.  Before my son was born, my wife and I participated in two – three community theatre shows each year.  I have to say, I love costumes…not that I ever got really great costumes.  But costumes do contribute greatly to character. And as an outgrowth of that, I have an interest in makeup. I honestly think that one of the worst things for my makeup interest was watching the SyFy show Face Off, as it only wants to make me do more things with makeup.

My love of horror probably goes back to my childhood to Monster Movie Matinee.  Every Saturday, starting at 1:00 PM when the cartoons were over, we travelled to the mansion on the hill (actually, a well crafted model), to see long fingers of Dr. E. Nick Witty, the host, with occasional appearances of Epal, his assistant. We never saw our host’s face, only his hand with the long fingers and dagger long nails.  The host would introduce the movie of the day which ranged from the classic Universal Monster movies (Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Creature From The Black Lagoon), to all manner of 50’s and 60’s horror movies including The Blob. I sat transfixed every Saturday afternoon that I could watching those movies. I think at one point, I even had put together one of those plastic models of Frankenstein with the glow in the dark gravestones (like in the original movie Fright Night)

In many ways, I was really lucky to grow up at the end of the Baby Boom era (I fit the generally accepted criteria for Gen X, but just barely).  At the height of the Baby Boom era, shows like Monster Movie Matinee could be found many places across the country as movies were used to fill time on the channels and I’m sure that many of the movies could be broadcast cheaply.  Shows like Monster Movie Matinee just don’t exist anymore and it’s damn hard to find a channel with the classic monster movies.  TMC is usually a good bet (like they were much of Halloween this year) to see the 1950’s and 1960’s Hammer Studio remakes of the classic monster movies with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee seemingly changing place as the monster du jour.  I find it sad that we don’t get to appreciate these old movies very often.  They aren’t scary in what we would consider scary according to modern sensibilities, but they have such great atmosphere. And they have defined the tone of many horror genres since.

This has been a great Halloween for me as I’ve been able to reconnect to my love of the old horror movies. I got to watch two Hammer Studio productions of Dracula, Prince of Darkness and Dracula 1972 (sort of Dracula meets Austin Powers). In addition, I watched two horror classics that I’ve never seen before; The Exorcist (yes, I’m ashamed that I’ve never seen it until now) and The Evil Dead. This will probably keep me sated for horror movies until next Fall (Walking Dead  not included in that statement).

So here are some pictures of the Tefft House of Terror.  We went with the ever popular Frankenstein theme with my wife Colleen as the mad scientist and yours truly as the monster. I went with an interpretation similar to the Peter Cushing Frankenstein of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed because I thought it made more sense than the green, block-headed shape of the Karloff Frankenstein.

So what does all of this have to do with my writing? My love of horror will be evident in my next book. Without giving away too many spoilers, the book will drift more into the supernatural and horror genre. Malcolm and friends will find themselves confronting horrors that they are not necessarily prepared to fight.  I don’t want to say too much more because: a) I don’t want to spoil anything, and b) it’s not written yet so everything is subject to change.

Until this time next year, creepy dreams!


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