First of all, I want to thank everyone for helping make “What Halloween Means To Me” a success. I was really worried there for a minute. A lot of people flaked on me, both big names and, um, otherwise, but my friends really came through in the clutch, and some celebrities proved to me how those who care about their fans act. I know it only ended up being a 27-day countdown instead of the intended 31, but I’m damn happy with the way it turned out. I may even post some “special features/deleted scenes” in the next few days to make it to 31. To everyone who contributed; you are awesome beyond belief. I’d like to give a special shout-out to Frank Browning for making that snazzy banner that’s adorned the top of each day’s post. I’d also like to thank all of you who dropped by to witness the chaos, share the spooky spirit, and follow along with the countdown. You long time Cellmates and new blood alike pushed this to be Son of Celluloid’s most viewed month ever. I even reached my year-end goals for both Facebook likes and overall page views BEFORE Halloween! Honestly, after taking a month and a half off to deal with personal matters, I figured you guys would have forgotten about SOC, but you all proved again that the Cellmates are the best readers a writer could ask for, and that I’m just about the luckiest bastard in the blogosphere to have you. Everyone involved in this countdown in any way made my Halloween. Thank you all. Now, on to the question at hand.
So, what does Halloween means to me? Honestly, if I said that Halloween is my life, it wouldn’t be very far off. As a dude obsessed with horror (probably to an unhealthy degree), Halloween is a day to celebrate everything that makes life worth living. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t watch a horror flick. Horror t-shirts are pretty much my uniform. At least 2/3 of the music I listen to is horror related. I love playing with effects makeup. My “living spaces” have always been adorned Halloween style year round. I know it’s cliché (especially after this countdown) to say that “Halloween is when the rest of the world catches up with me for a little while,” but it really is true. It feels like my own personal holiday, but it’s more than that. A lot of the things that, over the course of my life, have come to define me are tied into Halloween. In a very real sense, Halloween made me who I am. I’ll give you two examples…
Halloween represents my first connections to the world of the macabre that would eventually come to define my identity. I know I’ve talked about this before, but in my house as a kid there was no horror entertainment allowed; unless you count all of the truly horrific stuff going on in the bible. Around Halloween, however, there was something spooky in the air. There were Halloween decorations everywhere. There were tombstones and cobwebs in the neighbor’s yard. Linus waited for The Great Pumpkin and Garfield went on Halloween Adventures. Hell, even the Chicken McNuggets were dressed up and hanging out in Frankenstein’s laboratory in my favorite commercial of all time. I was never allowed to dress up as something horrific until later (I ended up being Snoopy, a clown, a hobo, a pirate, a Viking, etc), but I was allowed to go trick or treating. I didn’t quite understand what was up with Halloween at first, but I was drawn to it. This time of year and the trappings of the holiday fascinated me, and it was through this avenue of exposure that the world of horror opened up to me. Horror eventually became the single most driving force in my life, and it was Halloween that planted that seed.
Halloween also means haunted houses to me. I get to dress up and scare people for a month and a half, so basically my Halloween starts in mid September. Live interactive horror entertainment has been a very big part of my life since I was 12. From the first moment I was handed a chainsaw and told to chase people, I knew that I had found my passion. I went through my first haunted house and was working there the next night. Actually, I didn’t see my first real horror movie, Night of the Living Dead, until a few days after that. Now that i think about it, October 1992 really warped me, huh? Anyway, from my start at The Chilling Fields through The Tribble Mill Haunted Trail, Blood Oaks, and finally Netherworld, I’ve been scaring people in haunts for 20 years, and I’m only 32. True, I didn’t work a haunt in Savannah, but I was driving tourists around in a hearse and telling ghost stories year round, so I still count those as haunting years. Anything you do from your late childhood, all through your teens, and your entire adult life is, needless to say, a big part of you. Like an athlete that has been playing their sport since they were a kid, it’s in my blood. Often you’ll hear those athletes say that the place they feel most at home is on the field. Well, Halloween is haunt season, so it’s one of those times when I feel like I’m really where I belong. All hail the Netherspawn, and haunt love to everyone out there causing nightmares and soiled drawers.
Now this is probably going to sound like me just trying to plug the blog, but Halloween is definitely my favorite time to be a horror blogger. For all of the headache they’ve been at times, I’ve had a blast putting together my October blog events together. The Horror Movie Darwin Awards were a lot of fun last year, and What Halloween Means To Me not only let me share Halloween with all of you, but I got to correspond with some of my horror heroes, read stuff by the best horror writers out there, and basically experience Halloween through many different sets of eyes. Hopefully “What Halloween Means To Me” can become an annual tradition. What do you think Cellmates? Would you dig reading more of these next year, or should I try something different? Please comment and let me know.
I could go on and on about all of the different things that Halloween means to me, but a lot of it has been said (probably better than I could) throughout the countdown. I could go into the movies I watch. I could discuss that intoxicating scent of fog juice, greasepaint, gas fumes, autumn, and fear. I could discuss my mother’s vegetable soup/cornbread tradition, my annual November 1st shopping spree, doing my friend’s makeup, my obsession with Wal-Mart's Halloween shirts, haunt hopping, and a million other things. We all have celebrating to do, however, so I think I’ll cut this short and just sum it up like this…What does Halloween Mean To Me? Halloween IS me.