Today we’re gonna hear from Annabelle Lecter. Annabelle is a phenomenal artist. Hit her up on Facebook and you can see some of her art, including the amazing top hat she painted for Neal Jones of Without Your Head. Speaking of Without Your Head, she is the sometimes co-host of the WYH Horror Radio, which, in my ever so humble opinion, is most definitely in the upper echelon of horror podcasts. For a while, she also co-hosted Dinner and a Movie with Neal. We’ll see if that show makes a comeback. I know I’d like to see it. Anyway, continuing on with the international flavor from yesterday, Annabelle spent this Halloween in Japan. Ms. Lecter, would you please tell us a little about Halloween in Japan and your recollections and feelings about All Hallow’s Eve back home…
“This is my first year away from the United States for the Halloween season in my life. Although Japan does celebrate this holiday, it is nothing like home. So what does Halloween mean to me? Well, let me tell you what I miss.
I miss the smell of autumn leaves, their crisp sound and feel against my feet and ankles as I intentionally walk through them when they build up on sidewalks and lawns. I miss their beauty as they turn from green to reds, yellows, oranges into browns and grays.
I miss seeing decorations popping up in home windows, knowing that there is some small kinship with all others who celebrate this time. I miss yards with witches crashing into trees, the variety of prop gravestones, and of course those very special houses that make serious time and money investments with props and displays. I miss orange lights in bushes and trees, candle bags, lit pumpkins.
Pumpkins – yes, I miss them; whether they are classy Martha Stewart, cheap Wal-Mart cut-outs, or Savini worthy artistic masterpieces. I like the funny seed-vomiting pumpkins as well as the ones obviously cut by children. And I miss carving them; the pressure of knives not meant for the work sawing in and out, attempting to stay controlled. Scooping wet seeds and pumpkin guts, scraping down the inside with a big metal spoon… I can smell that faint scent now as if I was back home carving and watching an old horror flick while drinking an apple cider.
The foods – forget the candy, I love cider (hot or cold), cider donuts, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake.
I love the warm sunny days and sweater-cold nights. I love feeling chill looking up at the night sky and wondering what phase the moon will be on Halloween night.
It’s my time of year for listening to Type O Negative, remembering long ago days with friends – many fond memories of falls and Halloweens long gone.
Setting the table with cute Halloween tablecloths and putting up decorations I have collected over time.
Finding costumes I would wear as normal clothing and decorations I would use in my house year round.
Seeing ghost tours in town. Store fronts decorated, employees dressed up.
Listening to old ghost story recordings, watching horror movies even more than normal. Watching old Halloween specials like It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Garfield’s Halloween Adventure. Seeing my favorite youtube videos Jack Chop and Life and Death of a Pumpkin, and playing Cat Bowling.
Going to local fall events like apple farm harvest festivals, corn mazes, pumpkin picking at the farm, and going to fairs.
Back in ye’ olde days I went to ManRay, a goth & fetish friendly club in Cambridge, MA who always put on a great event. No one can do beautiful Halloween dress like goth and fetish people – the mix of beauty and oddity is exquisite. Alas, ManRay died and I have not had company to attend any other similar events.
And of course, the main event – Halloween. In my local area, Halloween is not always celebrated on Halloween night itself, so I often luck out and I am able to see costumed kids walking around town with their bags and sacks and plastic pumpkins full of treats. One town here in particular lines the main streets with candle bags, and what a pleasure it is to see all of the adorable kids having so much fun like I did when I was just a little Lecter. It’s so nice seeing this tradition of community continue on – really the ONLY holiday of it’s kind where the real celebration comes from being neighborly.
The one neighborhood I tend to frequent is Salem, Massachusetts. I love Salem on Halloween – so many people dressed and all of the silly witch castles and fright tours in full swing. There are street shows and a small carnival, and it’s just a giant messy mix of innocence and debauchery all in one little space of the small downtown. There are even the Christians with sandwich boards warning everyone of their impending damnation, but I don’t mind. All is well and good on that night.
My favorite year was when several friends and I all dressed as evil clowns with one demonic Ringmaster. I had one of those plastic pumpkins and filled it with candy and handed it out throughout the night to random children and adults alike. I’ve dressed classy and cheap, childish and a creep – and I love that about Halloween. You can be anything, play any part, just feel it inside and it’s yours for the taking. On that one day, in that one place, you can be offensive or innocent and people will love it just because you gave a damn to try.
Dear gods, I am really enjoying Japan but it is killing me that I don’t have any of this – my favorite season, my favorite holiday. Live it up for me, wish I was there.”
350 days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. 350 days ‘til Halloween. Silver Shamrock.