Today on the countdown we've got probably the most badass horror chick I know, Nicole Gould. I refer to her and Leah (yesterday's entry) as "The Celluloid Sisters." She's my con buddy (check out episode 6 of The Son Of Celluloid Show to witness our trip to the GunTOWN Mountain Haunted Hotel on the way back from DOTD Indy), camerawoman, fellow fixture on the Atlanta horror scene, damn good makeup artist, and a like minded sick fuck. She's also the only person I've ever seen purchase a Golden Girls lunchbox at a horror convention and one of the only other people who TRULY gets the deep meaning of #snackpack. So, Nicole, what does Halloween mean to you?
"When my mother was a kid in the 50’s, her and her sisters would turn their basement into a haunted house. They dressed up and jumped out from dark corners, did the peeled grapes/eyeball gag, rigged skeletons to pop out of closets, and charged the neighborhood kids a nickel for the experience. Somehow they managed to do this without my grandmother being aware, as she apparently rarely ventured into the basement. She was eventually tipped off by one of the kids’ parents who called to complain after her child returned home terrified and urine soaked. Evidently it was a lot easier to pull off a scare back then. These were some of my mother’s fondest memories of her childhood, so when I was about 7 or 8 we started doing haunted house scenes in our living room. The first year we kept it small; two dummies, a dick load of cobwebs, several homemade props, all centered around the bucket of candy. Before we knew it we were building guillotines, staging 7 dummies and one or two live “dummies” (my dad mostly) and creating huge elaborate scenes to lure the kids in and make them navigate for the prize of delicious free candy. We scored dry ice for bubbling cauldrons, made some crazy glow in the dark toxic as fuck margaritas, and we always used the innards of the pumpkins in the absolute grossest way we could think of. It was when I started dabbling in make-up effects.
I learned a lot from trying to make my parents look as gross and terrifying as possible. Word quickly got around about our house and we had people trick or treating from all over town and even neighboring towns. We got HUNDREDS of little trick or treaters every year. A lot of our neighbors hated us because we drew so many kids to the neighborhood and they had to give out a ridiculous amount of candy. But quite a few of them dug it and would try to get in on the action, putting up their own elaborate decorations, though never anywhere near as cool as our house. One year, just before Halloween my mother fell and broke her arm and her nose and bashed her face all up. I was somewhere in my teens, maybe 13-15ish and fully in my ‘My parents are ruining my life, they know nothing and I hate them’ phase. My mom announced that our Halloween would be canceled that year because she was all fucked up and couldn’t handle the work involved. My friends and I were all appalled. Our Halloween was an institution. Kids all over were expecting it. We were expecting it! You can’t cancel the only holiday that matters. So my friends and I took the reins and did the haunted suburbs on our own and we rocked it. I made my mother up and costumed her to hide her cast and sat her in the scene so she wouldn’t have to move around too much. I don’t even remember what the theme was that year but I remember it was a huge hit. We kept up the extravagant Halloweens every year until I found myself knocked up and my parents decided to divorce in the same freaking year. They sold the house and everyone went their separate ways. Sorry about the super depressing ending to the warm fuzzy family time story. Side bar: I can not imagine the first Halloween for that poor family that bought our house. All those kids expecting a haunted house and getting a fun sized butterfinger instead.
So, what does Halloween mean to me? Everything. I’ve always been a spooky little fucker, obsessed with horror films since age 5 when I saw the made for TV movie Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) and it terrified and thrilled me and blew my little pop tart mind. I read my first Stephen King at age 10 when I realized I could check them out of the library and sneak them into my room while my folks were working (latch key kids represent!) Once my mother caught up and realized I was a full-fledged budding weirdo she arbitrarily forbid me from watching slasher flicks. It was the 80s and slasher movies were responsible for teen pregnancy, pogo balls, and the cold war. So even though she literally and figuratively created the monster that I was with cheesy scary made for TV movies and Halloween murder in the living room she attempted to save me from certain annihilation by preventing me the glory of Jason Voorhees. Consistency is important in parenting. So I had a neighbor that had a huge collection of bootleg movies (really unusual in the 80s) and virtually no parental supervision. It was there that I saw my very first slasher, My Bloody Valentine. It was one of the most perfect moments of my life. But of course, I’ve wandered off on a nostalgic tangent.
Halloween takes everything I love and rolls them up into a beautiful package of strange, scary, joy. October is the one month that feels made for me. The air smells like burning leaves, and it’s gloriously cool and crisp. Everything is dying and reinventing itself. People everywhere embrace their inner weirdo and decorate their houses like mine. There are few things that I love as much as scaring and being scared and that is what Halloween means. It means being scary. Not slutty versions of everything ever (slutty Chinese takeout. This is an actual costume). It is the night that the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and we don masks to blend with the ghosts and ghouls.
So that’s it. That’s what Halloween means to me. I’m not anyone famous, just your average weird chick that you’ve probably seen at a con or a movie a few times. I’m just a loyal Celluloid Sister, gore hound, and die hard horror devotee. Halloween is tied to most of my best childhood memories and it marks the time of year when I am at my happiest. I bring the weird and it all works this time of year. I look forward to horror movie marathons and being chased by chainsaws at haunts while I scream like a girl and eating too much candy and doing make up for my friends and scaring little children. Every year around September I start to get this jumpy itchy feeling inside that is definitely NOT crabs. It’s just finally Halloween! 27 DAYS TIL HALLOWEEN, SILVER SHAMROCK!"
Hey, wait a minute. That whole "Silver Shamrock" thing is my line. Dammit!