Halloween as a professional genre-type person

So all month long we’ve talked about creatures, books, music, and some great new titles to really get you in the mood to be scared. Yet, I have a bit of a confession…

I was a complete scaredy cat even through my teenage years. Even now, I can’t do gore (unless it’s really campy), and there are some things that just bother me. Like demons. It’s utter irony that my first novel deals with demons, because I cannot stand to watch those types of movies or read horror/possession books. It’s just too freaky for my tastes, because in the scheme of that novel/movie, it just seems way too plausible, and I prefer not to think about things like that.

I don’t know when I started getting into horror movies, but at some point I decided I didn’t want to be afraid anymore. I decided to embrace what I was running from, and though I don’t embrace all of it, I’ve definitely found niches that I really, really love.

Halloween and horror both offer a huge amount of freedom to me. What other holiday do we have that we tell kids “Go for it! Be what you want to be! Don’t be afraid of anything! Take charge and go get rewards that are being offered!” Can you imagine if we used that as a metaphor all the time? Can you imagine if we encouraged kids to use their imagination like they do at Halloween all the time?

Maybe that’s why I like horror and dark fantasy…it’s a way to explore a darker shade of life (or made-up stuff) that’s still pretty safe. It’s getting out the worries that are kicking around the subconscious and playing it to MY agenda, MY whims. Plus, there really are not a lot of restrictions in those genres. I love it. I love trying new things and being able to do what I want, even if it seems really far-out.

So while I may never sit through The Exorcist, I can still write things like In the Red. While I can’t get through The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, I still like Friday the Thirteenth, The Lost Boys, Poltergeist, Nosferatu, Frankenstein, and many, many more. While I can’t trick or treat anymore, I can still hand out candy and appreciate the kids who gather their courage and go after the candy. I can still make my own costumes and push the boundaries of what you can do with cloth and whatever else is lying around. True, I suppose some of the magic is gone because I’ve grown up (ha), but in a lot of ways being a writer/artist counteracts that…I still get to play in the realms I love, and pick and choose the areas that I like. What’s better than that?

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