I’ve always been a connoisseur of the strange and unusual. Maybe that’s because, as my role model Wednesday Addams once said, “I myself am strange and unusual.”
Anyone who has known me for a long time can vouch for my lifelong obsession with Halloween. My earliest childhood memory is from Halloween when I was just 3 years old, baking pumpkin cookies with my grandma.
And I still remember the adrenaline rush of marching, dressed as a tiny witch, in the Kindergarten Halloween parade. Halloween was always magical to me, and every year I felt sad when the decorations came down on November 1st.
As an adult, I avoid that letdown by simply celebrating Halloween all year round. I even keep some of my favorite macabre décor on display 12 months a year. For over 25 years now I’ve hosted gatherings of my monthly B-movie Film Society (there are a lot of terrible horror and sci-fi films out there!), presided over by a life-sized skeleton named Vincent who resides next to our TV and dresses up according to the seasons.
But when Labor Day is past, it’s time to get serious and really get into the Halloween spirit…
I spend a lot of time in September and early October decorating indoors and setting up my outdoor graveyard. We also throw a big Halloween party/film festival every year. It’s a good excuse to show off my décor and my creepy dinnerware and serving pieces… like my skull salad bowl with matching skeleton-hands salad tongs. I’ve served cookies that look like severed fingers, Jello brains and hearts, a skull covered in prosciutto, pulled pork served from a skeleton’s rib cage, and various other morbid or creepy foods that some guests love… and others won’t touch.
In 2015, I published my book, If You’ve Got It, Haunt It: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Own Halloween Business, followed in 2016 by an artsy Halloween journal, Haunting Thoughts. A couple weeks ago, I had booked a vendor table at a Pittsburgh Horror Realm event with a plan to sell my books and recruit potential coaching clients.
What I didn’t expect was that I would have an epiphany that would turn my business worldview upside down.
That day I met, chatted with, and got to know dozens of delightfully diverse people, all of them with similar obsessions to mine. Booth visitors ranged from young couples with babies in backpacks to elderly bikers… from teenaged Steampunks to grizzled tattoo parlor managers… from ghostly Goth maidens to middle-aged moms.
My fellow exhibitors were also a diverse bunch, including ghost hunters, macabre crafters, vintage Halloween collectors, horror film memorabilia dealers, and even a Wiccan vegan baker.
When I told them about the website and where I wanted to go with it, I was blown away by the level of enthusiasm and interest. I filled a page with emails of people who asked to be notified when the site went live.
So the moral of this story is this: Although I’ve been immersed in Halloween culture all these years, until I got out there and actually talked about it with my “tribe” – the kindred spirits (ha ha) who share my love of the Halloween Lifestyle – I had no idea how intense and broad the interest in it was.
In the coming week or so, I will launch my new website – Halloween-Lifestyle.com. It will be a community for people who love Halloween and everything related to it. It’s not just for the “True Believers,” the ones who keep up their decorations year round, but also for people who happen to like some parts of Halloween with a more general appeal – for example, Victorian décor, horror films, or party planning tips. And if you’re fine with keeping Halloween confined to October, there will still be lots of seasonal content (pumpkin carving, costumes, etc.) to add excitement to your own celebrations.
If you’d like to join the Halloween Lifestyle Society, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll add you to the mailing list.