I've come to the realization that I am still exhausted from Halloween 2019. That was, by far, the most exciting season I've experienced to date. It was the first Halloween where I had the excuse to immerse myself in as much Halloween revelry my heart desired all in the name of my blog! By November 1st, 2019 I was 10 pounds lighter than I was that summer. I was drinking less and absorbing every detail of each place I visited. I had accumulated more spooky treasures in that one season than I had in my entire life. Even though I knew I was losing focus, I was having so much fun!
However, I did keep this thought in the back of my head, "If I start feeling like this was becoming a job, I will take a step back and re-evaluate." What I love about Halloween is quite simple. The colors, the way autumn smells and my favorite foods are most ripe in the Fall. I love clever costumes and immersing myself in haunted houses and the parties! However, in 2019, I had forgotten about the simplicities of Halloween. I exchanged them for highlighting artists, creators, shows and my experiences with these obscure creatures. It felt good being seen for my quirks. I didn't feel like I was being censored. I didn't have to dress a certain way. I didn't have to be quiet. I formed bonds that were meant to last and I didn't blink twice when I lit some bridges on fire.
Then 2020 illuminated even more for me. A year before, you could have told me to watch my back for this-and-that and I would have laughed in your face. No way could this collective of weirdos be self-serving. No way could there be opportunists and those who will drown their friends in order to stay afloat. No way! It wasn't because I didn't want to believe average humans wouldn't try and cash in on what the Halloween and Horror community offers, it was because that would have tainted my perception of what weirdos are. Which, given my history, would have made this all feel like a job. This community is sacred to me. A place where capitalist America and trends didn't belong.
Obviously, I was wrong. I began to see it, literally, right after Halloween. It started with the people I allowed into my home - who slept there! I began to find myself playing host and trying to accommodate everyone who walked through my door. It was happening again. This habit of me feeling obligated to alter my life around everyone else besides my family and myself. After my stint in the PTA, I promised myself I wouldn't tolerate people like that ever again. I began to see past the excellent make-up effects. I began to see through the fake healers and those who claimed their love for the obscure, but had limits that were as shallow as misunderstanding the meaning behind a pentacle. I witnessed artists become so consumed by their monetary success, that they became bored with the people who propelled them to that point. It was more of the same bullshit.
And yes, you read that right. I was a PTA Mom. I learned that aside from my Mother, middle-aged women who weren't cool in high school, who bought a house in the suburbs and somehow became queens of construction paper and potlucks, are as shallow as their kids in high school. Like so many genuine weirdos, I dealt with bullying growing up. As a Mother I spent all of my time doing kid things. When I did get the opportunity to be involved in what I thought was a happy community with a focus on our children's education, I was stoked! I looked forward to the planning, the conversations about the woes of Motherhood while being a part of my kids educational experiences. It was then that I found that bullying lasts well into adulthood. I thought grown-up bullying was just an American corporate workplace thing. How sheltered I must have been! These women were the first (besides my Mother) to show me that back-stabbing and status ranked more to them than their own children. After six years, this futility killed my passion to be on campus with my kids. When I felt able to leave, I was happy to let it all go. I put so much work and time into that shit not just for my kids, but the entire student body. So, I don't regret it. Now that passion is dead and decaying. It looks about how these women's bikini tans look. Cancerous. Dehydrated on one side and a bit like uncooked chicken on the other.
2020 pulled back the curtain. Some who were once idols in the Halloween and Horror community ended up being cancelled for racism, sexual assault and other unforgivable offenses. Good riddance! Right? But, no one is really talking about the opportunists. No one is talking about the self-serving and so-called Creatives. No one is talking about those who are preying on the vulnerable -who just love Halloween and Horror so much, they immerse themselves into every bit of it, not noticing the Scrooge-like show runners. I guess that's up to me.
Let me warm you up a bit. I can't just give you a sip of the tea right off the bat. I don't want to burn your tongue.
Think of your favorite band and how they make you feel after years of absorbing them. You went to as many shows of theirs as you could, even introducing your loved ones to their music. That band is sacred to you, right? Nothing they do can sway your love for them. Even if they put out shitty songs it doesn't matter. Now, imagine being in a crowd of people you don't know. No one looks like you. You feel out of place. That is until you see someone wearing a t-shirt of your favorite band. It's exciting right? You envision your interaction as you make your way up to them...
"Nice shirt, Bro."
"You know about 3Teeth?"
"Oh yea. I see them every time they come to LA. "Voiceless is my favorite song of theirs."
"I thought I was the only one."
"Thank Goth, someone in this crowd gets it!"
In your mind you're already pals for the day and as you walk up and say, "Nice shirt, Bro." That is until the person wearing that shirt says, "Thanks! I found it on sale at H&M for $5. I gave them a listen after I bought the shirt but, they are just, ok. I just like the shirt for the art, and it was like, $5."
If you are passionate about anything, you know how annoying this is. It's like someone took a hurried shit on your passion. Sometimes the love and loyalty to that band is life saving. A good friend of mine, Jackson @jackodinson1975 recently revealed that Suicidal Tendencies, “Emotion No. 13,” began to play just before he almost slit his wrists. The song urged him to stay despite his pain in life. He couldn’t bear the idea of hurting his daughter that way. It could be right triggering wearing a shirt of a band you know nothing about. When this happens, its not only annoying - its offensive.
Weirdos don't infiltrate what's popular. Sure there are Halloweeiners out there who love their football, but they balance their interests. I admire that because it keeps things sacred. Now the gen-pop are polluting the Halloween and Horror community, wearing band shirts they know nothing about.
At first, it was exciting to have so many spooky events to attend. It gave me the opportunity to buy dick soap from @hellflowersoapcompany one week and bags from @cannibalmummies the next. I had the opportunity to meet and hang out with so many creatives. There is so much inspiration within these shows. And nothing beats those texts messages, "Will you be at so-and-so Saturday?"
I loved seeing how a group of vendors took matters into their own hands when a certain convention in Riverside pretty much ignored them. When the entire show went awry they banded together. Overnight they created their own parking lot pop-up! The most important thing was, they banded together.
Flash forward to Fall of the pandemic. Many show runners did their part, stayed home, rescheduled shows and supported the home haunters who were running Halloween entertainment virtually. I believe it was the collective of Halloweeiners that did their part in the beginning and during the summer of the pandemic just so we could have a bit of Halloween fun. Anyways, it could be me still defending the Halloween and Horror Community because of my love for shows like @thewitchesbrew. I still support the creatives like Hellflower Soap Company and Cannibal Mummies because none of them let people fuck with their business. There are some, I am sad to say, that I fully supported at my beginning that will not get my promotions or use of my platform ever again. I am sure they don't care. Many, propelled by Instagram popularity, don't need my help anymore. That alone reveals so much, right?
I have been used so much in my life. I was my Mother's emotional and mental punching bag. I would watch other people's children because I was a stay-at-home mom for so long people just expected it. I was the token black woman in that PTA Clan. More than once, I was used as a wing-woman for a "so-called" friend to have fun with her side-dude's. My generosity was taken advantage of. One person began to expect me to be the driver, the parking fee payer, the lunch buyer and fucking cupid when my hot friends began to steal my attention. Then came the users and abusers in the Halloween and Horror Community. My personality was used to add "flavor." My love for unpopular horror was capitalized on for reviews. And worst of all came the requests to borrow my personal things, my treasures. The "can you hook me up with a hook-up from a vendor?" "Can you get us into this show?" "It’s on your way, will you drive?" All this after my mom, in-laws and the lynch moms. What the fuck was wrong with me?
I still don't see myself as being relevant enough to influence others and really make them think about who they support. I hope I do because wouldn't it be something to exhaust the opportunists? You know, the ones who don't even care for Horror or Halloween? Wouldn't it be nice to thin the crowds a bit and actually be able to re-discover the thrill of hunting treasures? Could you see the Halloweeniers and @_the_real_michael_myers buying thee Michael Myer's house to make it a place for fans of the franchise? Actual fans. Not ones there to simply do a job and rake in the cash and status while laughing at all us Halloween nerds speckled on the sidewalk.
Creators like @murdersincorporated always give back to the community while making a living doing what they love. Something each and every one of us wants. Is it worth taking that hurried shit on other people's passion to claim more for oneself? I couldn't live with myself. Cosplayers spend so much time perfecting and getting into accurate character. Most do it for fun and love acting the part without asking for anything but a tag in return. Some just want to be included in a show. So, I don't find it ok that a handful of cosplayers have tainted the art and started using every show, every picture taken as an audition of sorts. It's so terrible to witness. Shows are being copied, duplicated in some instances, and bullying is taking the spotlight. One particular "spooky" show runner didn't give a shit about the community enough to follow suit with CDC guidelines and the county regarding the Winter Surge. Actually, she and her heartless husband held pop-ups throughout the entire pandemic. There's a new lack of concern for public safety, but they sure did make that money and kept raising their vendor space fee. It seems the competition is taking its toll after all.
It's all too much for a collective of people who are already afflicted with social anxiety, issues with self-image, PTSD and other mental illnesses. These events, these shows, and pop-ups used to offer a place for weirdos to convene and indulge in fun that average society didn’t understand. Even though it was soaked in blood and there were monsters roaming the floor. Yet, for true lovers of Halloween, who have orange and black blood running through our veins, all this bullshit won't sway our love for the spooky season.
It's been too much for me. Beside's escaping the heat at all of these Los Angeles and Orange County shows, moving to the Pacific Northwest has truly helped me get back to my original plan and contemplate my presence in the Halloween and Horror Community. It may be shocking for some readers to know that there is an entire country that has wonderful and new Halloween and Horror happenings that exist outside of Los Angeles. Even The Witches Brew is expanding outside of Los Angeles and Orange Country. Las Vegas has some Vampire Galas that aren't all about the dark Hollywood stars. And thanks to Halloween influencers like @shadowplaypdx, @halloweenhappy and @spookylittlehalloween we are urged and inspired to be creative with what we buy during the season. It's that shared information, the shared experiences that I love about being an influencer myself!
There is so much more to Halloween than feeling obligated to attend as many shows as possible and buying as much merch as we can. Well, that last part is still fun as hell, but there was a time when all I could afford was one Halloween decoration during an entire season. I used to feel like a fraud or poser because I couldn't be the one clearing out Bath & Body Works in July. So, instead of giving up on my love of Halloween, I gave power to what I loved about the season. The treats, the looming cloudy days, the crafts, the horror movies playing on all kinds of channels and the creativity it all inspired. While I am looking forward to my traditional exploits like Knott's Scary Farm, I'm more excited to drink a pumpkin spice latte in Seattle for the first time!
My message here is simple. There is a deeper level of passion for Halloween, Horror and BAND SHIRTS. It may seem trivial for those on the outside. For those whom I do surround myself with, its our entire reason for living, our reason to create. If you hold Halloween and Horror sacred, don't let how many shows you attend or how much you buy define you as a Halloweenier. As I write more, I have what seems like legions of muses because, damn, look at what I have experienced! I'd love to capture the essence of Halloween and what exactly it is that you love about it. I want to see you enjoying something old as if it is something you are experiencing for the first time. Keep those Disneyland pics coming in @hellzjezebelle and @batty_sith13! Do spare me and the ones who truly live and breathe for Halloween, any attempts at undermining the community because it may pay well and inflates your personal status. Don't keep calling on loyal Halloweeiners to promote your copied shows. And fucking pay people for their time and talent! As a weirdo, you already have the ability to see through bullshit. Don't feel like you have to step in it because everyone else will be there. We weren't meant to be so popular that we forget we have the gift of seeing clearly when it gets dark outside. Let the Haunter's haunt. Allow the cosplayers to roam. Take pictures with them. Read and listen to the storyteller's Tales of Horror! Allow the vibes of the season to inspire your creativity and inner influencer. Be a part of the collective, not a shit-bag seeking status and a cash grab. For fuck's sake, take off that Joy Division shirt if you don't know any song aside form Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Unmask From The Routine And Make It Halloween Everyday