On September 10, 2019, michellehalloween.com became self aware. I had no intention of taking over the world or human consciousness but I had a new tool that I was proud to use in order to practice writing. Michellehalloween.com was immediately filled with features and interviews of people I admired within the Halloween community and I used it as an excuse to be at Halloween events every weekend throughout the 2019 Halloween season. I found myself addicted to the thrill of meeting new people, especially those I had admired from afar. Then, I hosted my own show, interviewed community personalities, musicians and celebrities. After these interviews I would scream, “How is this my life? I love it!” My excitement, my love for Halloween, horror movies, indie music and the occult became my gimmick along with my orange wig.
I often view Michelle Halloween a rather lame moniker. I came up with it while at a school dine-out night in 2011. Remember, I was a mom zombie then. Not much original creativity existed within me. I had four kids under the age 12 and my days were filled with PBS watching, book reading, homework helping, driving a minivan around and volunteering. I had to reserve my horror watching for after their bedtime. I wasn’t allowed to begin Halloween decorating until after Labor Day. I was pretty unremarkable back then but, with the little spare time I did have, I fantasized about Halloween, Knotts Scary Farm and what horror movie I could indulge in after 10pm. Anyways, I was at that dine-out night, a Pie-ology, and there was a flyer at our table advertising an Instagram photo contest. I was all about free pizza and discounts and I figured I needed a new personal hobby. I had no idea what influencers were, I just took to creating an Instagram account to take clever photos of my Halloween DIY’s and little spooky adventures. When I was filling out my account info, “Michelle Halloween” was all I could come up with. I didn’t think it would turn into anything. I kept my account private and began to share pictures of my ghost cake pops, Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, Halloween Time at Disney adventures and a lot of family friendly, basic bitch shit.
In 2014, I heard about a Halloween convention called ScareLA. I couldn’t believe such a thing finally came into existence. I spent a great amount of time looking into what this convention would offer. Photo opps with Sid Haig and handmade bags shaped like coffins. I was so in. I got the cheapest tickets I could, general admission for Sunday, created a budget and shopping list and off to The Reef (that’s in LA) my husband and I went. Once we were there, I instantly felt like a fraud, a total poser. There were people there adorned in things I had never seen outside of horror movies and Knott’s Scary Farm. Cosplayers, MUA’s, the things people were wearing blew my mind! Even though I felt like my basic ass didn’t deserve to be within this treasure cove of macabre wonders, I embraced it. My Dude and I took advantage of the photo opps and displays that didn’t cost to get into. I met Renee the mastermind behind Sweet Midnight and bought my first bag from a spooky small business. I remember we chatted about copyright infringements and pin-up looks. She took the time to answer all my questions and it was then that I learned the value of true Halloween creators and artists. Something I will always continue to do.
After chatting with Renee, I went on to take pictures with Sid Haig. I remember shaking and my mouth going dry. I’ve been a lousy Fan Ghoul since my beginning. I couldn’t believe I was in his presence along with Corpsey from Girls and Corpses Magazine. I loved the debauchery on full display and wished I could be more open to write and share myself in such a manner. That’s when I happened upon horror author Terry M. West who was selling his books. Terry took the time to tell me about his stories and the hopes and failures of independent publishing. I had no idea that was a thing. Terry knows that he lit a fire under me. He even invited me to contribute to his website. My first movie review was for the movie As Above, So Below and it was for an actual Halloween website. I remember I critiqued the fuck out of that review. I was shaking while writing it. Nonetheless, Terry published it and the seed was planted. I am forever indebted to the writer who gave me my first opportunity.
As it always does, my focus went back to my family and their needs. Their schools as well. I was wrapped up in being a volunteer, lunch lady and a PTA mom. I did go out to do Michelle Halloween things as much as I could. I went to Scare LA the following year and then, in 2016, I heard about another Halloween convention happening, Midsummer Scream. It was new, cost less than ScareLA and offered more workshops, vendors and panels. I had accumulated enough Sweet Midnight apparel and horror tees to look the part of a real Halloween enthusiast, too. Midsummer Scream was Samhain perfection. I am not knocking Scare LA but, Midsummer Scream was/is the best Halloween convention for every kind, of Halloween enthusiast (even the posers) and has been since year one. It was there I got to meet David Naughton and Kaci, the Homicidal Homemaker. The people there were kind and willing to chat and I began to feel a sense of belonging. I wanted to write about all of what I was experiencing but, I was having so much fun, I just stuck to lazy posting about my adventure in my private Instagram account.
Later on that season, I got lucky and was invited to bear witness to Tim Burton’s imprint ceremony at the famous TCL Chinese Theaters. My fucking first idol, the first artist I ever comprehended, fucking Tim Burton! There was no way I could miss such an opportunity. So, I called out sick from my lunch lady job and told my Husband to take care of the kids that day. It was surreal to witness such a Hollywood tradition in real life but that was Tim’s moment. One of hundreds. I received another cosmic message a bit later. The person who facilitated this experience also had free tickets for us to watch an advance screening of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children just inside the theater. My first advance screening! Wow! Tim and the author of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs, were set to say a few words about the movie beforehand. I don’t remember much of what Tim said. He was so cute, awkward and shy. I love that about Tim. He’s an artist who keeps to himself, modest and look at all he has put into the world. However, it was what Ransom Riggs said that resonated the most that day. I had a drink in my hand, my feet were up and for some reason, with the one experience Ransom was conveying, I had felt myself. He said, “When I set out to write Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar children, I only expected like, 30 people to read it. I have no words to describe how it feels to now be standing here, about to watch a screening of my book as seen through the eyes of legend Tim Burton.”
That rekindled the flame that Terry had lit. Except this time, I felt like I was closer to actually doing it. My dreams were closer to manifestation. Tears welled in my eyes but, as usual, I kept that to myself. What Ransom said is what I hold close to me when I struggle to publish a blog or when I feel as if my content isn’t reaching anyone. Usually, it’s only me getting in my own way. I have often been pleasantly surprised with the visibility I do receive. While I can fantasize about Tim Burton adapting my writing into a film of his, I had a personal experience with Tim in a dream I had that I am more than content with. The dream was vivid, I could smell the dust in the air between us and he told he all of his deepest secrets about his creations. I wrote a poem about it.
In early 2018, I read something similar to what Ransom said during what I call my awakening, the time when I decided to fully embrace who I am. Rebecca Campbell’s book Rise Sister Rise, marked another moment where I felt the universe sending me an obvious message. One that I carry with me to this very day and especially when I find myself wrapped up in what others are doing during the Halloween season,
“Once you start getting successful it’s also easy to expect all that comes with it. However, as artists and creators this is a slippery slope, for the bar will always continue to rise and fall. Your best work may be rejected and overlooked. Your worst may be celebrated. Neither is your business. Having your sense of worth or success attached to it would be a big mistake. Huge.
Instead, show up and create because you love the smell of paint. Show up and create because symmetrical websites make you feel more balanced. Show up and create because it lights you up more than anything else. Show up and create because sharing your story calms your inner energy.
The best teachers, like artists, are OK with not being liked. They create because they love creating.” – Rebecca Campbell – Rise Sister Rise
Damn. Revisiting that excerpt is everything and necessary. When I got caught up in the excitement, fun and recognition I did a disservice to myself. I thought I needed to put others on a pedestal for their work and contribution to the community I was falling in love with. I didn’t see my worth or nor did I feel that I had anything worth reading to offer. I put off writing Michelle Halloween originals to highlight others. I still love doing that but, at one point it got out of hand. I allowed my own writing to take a back seat in order to contribute to a company I once admired. I thought it would be an opportunity to be seen and heard and read. I didn’t realize I was doing fine on my own, more than fine. My orange and purple personality was being used to assist them with projects they didn’t have time for. They were above working on most of those projects but kept them in order to keep their “in” with big organizations and increase their following. I took it all as practice and I love cheesy horror films and I got to see them before anyone else, so I gave them my very best. I helped raise the money they desired to overshadow their competition and shared my treasured connections with them. I often learn things the hard way. And, until I realized what was happening, it was fun while it lasted.
On the flip, another company, a very small one with a wonderfully large following that draws in a unique and darker vibe, gave me the opportunity to let my magick shine. Over and over again, The Witches Brew LA, has given my eccentric being space to write, interview some wonderful people, partake in rituals, go back in time, and play without rules and loopholes. The Witches Brew doesn’t “use” the people they collaborate with for any kind of gain. They keep going despite the challenges. They are a family of genuine lovers of the Occult and Halloween, and it shows as they give people space to share energies and talents. The Witches Brew LA takes in those who have been shit on by other show producers. I will always continue to support, love, work for and promote The Witches Brew LA. They too are celebrating their two year anniversary on 9/26 at another rad place, The Phantom Carriage. Congratulations Witches Brew and cheers to many more years of magick.
I realize now that I was becoming overwhelmed and feeling pressured with the chaos that was wreaking havoc within the Southern California Halloween scene. I knew, once the pandemic got under the slightest bit of control, a colossal wave of new events, shows, giveaways and promotions would come crashing back into convention centers and apparently the Heritage Square Museums throughout SoCal. I wasn’t feeling like I needed to relive the distracting mayhem and expectations of 2019. While I miss my old stomping grounds and the wonderful people that do reside within it, the genuine ones, I realized I haven’t done much of what I set out to do. I now know that the Pacific Northwest has a scene reminiscent of the one I miss, that I used to look forward to, in Southern California. A more obscure scene where it takes a bit of effort to find out where the good stuff is happening and not plagued with opportunists trying to recreate Midsummer Scream’s success. At least not yet. I can think clearer in this majestic, dreamy landscape. Lately, the clarity has been painful as I deal with loneliness, depression and worry. But, what muses and what a place to reflect and nourish my creativity! As I move into my next chapter, I had to remember what I set out to share in the first place. I needed to slow down and like I accepted in 2018, write and create, in my own time. I cannot rush to create content to keep up with other Halloween enthusiasts, vloggers or authors. This won’t be the September and October to publish stories in full. Maybe next season, I will publish a book of poetry, or a collection of short stories, a novella or two. As long as it has completed brewing in the bubbling cauldron that is my mind first.
In the two years michellehalloween.com has been active I have published 104 blogs (not counting this one) and 49 YouTube videos. Two years ago, if you had asked me what I see myself doing, I wouldn’t have expected to have actually interviewed Harvey Guillen, David Howard Thorton and the front people of my favorite bands like, Dusty Gannon, Davey Calabrese and Jason Corbett. I almost had Alexis Mincolla, and still have hope for that one. I didn’t see myself becoming the Editor-In Chief of the Rawl of the Dead magazine. I would not have expected to find and then be embraced by BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ Halloween lovers. I would not have ever imagined that simply writing about what I love, hate or showing off my naked body, that I would have made so many valuable connections. I am inspired by the burned bridges too. For, I wouldn’t be the real deal if I didn’t have Michelle Halloween haters. This website has been integral to my path, for my healing and it’s the main hub for my inspiration.
What comes next? Well, I have pondered that all summer. I have accepted and embraced that my move to the PNW was monumental. This is a true, new beginning and it has taken a lot out of me emotionally and I need to be more present to adjust, explore and plant Michelle Halloween seeds. I have decided to put The Michelle Halloween Show on hold this season in order to embrace my explorations and further ground within nature and the alluring Goth scene. I also have teenage goblins who need their Mummy’s help with adjusting to new schools, new people, anti-mask protestors and a difficult time in humanity’s existence. Teaching my children to find their happiness in a beautiful world that has been thrust into chaos, is no easy feat but something worth writing about. I am taking this downtime to rekindle my love of the “basic bitch” within me. Do you know how exciting it is to drink a PSL next to a river lined with trees and shrubs? Do you know how exciting it is to eat Washington apples in Washington? Soon, I’ll get to visit a pumpkin patch and actually wear a sweater and drink actual hot apple cider under cloudy skies. I have the time to spend hours searching for haunts, happenings, yard displays, meet new makers of wares, read, make mischief and watch horror. Its fucking poetic.
Though I won’t be recording any shows for Michelle Halloween, I am continuing to blog and post about my adventures and musings. My hope is to set out and write about the beauty and trials of Halloween time in a different place, through my eyes and imagination. I have poems and some stories on deck that I’d love to share with you. But, I have learned my lesson when it comes to sharing my connections and ideas with just anyone. You should use caution too. But, you can trust me as I am a space person. My platform has never been something I wanted to make solely about myself. If you want me to look into something and write about it, choose my blog topics, collaborate and contribute to michellehalloween.com, I invite you to join my Patreon. That is where I will be sharing my poems, stories, ideas, sharing unedited versions of blogs and sneak peaks and theres room for your work too. I will continue to highlight your creations. Just know I am not limited to SoCal or The PNW. My platform is open to advertise your haunts, art, anything you think would help share your gift from wherever you are. All I ask is for you to buy me a cup of coffee, or a joint- or both – and take the time to chat with me.
So much has happened in the last two years. I feel like I have evolved each season. During normal-ish times, I never saw any of my personal endeavors through. I now know what I am meant to do and despite how hard I get down on myself, no matter how thick the writers block is, I have no choice but to keep writing. I have to share because it helps calm my inner energy and so many of you make it even more satisfying. I love telling you my stories. My unwavering love for Halloween, Horror, music, art, witchcraft have been lifetime muses and what feeds my imagination. I have a lot to do! You, my beloved readers, friends, muses are a vast part of it. I am filled with gratitude and embrace all of your comments, support, friendships and the stories you’ve shared with me. I hold the few genuine connections I have made close to my heart. I can’t wait to see what this season holds for you. Just stay safe and look out for your fellow weirdo. All the while, michellehalloween.com will leave the pumpkin porch light on for you.