by Don D’Auria
Halloween was always a very special holiday for me when I was a kid. Yeah, I liked the trick or treating and the candy, but that wasn’t what made it special. That was just the icing on the cake. For me, Halloween wasn’t about being able to do something I couldn’t do the rest of the year. I grew up in the 1960s and ‘70s, in the middle of the monster craze. So that meant, even without Halloween, I spent my time watching horror movies, sitcoms, anthology shows and even cartoons on TV, reading horror stories, magazines and comics, building monster models, listening to old horror radio shows on records, putting up monster posters in my room, and playing monsters with my friends. Really, aside from putting on a scary costume and knocking on strangers’ doors, what more “horror” stuff could I do on Halloween that I wasn’t already doing?
No, for me, Halloween was the one time of year when other people acted more like me. My teachers put up paper cutouts of the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein monster in my classroom, stores filled up with horror decorations, TV channels ran Halloween specials, and even Charlie Brown dressed up like a ghost (and got a rock.) And for just a week or two, non-horror folks were actually interested in the stuff that my friends and I loved all year round.
And I loved that. There was something really cool about seeing people enjoy my favorite monsters and ghost stories. What I enjoyed most was being able to introduce newcomers, maybe make some recommendations, and watching them get hooked. Maybe they’d still be into horror after Halloween passed.
I didn’t know when I was a kid that I’d be doing that for a living when I grew up. I’ve been a horror editor for fifteen years now, and when you get right down to it, that’s what a horror editor does; I take manuscripts and books, publish them and try to get readers to live a little Halloween all year round.
It’s especially fitting then that early this October, in time for Halloween, I’m launching a new horror line for Samhain Publishing. How perfectly fitting. Starting this October, Samhain will be publishing the best horror fiction I can find. We’re starting with ten books in the first month, including new and classic books by Ramsey Campbell, and new books by W. D. Gagliani, Ronald Malfi, Brian Moreland, Hunter Shea, and Kristopher Rufty. And then every month after that we’ll publish at least two novels, with maybe a novella or two thrown in as well. Check us out at Samhainhorror.com.
And every month, with every book we publish at Samhain, deep down I’ll still be that same kid hoping to turn new readers on to something cool and scary, to introduce someone to something they haven’t seen before, and maybe to spread a little of that Halloween spirit, enough to last the rest of the year.
Don D’Auria is executive editor, Samhain Horror.