For many years, I dreamed of having a daughter, but no daughter came. When Belle finally showed up, I couldn’t imagine anything better—except that she missed being born on Halloween by three days. I thought that would have been perfect. But turns out that Belle and I share a lifestyle that includes Halloween as a season (and pretty much a year-round pursuit) so we have a house filled with a black Christmas tree up all year round, pirate and horror-themed art (and dishes, and table cloths) and a general love for gothy goodness.
I’ve hosted about a dozen Spooky Sleepovers that weren’t too spooky for the elementary-school set, including an entire backyard carnival complete with bounce-house, games, and prizes. The emphasis was on cute-scary for a long time. Hocus Pocus was almost too frightening, and we found ourselves putting away our elaborate props (I think we have three hundred Halloween items including a righteous fog machine) so Belle’s more timid (or religious) friends could manage to stay the entire night.
Before Belle came into my life, I spent many nights leading up to Halloween watching horror movie marathons while I packed for the World Fantasy Convention. Now I usually miss WFC because it’s too close to her birthday. And I keep the TV off because she’s got homework. As she’s turning Sweet Sixteen, I imagine that sooner than I’d like, I’ll be going to WFC again and watching all the movies I want whenever I want.
When I became a mom. I got much more timid about my horror-writer proclivities–I found myself toning down my writing. I became very protective of the psyches in my household. When we got our puppy, I put blankets up around his X-pen and watched Psycho on earphones so he wouldn’t be scarred by seeing or hearing it. I also hired a babysitter to make sure Belle never got to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer while I was writing all my Buffy books.
Now that she’s getting older, I’m getting bolder. Turns out she likes the scary! We’re getting ready to watch some creepy stuff together (Scream trilogy is on the docket) and I can’t wait!
Besides adoring Halloween, something else that Belle and I have in common is a love for Disneyland. Belle has “saved” a bunch of new stuff (Cars Land, for example) by not going to the Mouse for an entire year—no mean feat when you live 90 miles away and you have an annual pass. In three days from this post, we’re taking three of her best friends and staying at the Grand Californian Hotel, which is the most expensive hotel I’ve have ever stayed in in my life. Disneyland will be totally decked out for Halloween. The Haunted Mansion will be costumed in The Nightmare before Christmas overlay, and Belle has got some costume-y things arranged for her friends’ goodie bags. I’ve etsy’ed my way to a pumpkin theme featuring orange Birkenstocks.
So this is what it’s like in the Halloween house of a horror writer—we find real joy in our favorite season, and being the mom of my Halloween baby really is perfect.
Professionally, I’m very excited about my new venture with Chris Marie Green and Linda Sundstrom-Thomas. Together we are GothicScapes, and our first offering, UNDEAD FOR A DAY, is out just in time for Halloween. It’s a set of three novellas celebrating Samhain, and we’re planning another one called STRANGE SPIRITS, centering around the winter holidays. I hope you’ll check them out! Here’s the skinny: http://selenaillyria.com/2012/09/gothicscapes/ And here’s our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GothicScapes?fref=ts
TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Nancy Holder is offering one copy each of her books Possession, The Evil Within, and The Screaming Season. To enter post a comment in the section below or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and put HH CONTEST ENTRY in the header. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.
Nancy Holder has received five Bram Stoker Awards from HWA and nominations for two more. Her novel Teen Wolf: On Fire is out now. She has stories in Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes (November) and Shards and Ashes (February.) Additionally, she’ll appear in Deep Cuts and she has a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer tribute book coming out in December. Her twitter account is @nancyholder and you can check out her website at www.nancyholder.com