HALLOWEEN HAUNTS: INTERVIEW WITH A HORROR-LOVING CHILD by Eric J. Guignard and Devin Guignard
HALLOWEEN HAUNTS: INTERVIEW WITH A HORROR-LOVING CHILD
by Eric J. Guignard and Devin Guignard
I sat down to write this blog post, and—as I do before any writing—I read a bit on the subject matter, what others before me have written about. I wanted to put out something different that hadn’t been covered by other HWA members, and so as I skimmed through the blog posts I noted similar themes, many looking back at Halloween myths and family traditions and sweet memories. Man, I’ve got a lot of those too, and reading of others’ past experiences brought a number of flashbacks about trick-or-treating (sticking my head in the bag after collecting all the candy and just inhaling!) and family get-togethers in the suburbs of Los Angeles (my uncle from Mexico and his side of the family always had the wildest creep-shows set up in their front yard, with purple-lighted skull cemeteries and animatronic werewolves).
But the reality is, I’m just not that big into it anymore. I love what Halloween represents culturally and especially love seeing decorations and iconography everywhere, but that’s more from being an art aficionado. I love knowing people are more interested in talking about horror, too, and there’s a great slew of movies that come across media, but none of that really has anything to do with the Halloween “spirit” that’s instilled in us as youths as inexorably as is Santa at Christmas and the Bunny at Easter. Perhaps more succinctly, I simply don’t look forward to it as I did once-upon-a-time as a young lad.
It’s one of the hardships of getting older, the apathy of seeing the same things, following the same routines, year after year after year, a sort of compounding numbness. But fortunately I have children! Everything is new and bright and exciting for them, which makes it so for me, by way of parental proxy! I get to re-love events and traditions that otherwise might have gotten stale.
So I thought to turn this blog around and bring to you, dear readers, my horror-loving nine-and-a-half-year-old daughter Devin, in order to revitalize and share vicariously the joy of Halloween through her eyes, in this following hard-hitting interview:
Eric J. Guignard: Hi Devin, thanks for your time and it’s great to chat with you here for the benefit of Horror Readers all around the world. Tell us, what does Halloween mean to you?
Devin Guignard: Halloween always means super fun for me, and it means I get to use all of my imagination, and there’s freedom to be anyone or anything I want. And Halloween means good memories, too, because I like talking about what happened afterward and reliving fun times.
EJG: Oh, then what’s your best Halloween memory so far?
DG: Meeting up with all of my friends and going trick-or-treating together one year without even planning it. Remember, we just went down the street and we saw (names redacted) S— and B— and M— and C— and everyone else, and I was like, “Hey! Let’s go trick-or-treating together,” and everyone was like, “Yes!” It was awesome.
Oh, and the year Scout (one of the family dogs—ed.) was dressed up as a hot dog. That makes me laugh every time I think about it. We should have added sunglasses to him too, to make him look like he was really “hot.” Get it? Hot? Hot dog? (hee-hee-hee)
EJG: What’s your favorite part about Halloween?
DG: Seeing friends on the street while trick-or-treating and guessing who it is. I mean, it could be anyone under a costume, even a monster!
EJG: What do your friends do for Halloween?
DG: Pretty much the same thing I do. They dress up and go to houses and go trick-or-treating, and also they give out candy from their own houses and sometimes their parents have parties. And some of them set-up big Halloween displays and games in their front yards and those are fun to visit!
EJG: What are you dressing up as for this Halloween?
DG: I want to dress up as Blue from Rainbow Friends (the mini-game in Roblox—ed.) because Rainbow Friends is a really cool game, and the characters are all actually monsters (and not friends to people), and I’d rather be Blue than any of the others because he would be the easiest to make a costume for, and he’s the coolest.
Plus, I mean, I couldn’t dress up as Green because he has really, really long, wavy arms. And I couldn’t be Pink because she has snail-like eyes on stalks, and she has no arms at all, and her legs are like this: (…imitates a simian-like creature running up and down the floor). And Orange is too tiny to dress up as, and he looks like a dinosaur anyway, and he has to run in perfectly straight lines like this: (…imitates a robot shuffling up and down the floor).
Oh, and here’s a fun fact about Blue: He’s the first character that shows up in the game, and he’s the weakest, but he’s the most human-like. Blue basically just walks around, and if he sees a person, he just runs a little faster and tries to kill them.
EJG: Okay… Well, if you could change anything about Halloween, what would it be?
DG: We absolutely would have to have a Halloween-holiday break from school. It’s so unfair there’s no day off, because Halloween is all about staying up late at night, giving and getting candy, but then you have to go to bed right away, because there’s usually school the next morning! I think I’m going to talk to the mayor about getting this fixed…
EJG: That’s a good point! And make it a holiday off of work, too. So, what’s your favorite candy to get while trick-or-treating?
DG: Packs of Oreo cookies are the best. But otherwise, I’m happy to get anything. If it’s candy I don’t like, I can give it away to any of my friends who would want it
EJG: Tell me how you think the tradition of Halloween started.
DG: Um, I think people just got tired of having to be themselves every single day. Like, they would get made fun of, if they wanted to be someone else. So they made a special day for it, so that everyone could have the chance to pretend to be anyone or anything they wanted.
EJG: Tell me a spooky Halloween story.
DG: How’s this?
Welcome to the haunted library. What bad could happen in the world of imagination? Well, all of the books here are horror! And when you read them, they come to life. So for books like Romeo and Juliet, you might die instead of the characters! Yes, come if you scare. Although most of the books on their own may not actually kill you… The most common way that people die here is by screaming their heads off! Bwah-hah-hah-hah (cue lightning strikes and thunder blasts)!!!
EJG: Love it! Thank you so much for your time this evening, Devin. Happy Halloween to you!
EJG: Now go to bed because school’s in the morning.
(conducted October 9, 2023)
Eric J. Guignard is a writer and anthologist of dark and speculative fiction, operating from the shadowy outskirts of Los Angeles, where he also runs the small press Dark Moon Books. He’s twice won the Bram Stoker Award, won the Shirley Jackson Award, and been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and International Thriller Writers Award. His latest books are his novella Last Case at a Baggage Auction (Harper Day), novel Doorways to the Deadeye (JournalStone), and short story collection That Which Grows Wild (Cemetery Dance). Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com or Twitter: @ericjguignard.
Devin Guignard is his elementary school-aged daughter. She loves Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir; squishmallows; Legos; and scary stories. She wants to own a toy-themed hotel when she gets older, and to be a teacher for astronauts, and to invent interstellar space travel, and to play in the World Cup of soccer, and to find a way to stop people from aging. And to have her own YouTube channel.