Meghan: Hi, Kevin! Happy early Halloween! Thanks for stopping by today. What is your favorite part of Halloween?
Kevin: Definitely the atmosphere. There’s something about September and October that I adore. The changing in the seasons and the leaves. The pleasant crisp air. I watch and read horror year round, of course (and write it!), but during the Halloween season, mystery hangs in the air. I know that sounds terribly dramatic, like I’m trying to channel Ray Bradbury, or something. Even so, it’s true. You feel like a kid again, when anything is possible.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?
Kevin: As a family, we always go and get pumpkins for Jack o’ Lanterns, and then cider and donuts at our favorite cider place, a few weeks before Halloween. I always read something Halloween-oriented on the the way.
For the past five years, my daughter and I checked out Spirit Halloween soon as it opens, and take silly pictures in front of the all the animotronics.
Last year, I started my own Halloween-movie-marathon September 1st. Doing it again this year.
My pastor and guys from my church (you read that right!) have been going to Reaper’s Revenge, the past few years, in Pennsylvania. It’s absolutely astounding. The size of the exhibits, the pageantry of it all, the communal sense of being startled with friends. Even after going several times and “knowing” what to expect, it’s an absolute thrill.
And of course, Trick-or-Treating as a family! I love seeing some of the displays folks put up.
Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?
Kevin: Pretty much for the reasons I listed above. When you’re out Trick-or-Treating, that night seems like it could go on forever. It’s slightly chilly but comfortable, maybe there’s a mist rolling around the streets, and everyone has dressed up as their favorite things, or their favorite scary things. There’s also a communal sense in the town we Trick-or-Treat in; everyone’s walking the sidewalks to and fro, and it’s quite a to-do.
Meghan: What are you superstitious about?
Kevin: Nothing much, really. Sorry, it’s a boring answer, I know. Although, I’m STILL a little nervous about open closets at night…
Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?
Kevin: I think it’s a toss-up between Pennywise (from King‘s novel It, though both cinematic renditions are pretty powerful), and honestly, Michael Myers of the Halloween franchise. In the novel It, Pennywise knows exactly what haunts us and hurts us the most, and knows how to use that with surgical precision, and his very presence brings out the worst in us. Michael Myers is an unrelenting force of nature, for some reason, far more imposing than Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees.
Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?
Kevin: To be honest, I’m not much interested in these, so I don’t really have one.
Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?
Kevin: Well, I can tell you this: I’ve never, ever, been tempted to say “Bloody Mary” three times in a mirror. And I can pretty much guarantee I’m never going to touch a Ouija board, ever.
The one about the truck shining high beams into the back of your car – either because they’re stalking you, or trying to warn you about the killer in your beak seat – is also pretty impactful.
Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?
Kevin: Again, this isn’t really an area of interest for me.
Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?
Kevin: I saw my first horror movie completely by accident, and for the longest time, I couldn’t remember the title, just images. I was at my Uncle’s, flipping through channels, and I came across the movie involving mannequins, in which some guy gets impaled by a pipe, and the blood comes trickling out of the pipe. That image stayed with me, for some reason. The idea this guy’s blood was gushing out of a pipe in his gut. Also, the ending was disturbing, (I’ll avoid spoilers), because it called into question my perception of what was happening in the movie, and my perception of simply being alive and volitional. Years later, I realized the movie was Tourist Trap, starring Chuck Conners.
Not counting the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, I came to horror late. I didn’t read my first horror novel until I was twenty-one. It was Desperation, by Stephen King. I was astounded at its depth. How it pondered the meaning of good and evil, on both a human and spiritual level. It pushed me over the edge into become a horror and a Stephen King fan.
Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?
Kevin: In Silent Graves, by Gary Braunbeck. I’ll still never forget my experience reading that. It’s about a man who loses his wife and his unborn child in a terrible circumstance, and the nightmarish horror he’s pulled into. My wife was away at the time while I read it, and her absence was exacerbated by this story.
Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?
Kevin: Believe it or not, most horror movies don’t scare me, in the whole sense. I can tell you movies which made me profoundly uncomfortable, however. One of them was 8 Millimeter, staring Nicolas Cage. Maybe it’s not considered a “horror” film, but its deep-dive into the dark underbelly of the porn industry is truly horrific. And I felt like a strung piano-wire all through Sinister.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?
Kevin: Believe it or not, I don’t really have one. I think my enjoyment has always been the creativity of OTHERS, and their costumes, really.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?
I’m not sure if I have one, but I can tell you during the Halloween season I have the Halloween and Phantasm theme songs running through my head all the time.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?
Kevin: Hershey Kisses! Disappointing: Candy corn. Ugh.
Meghan: This was great, Kevin! Before you go, what are your top Halloween books and movies?
Dark Harvest, by Norman Partridge
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
October, by Al Sarrantonio
Usher’s Passing, by Robert McCammon
The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury
The Narrows, by Ronald Malfi (although this more takes place during October, rather than being explicitly a “Halloween” novel)
Tales of Halloween
Trick ‘r Treat
The Witching Season
Night of the Demons
From a Whisper to a Scream
Halloween (Rob Zombie edition)
Dark Night of the Scarecrow
If you’re interested, I briefly discussed these movies last year on our Youtube Channel:
Kevin Lucia’s short fiction has appeared in several anthologies, most recently with Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Bentley Little, Peter Straub, and Robert McCammon.
His first short story collection, Things Slip Through, was published November 2013, followed by Devourer of Souls in June 2014, Through A Mirror, Darkly, June 2015, and and his second short story collection, Things You Need, September 2018. His novella, Mystery Road, was published by Cemetery Dance Publications in 2017.
For three free ebooks, sign up for his monthly newsletter on his website.
October Nights —
Halloween is a night when anything seems possible.
This is true everywhere, but nowhere more so than in the small town of Clifton Heights. October nights here are long and strange, filled with both dread and transformation, and in these four shared-world tales of small-town Halloween horror, you’ll encounter things both wondrous and terrifying, in equal measure:
-A priest hears a ghostly confession on Halloween night which will mark him forever.
-A young man is offered a supernatural chance to remake his fortune, at the risk of losing everything.
-A pastor fleeing the death of his daughter comes to Clifton Heights to face his fears, but finds himself living a nightmare instead.
-Two people with supernatural talents face-off with an engine of darkness and pain on Halloween night.
Four connected Halloween tales, evoking echoes of Ray Bradbury and Charles L. Grant, taking place in a town where every day is All Hallow’s Eve. Spend the Halloween season in Clifton Heights… if you dare.