Meghan: Hey, Katie! Welcome to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books. It is so nice to have you here today. What is YOUR favorite part of Halloween?

Katie: I love Halloween, it’s really difficult to pick a favorite part! I love so much about the holiday, I love decorating the house, I love the events around Halloween, especially the rise (at least in the UK) of live action events with actors, etc. I love the excuse to eat too much sugar and to dress up.

But if I had to pick a favorite thing, it would be the coziness. I love spending Halloween night curled up on the sofa in some kind of cozy costume (I was a shark last year) with my partner, the lights down low, lots of tasty snacks, the cats curled up dozing and something blood curdling on the TV. The only interruption being the doorbell every so often as we’re invaded by tiny monsters come to partake of our snacks.

Meghan: Do you get scared easily?

Katie: This entirely depends.

I’m unbothered by hyper violence, I very much enjoy a good psychological horror but rarely find them overly frightening but when it comes to certain types of horror, I’m a bit of a wimp. I suppose supernatural horror is most likely to scare me.

So, if you show me people being scary, I’m less likely to be bothered, show me something inhuman and I scare easily.

Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?

Katie: I found the movie Paranormal Activity (the first one) terrifying. The idea of something threatening being in the house but you couldn’t perceive it. You couldn’t see, smell or touch it but it could touch you and had malicious intent. Burrrr. The level of vulnerability I felt for the characters really got under my skin.

Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?

Katie: The ending of Eden Lake. I was cheering for Jenny and when she got away from the woods and you thought she was out of danger only for that to happen to her… ugh, makes my skin want to crawl off and hide.

Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?

Katie: Can’t say there ever was, the more freaked out I am by a trailer the more likely I’m going to want to see the film.

Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

Katie: It’s not a movie but I’d choose the Netflix Haunting of Hill House Series. I’d totally fix up a super Haunted House that eats people.

Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?

Katie: I’d be Tree Gelbman from Happy Death Day, hunting a murderer in a ground hog day like scenario. Each day full of new opportunities to kick the villains head in.

Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?

Katie: Probably a ghost.

I love the mystery element behind most ghost stories, I also feel most afraid when I can’t see or touch the threat but I can see or touch me. Most of my favorite horror films are ghost stories. Ever since I was young and watched the Lady in White a 1988 horror film about the murder of a young girl.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Katie: Decorating the house with all the spooky decorations. I put my decorations up probably a week earlier than I should and even then, it’s only through epic self-control that keeps me waiting that long. I love making my house look like somewhere Winifred, Sarah, and Mary from Hocus Pocus would feel at home.

Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

Katie: It’s a tie between ‘This is Halloween’ from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Thriller by Michel Jackson.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Katie: When I was young my mum used to read to me before I went to bed. Sometimes she would make up stories, sometimes she’d read children books and fairytales to me. Then one day she came into my bedroom with a copy of The Thief of Always by Clive Barker.

It was my first experience of horror and I remember feeling super unsettled but also utterly captivated. I was gutted when the book finished and went on my own little crusade to find horror books that my mum would let me read.

Even now when I occasionally re-read this book, I feel the way I did when I was little.

Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

Katie: My partner and I were on our first holiday together. We went to Boscastle in Cornwall, an absolutely beautiful village in a glorious part of the country. We stayed in an old fisherman’s cottage down in the harbor. One evening I was upstairs, in the bedroom, faffing about while my partner was downstairs. I heard the tap in the bathroom turn on.

This tap was the kind where to turn the water on you lift a lever and to turn it off you push the lever down. So, it turning itself on was bloody odd. I went and turned it off. I went back into the bedroom and continued my faffing. The tap turned itself back on.

This happened multiple times during the holiday, I’d wake up during the night to the sound of water running. It got to the point where I just left it alone. If spooky ghosts want to wash their hands, who was I to stop them.

Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?

Katie: Oh, this is an easy one, mass disappearances.

The Roman 9th Legion, Aztalan Indians, Moche Civilization, ghost ships, there’s too many to list. But cases where large numbers of people vanish up in smoke. Usually suddenly.

If you enjoy those kinds of mysteries as well, I would recommend the book and film Phantoms by Dean Koontz, the video game Man of Medan and the very recent film directed by Jordan Peele, Nope.

Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?

Katie: I love Creepy Pasta for this kind of thing. It’s impossible to name just one, but the No Sleep Podcast and Reddit pages are an absolute goldmine for great ghost stories.

Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

Katie: I really struggle with this.

A shotgun would be great but bullets are not infinite. So, some kind of melee weapon, maybe an axe, something heavy and weighted because I’m not particularly strong so if I need something to give weight to my attacks.

The downside with a melee weapon is that I’m also pretty short and I don’t have much in the way of reach.

So, with that in mind, I’d probably go with my car. My car is big, heavy and I can squish things with it with very little effort on my part. If I had unlimited resources I’d trip my car out with window armor, big spikes and junk. I’d probably also have an axe and a shot gun on the passenger seat.

Meghan: Okay, let’s have some fun… Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?
Katie: Vampire. I don’t need fleas on top of everything else. Also, I’m pale and have red hair so I’m used to avoiding the sun.
Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?
Katie: Zombies, aliens would be smarter than me. Zombies I think I’d be on a more even keel with.
Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?
Katie: Grim. I guess eat dead bodies, provided they’ve not been embalmed cause that’s toxic.
Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?
Katie: Poltergeist house, it was a great film with a strong sequel. Though I’d get annoyed that the ghosties like moving my furniture. I’m particular about things being tidy.
Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?
Katie: I’m intolerant of spicy food, it literally makes me sick. Whereas I like cheese, so I guess I’m eating maggots.
Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?
Katie: I’ll have the witches brew please, hopefully she’s put some kind of adult beverage in there.

Katie Marie is a horror enthusiast and writer from Norfolk, England.

She has been published in several anthologies and magazines, and her Novella, A Man in Winter, was recently released by Brigids Gate Press.

Katie started writing while studying for her Law Degree at Aberystwyth University in the early 2000’s and several years and stories later she received her Masters Degree and published her first novel.


Arthur, whose life was devastated by the brutal murder of his wife, must come to terms with his diagnosis of dementia. He moves into a new home at a retirement community, and shortly after, has his life turned upside down again when his wife’s ghost visits him and sends him on a quest to find her killer so her spirit can move on. With his family and his doctor concerned that his dementia is advancing, will he be able to solve the murder before his independence is permanently restricted?

A Man in Winter examines the horrors of isolation, dementia, loss, and the ghosts that come back to haunt us.


Meghan: Hey, Danger! Welcome welcome welcome!! What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Danger: Eating candy. Duh. I don’t have kids so I gotta buy all my own candy though. I’m an adult though so I suppose I could do that at any time. Hmm. Why haven’t I thought of that before. I could be eating candy for dinner every day!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Danger: I have a black cat so I use it as a day to pay tribute to him. Usually by carving his face onto a pumpkin.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Danger: I mean, I’m into horror stuff all year round, so it’s cool that there’s a month/holiday for other people to get spooky with me.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Danger: I have to brush my teeth before I go to bed. I don’t know if that’s a superstition or just basic hygiene, but if I don’t do it, then I feel real icky.

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Danger: Frankenstein. HE’S JUST MISUNDERSTOOD. Unlike Dracula who is just a straight-up dick.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Danger: I don’t follow this kind of stuff too much, but I did watch this fascinating documentary called Casting JonBenet on Netflix that is less about the actual crime and more about how the people audition for a reenactment of the JonBenet story feel about the crime. It’s hard to explain, but it’s more about people’s fascination and interpretation of the truth than it is about the actual truth. Very interesting film.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Danger: Pop Rocks and Coke. My cousin’s best friend from grade school died that way.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Danger: None. Fuck those guys.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Danger: First horror movie I remember scaring me was the original Nightmare on Elm Street. I had a cousin who was obsessed with Freddy Krueger growing up. He even made his own knife glove.

My first horror books were Goosebumps, though I only got to read a few. My mom stopped buying them for me pretty quick, not because of the content, but because I was reading them too fast and she didn’t have the money. I was in like 3rd grade when she handed me a copy of Jurassic Park and was like, “There, that should keep you occupied for a while.”

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Danger: I don’t get scared by books or movies, generally speaking. I usually have a difficult time removing myself from the edifice of it. Especially as a creator myself, I’m always thinking about the process that goes into a story (or a scene in a movie, or a performance, or any aspect of how these things are put together) so I rarely find myself so immersed that I actually am scared of what I’m reading/seeing.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Danger: Same answer as above, though I will add a few movies that I did find actually scary were Melancholia – the Lars von Trier film – and Vivarium. These are more about existential horrors though. Movies that make me reflect back on my own life choices and experiences are the ones that hit hardest for me.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Danger: Last year I put on my girlfriends kimono and a captain’s hat and was just a ‘good time party dude’ and it was comfortable as hell.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Danger: Halloween by the Misfits, of course.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat?

Danger: Kit Kats are the best. I’m trying to eat every flavor. Did you know there are over 300? Crazy!

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by, Danger. It is ALWAYS a pleasure. Before you go, what are your go-to Halloween movies?

Danger: You’re talking about movies that specifically take place on Halloween, right? In that case:

Donnie Darko
Halloween III
The Nightmare Before Christmas
House of 1000 Corpses
Tales of Halloween

Danger Slater is the Wonderland Award-winning writer of I Will Rot Without You and several other books that haven’t won awards, but are okay still. He lives in Portland, OR with his cat and his girlfriend.

I Will Rot Without You
Meet Ernie. His life is a mess. Gretchen’s gone, and the apartment they once shared is this grey, grim city is now overrun with intelligent mold and sinister bugs.

Then his neighbor Dee shows up, so smart and lovely. If he can just get past the fact that her jealous boyfriend could reach out of her blouse and punch him in the face at any moment, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Unfortunately for all involved, a Great Storm is coming and it will wash away everything we’ve ever known about the human heart.

Impossible James
My father was dying. There was no hope. Then he took a screwdriver to the brain. Got pregnant. And found the cure for death.

Impossible? That’s my dad.

Impossible James


Meghan: Hey, Scott. Welcome back. It’s always wonderful to have you on the blog, especially at Halloween time. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Scott: The scary aesthetic. I love the colors and decorations and just the whole feel, with everything being dark and spooky.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Scott: Though I don’t do it anymore, I’ve always enjoyed the concept of trick or treating. It’s fun to get candy and to give it and see all the costumes.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Scott: It is my favorite. I am into dark, scary aesthetics and all of the gothic feel of Halloween. I enjoy dressing up in a costume and going to parties. It’s very fun for me, and it feels extra special because of the theme and the sense of freedom of being dressed up. It’s almost as if you have one night to be more than yourself.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Scott: Nothing. It’s bad luck to be superstitious

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Scott: Hannibal Lecter. Despite my imagination, I’ve always found human/realistic villains to be scarier than fantasy ones, and of all the fictional predators out there, I find Hannibal to be the most alluring and frightening.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Scott: The Zodiac killings. I know that’s more than one, but can we lump them all together. I have read books, watched documentaries, films, all sorts of examinations of it. We’ll probably never know the answer now, either.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Scott: None really. When I was younger, I was very scared of the “Bloody Mary” thing you could do in the dark, chanting to a mirror, but now, none of them scare me.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Scott: That’s a tough one. I am very interested in serial killers. I considered, for a time, going into a career to try to understand them better and/or capture them, but I figured I wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure and risk. As to my favorite, I’d probably say Jack the Ripper. Probably because we don’t know who he is, and he has been so thoroughly romanticized at this point. The time period, the place, the savagery of what he did, it’s all very tragic and alluring. Then the killings stopped, which makes the mystery all the juicier. Did he die? Did he stop? Was he caught, but the public was not informed? So many interesting mental and imaginative avenues to explore regarding him.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Scott: I was quite sheltered from horror when growing up. My mother was an adamant gatekeeper about things she felt were “inappropriate” to us, and that definitely included horror. I also was a child before the advent of cable television, so my options were limited.

The first horror movie I can recall was the television edit The Island of Dr. Moreau, which I saw when I was probably around nine. I was totally enthralled by it. They even showed some blood, which really got me. It was as if I knew I loved horror, and seeing this film simply helped the seed to bloom.

As to book, I don’t remember the exact title, but in middle school (so around eleven or twelve), I checked out a book of ghost stories from the school library. They were not very scary, but it was my first exposure to stories specifically written to be scary. I loved them, and of course, it was the first steps down the deep rabbit hole.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Scott: It by Stephen King. I have talked about this before, even in posts on my own blog. I’ve read a lot of horror. I couldn’t even tell you how much now, and though I enjoy it, none of it really “scares” me. It managed to scare me on more than one occasion, and it definitely had unsettling parts, several.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Scott: Dead & Buried. It’s a very graphic horror movie with a pretty cool reveal ending. I saw it on VHS when I was fourteen, and I had not seen many real scary movies, definitely nothing that violent. Wow, it got me.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Scott: Dressing as a Cardinal – the member of the Catholic clergy, not the bird. I bought the costume many years ago, and I wear it nearly every year. Dressing as a “priest” definitely gets a lot of fun attention at parties.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Scott: “Everyday is Halloween” by Ministry, but you may have seen that coming.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Scott: I don’t know that I have a particular favorite. As much as I have a sweet tooth, I still don’t go crazy at Halloween. Partaking somewhat in the indulgence is the fun. There are plenty of disappointing ones, amongst those being licorice, circus peanuts, candy corn.

Meghan: Thanks again for joining us today, Scott. Before you go, what are your top two Halloween movies?

Scott: I just considered Halloween-themed movies, not scary or horror movies, so this will be a short list.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – yes, not a scary movie but a Halloween one, and it’s great. I used to watch it every Halloween. It encapsulates the Halloween spirit on a different level than the obvious scares, and I feel it is just as important.

The Nightmare Before Christmas – yes, it has Christmas right there in the title, but it’s a Halloween film, and what a great one. The special effects, the singing, the story, the aesthetics, it’s an all around great film. I had the pleasure of seeing it in the theater when it was first released, and I still find it enjoyable.

Born in Houston, Texas into the temporary care of a bevy of nuns before being delivered to his adopted parents, Scott discovered creative writing at a very young age when asked to write a newspaper from another planet. This exercise awakened a seemingly endless drive, and now, many short stories, poems, plays, and novels (both finished and unfinished) later, his dark urban fantasy trilogy has been published.

Having lived his whole life in the same state, Scott attended the University of Texas at Austin, achieving a degree in philosophy before returning to the Houston area to be closer to family and friends. During this time, he wrote more and even branched out into directing and performance art, though creative writing remains his love.

Butterfly 1: Dance of the Butterfly
A modern dark urban fantasy, telling of two powerful families who uphold a secret duty to protect humanity from a threat it doesn’t know exists. Though sharing a common enemy, the two families form a long-standing rivalry due to their methods and ultimate goals. Forces are coalescing in a prominent Central European city- criminal sex-trafficking, a serial murderer with a savage bent, and other, less tangible influences. Within a prestigious, private university, Lilja, a young librarian charged with protecting a very special book, finds herself suddenly ensconced in this dark, strange world. Originally from Finland, she has her own reason for why she left her home, but she finds the city to be anything but a haven from dangers and secrets. Book One in a planned series.

Butterfly 2: Sword of the Butterfly
The tale continues in Sword of the Butterfly, book two of the series, as Lilja and Skothiam continue to fight demons within and without. The infernal forces make a grand play, hoping to stab the world in its very heart. Casualties mount as further tensions rise in the City, threatening the vigilante with a loss of freedom and life. Children become victims of a madman’s design while the hunt is on for a powerful creature wreaking havoc across parts of the U.S. Lilja begins to question herself and her place in Skothiam’s life even as the very treasure they must protect comes under danger.

Butterfly 3: Soul of the Butterfly
The third Book awaits. The last of them. All holding promises of untold power. Skothiam and Lilja continue their journey as they follow the trail to places unimagined. Strange forces lurk, biding for the moment to strike and exact price. Unexpected allies arise even as others seek to disentangle from the web. Who will gain and who will lose? What shadow waits, eager to consume them all? Find out in the conclusion of the Butterfly trilogy.


Meghan: Hi, Erica! Welcome to this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Erica: I’m a huge fan of all the spooky stuff. I love the pumpkins, witches and ghosts… especially the old decorations from the 30s. Somehow they’re creepier to me than the modern slasher movie props.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Erica: It isn’t Halloween without watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. And Hocus Pocus. The original Halloween. I don’t know, I like it all… from trick-or-treating to picking out costumes to decorating the house (mine isn’t done yet this year, but it will be!)

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Erica: Halloween is most definitely my favorite holiday. I think first of all, from the time I was a kid, it was like the gateway to the holidays. Mom used to pull out the velvety paper cutout decorations. We always found the biggest pumpkin to cut into a jack-o-lantern. Mom made our costumes. Our little town had a parade with prizes to the best costumes.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Erica: I can’t sleep if my feet aren’t under covers. Or if any part of my body is dangling over the side. I don’t know if that counts or not. I’m not afraid of black cats – in fact, I’ve had several growing up. And my daughter has 2 now. They love sleeping in my lap.

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Erica: Michael Meyers from the original Halloween movie. And I don’t endorse anything between the first one and the most recent ones with Jamie Lee Curtis. Those are the best. I’ll give bonus points to the Rob Zombie version. It was good, but sooooo gross. LOL.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Erica: I don’t really follow unsolved murders that closely, but I think the Black Dahlia is the most fascinating one I can think of.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Erica: I don’t like looking into mirrors in dark rooms. I’m always afraid I’ll see Bloody Mary or the Candyman in them.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Erica: I hate to say I have a “favorite” because serial killers are bad dudes. But I can’t seem to help myself when any documentary on Ted Bundy comes on. It’s terrifying to think someone could live a normal life, have a family, a job, and just be out there killing people on the side. He could be anyone.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Erica: I was a huge fan of the old Abbott and Costello movies when I was a kid, especially Abbott and Costello Meet Dracula/Frankenstein/the Wolfman. I loved those movies. I was probably 7 or 8 the first time I saw them. I can’t remember how old I was when I read The Amityville Horror, but I LOVED scary books and movies as a kid. I think I read exclusively horror until I graduated college. Weird, right?

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

I loved Stephen King books when I was a teenager. To this day, ’Salem’s Lot scares the bejesus out of me.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Erica: I’ve seen a lot of horror movies in my day, but the one that scared me for life was Final Destination. I still can’t fly.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Erica: I dressed a I Dream of Jeanie one year. That was my favorite adult costume. My favorite kid costume was the year my mom dressed my sister and me as a two-headed man. We won a prize at the annual Halloween parade that year.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Erica: I have too many. Monster Mash, Little Red Riding Hood, Werewolves of London, I have an entire playlist that goes on loop from October 1st – 31st.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Erica: I actually love candy corn. Mary Janes. Sugar Daddys, Snickers. You can keep your Gushers, Smarties, and those other fruit flavored things.

Meghan: Thanks again for stopping by. Before you go, what are your top 15 Halloween movies?

Erica: There are really too many to choose. I might not watch all of them every year, but I might watch some of them more than once. My list might fluctuate from year to year to add or subtract one or two. But these are must watch movies!

  1. Carrie
  2. Night of the Living Dead
  3. A Nightmare on Elm Street
  4. Scary Movie
  5. Shaun of the Dead
  6. An American Werewolf in London
  7. The Witches
  8. Fright Night
  9. The Nightmare Before Christmas (this one does double duty at Christmas too!)
  10. Beetlejuice
  11. Halloween
  12. The Lost Boys
  13. Practical Magic
  14. Hocus Pocus
  15. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica Lucke Dean moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lived in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse.

Tired of being woken up in the middle of the night by a pesky poltergeist, the author of contemporary young adult, romantic comedy, and paranormal romance moved into a cute little cabin in the woods, where she lives with her husband, her dogs, and the occasional bear. Much like the characters in her books, Ms. Dean is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.

How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.

You can find out more about Erica, in addition to her humorous blog posts and disasters, on her website.

Represented by: Cathie Hedrick-Armstrong of The Purcell Agency

Eve Versus the Apocalypse
When everyone she cares about is killed in an alien invasion, college color guard Eve uses her skills with a saber to battle her way through the changing landscape. Faced with monsters of more than one kind, Eve isn’t sure who to trust. After running into a group of survivors, she must decide if a new alliance with the dangerously sexy Archer is worth the risk. His offer of protection is tempting, but if she agrees to join him, her life may not be the only thing on the line.

Eve on Kindle Vella
New episodes drop every Sunday

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Christine Morgan

Meghan: Hey Christine! Welcome back. As always, we love to have you here. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Christine: The weeks leading up to it, when all the good stuff starts hitting the shelves, the Halloween stores appear overnight like mushrooms, the various cooking channel shows like Halloween Wars and Halloween Baking Championship, the horror-themed episodes of shows such as Forged in Fire, there are horror movie marathons. Also, the half-off sales in the days after.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Christine: Trick-or-treating, seeing all the costumes, the fun and excitement, people really getting into it, the kids, the parents. These past few years haven’t been the best for that, partly because of living in the upstairs unit of an apartment complex that didn’t see much trick-or-treat traffic. This year, however, I’ve moved into what was my grandparents’ house, in an established neighborhood with community activities, so I’m optimistic (aside from the damn pandemic, that is).

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Christine: Just always been a spooky weirdo at heart! Didn’t hurt that my dad was always a kind of closeted weirdo, with Halloween being the one time he could cut loose. Later in life, he’d come out and go nuts as a Civil War reenactor, but before that, dressing up and having fun on Halloween was his favorite thing. I remember one year, he went as Jesus — he already had long hair and a full beard — and we used red nail polish instead of fake blood for the wounds, which is a helpful trick I’ve never forgotten.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Christine: I’m into folklore, so I’ve picked up several of the little habits over the years, if not to the full point of observing or following them, at least to the point of feeling uncomfortable letting them go unacknowledged. I knock on wood, I toss salt over my shoulder, when I first see the moon at night I say the little rhyme I learned somewhere as a kid, that sort of thing. Except for black cats crossing my path; I have no problem with that. Black cats got a bad rap, very undeserved.

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Christine: Of the movie classics, always had a soft spot for the Gillman. He wasn’t bothering anybody, just swimming around in his lagoon, until arrogant know-it-all humans came along to interfere. Then HE got the blame. I tend to sympathize with those kind of “monsters,” who are just doing their own thing. Even sharks. We go into their environment, then get upset when they do what’s only natural? So bogus.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Christine: Unlike many in my middle-aged white woman demographic, I don’t seem to have as much obsessive fascination for serial killers, unsolved crimes, and murder shows. If it counts, though, I really want to know what’s up with all those severed feet that keep washing ashore. Why just the feet? Is it the shoes? Where’s the rest of the bodies? What’s happening out there?

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Christine: After the previous question, this is going to seem even stranger, but, the one where gang members, as part of their initiation, would hide under a lady’s car in a dark parking lot and then slash her Achilles tendon and steal her shoes as proof. Maybe it’s that I can imagine it all too vividly. Even as I type this, I shifted my feet up onto the coffee table, though I know damn well there’s nobody under the couch with a straight razor. Also, that was the scene in the original Pet Sematary movie to freak me out the most.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Christine: See above, was never all that into them the way a lot of people are. The old-timey ones, though, like H.H. Holmes with his entire murder hotel, or the angel-of-death types, nurses who’d smother patients in the belief it was putting them out of their misery and doing the right thing.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Christine: It probably wasn’t the first I ever saw, but the first movie to scare the crap out of me as a kid was that old black and white sci-fi Invaders From Mars. The sand whirlpools were bad, but the people with the alien takeover staples in their necks… legit gave me nightmares. There was a DVD of it among my late uncle’s movie collection and I kept it for nostalgia, but have no intention of watching it! As for books, my grandfather kept a shelf of horror paperbacks in the garage (Grandma didn’t want them in the house), so I’d browse those whenever we visited. Lots of nature-run-amok books, killer critters, but I still have the copy of The Shining I found out there when I was ten.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Christine: I read, and dearly love, a lot of sick, sick, wrong, evil, grotesque, extreme horror. And yet, none of them have gotten under my skin a fraction so much as I Am Not Sam, by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee. So subtle. So masterful. It lets/makes your own mind do all the work, with results far more traumatizing and horrifying than if the scenes were spelled out on the page.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Christine: Again, see above, Invaders From Mars when I was little. Lately, I’ve been viewing too many cinematic masterpieces suggested by Edward Lee, and if “stabbed me in the eyes and gave me brain-damage” sheer WTF-ery counts as being scarred for life, well, I now have a whole list. Such as Birdemic and House Shark. Also The Greasy Strangler, though I can’t blame Lee for that one; if anything, he should blame me, even if it was Gina Ranalli who told me about it in the first place.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Christine: One year, Dad went as Captain Hook and I was Peter Pan (the chonky little girl version) and my baby sister was Tinkerbell. I love it when people coordinate their costumes like that, and the whole family gets into it. My craft and makeup skills may be pretty good, but my sewing skills are basically nonexistent, so I am somewhat hampered in that regard.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Christine: Forever a soft spot in my heart for Thriller, I gotta say. I am old enough to remember rushing home from school to turn on MTV and wait anxiously for the video’s world premiere. The Vincent Price bit is perfection. And, hokey though it is, I love how the zombie dance permeated the entire culture.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Christine: The fun-size 100,000 Dollar Bars. Full-size ones are too hard to eat before they melt and get all messy. Fun-size Twix, too. I’m a fan of the fun-size because then I can tell myself it’s not like I’m eating a whole candy bar, right? So I can then eat like six of them and it’s still all good. Also, because it seems to come up every year, I am pro-candy corn. Yes, it tastes like sugary wax and leaves a filmy coating in your mouth, but, you can tuck them under your upper lip like vampire teeth and that’s what matters. As for disappointing, anything with coconut or licorice is a hard NOPE from me.

Meghan: As always, Christine, it has been a pleasure. Before you go, though, what are your op Halloween movies?

Christine: I may lose some horror cred for this, but when I think of Halloween movies, the first place my mind goes is Tim Burton. The Nightmare Before Christmas, obviously. Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride. Even stuff like Edward Scissorhands (Vincent Price again, yay!) and Sweeney Todd. Okay, so maybe a mad crush on Johnny Depp has something to do with it — my own, I mean, not Tim Burton’s, though you know he totally has one. And as long as I’m losing horror cred anyway, I’ll go ahead and say I liked Halloween 3. It didn’t belong in the franchise, and should have had a different title, but on its own, it’s a neat premise/idea and lots of fun.

Christine Morgan recently quit her night-shift job and moved from rainy Portland to sunny Southern California to help out her mom and hopefully make a plunge as a full-time writer. Several months later, she’s still reeling from the culture shock of adjusting to daytime life, but finally has a real office/library full of bookshelves and critter skeletons, as well as a dinosaur-themed bedroom. Because she is a) a grown up and b) a professional.

Christine Morgan’s World of Words