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Halloween Nation. Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night
BRAM STOKER AWARD nominee
About the book:
So much that’s been written about Halloween has been about the holiday’s history or about how to decorate, cook, and costume for it (guilty, all counts), but there’s not been much about who makes Halloween, and why. I wanted to capture the voices of those who create our 21st-century Halloween and to get to the bottom of why it's is so popular now, why it matters.
What actually does go on behind the scenes at prop shops and national Halloween conventions, at quiet commemorations of pagan Samhain, or the wickedly raucous Salem Witches’ Ball? What motivates someone to collect so many Halloween vintage curios that when he sells his collection he’s made enough money to finance a house? Or to dedicate a life to creating a spectacle that happens one night a year, or even to tattoo a jack-o’-lantern on a hip? How is it that this overly commercialized, religiously contentious, and politically fractious holiday unites us in a community based on fantasy and fear; and what draws us together on this one night when we open our doors to strangers?
For the past two years I’ve been talking to people for whom Halloween is no ordinary day: mask makers, costumers, giant pumpkin growers, radio talk show hosts, burlesque dancers, tattoo artists, metal musicians, haunted house designers, prop makers, glass pumpkin blowers, pumpkin beer brewers, professional carvers, Halloween artists, musicians and poets, home haunters, cyber haunters, web designers, parade organizers, marchers, zombie walkers, zombie authors...you get the idea. If you love Halloween, really love Halloween, this book is for you. Chances are pretty good it's probably about you, too.