21 days until Halloween: Halloween Round Table #2

Man oh man, are we in the full swing of things now or what?!

Happy “21 days ’til Halloween” folks!

Tonight, I have the absolute pleasure of speaking with four fantastic people who do a whole heck of a lot to keep things creepy all year round.

If there was a Halloween version of Johnny Appleseed, he very well may be Anthony Rapino.  Between his awesome YouTube page, his Facebook page that is always full of cooky and creepy greatness and his beyond-killer website Candy Corn Apocalypse, there’s no denying Anthony is all about October 31st!  Sprinkling Halloween goodies across the land..

Horror host duo and spook show fanatics Janet Jay and James Harmon stop by!  The duo form Janet Decay and Grimm Gori, a devilishly fun mummy and monkey tandem that has gained national attention as their show continues to attract new fans constantly!

Last but certainly not least, Karen Lam is an acclaimed filmmaker of some of my all-time favorite short horror films, including StalledThe Meeting and Doll Parts.  That’s not to mention a fabulous feature-length film by the name of Evangeline.  Lam also happens to be one of my favorite people to chat with whenever horror is the topic.

Without further ado, I present tonight’s Halloween round table… mwuahahahaha…


Anthony Rapino

With every day being like Halloween for you, how do you make October 31 stand out?

I’ll be brutally honest here, which is going to make me look superbly lame.  Roughly 8 out of every 10 Halloweens, I stay in so I can hand out candy, watch horror movies, and chow down on Halloween food like pumpkin pie and candy.

I’d call that my unofficially Halloween tradition, and even if I do go out (last year I went to a haunted house, a couple of years back to see Nightmare on Elm Street in the theater, a few years back to see Rocky Horror Picture Show), I like to finish the night in the same way: horror movies and Halloween goodies.

What is the best haunted house you’ve ever been to as a visitor?

Again, brutal honesty. In my entire life, I’ve probably only ever been in three or four haunted houses.  The best one was last year’s trip to a local one: The Hotel of Horror.  They have two main attractions on either side of the Hotel, and they change the themes each year.  I also have to give a shout out to my personal favorite, though it’s not technically a Haunted House: Trimper’s Haunted House Ride.

(Editor Note: see the bottom of this article to find links for both attractions mentioned here!)

What was your favorite Halloween costume you ever wore, growing up?

I had this neat alien mask that had little light-up nubs on the top.  I wore that and strapped on the old Laser Tag get-up, gun and all.  Instant Alien Bounty Hunter.


What is your favorite scary urban legend and/or campfire tale?

 My go-to is always Bloody Mary. The first horror story I ever wrote was actually inspired by Bloody Mary.  I was in Elementary school and I ended it thusly: “The end…or is it!?”

What is your favorite and least favorite candy in the trick-or-treat bag?

My favorite candy has to be Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, with Pay Day being a close second. My least favorite is probably Smarties or Necco Wafers.



Janet Decay and Grimm Gori

What is your favorite childhood Halloween memory?

GG:  My favorite memory is my brother and I clutching our trick-or-treat bags and hesitantly, one at a time inching closer to my mother who was dressed as a creepy witch sitting in an old rocking chair in a dimly lit corner.  She had a bowl of candy and we had to tell her why we deserved the treats.  Kinda like her version of a demented visit to Santa.

Janet: When I was in first grade, I wanted to dress up like a witch and this was the very first costume I ever put together on my own.  My mom bought me long fake nails and green face makeup, and a long black dress from the local thrift store.  My brother and I had old pillow cases and my mom walked around the neighborhood with us.  Of course in Euclid,Ohio in October the night air had that cold chill, so any fun costume you’re wearing was covered up with a big winter coat in typical mom fashion.  Towards the end of the night, you’re tired and ready to just storm into the living room and plop down in front of the TV feasting on your new treats while watching whatever Halloween special was on that night.

What are some Halloween traditions you hold near and dear to your heart?

GG:  For about ten years now, I’ve been carving a pumpkin while watching a Halloween episode of the Big Chuck & Lil’ John Show (Cleveland movie hosts) from 1986.  Their movie: the original The Exorcist!  Fun times!

Janet: Pumpkins,pumpkins and Halloween TV specials.  OH! and passing out candy.  I love it!


What are your must-see movies for the Halloween season?

Janet: Halloween 3 :Season of the Witch, Universal Monsters, Garfield’s Halloween

GG:  Well, the aforementioned original The Exorcist. Trick ‘r Treat, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Halloween I, II & III, just to name a few.

What is your favorite scary urban legend and/or campfire tale? (Bonus points if it’s from your hometown or one you grew up near!)

GG:  When I was a kid in the late 1970’s/early 80’s we used to play in an industrial area off of a street called Fleet Avenue.  We called this place “The Dumps”.  There was an old rusty steel bridge where a strange noise would occasionally be heard from.  Something like a cross between a bullfrog and a mouth harp.  We attributed this sound to something called the “Bumper Man”!  We beat cheeks whenever we heard this sound and never stuck around long enough to find out what he, she or it actually was.  Scary fun!

Janet: My favorite song is ” Have you seen the ghost of John? Long white bones with the skin all goooone.oooooh oooo ooo wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?” As for campfires I’m not sure about that.

What was your favorite costume growing up?

GG:  Too many to count or remember, but some of my favorites were made by Ben Cooper and came in a rectangular cardboard box with a cellophane window on front.  I’ll never forget my excitement while riding down to the second level via the escalator in Woolworth’s department store every October to see the newest crop of boxed costumes!  Aaahhh!  I can still smell the vinyl!



Karen Lam

What is your favorite childhood Halloween memory?

I’ve always loved putting my costume together, more than even going out in it.  The most ill-conceived was in high school when I didn’t know how to sew very well and decided to go as a mermaid.  The fabric I picked had zero stretch so when I sewed myself into it, I couldn’t move.  My “friends” kept leaving me in awkward areas at the school dance…which, in retrospect, probably said a lot about my friends.  Ahem.

What are some Halloween traditions you hold near and dear to your heart!

Trick or treating, aka Free Candy Giveaway Day!  That said, whoever created those horrible molasses candies in the orange wrappers should be condemned to Halloween Hell.

What are your must-see movies for the Halloween season?

Halloween horror means ’80s horror for me!  Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, Nightmare on Elm Street – original versions, of course!

What is your favorite scary urban legend and/or campfire tale? (Bonus points if it’s from your hometown or one you grew up near!)

Something my older male cousin told me, that his glow-in-the-dark “Homework Rots Your Brain” poster was haunted and started giving him nightmares about really twisted carnivals.  I don’t remember all the details, but it was the way he told the story.


Still from Lam’s Evangeline

What scares you, personally?

Demons and insanity.  I’m very weirded out by the supernatural and being Chinese, I’m horrifically superstitious and I’m terrified of going Linda Blair.

What is your favorite scary urban legend and/or campfire tale?

Probably the one about the headless bride with the red ribbon around her neck.  That one feels like a beautiful ghost story.

Check out the two spots that Anthony mentioned: Hotel of Horror link and Trimper’s!


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