Horror Author Dean Harrison Speaks of Halloween

In early 2014 at Mobicon in Mobile, Alabama, I had the opportunity of meeting and paneling with horror author Dean Harrison.  When I decided to do my Halloween interviews in regards to the world of arts and literature, Mr. Harrison was one of the top names that came to mind.  Not only is he a great horror author, but his knowledge regarding Halloween and the horror genre is favorable to all who enjoy thrills and chills.

Dean Harrison is a longtime fan of horror fiction. Though he’s spent time out in the “real world” working as a shoe salesman, a security guard, an investigator, a loss prevention detective and a journalist, he’s consistently returned to what he loves doing most – writing horror fiction. His short stories can be found in the horror anthologies:

FEM-FANGS, FELL BEASTS, RELICS & REMAINS, and CHRISTMAS IN HELL. His debut novel is THESE UNQUIET BONES. More is to come.

Dean lives with his family in his hometown of Mobile, AL, a city rich in ghost stories.

 dean

What does Halloween mean to you?

It means good times for my inner child. It means dressing up as my favorite monster for a little trick or treat, and a little mischief on a night lit with jack-o-lanterns, plagued with bats, and haunted by ghosts, goblins, and other delightful horrors.

What is your most memorable Halloween?

Honestly, no one Halloween from my childhood sticks out as most memorable. They were all a lot of fun: trick or treating with my three siblings and friends from the old neighborhood, enjoying the brisk night air, the spooky decorations, and the suspense of wondering just who, or what, might jump from the shadows and scream BOO, the goose bumps. And then there’s going home to watch scary movies and snack on candy, while my imagination continues to run wild with every creak and bump I hear in the dark.

How do you celebrate Halloween today?

My wife and I go to a friend’s house for a big Halloween bash. There’s a roaring bonfire by a placid river, jack-o-lanterns burning under mossy oaks, food, drinks, music, dancing, and mischief. Plenty of mischief. It’s a blast. And of course, we all wear costumes. That’s a requirement.

What was your best Halloween costume?

Werewolf. I do believe I freaked people out, even unwittingly scared a couple of kids (nieces and nephews included).

What was your worst Halloween costume?

For one Halloween party I dressed in all black and wore a silver skull mask. After a while at the party I got frustrated with the mask, because it’s kind of difficult to eat, drink, and socialize while wearing one. So when anyone asked what I was supposed to be, I said I was Bob Seger.

Some people believe Halloween is a negative Holiday to celebrate. Why do you feel Halloween has such a controversy to it?

I think it boils down to an ignorance, or misunderstanding, of Halloween’s history, especially among some religious groups. Personally, I don’t believe Halloween bothers God. I come from a Catholic upbringing, and my family celebrates Halloween. I have fond memories of the Halloween bizarre the Catholic school I attended (from preschool to eighth grade) put on every fall. We got to wear our Halloween costumes and play cool games, win cool prizes. I even remembered a haunted house they built in the gym one year. It was a lot of spooky fun. It wasn’t until high school (my introduction to the public school system) that I discovered some churches frowned upon the holiday, but that’s their problem. We Catholics love Halloween.

What do you do to keep the ghosts and ghouls away on Halloween night?

Keep them away? Hell, I invite them in and offer a drink!

What frightens you and why?

What I see and read in the news, because it’s real. The horror novels I read, the movies I watch, they don’t frighten me because I know they’re fiction. It’s the horror taking place in the world that terrifies me, because it is actually happening. It’s real. Wars, terrorism, diseases, economic turmoil, violent crime, and natural disasters; hearing about it fills me with a dull sinking dread, and the only way to escape it is to choose not to pay attention, but I don’t like to be uniformed.

What’s your favorite scary movie and why?

Halloween, because it is a true horror classic that never fails to give me chills. And it doesn’t rely on shock and disgust, blood and guts, to terrify. It uses sound, suspense, and atmosphere to raise the hairs and prickle the skin.

What’s your favorite horror book and why?

John Farris’s SON OF THE ENDLESS NIGHT, because it is an epic horror read. Think THE EXORCIST but on a much larger scale. I highly recommend it, and Farris’s writing is gripping and brilliant.

Do you prefer slow burners or fast paced thrillers?

I like for there to be build up, but I don’t like a story to drag, so I guess I’m somewhere in between. Plus, it depends on my mood.

What inspires your more frightening work?

My nightmares.

Do you plan to contribute to the horror genre in the future?

I have projects in the works.

Where can we find your work?

I have short stories published in various horror anthologies, and a novel (THESE UNQUIET BONES) published by Omnium Gatherum. You can find my work here:

http://www.amazon.com/Dean-Harrison/e/B008F18L70/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1412386005&sr=8-2

and here:

http://deanmharrison.wordpress.com/

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