Today I bring you a special guest who wants to scare the pants off you this Halloween. I will stand aside from my duties on the Hoosier Horror Blog Hop to welcome my special guest, Tonia Brown…
From Tonia Brown
Hello there! My name is Tonia Brown and I am the author of several novels ranging from humor to horror to steampunk. My latest novel, Sundowners, just hit the interwebs. It’s a backwoods southern horror, all about the importance of family, the dangers of gossip and the nature of the artistic muse.
Halloween has always been a special time for my twin sister and me. Heck, the whole month of October all but belongs to us. Our friends, our employers and both of our husbands know better than to schedule anything for us during October without asking first. Aside from the fact that our birthday falls in the middle of the month, October is just bursting with so much to do. From haunted houses to hay rides to corn mazes, there are only so many days to pack it all into. We each take at least a week off at the end of the month, just so we can OD on everything Halloween. And, of course, we make the run through all of the local haunted houses.
Though nothing will ever match the haunts that our dad ran.
Our family was military, and as such we’ve lived in a variety of places and a variety of homes. We were usually stuck in pretty small quarters, apartment style, with no garage or porch to speak of. But for a few golden years we lived in Georgia in a pretty nice duplex. During those years, our dad took full advantage of something we didn’t normally have; a covered porch.
The first year he set it up without telling us what he was doing. One afternoon, a few days before Halloween, he began hanging plastic up all over the porch, enclosing the structure until it was black as pitch inside during broad daylight. We thought he had lost his mind, and begged him and mom to tell us what was going on, but they both kept quiet about it. We didn’t catch on until he came to my artistic sister asked that she paint him a sign that read, “The Devil’s Graveyard.” While she made the sign, dad proceeded to fill the graveyard with all manner of creepy decorations and scary stuff. He built a coffin and rigged a stuffed suit to sit up at the tug of a string. He put a devil mask at the head of the thing and little glowing eyes inside that he would flick on and off. Who needed store bought props and fog machines when you had a cardboard masterpiece and a little home brewed special effects looped on a reel-to-reel in the background?
The best part of the haunted porch, aside from getting to see my dad giggle from scaring the pee out of some little kids, was that we always ended with more candy then we started with. You see, the minute dad would pull that string and his devil would sit up, at least one kid in every group would drop their bag and run. Who could blame him? My dad could scare the Devil himself with that thing! Even though you picked up the kid’s bag and scooped his candy into it and gave it to his friends to return to him once they caught up with him, some of the best bits always found their way under the props. My sister and I would collect this treasure later on when we thought no one was watching. And then our mother would demand her cut for letting us get away with it.
Sister and I carry on the tradition as best we can, setting up a haunted garage whenever the opportunity presents itself. Our busy lives keep us from participating in the professional houses, but we love nothing more than to run a single night event from someone’s backyard, garage, or even covered porch. Despite the fact that props and effects are so readily available now, thanks to the internet and Halloween stores, we always find ourselves falling back on the basics. A little cardboard, a little black paint and a whole lot of excitement always make for a better haunt then the fanciest of props ever could.
We miss you dad. Happy Halloween!
Tonia Brown’s short stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies. She has cranked out several books, including Sundowners, Badass Zombie Road Trip and the weird west series Railroad! Tonia lives in North Carolina with her genius husband and an ever fluctuating number of cats. When not writing she raises unicorns and fights crime with her husband under the code names Dr. Weird and his sexy sidekick Butternut.
You can learn more about her at: http://www.thebackseatwriter.com
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All five of us – Tonia Brown, James N Cook, John O’ Brien, Armand Rosamilia and Mark Tufo – hope you have been following along on the Haunted Halloween Blog Tour 2012. We love to see comments after the posts, and we also love to pick a random commenter and give away a free eBook or even a signed print book, so maybe you’ll get lucky!