Well it is getting so very close to Halloween. You can just feel the air getting cooler. The trees are starting to change color. The pumpkin patches are starting to pop up. The stores are out with the Back To School sales and in with the Halloween decor. Wow what a great time of year.
I am thrilled and excited for the coming month and a half. To make things even more exciting I have a wonderful treat for you all. I was very fortunate and am honored to be able to bring you a SpookyCreepyCool interview with musician Kristen Lawrence. So heat yourself up some hot apple cider, sit back by the fire and enjoy an enchanting interview with...
What is your favorite memory of Halloween as a child?
I have so many delicious memories. What stands out in my mind the most right now,
though, was smelling the cold, fresh Halloween night air as I was out trick-or-treating.
And taking in the black, endless, starry sky. Then seeing and smelling the glowing jack o’
lanterns at every porch. I think the chiaroscuro-esque contrast set my little heart on fire.
Of course I liked all the goofiness and silliness associated with costumes and candy, but I
was always aware of something underlying all that. Something, well, magical … and
grandiose. Big. More than my surroundings. Something that pulled at and waltzed with
my spiritual senses and physical senses. I wouldn’t have been able to describe these
feelings at all eloquently as a child, but I remember dancing many times in our darkened
living room which was lit only by glowing Halloween decorations. Complete passionate
ecstasy of childhood.
What is your favorite memory of Halloween as an adult?
I’m still that same little girl, whose heart can’t beat fast enough to take it all in. Whose
lungs can’t fill full enough to breathe it all in. It’s so beautiful and big. Adult memories
of Halloween are always sensually related – dark nights that entice, cool air that I can’t
sniff in deeply enough, smells of candle wax and cinnamon.
I do have a specific, bitter-sweet, surreal memory that haunts me in a good way. It
actually was part of the inspiration for my song, “Dark Glass.” I was in college, hanging
out at a friend’s apartment, and a few of us decided to walk to a grocery store for some pumpkin ice cream. This autumn night was a misty one, which made for such a lovely
walk. We returned and watched “The Nightmare Before Christmas” while I playfully sat
on a long-time friend’s lap (and finally admitted to myself a half-year later that I had
feelings for him).
I can’t explain how beautifully surreal this night was, and so these feelings come out in
my music. And it’s uncanny that a little bit of romance was involved that evening (at
least on my part), because Halloween in centuries past had a great deal of romance
associated with it – an element completely lost in modern celebrations.
(Look up vintage Halloween greeting cards and you’ll see romantic illustrations with text
along the lines of, “Will you find your love this Halloween night?” A lot of Halloween
history involved there. I recommend reading Halloween history books by Lesley
Bannatyne and Jack Santino. Fascinating.)
What is your idea of the perfect Halloween?
Strolling down the street by myself, observing trick-or-treaters. Seeing as many jack o’
lanterns as possible outside in the dark. This element of the evening is so surreal to me.
Then maybe dancing in costume at a party or two, looking at all the creativity that goes
into the costumes around me. And ending the evening quietly with good conversation and
pumpkin-flavored hot chocolate or cider or something, maybe with some Halloween
cartoons or Halloween movie in the background.
What was your favorite Halloween costume?
Cat woman. The Michelle Pfeiffer brand. My friend, a very talented seamstress, made it
for me. Cat woman is my alter ego. Except, I love men. The good ones. The Batman
My other alter ego, in some ways, is the Phoenix (from X-Men). I am constantly learning
how to control my brain, like she needed to. Controlling one’s brain releases good stuff
into the world. I’ve got to put together a costume for that some year.
I also love elf queen/fairy types of costumes. Wearing wings on my back is just a literal
extension of how I try to feel every day. Plus, it’s a “Dark Crystal” type of thing. You
know – only girls have wings.
What is your favorite Halloween candy?
It used to be stuff like Sweet Tarts or Pixie Stix when I was a kid, but now it’s chocolate.
I prefer really fine, snobby dark chocolate, but quality stuff like that is not so common in
Halloween offerings (maybe we should change that), so I usually go for the little
I like Reese’s Pieces, but their peanut butter cups are just too sugary; peanut butter needs
to stay savory against the sweet chocolate, not have more sugar mixed in with it. Silly
And it’s kind of fun being an adult now because, in contrast with my kid tastes, I like
Almond Joys now and then (the dark chocolate ones). I think these were the “left-overs”
in most children’s Halloween stashes.
What are some of your favorite Halloween attractions?
Disneyland. Dih-hih-hih-hisneyland. I love what they do to the Haunted Mansion now,
turning it into the Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s so magical just waiting in line with
beautiful music, jack o’ lanterns, and flickering lights. And I love the fireworks show.
What are some songs and bands that really get you into the Halloween spirit?
Oingo Boingo – “Just Another Day”:
This song of theirs, more than even “Dead Man’s Party,” puts me in the
autumn/Halloween mood. Ah, it makes the serotonin run strongly in my brain. I’ve been
listening to it since I was about 10 (first cassette tape I ever purchased), so there’s quite a
bit of personal nostalgia involved.
I’ve also always loved Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre”:
This is one of the songs I danced to in my parents’ living room as a little girl. Ah, rapture.
And then you can’t beat Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain”:
What are some movies that get you into the Halloween spirit?
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Disney cartoon)
What are some of your favorite Halloween TV specials?
All the Disney’s Halloween Time shows through the years
Dr. Seuss’s “Halloween is Grinch Night”
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
The Haunted History of Halloween (History Channel)
Garfield’s Halloween Adventure
The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t
Punkin’ Chunkin’ documentaries
… and I just LOVE the theme song from “Witches’ Night Out”:
Who are some of your favorite musicians out there doing Spooky, Creepy, Cool type music?
I’m fascinated by the hidden treasures found in not-necessarily-Halloween artists’
repertoire, like, for example, “Virginia” by Tori Amos:
I’ve never paid attention to its lyrics, but for some reason, it always makes me think of
gorgeous autumn leaves back east. Listen to her ghostly wails toward the end of the
And listen to “Paradise Circus” by The Lilac time:
Makes me think of quirky Halloween oddballs.
And listen to this treasure of Saint-Saëns hidden in his “Carnival of the Animals” – “The
He wrote it to sound like fishies, and I can definitely hear that, bubbles and all. But it
also has such a ghostly sound to it, too, don’t you think? Like staring at a full moon.
Who are some of your favorite artists out there doing Spooky, Creepy, Cool type artwork?
Jesse Draper. He painted the cover for my 2009 CD, A Broom With A View.
Not everything he paints or photographs is Halloweeny, mind you, but it’s all fabulous to
me. When he does touch upon the macabre, however, it’s with great taste. Such nice
feelings in his work. Check out this picture:
What are some of your musical inspirations?
Besides cut flowers on my piano and organ? Well, then it would be …
Oingo Boingo/Danny Elfman
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Do you have anything you are working on currently that we can all look forward to?
Yes! I’m scurrying to finish up some music to release digitally before Halloween.
Because of a change in recording engineers this year, my latest project has been pushed
back, so that’s why I’m releasing some of my music digitally before the physical CD is
compiled. It’s a great time to be an independent artist, I tell you.
Where can we learn more about what you are currently working on, upcoming shows, and where to pick up your music?
Thank you! You can visit my website – http://HalloweenCarols.com – and sign up on my
emailing list. I have links to iTunes, Amazon, etc. where you can purchase my music.
And I do a lot of conversing on facebook – http://www.facebook.com/HalloweenCarols
And I would love it so much if visitors to my website and facebook joined my street team
of P.U.M.P.K.I.N.S. and told all their friends about my Halloween music …
Word of mouth is so powerful. Spew out the good word, folks!
Any Spooky, Creepy, Cool parting words?
I literally had a dream one night that I made cookies with Alice Cooper. And I think it
would be quite lovely to make it a reality. Wouldn’t that be fun? He and I could put on a
Halloween special, making Halloween cookies and talking Halloween. Maybe on Paula
Dean’s show. Yes. Let’s make it happen!