Interview with Dani October

Dani October aka The Queen Of Halloween has a similar spirit to ours. She pledges to “Keep The Halloween Spirit Undead, All Year Round!” With that in mind, we wanted to know more about her and her love for all things Halloween.

Here is our interview:

– 1. What fascinates you so much about Halloween and when did your fascination begin?

Oh, So much! I always say, Halloween is more of a feeling to me and it is definitely not just one day a year! What fascinates me most is the incredible feeling you get as we transition into Autumn from a hot, sticky summer. There is something so magical about that change in seasons that leads way into October, and I think that has everything to do with just knowing Halloween is coming. So it is the anticipation, the excitement, and how that just grows every year and still feels just as exciting to me as when I was little…maybe even more so now! Through social media, over the years I have realized that there are literally thousands of people who feel the same way as I do when it comes to that October anticipation and I just find that so incredibly pleasing and amazing!

I think that all began when I was a small child. Year-round I basically just felt like an outcast from an early age as I was always different than the other children. I wanted to be a vampire when all the other little girls were playing with barbies. I was 100% a Wednesday Addams! So when October came around, it was the on time of year I felt “Normal” because everyone else was now on my (spooky) level. It was the only time of year everyone shared in the same excitement of the darker things in life. I no longer felt alone in my weird interests so it quickly became my happiest time of the year…

– 2. What’s your greatest memory of Halloween?

My greatest childhood memory is definitely decorating our house every year. It was practically a ritual to me and became sacred over the years. My mother would take out the mysterious “Halloween Box” from its dusty shelf in the attic and the smell of old Halloween makeup from last year and half-melted candles mixes in with lights and plastic skeletons was intoxicating to me. We would listen to Halloween tapes (yes TAPES!) and make the house look so beautiful and spooky! This was always my favorite as it meant the start of October and a whole month of fun!

– 3. Do you have any childhood familial Halloween traditions that you continue today?

I do! along with decorating the house, we would go every year to a farm out in “the country” which was such a treat for us city kids…and pick pumpkins and apples and play in the leaves and eat apple cider donuts! it was one of the happiest times of my childhood and I never let an October go by without a trip to the farm! I am very big on filling every weekend in October (and many week-days) with October activities so we literally do it all. I usually start making my “October Calendar” in August filling it with what we will be doing all month long. Baking, Horror movies, Autumn walks collecting leaves, The pumpkin Patch, Parties, the list goes on and on!

– 4. What is your all-time favorite costume that you dressed up in for Halloween?

I have a few but one of my favorites had to be Dorothy from the wizard of OZ AFTER the tornado got to her…not so much as for the costume but for the reaction it got. I was invited to a party one year and little did I know it was a very family-friendly clean-cut event. Then I show up covered head to toe in blood and straw and I am certain I gave at least 40 kids nightmares that night (unintentionally!) But hey! Halloween was meant to provoke a new sensation in us all so maybe they will look back on it years later with some fascination and creativity!

– 5. Your recent post about you not being worried about Halloween being “canceled” (which I absolutely loved to read) was definitely something that a lot of people needed to see. Do you have any plans for something special this year or is it business as usual like any other year?

Yes…honestly it is of course disappointing that so many usual plans and events will be canceled, but to me, that doesn’t change a whole lot of my excitement for October and Halloween whatsoever. It is a very Grinch that stole Halloween scenario if you ask me! you could take away it all and it wouldn’t even budge the intense spirit that this season carries in my, and I know, many souls out there…This year I am encouraging everyone to step it up spooky-wise so to speak and go above and beyond making this season special for our kids. There is no way I want them to look back on 2020 with disdain, so I feel as long as we keep the excitement going, that will reflect onto them too and that is so very important! For me, it is business as usual except I am making sure to keep everyone’s spirits up even more so just in case they need to be reminded!

– 6. As someone in Sleepy Hollow, do you have any insider information on where to go, what to do, where to look for information, etc. for someone like me who has never visited and wants to explore the history and related roots of the town?

YES! there is so much to do here in October, although I know many events will be postponed to next year…we still have stuff going on. The website is the best to use and I have been using that personally for over a decade as well as my page on Instagram @Tarryhollowtown. I also wrote a whole October Guide to Sleepy Hollow you can find here!
Definitely check all the websites ahead of time to see what is happening though. They said they would be announcing more closer to September 1st. I know for certain The Blaze is still happening so I am grateful for that as it is 5,000 carved pumpkins displayed around a beautiful historic manor! it is absolutely incredible!

– 7. What do you hope to pass on to your sons in regard to your love for Halloween; or are they like my kids who sometimes roll their eyes at how much I love the holiday?

Well, my older son who is 18 kind of rolls his eyes (because you know, he is a cool adult and knows everything now!) but I also have a 2-year-old which means I get to do the Halloween craziness all over again which is so wonderful for me! I hope to pass on that true October Spirit and so many wonderful memories so that when I am long gone, and the air clicks from summer into Autumn and Halloween begins to whisper in their ears, or they see that first leaf fall to the ground. they think of me and that same electric orange air is felt all around them and they get butterflies just thinking about all the fun they are going to have with their own little ones. I want to pass on the memories because after all, that is why I love Halloween so much, because I have the fondest memories of it growing up…With so many vicious cycles in the world, I feel like THAT is a cycle worth continuing!

– 8. If there is just one misconception about people who love Halloween that you could clear up, what would it be?

That would definitely be that Halloween is evil or in some way relate to the Devil or Satanism. I cannot speak for the world of course, but many know that Halloween is an old Celtic Holiday that is deeply rooted in paganism going back thousands of years to the tradition of Samhain marking the end of the harvest season. Sorry, no Devil there! The closest thing you will get is Pan and he is pretty cool but very far from evil! I cannot tell you how many times I was called a witch, Elvira, Marily Manson (ALL compliments by the way) but I knew they were meant as an evil insult. In reality, I am the nicest person in the world and even raise costume donations every year for children who live in shelters that cannot afford their own costumes. So to think Halloween is about worshipping the devil is just ridiculous to me really as we as a culture in America have progressed so far past that as far as Halloween goes. Is there a dark side to Halloween? of course! but to me, it is just an acknowledgment of the natural balance of light and darkness. Everything has a dark and light side and it is not necessarily evil in darkness…

– 9. Besides your current project involving the Halloweentown sign, do you have any other related projects that we could let people know about?

Well, I started hand carving long lost houses from Sleepy Hollow that are related to The legend Story by Washington Irving! I have already made Ichabod Cranes schoolhouse and The Van Tassel Home… I am also a huge history buff, so my page Tarryhollowtown deals a lot with the History of the Sleepy Hollow area and through that I have learned many places from the Legend actually existed! So I am bringing them to life! I may start selling them once I make enough! you can see them on the Tarryhollowtown Instagram page.

– 10. What’s your favorite Halloween candy to give out?

So even though I like the stuff most people don’t like (pumpkin peeps and candy corn) I have to go with straight-up CHOCOLATE BARS of all kinds because you can never go wrong with that!

– 11. Describe in the best way you can the atmosphere in your town during Halloween. I can only imagine a place like Sleepy Hollow really being exciting during October.

Oh, it is wonderful. The great thing about Sleepy Hollow is, it has an air of Halloween year-round which is why I moved here but in October? The air might as well turn orange there is so much Halloween spirit! This year may be different, yes, but normally there are none stop events and Happenings! Tourists come from all over the country, so all of a sudden our normally quiet town is bustling with people all dressed up and smiling. The trees here are gorgeous, and the town itself might as well be out of a story-book it is so quaint and special. The Headless Horseman wanders around town too regularly on his horse! he can be seen at so many of the events to everyone’s delight. We have a tremendous about of “Horseman’s Pride” here and in October, it really shows.

– 12. As The Queen of Halloween, do you have any official proclamations regarding All Hallow’s Eve that we can share with the loyal subjects?

I am glad you asked that because yes I do!

LOYAL SUBJECTS! (just kidding) This year may be different, and many of us will have to make adjustments, but let that in no way hinder ONE DAY of your Spooky Season! If anything, let this be an incredible opportunity to go above and beyond like you never have before! always wanted to build a home haunt? this is the year you do it! always wanted to bring back the art of ghost stories around a campfire? light it up! want to start a new tradition of making your own costumes? baking pies? or looking into the REAL meaning of Halloween past all the party business? Do you really know why we celebrate Halloween? Where does it all come from? here is your opportunity to find out…better yet, tell your kids. Share with them all the reasons this time of year is truly special and look past anything you feel you may be missing…

I have said it before and I’ll say it again…Halloween is so much more than one day a year…it is a season, a feeling, a living breathing spirit. There is no situation on earth that can take that away from us. The air will change, the leaves will fall, the pumpkins will glow and this Halloween will be the most fantastic yet!

Happy Halloween everyone!!!!

Follow Dani at:
Facebook: The Queen Of Halloween
Instagram: thequeenofhalloween31
Instagram: tarryhollowtown