Five questions asked over a glowing Jack o'Lantern, under an Autumn moon obscured by passing clouds...in between mouthfuls of candy corn...with Gavin Goszka of Midnight Syndicate...
Why is Halloween important to you?
I think I've always felt drawn to the historical significance and meaning of Halloween. It marked the dividing point between the light and dark halves of the year: a time of transition where the veil between worlds was at its thinnest. It also marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year. It was believed that at this time, the dead could travel between worlds and communicate with the living. I think there's an undeniable sense of mystery about it, and many people feel much more in touch with the unseen. Autumn is my favorite time of year in general - it's great to enjoy the scenery and traditions that come along with it.
Describe your ideal Halloween.
I've always enjoyed decorating for the holiday, so that's definitely a big component. I'll usually set up most of my decorations early in October, but there are some nicely-elaborate surprises that get put out on Halloween night as well. I'm also an amateur ghost hunter and try to plan some kind of investigation for Halloween night: it's just too perfect for that!
What Halloween collectibles do you cherish, or hate, or both?
I don't have a lot of collectibles from my childhood, but I did keep this set of cardboard glow-in-the-dark ghosts. They're not incredibly scary, but they always bring back some great memories of growing up.
I think one of my favorite props is a wireless talking skeleton I picked up a few years ago, however. It has a speaker inside, moving jaw, and light-up eyes that are triggered when you talk through a microphone. My house has a large porch that I'd set the Halloween candy out on, and when the kids would come up to get it, I'd have the skeleton "talk" to them. It was great because I'd be a few feet away behind a window that I left open a crack so that I could hear them. They couldn't see me, but I could respond to them in real-time and address them by name. That always gets some priceless reactions!
When was your very first Halloween, the one where you really knew it was Halloween, and how was it?
I don't remember my very first Halloween, but I do remember setting up these makeshift 'haunted houses' in our basement, using old sheets, ropes, and whatever props I could make or scavenge. I used to plan them out weeks in advance and just had a blast setting it all up and watching my friends' reactions as they went through them. I'm sure my parents were none too thrilled at the prospect of not being able to use their laundry room for a few days, but they were always very, very awesome about it, which still surprises me.
What's the one Halloween question you want to be asked, and what's your answer?
Q: Do you believe in ghosts?
A: Although I have yet to find concrete proof myself, I have seen and heard some strange things and do believe in the possibility that there's a lot more to the world around us than we're aware of or can perceive.
My background is in science and although I tend to rely on critical thinking and analysis to explain a lot of things, I try to keep my mind as open as possible. I actually think that quantum mechanics may hold the key to explaining many paranormal phenomena: it will be interesting to see how these fields intersect in the future.