Do you long for the days when Halloween was more about fun and games in your local community and less about ponying up a hundred dollars’ worth of candy to distribute to a bunch of ungrateful kids?
Does your local Halloween “Spirit” store leave you dispirited and uninspired? If so, then you have a kindred spirit in monster artisan and power-mustachioed Daniel Davis, AKA Steam Crow.
Daniel, his wife Dawna and a slew of their like-minded friends have decided to wrestle Halloween back from the greedy hands of corporate commercialism and are hosting a new pre-Halloween event called, Keen Halloween.
With partners from every creepy corner of the local off-kilter creative community, Steam Crow has assembled an incredible array of themed workshops, vendors, entertainers and costumers to delight us with a pre-Halloween holiday event that focuses on our local artistic talent.
Keen Halloween happens on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the New School for the Arts & Academics. Advance tickets are $7 online and $10 at the door, and kid 12 and younger get in free.
Daniel took a few moments away from his monster manufacturing and Keen Halloween preparations to answer some questions about his hallowed pre-holiday event.
Q: Why Halloween in September, instead of the traditional Halloween weekend at the end of October?
A: We want Keen Halloween to kick off the Halloween Season. Having it in September means that after the event you’ll have ideas and inspiration to work on your own Halloween plans. You’ve got 31 days; now get something done!
Q: Is it better to come in costume or plan on getting costume ideas there – or both?
A: Both are great! If you’ve got an awesome costume that you want to show off, wear it! If you’re coming for information, ideas and our Evil Genius Costume Bar … wear your normal clothes! We just want your participation!
Q: What inspired you to create this event?
A: Two things:
1. We couldn’t find an event that celebrated the spooky culture of Halloween that was for kids and adults. The adult stuff can get pretty gory, and the kid stuff can get rather … kiddy. We wanted to create an event that was for everybody who loves Halloween, kid or adult.
2. Halloween is a really creative holiday, or at least it used to be. We’d like to promote the ‘maker’ aspect of Halloween … Get folks out there doing stuff. Also, it’s a chance to celebrate the costumers, artists and decorators who already do amazing Halloween stuff.
Q: Are there plans to make Keen Halloween a recurring annual event?
A: Yes, we’d really like to do it again. The best way to vote ‘yes’ is to come to the event. It’s as simple as that. If locals vote with their feet, we’ll be back.
Q: What can you tell us about the workshops you have planned?
A: We’re hoping to give folks some very specific ideas on how to do Halloween stuff. There are lots of videos online but nothing beats a person there teaching you how to do something.
Each Workshop is 45 minutes long and is focused on a topic such as “Stylish Zombies 101,” “Mad Props: Build Halloween Props Like the Pros,” How to make a “Poison Apple Crate,” and “How to Host a Halloween Dinner Party.” You can see our workshop schedule online.
Q: Where can people learn more about the vendors that will be on hand at Keen Halloween?
A: We have 20 different Monster Market vendors Monster (and) we’ve even interviewed a bunch of them.
Q: What do you have planned for entertainment?
A: (We have) two bands, Ethan 103 and the Haymarket Squares are headlining. Dr. Duke Davis will be doing his “Monster Abduction is Real” seminar, “The Dr. Diabolic Show” will be making us laugh, and we’re going to have our first ever Iron Skull Costume Challenge on stage;, where 3 teams have 45 minutes to make a costume out of common household supplies.
Q: What kind of food will be available at the event? Will there be any trick-or-treating at Keen Halloween?
A: Well, we can’t have food in the hall, so we won’t have food or candy on hand. However, there are a lot of places to eat within walking distance such as Pita Jungle, Filbertos, Tasty Kabob, etc.
Q: Steam Crow has an exclusive show print for Keen Halloween. Will any of the other artists be offering exclusives?
A: Keen Halloween is going to offer official limited edition Halloween art and products every year, which is illustrated and created by Steam Crow. (Just like the event itself.) Sales of the print go toward holding the event again next year. (Believe me when I tell you that simply breaking even is a huge challenge for a show like this.)
This probably isn’t going to be a show that will have dozens of “exclusive” prints by a multitude of artists; probably just 2 or 3 very limited offerings.
Q: What are you most excited about for Keen Halloween?
A: I’m excited to get together with all of my friends and family and just watch this thing unfold. That’s probably a lame answer but I’m emotionally invested in pretty much every aspect of the show.
Q: What are your plans for the October 31 Halloween?
A: I’m taking my Goblin Boy out trick-or-treating with a huge grin on my face. This year, I think that I’m finally going to be ready for Halloween.
IF YOU GO
What: Keen Halloween
When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29
Where: New School for the Arts & Academics, 1216 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe
Cost: $7 in advance, $10 at the door; Free for kids 12 and younger