Name: Heather Leanne
From : Baltimore, Md. US.
What made you love Halloween so strongly?
I think more than anything it takes me back to being a kid again. I love that feeling of being scared. Like going through your first haunted house, not knowing what was gonna jump out and scare you next. It’s a thrill feeling really, a fun scared. And on top of that I love a Autumn season. Cool weather, pumpkins, the trees changing colors. It’s very comforting to me.
How did you get into Halloween ?
My mother really started my love for Halloween. It was a big deal growing up in my household. My mother has always and still to this day goes all out for Halloween. The most decorated house in the neighborhood. And even when the weather was too bad for us to trick ‘r treat she made sure that we at least had a Halloween party at the house for all of us kids. It’ll always be apart of our lives.
What is your favorite things to do on/around halloween ?
I absolutely love to give candy out to the kids. I love seeing them in their costumes and I love seeing the ones too scared to walk up to the house because all the creepy things in my yard. I even get some scares and jumps out of adult sometimes. My jumping spider does a good job at that. And on top of that I love carving pumpkins. I make sure to carve different ones every year.
Can you remember which Halloween costume was your favortite one?
That’s a tough one. I think my favorite thing is my werewolf mask. If I could be any monster, it would definitely be a werewolf. I unfortunately don’t have a favorite from my childhood or anything.
What does Halloween mean to you?
To me Halloween is a fun, comforting time of the year. That moment between summer and winter where I feel there’s this calmness, yet excitement all at the same time. It’s a holiday that everyone can take part in and enjoy the things it has to offer.
Of all the amazing Halloween candy you can get now a days , what is your favorite? ( Old Classics/ New style candy etc )
I love fun size Snickers and caramel apple lollipops. I miss Mr.Bones candy though. It was these candy skeleton pieces in a little plastic coffin box, and you could put him together like a puzzle. I loved that!
What Halloween food and drinks are you most excited about?
I’m that basic girl who gets excited over pumpkin spice coffee. I’m a sucker for it. I’m also pretty excited to try making my own Harry Potter’s Butter Beer this year for Halloween night. That and candy apples.
When do you start shopping for Halloween ?
I buy Halloween items throughout the entire year. I’m a huge fan of vintage Halloween, like Beistle co. products. I’ll buy them randomly when I need a Halloween fix.
What about Halloween makes it your favorite holiday?
There’s nothing about Halloween that feels like an obligations. Everything about it I want to be involved in. It’s more freeing than any other.
Do you think it has any negative sides to it?
Not at all. When it comes down to it, it’s more about fun than anything. It’s all in good spirits.
What is the Favorite Halloween item you have?
That would have to be my three headed Cerberus animatronic. I even made a dog house and all for him. Both kids and adults love it when I set him out.
Do you still go trick or treating?
Nope, I prefer giving the candy.
Can you remember your first Halloween memory?
My first memory would have to be from a time in Elementary school. We had gone around the block for our Halloween parade and all the kids were dressed in costume. And I remember the principle standing in the middle of the playground with a microphone, and she would call out all types of different kinds of costumes. So if she yell “do we have any witches here?”, all the little witches would go up as group so everyone could see. Then she’d yell for vampires, Batmen, clowns, etc. And every group had multiples. Well, except for me. She yelled “How about Catwomen?”, and there I was all by myself walking up there, the only Catwoman. I remember it was one of those cheap plastic costumes with the plastic mask. I think the reason it was so memorable was because of how shy I was as a child and it was almost mortifying to be in such spotlight.
Do you keep all your Halloween decorations out all year or do you start decorating at a certain time ?
I always keep a Jack o’ Lantern up and a few things here and there. But, my birthday is in September so I always make it a point to decorate as a gift to myself since I love it so much. I’m usually the first with anything Halloween related up.
Where do you buy your Halloween items?
I love ‘Spirit Halloween‘, and Target has a great selection sometimes. I also shop EBAY for certain items.
Whats your favourite halloween movie/series?
‘Trick r’ Treat’ has become a must when watching a movie. ‘Hocus Pocus’ of course, and I absolutely love ‘The Simpsons: Tree House of Horrors’.
How is Halloween celebrated in the US?
Trick r’ Treating for the little of course, and haunted hay rides are really fun. Unfortunately it seems to be losing people here. In my neck of the woods anyway. I wish I had more neighbors who celebrate and decorate, but its less and less every year it seems. I keep telling myself to found that Halloween town. That town out there somewhere where it’s a big deal. I want that neighbor who would compete with me. Fight for ‘Who’s got the scariest yard?’. I’m afraid the kids will eventually stop coming around.
Is it difficult finding Halloween decorations in your town/city?
No really, we usually have a ‘Spirit Halloween‘ open up near by. And I’m not far at all from shopping centers.
What made you want to start designing and selling Halloween themed items?
I started a few years ago while I was still working full time. I’m fortunate enough now to have a bit more time to create and paint more often. I love painting, it’s the one thing that feels the most natural to me. Even as a kid I was drawing up creepy cemeteries and witches. I enjoy being able to offer different items that you don’t see too often and with Halloween usually anything Horror/Scary movie is related, and that’s a genre that’s not really mainstream. There’s a community, but you could go through your entire day without bumping into someone you can relate to. I just love be able to offer that little bit of Halloween love all year round.
What is important themes to you when you design?
I love characters and their intricate details. When I decide to paint a new monster that I haven’t done before it really makes me appreciate the FX and art that went into it. I try and do my best to add those details, even if they’re subtle and you can hardly tell they’re there.
How much time do you spend of your day/week on making your items?
Depends on my work schedule. I could go days without painting, but when I do get days off I’m sitting down for hours trying to get things done. I wish I could treat like a work schedule, but I catch myself balancing out everything that needs my attention. And really I have to be in a good mental state to paint. If my mind is wondering I can’t give my work what it deserves and what my customers deserve. And I believe they deserve quality.
Can it sometimes be difficult for you to handle the fame by being a known Halloween designer?
I wouldn’t call it fame, I’m still really trying to build a good customer base. I do my best to be professional and respectful to everyone though. And everyone who meets me in person seems to like me. I’ll vend horror conventions sometimes and I get to meet a few of my existing customers and new ones as well. And it’s always a great experience. The horror/Halloweencommunity has a lot of really great people.
Clothing / style
Where do you usually buy your clothes ?
I’ll shop anywhere from thrift stores to big name retail stores. I’m not particular unless it’s for pants. I’m super short and that’s always so difficult to shop for.
what style of clothing do you like to buy?
I love wearing dresses, but most days I’ll throw on a t-shirt and jeans. I end up getting paint on everything anyway. So, I never get fancy.
Do you have any tips on where to find awesome Halloween clothing for the rest of us Halloween addicts?
Get creative. Hit up your local thrift stores. You’d be surprised what you’d find and what you could make out of it.
Do you wear Halloween/Horror styled clothes all year?
I have a few horror tees I love wearing all year round. I’m a huge ‘True Blood’ fan, and I always have some sort of ‘True Blood’ related shirt on during the week.
Whats your favorite Halloween clothing /accessories/bags/shoes etc?
I love Halloween socks. I’m always wearing some type of socks with Jack o’ lanterns on them.
Have you worked hard on your style?
Not really, I’m pretty laid back and it doesn’t take much effort.
Be sure to check out her store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtByHeatherLeanne
And her Instagram! : https://www.instagram.com/heathers.house.of.horror/