Irving, TX

Halloween Spirit Kept Alive by Preserve Halloween Festival

Stacey Doud

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Halloween Preservation Society 2021Halloween Preservation Society

The Preserve Halloween Festival took place on November 20-21 at the Irving Convention Center. The purpose of the Festival was to, “Keep Halloween Alive,” to honor departed loved ones and to just have some good Halloween fun.

“This is my first ‘Preserve Halloween’ convention,” said organizer and producer Greg Hallows. “I produce conventions all over the place with different themes. The Board decided that Irving, TX would be the spot this year, and this convention center is perfect," said Hallows, who appeared as Krampus on the showroom floor.

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Organizer Greg Hallows ("Krampus") and lovely daughter Lola MaeStacey Doud

Tim Jacobus, who is the original illustrator of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series of scary children’s books, said, “Goosebumps was a book series that came out in the 1990s. 1992 was the very first publication to date. "I believe that there have been over 380 million copies of Goosebumps sold and it's still rolling today."

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A few of R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" seriesPasteMagazine.com

“I am no longer the cover artist for Goosebumps sketching because they cycle people to keep it fresh," said Jacobus.

“If you follow Nancy Drew, that just keeps changing and changing. So, it's standard practice. Look at Nancy Drew covers from the ’50s and ’60s. They are way different than the ones today. So, these right here are from the original, what we refer to as the classic series. These are the ones that people know the most. The classic series had 62 books. I've represented them with 10 here. I also did the follow-up series called Series 2000. Over the course of my run, I did about 110, 115 special editions,” Jacobus said.

“My father knew how to draw. And I started to draw because I saw him drawing. And he used to use it as a way to tell a story. Like he would say, ‘I'm gonna build a deck on the back of the house, and I think it's gonna look like this.’ And so, it was always just an add-on to something.

“So, drawing was just something we did in the house. But my father worked as a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and my mom worked at the hospital. Drawing was more of a hobby.

“It wasn't until I was late in high school, where I was exposed to a commercial art class, where art was a business, and this is pre-production work. And this is how you get stuff ready for the camera. And all that stuff that just I knew nothing about,” said Jacobus.

“I was going to go to college for just regular business studies. And when I took this class in my senior year of high school, I begged my father to let me go to this small art school. And at first, he was focused on me getting get a diploma because [the art school] was more like a trade school," said Jacobus.

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Tim JacobusStacey Doud

"I told the guy who was my teacher in the commercial art class about what I wanted to do. This guy took it upon himself. He called my father. He took them out to a local tavern, sat them down, got a beer, and explained to him that this is the real deal. ‘Your son shows signs of being good at this,’ he said. And my father came home and said to me, ’Hey, you know, I met up with Frank Neubauer and he took me to the bar, and what Frank tells me is good enough for me. So, if you want to go to art school, let's pursue that.’ So, [renowned artist] Frank Neubauer has a whole lot to do with me standing here today, all these years later,” Jacobus concluded.

Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews directed and produced the films, “The Houses October Built,” which is in two parts, with the support of Steven Schneider, the producer of “Paranormal Activity,” “Insidious,” “The Devil Inside,” and M. Night Shyamalan's “The Visit,” “Split,” “Glass,” and “Old.” They gave the run-down of their “October” movies.

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Andrews and Roe - "The Houses October Built"Stacey Doud

“We travel the country trying to find the most extreme 100 houses and [the most extreme] found us. It’s called ‘The Blue Skeleton,’ and it moves around every year,” said Andrews.

“So, we just wanted to put in our love for haunted houses. We've always had a passion for it. And we noticed that nobody had ever put it on the big screen before. So, we wanted to be the first movie to be in theaters with haunted houses with a narrative wrapped around it. And it was important for us, especially being Texans. We started here because it felt like the Haunt capital in the world. This is where we grew up. We wanted to make sure we used all genuine Texas haunts in part one,” Andrews said. The Skeleton Drum Corps (Corpse?) from the infamous haunt called “The Cutting Edge” in Ft. Worth appeared in the original movie.

“There's no reason to cast anyone. These people [in the haunts] have it down. They've got their characters and their backstories and they're incredible at what they do,” said Roe.

Andrews and Roe often get asked about what their favorite haunts are.

“That's why we created the Haunt Society because it all depends on where you are. Our society lets you plug in your zip code or use geolocation or a search to find the best one that suits the individual person, Andrews said.

“We’ve shot at over 100 houses all over the country, and that’s how we've compiled the list. We're even expanding internationally. So, I think for a lot of people, that's a whole new world. We’re heading to London soon.

“We have a new movie out that came out last weekend called, ‘Isolation.’ And we made the movie through the quarantine when so many of us were shut down on other films. ‘Isolation,’ was filmed with the producers of ‘The Walking Dead.’ And so, it was kind of a blessing to get this call, with everything else on hold,” said Roe.

The Festival didn’t just focus on movies and producers. There were many artists and folks that have worked on PG-13 comic books. Also featured was voice actor Kat Cressida, who has given a voice to many Disney characters, such as “Jessie” from the “Toy Story” movies, where she served as a speech double to Joan Cusak. She also voiced “Dee Dee” in seasons two and four of “Dexter’s Laboratory,” and “Uta” in the F/X series “Archer.”

Cressida has also lent her voice to several rides at Disneyland and Disney World, such as “The Bride," “The Haunted Mansion,” as well as “The Tower of Terror” ride and “Toy Story Midway Mania!”

Cressida has been a voice actor for about 22 years. She explained how she got into this branch of the film industry.

“You start in legitimate acting, and you do all legitimate acting training. And some people go directly from stage training into voiceover learning the microphone and some people go into ‘on camera,’ and then eventually move over into the microphone. But it's part of the acting world.

Sometimes I found out who was voicing certain versions of a movie and went to talk to them. Or maybe there were voice actors in a movie I was shooting. I’d always speak to them. And all that networking paid off,” Cressida said.

For more information about The Halloween Preservation Society, visit https://preservehalloween.com/

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I live and work in the Grapevine, TX area and enjoy sharing my experiences with others. As a writer/reporter/photographer and editor, I especially like to report on positive things, but I'll always bring you local news! Thank you for viewing my profile and I'd be honored if you'd follow me!

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