I had plenty of anticipation going into the 2017 Chicago Days of the Dead with goals to match. Although I’m no vlogger at this stage of the Terror Dave game, I wanted to capture as much video as I could while meeting celebrity guests, doing some shopping, and stepping out of my comfort zone for a bit of cosplaying (more on that later). This year’s headliners included Linda Blair, Sean Astin, Dee Snider, and Jeremy Bulloch. As a lifelong STAR WARS fan, seeing Bulloch, a.k.a. Boba Fett, was priority #1 while my kids had autograph ambitions of their own. On this Friday night, however, it was “adult swim” as my horror compadre, Chris, and I attempted to tackle as much of the event as we could before the Saturday crowds made it a challenge.
Shortly after arriving, I spotted my fellow Svengoolie chasers, Don and Bunny Urban. They’ve been attending this event from the very beginning; sitting in on as many celebrity discussions as they can. They’re always so kind in sharing their photos and insights from those for this site which is a huge help to me. So a BIG thank you to my friends the Urbans!
With time to kill before the doors opened, I had an opportunity to meet some fun people, including a rather amusing woman with her husband and an eleven-year-old boy about to lose his “only child” status. “This one was a surprise,” the woman said, while patting her pregnant belly. She then proceeded to go on a hysterical tirade about wishing her spouse would take her on more traditional vacations rather than horror cons.
“My co-workers all show me pictures of their families at tropical islands and Disneyland!” she said, while glaring at her husband. “And here I am like, ‘well here’s our picture with Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead.” I cracked up.
Of all genre enthusiasts, I’ve always found horror fans to be the nicest to talk to. I’m no sociologist, but I’m thinking it has something to with our favorite movies providing us healthier outlets for frustration.
I also ran into Phil Meenan whom I spoke of last year. He showed off his tattoos of the celebrity he was anxious to meet this year, Alice Krige from Ghost Story.
Once inside, I couldn’t help but notice a maniacal elf swinging overhead along with other macabre, Christmas-themed props. It was the talented team from Illinois’ Massacre Haunted House whose haunt I was able to enjoy this past Halloween season. I wasn’t entirely surprised to see them as I’d recognized their giant, killer clown (seen in a previous photo) standing in the foyer.
The folks at Massacre also style haunts around Valentine’s Day and Easter which I’m looking forward to attending. I’m a firm believer that Halloween is a lifestyle, not just some date on the calendar, and attractions such as these reinforce that. Seriously, how much more fun would life be if we put a scary twist on ALL the other holidays, especially Christmas?
Further down was a booth displaying Bigfoot and Yeti patches which, naturally, reeled me in like a tractor beam. Aside from the fact that I love cryptozoology, I also collect patches: zoos, dinosaurs, UFO-related, and cryptozoology. So, needless to say, when I saw George Coghill the Monsterologist‘s setup, I quickly pulled out my wallet.
Ironically, though I’d never met Coghill before, I’ve had decals of his monster designs on my car ever since he did a Kick-starter campaign for them years back. I’ll be doing a full interview with the Monsterologist in an upcoming issue of Scary Monsters Magazine so stay tuned for that.
The next stop was Jay Langley’s Scare Bears which I featured HERE two years back with many more mentions since. I make no secret that I’m nuts for the guy’s work and, with no two bears exactly alike, add one to my collection each time I see him. He’s a great guy, his prices are reasonable, and it’s one purchase that never leaves me with buyer’s remorse.
Jay always creates special bears for auctions, like the one he does annually for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. This year’s bear was inspired by Jeepers Creepers along with another Leatherface one he did for an in-house raffle. He also created a custom Deadpool bear for a fan that was just incredible!
This past year I’ve been collecting Trick r Treat Sam items: both official and homespun. The last time I saw “the Clay Guy,” Barry Crawford,was at the Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend this past September and I remember thinking then how much I wished he’d add “Sam” to his menagerie. My wish would come true a LOT sooner than expected as there was one standing prominently here at Days of the Dead. So that new treasure has since joined my clay Svengoolie and “Bubba” Scarecrow on my shelf. Barry also added a 2017 Pennywise as well as the Demogorgon from the Netflix smash hit, “Stranger Things.” The man is not only on top of current trends but seems to be outdoing himself in terms of his workmanship (and Barry, if you’re reading this, my next wish is for Krampus and his dark elves from the hit movie).
Here are some of the other great items on sale at Chicago’s 2017 “Days of the Dead”….
And here are my new Sam acquisitions…
One thing I did NOT expect while doing my holiday horror shopping was cuddling with a rare animal. There was a gal walking around with her Sphinx cat; a breed I’ve never had the honor of seeing in person before. He purred the whole time I held him and was much softer than I’d imagined. I also couldn’t believe how calm he was. If I tried bringing my Felix to an event like this, he’d have a kitty coronary two seconds after walking in the door.
Tonight, however, would belong to the canines rather than felines. As proven by the evening’s first celebrity encounter.
Coming Up…Rescue Dogs make Linda Blair’s Head Spin!