When Stephen and I thought about starting a company we knew we wanted to contribute to the horror community. Stephen is a graphic designer/illustrator and I have a background in business and product development.
We have always loved horror movies and Halloween so we decided to jump in and start making things we are stoked about. The idea behind Toxic Coffin is to plunder our imagination to bring spooky, horror-inspired goodness back from the abyss. Each release will have a story based in history, personal experience, and our thoughts that went into inspiring the designs.
Our maiden voyage into the abyss starts with Halloween - the best time of the year!
As we have lived through truly interesting times in 2020, I’ve noticed some similarities between this year and the traditions of Halloween. The death of old ideas, wearing masks, bonfires, and the dissolving of “treats” that used to keep me distracted.
Halloween began as a time to celebrate the ending of the year, when summer light faded into the darkness of winter. This transition was thought to “thin the veil” between the the living world and the land of the dead. Remembering lost loved ones and ancestors looked a lot more like Día de los Muertos than the Halloween we celebrate today. This year has felt like a thinning of the veil between the world I lived in pre-COVID to the strange paranoid life I’m immersed in now. The transition is like a death of expectations into the winter of quarantine.
During the celebrations of Halloween people would light giant bonfires lighting up the Celtic hillsides. These bonfires were thought to ward off fairies and evil spirits as the veil thinned. The community would carry a torch from the bonfire to light the home’s hearth extending the protection to the family. In addition to the global pandemic, there have been demonstrations all over the United States building the bonfires of social change that have made their way into every household.
The tradition of wearing masks to resemble animals or monsters during Halloween is believed to originate from people disguising themselves from spirits and fairies. These entities were rumored to kidnap those of the living and take them back to the underworld. When I go outside today there’s a different horror movie playing. Masks are an everyday sight from bandana bandits, sock necked bank robbers, or surgical chic in the grocery store. It’s not fairies or evil spirits everyone is hiding from but an invisible virus.
Once the traditions of Halloween followed Irish, Scottish, and English immigrants to the Americas it took on new aspects. As less of the spirituality and mysticism of its pagan roots transferred to the youth of America they used this night to spread mischief in their communities. Thus giving Halloween its nickname “Mischief Night” which was the nightmare of the adults. To stifle the mayhem the practice of giving out candy or treats was used and has continued until today. When children would knock on the door of a neighbor they would ask “Trick or Treat” giving the homeowner the option to pay the bribe or deal with the devilish trick. With all this upheaval, economic halt, and physical lockdown all the distractions or “treats” of the day have dissolved. No more movie theaters, concerts, or packed bars to keep everyone occupied. If there are no more treats, the tricks have returned in full force across the country.
All these current events mirroring history inspired the designs of Toxic Coffin. From the traditions of bonfires to the nickname “Mischief Night”, it all comes from Halloween and our love and appreciation of the season.
Stay safe, stay spooky, it’s Halloween - wear a mask!