ROCKFORD, Ill. – Nov. 2, 2023 – — Spooky and Christmas might seem an unusual combination. The truth is, spooky stories and Christmas time were tied together for many years, and still are in some countries. Remember that “A Christmas Carol” is actually a ghost story. It’s just one example of a rich tradition. A number of authors, artists and artisans will be paying tribute to that tradition on December 2nd from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at a free-admission event called “Put the Spooky Back Into Christmas.” The location will be Veteran’s Memorial Hall at 211 N. Main in Rockford.
The event will feature several authors including, Frank Coffman, Gary Hill, Kathi Kresol and Stephen Osborne. Not only will each author have books available, they will be on hand to chat and sign books. Each author will also have a spooky holiday reading as part of a video that will be playing during the event.
Frank Coffman is a published poet and fiction writer with several collections available. One of his poems with a dark holiday theme was featured in “Horrifying Holidays: Holiday Spookfest.” In addition to writing several books, Gary Hill runs local science fiction and horror imprint Tales of Wonder and Dread which lists “Horrifying Holidays: Holiday Spookfest,” “Put the Spooky Back Into Christmas: Classic Holiday Horror Tales” and “Horrifying Holidays Two: More Holiday Spookfest” among its catalog.
Kathi Kresol has been researching the history of Northern Illinois for twenty years. She has published two solo books and has collaborated with other local authors and shared articles in three books featuring compilations of Rockford authors. She shares the stories she finds researching Spooky stories in her presentations, her column ” Voices from the Grave” in the Rock River Times, and her events for Haunted Rockford. Stephen Osborne obviously never lost his love for the macabre, as it turns up often in his writing. In addition to his own books he has one story each in “Horrifying Holidays” and “Horrifying Holidays Two.”
There will be a number of vendors on hand. Bast & Baetyl Alchemy will have a large selection of copper jewelry and accessories, including necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, belts, pins and hair pins. Their aesthetic is already spooky, but they will be making a selection of winter items including pieces featuring Krampus and other holiday superstitions and mythology. Chris Geebus is an artist specializing in comic style inks, realism acrylics, graffiti blaster and a little bit of a Jack of all visual art trades, Holiday themed horror prints and originals will be on deck for “Put The Spooky Back Into Christmas”
Directly connected to Kathi Kresol, Haunted Rockford’s table will have her books for sale along with Christmas ornaments including needlepoint. MsAndi’s Creations will make custom sublimation and DTF items including glassware, t-shirts, key chains blankets and more. In addition to other designs, they are licensed to create official “Put the Spooky Back Into Christmas” and “Horrifying Holidays” merchandise.
Next Life Creations is focused on creating one-of-kind art from items found in nature. For this event they will have a selection of witch ball/Yule ornaments, wood slice ornaments and decorative lanterns and more. Artists Samantha S. and Britta E. create custom stained glass and fused glass art under the name Seen-Through-Glass, and they will have an array of works available, many of which will fit the Spooky Christmas theme. Samantha Hochmann will be representing Tinker Swiss Cottage and will have Christmas ornaments and Tinker Swiss Cottage T-Shirts. As a bonus, there will be gift baskets available at both the Haunted Rockford and Tinker Swiss Cottage tables that will include goodies for fans of Spooky stuff..
Additionally there will be other spooky displays and more adding to the mood and vibe courtesy of ScaryHouse Studios. This event was made possible, in part, by a 2023 Action Micro-Grant from the Rockford Area Arts Council.