I wanted to bring you guys a quick interview in one of Arizona’s newest conventions (well, sort of new). Daniel of Steam Crow (you’ve probably seen the huge booth at places like Phoenix Comicon or Tucson Comic Con)and Keen Halloween was gracious enough to answer a few things about his relaunched Halloween convention.
LoS: Steam Crow has been a staple at various pop culture conventions here in the West for years now. Was Keen Halloween an idea that spun from Steam Crow or was it entirely a separate concept when the event made its debut in 2012?
Daniel: It came straight FROM Steam Crow, but it was all about Halloween (rather than us). We created, funded, and ran the events from scratch, along with a small group of volunteers and friends. We love Halloween, but it felt like there wasn’t a great fit for us out there… Spirit store’s yearly offering was usually a disappointment, and we were frustrated with so many events that either tried to remove the “spooky” from Halloween, or were all about murder-gore, which is alright… but not really about HALLOWEEN. We wanted to assist in bringing classic Halloween back, in our small way.
LoS: This version of Keen Halloween is being dubbed as a “relaunch” in partnership with Matt Solberg, the director of Phoenix Comicon. What kind of value does he bring to an event like Keen Halloween?
Daniel: If you know him, Matt is a sharp and quality guy. If you don’t know him, evidence can be found at his high quality events like Phoenix Comicon and PHXCC Fan Fest. I think that Matt’s secret is that he concentrates on every facet of an event; the attendees have to have a good time, the guests need to have a good experience, the vendors need a profitable show, and the volunteer staff has to be treated right too. Many events concentrate on only 1 or 2 of those groups.
But the beauty here is having his whole TEAM of great people work on Keen. For the first ones, it was mostly just 1 person, with some other eyes/hands from time to time. I could only do so much planning/marketing solo – and it was the perfect recipe for burnout. So, I had to take a break. Partnering with Matt Solberg (and team) was exactly what the Doctor ordered to make this event exceptional.
LoS: Your event takes place on September 24 and 25 at the Phoenix Convention Center and seems to be a perfect warmup for the Halloween season. What kind of experience do you hope attendees walk away with from your Keen Halloween?
Daniel: Halloween is the greatest holiday ever, but sometimes it’s tough to really have a great experience. So often Halloween events are too kiddy, or seemingly just about murder, and it felt like there was some room to make an event that was about the Halloween in our minds, Halloween that never quite was.
Keen Halloween is all about trying to help you have a better Halloween. We’ll have loads of panels and presentations to teach and maybe inspire you to get more involved in your own personal Halloween. We’ll have a curated floor passionate artist-vendors that are Halloween-centric, so it’s also a place to see Halloween stuff that you’d never find in a Mall.
If anything, we’re hoping that folks get inspired and excited from our event.
LoS: Halloween means a variety of things to people of different ages. Is it challenging to bridge all those different perceptions of Halloween into one event that can be enjoyed by attendees of all ages?
Daniel: We’ll have panels/events focused on very specific aspects of Halloween. If you’re a family with little kids, you might do “Panel A”. If that isn’t your thing, you might do “Panel B”. Halloween is a spectrum, and folks can pick and choose which things match what they’re most comfortable with.
Make sure to check out their website as ticket sales have already started.