Photo: Brian Giles
Halloween is serious business. From the countless temporary costume shops that pop up in strip malls every year to the winding lines wrapping around local haunted houses and the neverending barrage of horror reboots released in theaters each October, it’s pretty clear that Halloween is a spooky, twisted, magical time for people of all ages. Two such people are A.W. “Storm” Anderson and Renee Anderson, the owners of Art on You Studios, the first and only tattoo and piercing studio in Magna and the founders of the Halloween in Summer Festival, which will take place for the sixth time on July 16 along the historic Magna Main Street. “Everything we love about Halloween we want to give to everybody in the community,” says Renee. “We’ve been so welcomed here in Magna, we want to do something to give back.”
The Andersons opened Art on You Studios in October 2009 in Magna. “When we first opened, Magna Main Street was a ghost town,” says Renee. “It was just us and a couple of bars. As the first and only tattoo shop in Magna, we weren’t sure how it was going to go, but we were welcomed by the community–everybody embraced us. I think people really wanted to see business on Magna Main Street again and thought we might be the beginning of it.” Over the past seven years, Art on You has become a staple in Magna, partnering with fellow businesses on Magna Main for various events, and Storm has even become the president of the Magna Chamber of Commerce in that time. After their first successful year in Magna, and inspired by a commercial touting a block of “Christmas in July” programming, the Andersons and Art on You went to the Magna Chamber of Commerce with an idea. “We had this elaborate scheme that we had dreamed up in our minds one night,” says renee. “We wrote it all down on a yellow legal pad and took it to the president of the Magna Chamber of Commerce at the time. He told us it was very ambitious and asked if we were up to it, and we said, ‘Yes!’”
Continues Storm, “We wanted to do something that not only provided a community event, but also came genuinely from us, and I think also would further brand our name.” Both of the Andersons are expectedly adorned with a variety of spooky tattoos, and from the Tales From the Crypt DVD playing in the shop during our discussion to the decidedly macabre decor surronding us, it is pretty clear that the strange and unusal play a prominent part in their lives. “I think a lot of people like the idea of the taboo being embraced during Halloween,” says Storm. “It’s a time when people can dress up and don’t have to hold back. Maybe there’s a bit of a monster or a sexy thing you don’t feel you can let out too often, and Halloween might give you the opportunity to be that other thing on Halloween.” Since their first humble year as a Halloween-themed party at the Filling Station bar next to their shop, the Halloween in Summer Festival has progressively grown each year, adding family-friendly trick-or-treating on Magna Main Street the second year, the Creature Feature movie show at Magna Library (now hosted at Copper Park) the third year and finally the featured vendors, performers and street festival over the past few years.
Halloween in Summer: Building a Frightening Magna Main
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