Although it is still September, Halloween enthusiasts are already gearing up for this year’s festivities. Thankfully there is the second annual Keen Halloween Sept. 28 and 29 at Metro Center Mall in Phoenix.

“Keen Halloween is like a Comicon for Halloween,” event director Daniel Davis says. “I think Halloween is the most creative holiday — you can make up your own costume; it isn’t about the status quo.”

The Halloween expo features workshops on how to make decorations and props for your front yard, as well as a “Monster Market” with local artists and vendors selling Halloween related artwork and memorabilia.

Keen Halloween will also have an “Evil Genius Bar,” where participants can get advice and help with their costumes.

Saturday night will have live music from The Mission Creeps, a band from Tucson, and Sunday audiences can enjoy the “Iron Skull Costume Challenge,” where three teams will make costumes out of limited supplies.

“As a kid, I remember being told that there is a holiday where you can dress up as a monster, and I thought that was the coolest thing,” Davis says.

About nine years ago, Davis started his own company, Steam Crow, which creates monster illustrations inspired by vintage Halloween.

“Today Halloween is celebrated with horror and murder, nothing classic, and we felt it was our duty to promote a more traditional Halloween,” he says.

Keen Halloween is appropriate for even the youngest of family members and is so far in advance from the holiday that you can take what you have learned apply it to your own Halloween experience.

Due to the success of the event last year, the location was moved from the East Valley to Metro Center Mall because of the large amount of free parking.

If you go

What: Keen Halloween, a locally produced expo that aims to help you re-create a vintage, spooky — not gory — Halloween

When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Sunday, Sept. 29

Where: Sano Fitness Studio at Metro Center Mall, 9617 N. Metro Parkway West, Phoenix

Cost: Single-day tickets are available online for $9.18; they will be $13 at the door. Two-day passes are $15.30 if purchased online; they will be $20 at the door. Children 12 and younger get in free.

Information: (480) 381-2182 or

• Nicole, a junior at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact her at (480) 898-6514 or

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