TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – Shoals area photographer and makeup artist, Amanda Chapman, is a self-proclaimed Halloween maven. The wife and mother celebrates one of her favorite seasons with an autumnal barrage of fantasy; 31 days of fantastical characters for each ghoulish calendar page turn toward All Hallows Eve.
From the scary to the sultry to the sweet, Chapman – who usually focuses on singles portraiture and weddings – says all the intricate looks are accomplished with good makeup and a good eye at the thrift store.
“I try to find my version of the characters and execute what I think they would wear,” Chapman says.
Amanda’s amazing work not only belies her love for Halloween but also her talent as a visual artist. But, there is also a more personal and poignant inspiration behind her creations.
"August of last year my husband was diagnosed with cancer, Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, to be exact."
Chapman says when husband Greg first received the news he was a little reticent to participate in Halloween festivities as the family had done so whole-heartedly in years past. Following his diagnosis, Chapman found Halloween imagery - the graves and zombies and rotting corpses - to be a bit too morbid.
"It hit too close to home for him and for us," says Amanda.
Luckily for Chapman and her thousands of Facebook followers and fans, Greg had a change of heart.
"I knew how happy it made her and our family needed that light and that laughter," said Greg.
"It's like he gave me permission to celebrate," remembers Amanda, "and I just took that and ran with it."
A costume and a new character for every single day in October. The couple says the festivities were a healthy distraction from worry and fear of something much scarier than a zombie -- the fear of the unknown.
"I think and I hope that it lifted our spirits as a family," Amanda says.
The world is now seeing Amanda's handiwork - talents Greg Chapman says he knew were there all along.
"Everybody else gets to see her passion just through their computers. But, I get to actually spend my life with her so I'm very lucky," Chapman lovingly said of his wife.
Greg Chapman has remained treatment-free so far since his diagnosis in August of 2012. But, he continues his scans and check-ups every three months.
Amanda Chapman says with all the support and positive reinforcement she has received, she plans to continue her 31 days of Halloween celebration as long as her followers - and her family - continue to find inspiration in her work.