Mirth and Musings Part 20

I love Hallowe’en parties.  They are my favorite parties to give, to attend, to plan and to savor.  I’ve traveled hundreds of miles for a Hallowe’en party and I would not hesitate to do so again.  As I’ve got older I think they become more precious to me, being the lone remainder of the nostalgic seasonal occurrences of youth.  I can no longer trick or treat, and I’ve no more schoolroom parties awaiting me.  Haunts are months of planning and weeks of production and since we are the dreamers and designers and do-it-yourselfers of our haunts, it holds little surprise for us.  The Hallowe’en party remains to offer that feeling of anticipated wonder.  We get to don a costume and be thrilled and chilled and immersed in the experience. An evening, a few precious hours to indulge in the spectral spectacle.  What is it that makes it all so special?  It shares all the common elements of every other type of party; music, food, decorations…and yet.  There is that something other…a sense of whimsy, of mystery, of funhouse fear that is singular and potent.

The most fantastic advice on how to give a Hallowe’en party must have come from the Dennison’s Bogie Books, please click pic to link to an archived site to read further on how to give just such a bash, with perhaps a dash of Monster Mash.

 

Don’t be caught in the dark…

Tempt your olfactory organs and stock up on these wonderful candles from Witch City Wicks.  I have been a customer for some years now, I can recommend the Pumpkinhead and Trick or Treat and I use the mini travel tins in my jack-o-lanterns and the smell is gorgeous!  So don’t delay to halo your haunt, add glow to your graveyard or set your party aflame with these wonderful offerings from Salem, Mass.

Click on pic to link to site…

 

Mixing at Midnight

Ooo the sights and sounds of Hallowe’en approach.

There is something about the heightened senses we have in the dark, when our ears catch the slightest murmur, whisper or groan.

We all listen for that far-off cry of the werewolf, the howls under moonlight, the shuffle of a zombie approach or the soft fluttering of darkened wings overhead.

This season calls for musical mise-en-scene, those rhapsodic melodies to indulge our cravings, tempt our secret soul and evoke fond recollections and surprised delight.

I humbly offer these thirty-one collected tunes to enchant your ears.

 

 

The Apothecary Witch

Cauldrons leave you maudlin?

Can’t handle coal or candle?

Is there perhaps, no craft in your drafts?

On tenterhooks from bulky books?

Got no notions of potions, perplexed by a hex?

In pains from tisanes, simples just too complex?

Whether extract, elixir, infusion or tipple,

tonic or essence or tincture or ripple.

She fixes your mixes, she’ll simmer and stew,

she’ll bubble your troubles away in her brews.

Do pesky beaus bother? Do grey hairs persist?

A cure for ague that you wish to resist?

Is it romance you seek, is it fortune you crave?

Her prowess is awesome, her customers rave.

Her prices are steep, but your problems she’ll heed

with skill and discretion – results guaranteed.

(Excerpt from The Apothecary Witch, by A.E.)

 

The First

Excerpt from

The Call of Fall 

Here now at last

is the turn of the year

when wind is a whisper

that prickles your ear,

and moonrise glows brightly

with merry foretell

and starshine lends glamour

to seasonal spell.

Clouds gather darkly

and fogs rise from earth

and the hammer of rain

is a furious mirth.

A season to savor,

to hold near and dear

of madcap behavior

and mayhem to cheer.

So hang well the buntings

and etch well the gourds,

make sure that your doorways

well welcome the hordes.

Make fast all devices

of fanciful scheme

and wait on the players

of mischievous theme.

Soon now all fey and

their sundry will rise

to caper with us

beneath Hallowe’ens guise.

– A.E.

 

Counting Days…

I have always been fond of Friday the 13th, and as today is the only remaining one of 2021, I thought perhaps it would be prudent to make the most of it and make a witch-wish of the Season ahead.  It is now 78 days until Halloween, I see decor and display going up – though the Summer sun still beats a loud thrum.  As though the very act of adornment would truncate the heated weather and summon the cooling wisps of autumn through the trees.  Well, I suppose it’s a “gather ye pumpkins while ye may” idea.  I don’t mind – it’s lovely to see and experience, as it is lovely to anticipate and propagate.  I wish you all well in your lead-up to Fall, and if you pass by a fountain or well, make a wish of your own…

 

Spirits of the Season

I would very much like to thank Countdown to Halloween for once again hosting a delightful grouping of inspired Halloween blogs, a much needed respite from the flurry of 2020, it can’t have been easy for the new hosts of the Countdown and they’ve earned commendation and appreciation for their efforts 😉

I received more than I gave this year and many thanks and much gratitude to all of the wonderful blogs that rose to occasion and offered excitement, frivolity and magic.

I was standing outside that night, observing the full moon when it appeared from behind dark clouds determined to keep the lights on until 10pm. I listened to music playing in the distance and watched the lights flicker and gut inside the jacks displayed around the yard delighted we’d been able to find some fiendish folly to enjoy – hesitant to extinguish the light against the late hour and the passing of another Eve. I look forward to what beguilements will tempt us and til then….

“Stroll with me beneath the Moon,

for surely, They’ll be coming soon

to share with us the deepening gloom,

upon the Hallowe’en.

Fellow Revelers walk this Night,

as They awake from yearly plight

deprived til now of sweet delight,

upon the Hallowe’en.

Mischievousness the only goal,

for these few hours on parole.

And none but They could be so droll

upon the Hallowe’en.

Sorry am I that They must wait,

upon the Eve to cross the gate.

Alas that is Their yearly Fate,

upon the Hallowe’en.

All too soon the Night will fade,

and All shall pass into the Shade

to wait upon the next parade,

upon the Hallowe’en.

Perhaps you’ll stroll with me once more,

when Gate stands wide and Spirits tour.

No other sight stir’s my hearts core,

upon the Hallowe’en.

~ Moonlit Revel by A.E. (repost from 2016)

Good and Gorey

If you are an Edward Gorey fan (and if you are into Halloween it’s hard for me to think you aren’t) then you probably know about his long habit of illustrating novels and doing book cover art for his own published works as well as for various and sundry in what was an amazing career (alas, gone too soon!).  This year I was fortunate enough to come across a copy of The Dwindling Party (Random House, September 1982), about the visit of the MacFizzets to Hickyacket Hall – and was quick to purchase as it seemed in good condition (a birthday present to myself).  Did I mention it was a pop-up book?  It is a beautiful example of his stylings and wit and is fun to read aloud as one flips through curious and clever pages of the artist’s hand.  If you haven’t come across one yourself, do check out online, it’s not to be missed.  If you are fortunate enough to come across a good copy, don’t hesitate to pick one up if pocketbook allows.  I won’t tell more and spoil the sneaky surprises it offers and I beg your indulgence for not giving up spoilers, I will simply post a couple pics (cover and one of the fold-outs) to tempt you…

Pumpkinology

Odd that throughout this time of the year anything pumpkin spice can seem like the end of a bad joke, worthy of a suffering sigh. Its appearance in items it should never be uttered in the same breath with, a la pumpkin spice hummus or sausage or salmon create the stuff of ghoulish nightmares.  While the pumpkin parade of flavor combinations continues to surprise and revolt – I would like to take the time to point out my favorite go-to for pumpkin enhanced treats that offer no tricks, Trader Joe’s.

Once again, this strange little market offers a delectable dainty for an autumnal munchable in their Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix.  Simple one bowl mixing method gets you a lovely chewy cookie with amazing pumpkin flavor surrounding good-sized dark chocolate chunks that pair well with libation of choice; tea, coffee or milk. I also tried two variations – a quarter cup chopped walnuts which enhanced the cookie to amazing levels of yum, the addition of crunch-complemented chewiness was sublime.

My second variation was to add walnuts and flame raisins and this gave the cookie the trifecta of sweet, bitter and tang and while more interesting was almost too much of a good thing 😉 In any case, whatever variation you choose, do try these at home and tell me what you think.  October is a month-long excuse for indulging in sweets and these will see you through.