Minutes til Midnight

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I am watching my clock countdown the minutes until this 31st dwindles down to moments and memories.  There were a few memorable quirks to the day and the evening, I hope you can all say the same.  As the tomb shuts on this Hallow’s Eve, I draw a final breath of cinnamon stick candle wafting up from the scorched insides of gutted gourds, I gather the crinkled remains of candy skins in their bright coverings shriveled and torn, destined for the recycle bin, and take a long last look up and down the street as porch lights dim, jackos darken and light shows blink and die.  I sigh, shrug my shoulders, turn and close the door behind me.  The house goes dark and here I am at the keyboard…already thinking about Halloween 2018 – I wonder what that escapade will reveal?  So much to plan and plot and ply, as the season passes by…so quickly, much too quickly this year.  Thanks to all of you who stopped to look around this blog, more thanks to Countdown to Halloween for highlighting another great batch of blogs this year, always so much fun to see what others are up to.  I will poke through the leftover candy and ponder…mmmmm….Junior Mints! Rest In Peace Halloween 2017.  I will remember you fondly.

 

 

 

A Trick of the Eye, a Treat for the Soul

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For those of you awed by the odd…Haunters everywhere, a good night!

Whispered words of patience, tickling my ear

The summer crawl, the wait for fall

That highlight of the year

 

random scribbled drawings, and mundane seeming lists

will help devise a dark surprise

a Hallows Evening tryst

 

long preoccupation upon a nightmare scene

as yard or lot like canvas taut

transformed by grisly theme

 

silently I labor, and daily it unfolds

all to create fright filled landscape

the Haunters story told

 

months in preparation, at last the visions done

the lights the fog the folks agog

a play for old and young

 

hordes dwindle slowly with anticipation sated

I’m left with thoughts of greater plots

annually fated

 

I wouldn’t change a moment, or alter inclination

I’ll persevere, each hallowed year

In this haunters occupation.

Revise by A.E., September 2017

Mirth and Musings Part 18

Streetnight

Thursday nights.  My sister and I take a weekly nighttime walk round our neighborhoods during the Fall, we do this specially to see the decorations in yards and on porches.  These “spooky walks” serve to heighten our anticipation for Halloween, but they also create a wonderful shiver up the spine tingle that propels us one week to the next during September and October, even when décor and haunts are slow to emerge.  Our own imaginations are enough at these times, the usual sights and sounds of a suburban street transformed into intriguing murmurs of “malevolent mirth”.  Long shadows thrown from streetlamps and porch lights, the far-off sounds of garbled conversations or t.v.’s drifting from second story windows, creaking gates from indiscernible sources and erratic gusts blown through trimmed trees and banks of fallen leaves, pushed into swirls like slithering snakes across our path.  We encounter random “haunting” objects; a pumpkin on a porch awaiting its fiery grin, a lone shrouded figure hanging off a scraggy tree, or the odd string of orange lights wound haphazardly on rooftops or fence lines. Dogs bark and growl at imagined slights, cats slink along drives, undaunted and furtive.  We step quickly by the garages with opened doors and darkened interiors, and laugh nervously at a car door slamming shut in the distance.  We remark on the absence of folks out walking, the too quiet traffic on the roads and the general pervading stillness.  As though the whole neighborhood was blanketed in the anticipation we feel, and the sense of tethered thrill wasn’t just a flight of fancy but actual and waiting to be realized. Eventually we turn homewards and we whisper inspired plots and plans back and forth, heads twisting to continually observe our surroundings.  Our pace increasing along with the knowledge of time running down, elapsing steadily towards that night of madcap and mayhem, these walks the long breath drawn in, till the eventual exhale into Eve.

Mirth and Musings Part 17

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I was just leaving my place the other day to do some shopping and driving up the highway noticed two jack-o-lanterns decorating some porch steps.  They caught my eye for a number of reasons, that I am on the lookout generally this time of year for folks to begin setting out pumpkins on porches as they bring them home from lot, farms, markets, etc. and because these particular ones had already shrunken inwards. I determined that they were in service from the night previous (otherwise I am certain to have noticed them before) and thought it an odd thing considering its quite early to be putting these winter squash under the knife. It left me wondering just why they’d been sacrificed so soon.  Early celebration of Autumnal glee?  Birthday party?  General exuberance? Dry run?  I suppose I will never know – just another Halloweenesque mystery that will remain unsolved.  I do however appreciate the effort.  It is just a simple thing, really, whether in abundance from your favorite pumpkin ranch stand or picked up as an afterthought as you roam a supermarket, the bright orange beckons and betides.  A definite herald of the Season. Whether sitting alone atop a mantelpiece or countertop or in mass upon the porch steps.  Minuscule or jumbo, tall, fat, round, smooth, pebbled, even white, gray or cinderella, this annual tribute to the Eve is welcome in its forms and prized in its function.  Though diminutive in comparison to grand displays of Haunters everywhere, it remains the definitive measure of Halloween involvement, maybe even more than the porch light.   The superlative harbinger of mischief, mayhem and madcap.

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Mirth and Musings Part 16

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I am encountering a rise in anticipation as the Eve approaches and I find that anticipation can quickly turn to anxious knots as preparations progress.  Still its not without merit as I liken it to the same apprehension I would feel venturing out into the darkness, drawn towards the smoky lights of flickering jack-o-lanterns, the more ambitious smoke and mirrors of yard haunts, even the rather mundane porch light.  In my day (yes, I am that old) we left the house in our made up costumes, lucky enough when Mom took a hand, and with just a group of friends with hands grasping well worn pillowcases, brown paper bags or the (dare to dream) printed plastic shopping bag, with its colorful Halloween images, take ourselves off into the unknown.  This New Yorker Magazine cover by Abe Birnbaum is a wonderful image of a group of friends heading out along well worn or maybe undiscovered paths on that annual candy rite of passage.  Certainly the prospect of free candy had its merits, but I think it was the absence of adult supervision that really appealed to me.  We could go anywhere – talk to anyone – take part in mazes and haunted garages and plans and plots for short-cuts to far off neighborhoods we only really saw from the school bus windows.  It was a no holds barred aberration of rules, instead of being home before the street lights came on we made our way through the darkness to those elusive flickering lights of yards and doorways, instead of making certain we were dressed appropriately for our destination we chose the rattiest or gaudiest draping we could find to deck ourselves out to fit our idea of “witch” or “ghoul” or “Batman” or “princess” and instead of being told we couldn’t have one more piece of candy, we could gorge as we went along, sure in the knowledge of one more street to plunder before the porches went dark.  Sigh.  So despite the hype of candy checking and actual horror of “trunk o treating” I extend my heartfelt appreciation to those of you still doing it the old fashioned way on both sides of the door.  To you Trick or Treaters and Haunters everywhere making the journey and the destination equally worthwhile.

Autumn Eyes

70JFwxBlood moon at zenith

From earth fog will rise

Prospects awaiting

Seen through autumn eyes

 

Cunning and patient

While folly foils fear

Silently stalwart

As hot breath draws near

 

Wind winds the cornstalks

A deep throaty hiss

Blackbirds go silent

A sign alls amiss

 

Ripe rabble en route

Yet focused on farce

Caught within whirlwind

Too beguiled to parse

 

Soon passing threshold

Point of no return

Eyes glowing hotter

Revealing the yearn

 

Rustling unbidden

And shifts unexplained

Imminent movement

From malice unchained

 

Traversing corn maze

Dupes still unaware

As soon all succumb

To Halloweens scare

- by A.E. October, 2016

55 to go!

Just a quick note today, Labor Day activities are tugging away, its 55 days to Halloween and if you haven’t yet, it’s probably a good time to start looking through the garage, sheds, closets, under the bed, all those places we store our goodies for the big night.  Also, for the long season – can’t wait to get everything up and going, lights, action, and smoke and mirrors! My best to you all and Happy Haunting!!

Nothing grim about this…

Rogers Gardens has announced their annual Halloween Boutique Opening “Grimm Tales” will debut on Friday, September 2nd @ 9:00am!  Visiting this amazing boutique yearly has become a favorite for me and I hope you find time to stop by, it will not disappoint.

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“…and the Storyteller paused…
and it was as if the wonders he retold had cast a spell upon him…”-A.E.

“The forest is dark and enchanted…branches creak and leaves rustle as trees close in, obscuring the path home.  Wander deep into the shadows and you’ll find frightful folklores, fantastical stories and chilling tales.  These bedtime stories will give you nightmares, and you’ll discover that not all fairy tales end happily-ever-after.” –Rogers Gardens

 

Mirth and Musings Part 11

A lovely New Yorker cover from my collection. Edna Eicke has captured a wonderful moment.  Everything the night should be, the “ghosts” peering through the gate to judge if the walk is worth the risk.  I think the lighted windows highlighting the porch seal the deal.  I love the importance of the porch, the threshold, the approach to the door.  So much anticipation, exhilaration, consternation.  You get it.  Sometimes with haunters its meant to be a very long walk, even when its a hop, skip and jump to the door from the sidewalk.  Like running the bases through a gauntlet, real or imagined.  With only the thought of reaching the porch, the door, safety always to be found at home, even if for just a moment, someone else’s.  A lovely tradition I think.  Thanksgiving has the turkey shared with family and friends, Christmas gets the tree with thoughtful gifts to be given out amongst nearest and dearest.  On Halloween we invite neighbors and strangers alike to our doors.  We wait upon the knock, the doorbell, we pause and savor the shrieks and hesitant approach of children and adults through the keyhole or from between the blinds.  The magical ‘say “trick or treat!” and enter’ that signals a kindred spirit whereupon we open our doors and distribute rewards for stopping by.  Simply marvelous.

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Rogers Gardens

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I have attended the first day opening of the Rogers Gardens Halloween Event for the past few years and I will be there early to enjoy it this year as it looks to be especially creepy.  The four rooms they usually design/decorate traverse beautiful to bizarre, worth the stop if you are near Corona del Mar, Ca.  See you there? Click pic to link to site.