Mirth and Monsters

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Something to think about…first, apologies for lack of posts recently, I am in Southern California and when the blowing winds aren’t causing power shut-downs which means no computer, and often when power is up, no internet, there are evacuations caused by fires.  It’s been difficult to get to posting and now we are at the end, though, thankfully, even with the fire line in sight, there are still trick or treaters up and down our streets, a calming vision of contentment amidst chaos.  When you all close your doors this evening and reflect on the nights frivolities, follies and frights, keep in mind the resplendence of such simple pleasures as to be found on the other side of a door knock, the catharsis of carving a jack o’ lantern, the pleasurable problem of wondering if you’ve bought enough candy.  Tomorrow will bring a new set of challenges and I for one will be grounded by tonights event.  For those of you wishing to extend the season that bit longer, may I recommend for your perusal the book Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kroger and Melanie Anderson, a 2019 Quirk Books publication.  Pick it up anywhere online or brick and mortar, downloadable or hardcover, but be sure to treat yourself to its spirited illustrations, lively writing, and deadly wit.  To Countdown to Halloween and its fearless leader J.R., please accept my sincere gratitude for all you have done these many years past for your wonderful site which helps to connect Halloween bloggers.  For all of you out there in the dark, please accept my great hope that your Halloween is both mirth and monsterful!

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What’s that noise?

HeadphonesJack Thought I would put together a playlist – be warned – this may seem quirky, odd, even, well, you tell me what you think, hope you recognize at least a few and perhaps there are some surprises sifted in.

Bandages, Hot Hot Heat

In The Room Where You Sleep, Dead Man’s Bones

Once Upon A Dream, Lana Del Rey

Uninvited, Alanis Morissette

Lullaby, Nox Arcana

Lydia, The Tattoed Lady, The Marx Brothers

A Kind of Magic, Queen

Dancing in the Dark, Bruce Springsteen

Devil Inside, INXS

Boadicea, Enya

Pour Some Sugar On Me, Def Leppard

Shadowplay, The Killers

Masquerade, Berlin

Moonage Daydream, David Bowie

Moonsea, Phildel

Starlight, Muse

Magic Carpet Ride, Steppenwolf

Great Pumpkin Waltz, Vince Guaraldi

Golf Claps (From “Hush”), Christophe Beck

Octopus’s Garden, The Beatles

Candy, Iggy Pop

The Killing Moon, Echo & The Bunnymen

Clair de Lune, Claude Debussy (The APM Orchestra version)

This is Halloween, Danny Elfman

What’s This?, Danny Elfman

Violet Hour, Sea Wolf

Strange Magic, Electric Light Orchestra

Eclipse (All Yours), Metric

Just Another Day, Oingo Boingo

Time of the Season, The Zombies

Dragula, Rob Zombie

These selections are all available on itunes, though perhaps you already have lots of these in your playlists, and like I mentioned, obscure at times, but fun and interesting, anyhow if you braver souls try it out, chime in ;)

 

 

A Hundred Eve’s

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Sometimes it can feel like Halloween is just around the corner, sometimes it can feel like a long walk just begun.  I feel that now as the warm weather beats down and the feeling of a cool breeze is just a memory from a long-ago winter.  Wait.  What is that I see in the distance?  It beckons and guides me.  It flits about in the wilderness.  A lightning bug? Some phosphorescent lichen?  The glowing form of some ancient wood dweller?  Hmm.  I don’t know what it is but I will keep heading towards it.  The light is a wonder, a bedevilment, an enchantment of the senses.  I yearn to be surrounded by such a light and I will gladly endure a hundred eves to get to where it awaits me.  I will wait for you there.

 

Image – Artist unknown.

Eve of the ‘Eve

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Harried preparation

Porchlights all a-glare

Breath held in expectation

Of whom we hope to scare

 

Necksore from constant craning

We side eye here and there

Glad that it’s not raining

On the Haunt we want to share

 

Footfalls drawing nearer

Ears prickle at the sound

Rustles of hustled furor

Echoed through the ground

 

What gathering of stitches

represent the costume trends?

Is it a group of witches,

or super hero friends?

 

Alas it’s just a lone dog

Not werewolves on parade

Just leaves scraping sidewalks

And not a zombie raid

 

Cones tumbling at random

Aren’t spiders on attack

Not thrills but chills in tandem

Cause those shivers down my back

 

Pleased anticipation

Is the order of the night.

Waiting on congregation

As capriciousness takes flight

 

Patience sorely tested

Spirits wait for their reprieve

Sure to end up fete and fested

On this eve of Hallows Eve

- by A.E.

Eve of October

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These resplendent works of artist Debbie Criswell are not only charming and whimsical depictions of what we are all looking forward to at the end of this month, but also delightful reminders of the nostalgia we seek to hold onto and create ourselves.  I bid you all a long, slow month of days and eves towards our collective fete.

 

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.

 

 

 

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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