From a 40′s image of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade – a great reminder that there is always room for Halloween in your celebration, and the best use of pumpkin!
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.
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.
Wow – that went fast. Falloween has passed and we are on to the next. I do hope October doesn’t speed by, I like to take time and savor this time of year. Deeply Autumn, scent and sense and scintillation. Spice and season, crackle and rustle, thrill and shiver. Days spent in anticipation, the gradual reveal of funereal farce and festive folly. Countdown to Halloween begins tonite, midnight, don’t forget to stop by and look over all the great Halloween themed blogs to surface this time of year, as a hand reaching through the ground that grabs for your attention. Always so much to experience from the creators and curators of these specialized blogspots…a wonderful way to spend a little time during the coming weeks. Check the link at right to get yourself started. My own blog will be witch flavored this year, I will be stirring, spicing, swirling up a cauldron of tidbits about my favorite icon of the season.
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.
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.
I haven’t yet thanked everyone out there who is stopping by to visit – the days (and nights) are quickly passing and our Big Night is advancing and I wanted to reach out a bit and express my gratitude to Countdown to Halloween blogspot for hosting their compendium of Halloween blogs again this year. It’s a great concept and much appreciated by me not only to be included but to have access to so many interesting and quirky blogs. Fun to see so many sides to Halloween, the different perspectives and niche interests that expand and expound the experience. If you are of the same mind, just click the Cryptkeeper button at the right to delve into the deep end yourself.
I am highlighting some of my writing this October, so if you stay awhile I hope you enjoy some of what I have and will be posting and this Mirth and Musings highlights another of my New Yorker covers. I love the mischief in her eyes, seemingly to catch a peek at some malevolence to be sure. Perhaps she is waiting to take a hand, or just enjoying the dreadfulness from afar…sure in her ability to provoke and promote misdeeds herself and appreciating others efforts. In either case, that piercing gaze would unsettle my mettle. Wonderful.
Click pic to visit site.
August. While I realize that the Autumnal Equinox isn’t until September 22nd, making that first day of Fall weeks off, I do appreciate feeling like August is the pre-season. I am starting to see it creeping into shops, into stalls, into consciousness. The retail scope of the holiday merely allows us to view it that much sooner – but there is a collective audience standing in the shadows waiting for the curtain to draw up entirely on our beloved time of the year. I applaud those few of you out there standing with us but are stand-outs too – Pumpkinrot of course, and if you are reading this, in this most obscure and little known of blogs, you’ll know who I mean. But there is another, Boney Bunch Love, a Facebook entity who has established an amazing site for this “niche within the niche” of skeletal spectacle from Yankee Candle which I fear may be on the decline. I have been following the page for years now, lurking as I do, have posted a poem in my original post from September 2013, and I am constantly surprised and delighted by the originality, the dedication, the friendliness of the page and it has been and I hope will continue to be a touchstone for staying connected to at least one aspect of our Season annually. If you haven’t heard of the Boney Bunch, which launched in 2008, visit the page and spend a little time with it and you will gain an understanding past my ability to impart here. The 2016 line is due in stores on August 27, and is always much anticipated by its ardent fan base. It’s never too late to join the party, as Boneys past, present and future are always of much interest. Hope to see you in line in front of your local YC store. The door is opening, slowed by creaking hinges, but beyond lay delights and devilry, bonfires and beasties, mist and magic. Forward!
Shall I tell you a tale of why I love so much
these black and orange figurines called the Boney Bunch?
They show up every August to herald Halloween
Their Boney faces grinning wide as they appear on scene.
Boney Sir presenting Boney Bride her spider ring
Charon Boney in his boat dead and ferrying
Gypsy Boney gazing deeply into her sparkling globe
Reaper Boney keeping time with his scythe and robe
Headless horseman Boney riding hard on english saddle
Baby Buggy Boney making ruckus with his rattle
Lady Boney prim beneath her spider parasol
A juggling Mr Bonehead with his top hat very tall
Eternal Slumber Boneys read as off to sleep they drift
Bobbing apples Boney using his peculiar gift
Organ player Boney playing organ tunes to fright
Submariner Boney floating by with his flashing lights
Witchy Boney on her broom, hat adorned with spider
and Monster Bride waves “hello”, with her Frank beside her
So why do I love Boneys? The answer seems so clear
I love that they remind me of Halloween throughout the year!
I bid you all a wonderful, magical, terrifying, spooky, surprising, delectable, beguiling, bewitching, shivers down your spine All Hallows Eve! Hope at the end of it you all get what you were hoping for, with a fair share of surprises along the way. No haunt for me this year, finances prevented, but for the first time in years I am out and about. Trying new things can be exciting, though I admit to some trepidation as I venture beyond the yard. I will miss the doorbells and knocks, the shrieks and costume parade. As the curtain rises on all the hard work of you Haunters out there I will light candles (placed inside pumpkins) to your diligence, creativity, and perseverance. I applaud you all and wish you well. See you on the other side.
Going to age myself a bit here, but couldn’t help it. While sorting through my TNY collection this Charles E. Martin cover made me smile wistfully as I remembered something from my childhood; something I couldn’t wait for when school days began in September as Halloween usually prompted the first one of the year. The classroom party. The chalkboard covered with the list of necessaries for a decent shindig and Mrs. Gresham or Mr. Argast signing up kids next to each one, invariably the “paper plates and napkins” and “cups” would go to that same kid in the front row whose arm would shoot up the moment the teacher asked. I don’t know, maybe he was baking challenged. The rest of us divvied up the cookies, brownies, other varied treats of no name, bottles of pop, etc for the Friday party. I remember classroom games, like heads up seven up and chalkboard hangman. I remember a parade of students walking around the quad proudly displaying homemade costuming. Teachers dressed as their alter egos (or true natures) best suggested. Trick or treating room to room with each classroom decked out along its own theme. The truncated lessons to make time to just enjoy the holiday undiminished by political correctness. Madcap and mayhem would eventually ensue in the sugar tide, everyone going home clutching a paper plate with various goodies to enjoy over the weekend shared with family, if they survived the bus ride or walk home that is.