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.
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.
100th Post! For you all out there thank you! Hope you will all hang in there with me through the months ahead.
Serious withdrawals this week. Its now 320 days until Halloween 2014.
While I don’t plan on posting a running countdown, I can’t help but look around at all the red and green and cast my mind back to just a short while ago when orange and purple and acid green were the colors of the day. To be honest, I still have my orange and black lights up (inside my dining room), along with a few other Halloween decorations I couldn’t bring myself to take down, yet. I’ve a couple of weeks, right? Anyway – as I un-bubblewrap ornaments from years past I pause and reflect just why I try to drag it all out as far as I can, simply the place never feels so cozy than in the Fall and I try to keep that going well into Winter. When it is mostly packed up and the upcoming holidays firmly take over, I still long for and compare subsequent manifestations of my homes decor to those three months in Autumn, the highlight of the year. Time to start planning. Really never too early, I think. Themes and plans and lofty goals. Looking forward.
Here is another lovely New Yorker cover, the intense orange is simply wonderful.
New Yorker Magazine, Kovarsky, 1961
The holiday season provides ample opportunities for socializing amongst family and friends, coworkers, club members, and others and I look forward to such occasions with heady anticipation. I’m usually a homebody, so this time of year is nice to step out and experience the excitement and expectations in the wind up to the big day and New Year beyond. I hum carols to myself as I get ready to attend an event, package goodies to deliver as host gifts, wrap small gifts for friends I won’t see at the end of the month. There is much that is undergoing change at present and just now it feels the time will slow briefly so that we can savor the season, I hope that you all find a little downtime to do just that. Between parties, of course.
The weather here on the west coast is definitely Fall-like at last, chill temperatures and brisk gusts of wind remind me of why I prefer this time of year. Time to break out the scarves and mittens, flannels and fuzzy slippers. Just to make cozying up that much more enjoyable. The approaching Thanksgiving holiday makes me pause and reflect, as I still see pumpkins decorating porches and sills and tabletops. We always save one or two from October to enjoy through November – a bright orange reminder – it’s interesting how the pumpkin, the idea of it, transitions from the herald of giving treats to the herald of giving thanks. Many of us will close the holiday with that slice of spicy sweetness. It’s a fitting way to bookend Autumn. Enjoy this New Yorker cover from 1973, a house simply celebrating the season.
New Yorker Magazine, Stevenson, 1973
13 days past Halloween and I’ve decided it all went way too fast. The outside decor has been removed and the interiors are nearly back to pre-Halloween state. Though not entirely as there are some aspects of the interiors that I liked too much to take down. I maintain the house never looks so well than it does in October. In any case the neighborhoods have begun to transition towards the next holiday season and soon Thanksgiving will be here. The color palette is still where I like it to be, greens and oranges well represented and Fall weather steady even for the West Coast. Everywhere I look I still keep an eye out for those hidden Halloween touches still peeking out from behind other decor, always so exciting when spotted. Holdovers and clearance tables. Or just avid conspirators like myself determined to keep it going as long as possible. I often look to collections around the house to inspire me – like my New Yorker Magazine covers. I’ll highlight others in coming weeks, but here is the first I framed and its still my favorite. She is obviously getting ready for a big night out. It keeps me smiling and looking forward.
I hope that everyone had a Halloween filled with rare wonders and spooky spectacles. Professor Auds and Doctor Enns Malevolent Mercantile was a big hit, we had visitors from as far away as Connecticut and enjoyed folks coming right in and looking over the rooms that were decorated for our shoppe concept. Photo ops were high and we were really excited by the turnout this year, the neighborhood was lively with great displays and one of our neighbors was handing out bbq hot dogs to the parents! The weather was what you hope for, crisp, clear, just a hint of breeze (helps with candle flicker). Our “Party” was last night and its nice as a kind of dry run for the Big Night. Many thanks to all who support and assist. Hope all you Haunters out there had equally splendid evenings.
I look up and down our street, the porches have gone dark, the jackos have been pulled in, so far I’ve resisted the leftover candy. That good kind of exhaustion is settling in. 2013 a very good season. We had a skeleton theme to support the Malevolent Mercantile concept based on a weathervane designed by the great Edward Gorey. I received one for my birthday last year and it was our mascot of sorts. I wrote this in honor of that, and I post it here to close out Halloween 2013. (Pics and vids to follow in coming days). Into the Cauldron will continue throughout the year so I hope you keep coming back.
Twilight heralds the coming Eve
and hastens Spirits to reprieve
as boney denizens take flight
Along the Currents they alight
Above the cloudveil of the skies
that masks Their path from gazing eyes
On whirlwinds They softly drift
Exulting in this yearly gift
If clustered cloud should clear a view
And chance should cast your eye on through
Perhaps you’ll glimpse Their spectral trail
Outlined by Moon set low and pale
And should you happen to espy
These knobby specters gliding by
Don’t wonder why They’ve passed the Gate
’tis Halloween They celebrate
They’ll skim the coasts and float o’er hills
Defiant in Their ardent wills
They’ll fright the throng, a fitting task
Down lanes bedecked with mischief’s mask
This flight, this dance, this soulful weave
This Queen of Nights – this Hallow’s Eve!
Well the final days are slipping by and are filled with lists and projects and re-dos and nudging. All to get it just right. Furiously working by day to test at night. The timing this year allows for a pre-weekend no doubt filled with parties and these are nice as they extend, broaden the holiday since the Big Night is still to come.
I am especially glad this year that the streets roundabout where I live are particularly festive this year, no less than 16 homes nearby have some sort of lighting or scape or even pumpkins adorning yards and porches. This is quite a rare circumstance and I wonder what it means, such surge in activity that I’ve not seen in many a season. Its reassuring and simply delightful to see. My excitement, anticipation, even consternation are on the rise in these coming up days and I will smile as I look outside my windows to those orange lights across the street, to the cobwebs draped across bushes in that yard down the corner, at pumpkins standing proud, orange and round dotting the landscape here and there as I think of the children, families that will soon use them to connect the dots as some primitive GPS for sourcing candy. Soon now, very soon.
Went to my local pumpkin patch yesterday to procure pumpkins for the big day. Got four fine examples of pumpkin flesh. Just love it when I spy a pumpkin sitting out on someones porch or sill or fence post or driveway. All that potential of carving artistry just waiting on the knife. These fleeting expressions of Halloween glee come and go so quickly, just a day in the sun, a night under the stars and then gone to a fate that may include a prank or a slow degradation on the stoop or even a quick trip to the garbage. It’s like Halloween itself, there and gone so quickly – its the slow build up that we can savor, contemplating the all too brief interlude of “Malevolent Mirth”.