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…
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.
I think that one of the undeniable characteristics of Halloween is the mystery it embodies. Wherever you find yourself on the Eve, whichever side of the Haunt you’re on, however much time you’ve spent planning, or whatever last-minute costume you’ve cobbled together, it boils down to a night of amiable adventure, constructed chaos, fiendish foolery and the mayhem of mystery. I think that if you are a lover of Halloween, it follows that you are a lover of the mysterious, that you embrace the unknown. We are all of us dealing with unknowns daily – with chasers of anxiety, even fear and that niggling sense of foreboding. Like that Hallows Eve, there are lights in the darkness showing us, if not the way out, at least a pathway through, in small kindnesses, in simple resolutions, and in shared experiences. I am not alone in the darkness, I am looking out my windows at a world now masked, I will wave at passersby and keep my porch light on, that ever hopeful beacon in the dark.
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!
If you find yourself with nothing better to do this weekend than staring longingly at that bowl of candy you’ve purchased (so as to beat the crowds, wink wink) or you’ve done your pumpkin shopping early and while the lure of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds is calling, you know you must stay your knife-hand another 13 days and you find the hours in between now and then taxing your patience to its limits, stress no more! Take up your writing/drawing implement of choice, scour your abode for an envelope of any size, fix yourself in a comfortable chair at your favorite kneehole desk, play some apropos music and muster imaginings of “uncomfortable creatures” and draw! Why? Well, why not? If you require further prompting, consider this:
2019 Halloween Envelope Art Contest
Deadline: Postmark by Monday, October 21st, 2019
For an entry form, click any pic for link to contest page.
The Edward Gorey House is now accepting original artwork from artists of all ages for their 2019 Halloween Envelope Art Contest. An Edward Gorey-inspired decorated envelope decorated with the theme of Uncomfortable Creatures is what they are looking for this year. There is no entry fee and not a particularly big prize but winning entries, runners up, and very-close-to- being -runners up will all be displayed in the Edward Gorey House, on their website, and on their Facebook page. Winners will be notified and results will be announced on Wednesday, 10/31/19.
Mail entries to:
Edward Gorey House
8 Strawberry Lane
Yarmouth Port, MA 02675
Tell your friends!
…..and perhaps these images of past submissions will help you along, mind that deadline 😉
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
Pour Some Sugar On Me, Def Leppard
Shadowplay, The Killers
Moonage Daydream, David Bowie
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 😉
Ok, put down the pumpkin spice latte, back away from the pumpkin spice bagel with pumpkin spice shmear and stop reading about the rise of pumpkin spice futures from your mobile device of choice. Stop everything, head to your local grocery and purchase these AMAZING Limited Edition Frosted Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts. I can barely stop sampling to type this review, major YUM, major TASTINESS, right out of the box or warm from the toaster. Those mini Halloween candies are for suckers. Stop reading this, GO and Enjoy!!
“Equal day to equal night heralds Autumn’s waning light
and winks of fireflies go bright to guide our paths into the night
But should you find yourself alone, amongst the glooms of darkened home.
Be crafty, clever, sure and quick, and light yourself a ready wick.” -A.E.