NEWS FLASH! Halloween Takes Over Gardening Blog

One of Mike's carvings: pumpkin campfire

One of Mike’s carvings: pumpkin campfire

We interrupt this regularly scheduled gardening blog to bring you…Halloween!

You may have noticed a few changes, right off the bat.

Everyone’s welcome, whether you’re dropping by in the present or visiting from your ghostly past… or back from the future. This pumpkin-loving gardener is setting the stage for a spooky month.

First up, what exactly is Halloween? In a recent international Skype session with several of my favorite bloggers we talked a bit about the tradition. The Wikipedia article linked here is both fascinating and extensive with nearly 200 citations. If you have the time, it’s a great read.

Who has time you say?

Point taken.

So, here are a few notes from the site Halloween at the Party Spot

  • Trick or treating comes from the Middle-Age practice of the poor dressing up in costumes and going around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for prayers. The food given was often a Soul Cake, which was a small round cake which represented a soul being freed from Purgatory when the cake was eaten.
  • Halloween is also known by other names:
    All Hallows Eve, Samhain, All Hallowtide, The Feast of the Dead, The Day of the Dead
  • Halloween is recognized as the 3rd biggest party day after New Year’s and Super Bowl Sunday.
  • Halloween is Oct. 31 – the last day of the Celtic calendar. It actually was a pagan holiday honoring the dead.
  • Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
  • Halloween is correctly spelt as Hallowe’en.
  • Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back over 2000 years to the time of the Celts who lived in Britain.
  • More than 93 percent of children go trick-or-treating each year. (source: NCA)

Read more at Halloween at the Party Spot.

No-Candy Countdown:

Over the next 31 days, I’m keeping track of the candy I **don’t** eat.  I’m going to enjoy all the things I love about October while continuing to lose the extra pounds. I’m feeling virtuous today, mostly because it’s day one. That said, I didn’t have a day-before-binge either so I think I’m on to something.

Under-the-sea Costume Updates:

This year I’m creating a costume from my imagination: an under-the-sea gardener.  I’ll share my progress throughout the month. The first party is October 25th.

Thrift Store Finds

Thrift Store Finds

I love dressing-up. It was great fun as a child, and the passion continued to adulthood. In my youth I enjoyed sketching dresses and sewing clothes for my dolls. In college I studied costume design and fabrication. I worked as a costume cutter, assistant cutter and stitcher at various theatre companies in my early twenties.  Those years are among my most treasured memories.

I drifted out of theatre a few years after graduating college. I lacked the stamina for the transient nature of the work, the mediocre pay, etc. Growing up in poverty lead me to realize that I crave stability. I never lost my love of the art though.

Getting Silly with Our Pumpkins:

If you’re a regular reader, you know all the fuss that went into my pumpkins this summer. If not, you can read about the squash bug debacle here and here. In the end, three survived, each about the size of a cantaloupe.  Aren’t they sweet?

pumpkins 2014

This Year’s Pumpkin Crop

I’ve been known to dress up my pumpkins too, so watch for future silliness. Here are some highlights from past years:

Pumpkins Ready for a Party

Pumpkins Ready for a Party

If you have any suggestions for ‘pumpkin costume of the day’ please let me know. I’ll see what I can do.

41 thoughts on “NEWS FLASH! Halloween Takes Over Gardening Blog

  1. You are adorable! I love this blog and love Halloween. We’re doing a pirate theme this year; kind of common, but inspired by freind who is dressing up with family as pirates at DisneyWorld right now, so if you could do a pirate pumpkin that would be fun to see. Going to do one or so myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • (((Maria))) How nice to see your name and your comments here.

      Your pirate party sounds like fun. When you choose a theme it narrows things down for people and then you can see everyone’s take on it. We attended a party last year with five or six women and one man, all dressed as pirates. Fun.

      I will happily dress a pumpkin as a pirate. Great suggestion.


  2. The blog looks great – such a good idea to put you up there in last years costume too! Frank and Shelley – poor Frank! He’s not there – but I remember Frank and his dreadful end – that was [I’m sorry to say] one of my highlights from following your Halloween celebrations last year……… The fabrics for the under-the-sea costume are simply perfect. I just love those colours and there is some sparkle too. I can’t wait to see what you fashion! I am most impressed with your no-binge beginning to the no-candy month of October. Your body must be loving you! Do you find your mood more serene and settled with less sugar going in? And hey, it’s already day two here so you are doing better than you thought! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Pauline. It was fun changing it up a bit. I’m delighted that you remember Frank and Shelley. We had some good laughs over that one, didn’t we?. I’ll have to revive one of those posts.

      I’m glad it was a highlight…laughing at your mistakes keeps you grounded, so I was laughing right along with you.

      Once I hit on a theme and a color, it made shopping a breeze. I simple matched what I had, allowing me to zip through three different thrift stores on three different days in between appointments and pick-up.

      Pauline, I’m feeling less blue! Isn’t that amazing? I’m also going to bed much earlier (no caffeine either). I’ll have the occasional green tea, but it’s good for you. So, yes. Thanks for being my cheerleader. I find myself thinking of you as I make food choices. I’m so impressed with where you were and how far you’ve come. Kudos.


  3. I got so excited just looking at the photo of your thrift store finds! The mermaid in me got so happy. Such a great shoppet you are and I can’t wait to see what you create. Is Mac still setting up all of his inflatables even without the party. Blythe has been telling the occasional Mac story and they are always entertaining


    • Hi Betsy! Those fabrics are reminiscent of a mermaid, aren’t they. You know me…I like to grab an idea and that put my own twist on it.

      Mac just set up the inflatables today. It’s been far too hot (and still is) though I suppose 87 is better than 97.

      By the way, I read today that the hottest day ever in San Jose was June 14, 2000, just four days before Mac was born. I don’t need to tell you how miserable I was. Perhaps this is why he’s never cold!


  4. oooo-SO skairlee here….howwwwwel My gosh! What a creep fest of fun 😀 Even your sweet peas in a pod have been creep-a-fied, LOVE it ! hehe.

    How heavenly are those fabrics too? They’re all my colours entirely. I can’t believe you were able to find them thrifting. I can’t wait to see what it turns out as. A mermaid? a sea goddess gardener? The suspense will eat me up.
    Speaking of eating, or in your case, not eating candy, you’re doing so well at sticking to it. Right on Alys! You must be so focused . Is it any easier with Mike doing it too?

    I love the stems on all your cut pumpkins. It’s hard to find one with a good stem. The one I bought seems rounder on one side too. It wound stand up so I’ve leaned it against the house. Don’t you feel sorry for the ones that don’t get bought before Halloween? I wish for every pumpkin to have a home, LOL. I’d like to see a pumpkin dressed as a baker because when I see pumpkins, I see pie……mmmmmm pumpkin pie 😀 Yum xoxoxox ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was delighted to see the purple, melting effect on my sweat peas, all the while preserving the real deal. In fact, my lovely necklace just had a dip in the jewelery bath and it’s all sparkly again.

      I think your aqua influence has permeating my being. I like it! I’ve always loved shades of blue, green and purple, but that aqua is something special.

      It has been great having Mike join me for the same breakfast and dinner. He’s totally on board. He hasn’t followed quite as religiously, but he’s losing weight and enjoy his meals, so all good.

      Here is a sample of our breakfasts:

      Toast or toasted whole wheat muffin with half an avocado and an egg
      Low fat, sugar free yogurt with peaches and berries
      Whole grain Cheerios with fresh strawberries….while they last
      Banana/peanut butter smoothies
      Van’s whole wheat waffles with ricotta and spreadable fruit


      I’m glad you like the stems. The ones in the stores are always so uniform. The ones we grow twist and turn and it’s fun leaving on as much as possible. As they dry, they twist even more.

      There is a children’s story book about just that…the last pumpkin. You think it will be bought at the end but it’s not. It’s a little sad, but then that night all the mice throw a big party inside the pumpkin. Happy ending! Love it.

      Have you seen the baker?

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re so sweet to covet your necklace and feature it for so long on your header. It always make me smile and then you’ll have something new and that’ll make me smile too. xox

        All your breakfast choices do sound super healthy. I always feel like I want carbs for breakfast and normally have toast and apple jelly. Astonishing enough, I’m ok eating the same thing for breakfast every day, LOL Maybe tomorrow I should mix it up and go with the Chereo’s. I really like the whole wheat ones too.

        Oh, happy pumpkin endings! That’s the only kind for me. Remember that website with the felt mice and the stories? I should swing buy there and see if there’s any pumping parties going on 😀

        Speaking of mice, I have seen the Baker and left you a message there ❤ ❤ ❤ hehehe loved it x0x


  5. Fun post, I think some of your facts must only apply to the US and Canada, up until a few years ago Halloween was virtually unknown in Europe and is definitely only a thing for one day and for kids.


  6. Have fun, and am looking forward to a month of silliness and pumpkins and no candy! 😉 I like the colours you’ve chosen for your costume. It seems the US is the only country to have adopted and extended this holiday – I have never been trick or treating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trick or Treating in the American sense is less than 100 years old. I do remember, though, dressing up and trick or treating in Canada in the early sixties. Seems like a lifetime ago.

      Our month long “celebration” started when my son was young. He loved growing pumpkins, going to local pumpkin patches, and he had fun decorating the yard. He liked the idea of making it spooky. I suspect that when they’ve flown the nest, I’ll scale back even more, but having said that, it is so fun watching the under 6 set walk by and enjoy our yard silliness. We shall see.


  7. I like the eerie look of your blog. Meant to say something sooner. Not sure how you did it but when I go to see my son, maybe he can help me learn a few new tricks while I help him. BTW H.B. I can’t wait to see your costume. I have never dressed for Halloween and I might miss most of it this year again. Darn. Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marlene. I’m having fun with it. I think I remember you and your daughter sitting in your carport last year for Halloween. Am I remembering that correctly? It will be interesting to see what your new neighborhood has in store.

      Are you going to see your son soon? I’m also happy to talk you through a few things on WordPress. It helps me as well, since it reinforces the learning. These changes were quick and easy to do and they are easy enough to change back as well.


      • Thank you for the offer of assistance, Alys. I may end up taking you up on it. I wrote this all out once and it vanished so here I am again.
        The pictures of us on the porch were from three years ago. I was staying with my son because I had no home. Hard to believe it’s been that long. I’m anxious to see what transpires around here too. Pulled out my decorations, limited though they are, yesterday. I’ll get them up Sunday with my daughter. If the bugs are gone.


        • I’ve had that happen so many times. When it was frequent, I would ‘copy’ the comment before hitting send. Then if it glitched, I would start over and simply repaste it again. It’s annoying, isn’t it.

          After November 1st my schedule lightens up considerable. Let’s schedule a Skype.

          Are the bugs gone?


      • P. S. I’m not sure when I’ll see my son. Was planning on going down next week but canceled. He’s getting some freelance work and I was going to help him with his house. I didn’t have enough to do here. I really didn’t want to miss Halloween here so maybe after I’ll go down for a couple weeks. The layoffs are still coming at everyplace he’s looking.


        • LOL. Glad to hear you’ve completed all your projects, Marlene. 😉

          Sorry to hear about the layoffs. The market is always jittery in October, too, ever since black Monday. I’m glad your son landed some freelance work. I hope that keeps him busy and engaged, not to mention paid, for awhile.


  8. Oh boy oh boy, a gal that thinks like ME! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Halloween too! (as if you did not know that already) I love how you changed around your blog too! Truly awesome, and I love all of your pumpkins! You definitely got more pumpkins than we did this year! BTW, is it your birthday?

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. oh, that opening photo of the stacked and illuminated pumpkins is so beautiful!!! Your gravatar looks dashing..i’d better say, you look dashing in your gravatar;0) and you have exactly 5 pumpkins more in your harvest than me;0) Have a lovley weekend Alys!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for all those lovely compliments. We had several small pumpkins leftover from our Halloween party last year (I buy 50 for the kids to decorate). Mike carved them into a little campfire. This year’s harvest (after the squash bugs took their share) was 3. I love every one of them.

      Thanks for stopping by.


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