A Hollow Halloween

I love Halloween!

I look forward to decorating with pumpkins, making costumes, attending parties, and finally passing out candy to the costumed children that flock to our door.

Halloween 2020 was none of that. It felt like the hollow of a carved pumpkin on November 3rd: sad and empty.

Mouse agrees

I found small ways to enjoy the season but left the traditions at the proverbial door.

I made Halloween-themed card making kits for neighborhood kids. Over the years, I’ve amassed an assortment of Halloween paper and stickers. I pulled it all out and spent hours making die-cuts and stickers using my Silhouette. I bought a package of craft paper cards and envelopes from a local craft store, and over a period of weeks, assembled card kits to share alongside our Little Free Library.

The card kits were a hit. I put out ten at a time for a total of 40 kits and enjoyed seeing them disappear in ones and twos each day. 

I used narrow scraps of the same paper to make simple bookmarks and placed them in a tin marked “Boo-marks.”

Earlier in the month, I made Halloween cards for friends using a Jennifer McGuire Ink video technique. She used a Gel Press, a brayer, and Tim Holtz Oxide Ink to create interesting patterns. Like Jennifer McGuire, I made several backgrounds, let them dry, then used them on my cards.

Here are a few:

I made a second batch of cards last week, but I never got around to taking photos. It was more important to get them into the mail. Our post office produced Halloween stamps this year. It made me happy to do my small part buying stamps and mailing cards.

This may sound strange to those of you knee-deep in creativity, but I’ve struggled to focus on writing, crafting, and other creative endeavors. I’ve written a dozen blog posts in my head but lacked the focus to sit down and make them a reality.  I’m trying to recommit to creative endeavors. Making cards and card kits has been a good start.  It’s good for the soul.

I continue to volunteer several hours a week with Lifted Spirits. We’ve been providing our services outdoors over the summer from behind the safety of a clear shower curtain. With colder weather approaching, I reorganized the program to serve the women from behind the building in a garden setting, with volunteers standing behind glass screens.

I pulled together a rack full of clothing pieces that could be used as costumes. It was a hit with our women. Living on the street robs you of so many things. Making someone smile for a few moments and letting them choose a few pieces to put something together made it fun.  I packaged candy and pretzels and passed them out the day before Halloween.

Our team of volunteers wore a simple costume that day. I pulled together a few pieces from my stash and called myself the gardening goddess. I wore my favorite broccoli earrings, a gift from a friend many years ago,  and a garland of pink satin flowers, paired with a long, green dress.

We changed our clocks today back to standard time. This Tuesday is the last day to vote. My favorite meme this week is, “Don’t forget to change your clocks on Sunday and your president on Tuesday.” I have a knot in my stomach and a horrible sense of dread, but I remain hopeful that meaningful change is finally afoot.

Poster supplied by ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)

Here we go…

27 thoughts on “A Hollow Halloween

  1. Love your cards, your outfit, your meme, and finally, the poster at the end: ‘Votes like our rights depend on it’. As women, it increasingly appears that they do. God forbid that you should also be a PoC, old, young, sick, poor, unemployed – or indeed, anything but white, middle aged, male, Republican, and preferably, orange…. (well, I suppose that last bit is at least vaguely Halloween-themed).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Kate! I love that poster, too. Our rights DO depend on it, most especially everyone on your list. Judging by the record-breaking number of early voters, not to mention younger voters, a lot of people have had enough. I’m nervous but hopeful, at least some of the time, but I feel scared and vulnerable, too. I voted early. Now we wait and see. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tell you the truth, I am agog, as always, by your creativity. Wowsah! And don’t you look fantastic as a Gardening Goddess. Fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that this Tuesday brings us a new president for 2021.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your kind words, Laurie! You planted a big smile on my face.

      It’s going to be a stressful week, but as you say, everything crossed for a sane outcome. I’m hoping we can take back the Senate too. In this year of twists and turns, it’s impossible to know what to expect.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful Gardening Goddess you make!
    I’m sure you must seem like a goddess or an angel to the children in your neighbourhood and to the women at Lifted Spirits.
    You are not alone in your crafting and blogging hiatus. I think a lot of us feel the same and, what once came naturally, takes a lot more effort these days.
    I will end by saying I really, really wish I had you as a neighbour. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aren’t you a dear. Thank you, Lynn. Thank you, too, for validating the feelings of often herculean effort to do the things we love. I hope your move is going well, but I can only begin to imagine the stress of moving amidst a worsening pandemic. The numbers have been grim. I hope the menagerie are coping well.

      I wish we were neighbors, too. xo

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  4. Creativity takes different forms and operates at different levels; your pumpkin may feel hollow but it seems to me that you have sent masses of creative pumpkin fillings out into your community. I, too, am holding my breath for tomorrow. May tomorrow be the beginning of some healing for your country.

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    • I love your words “…sent masses of creative pumpkin fillings…” Thank you!

      Thank you for your well wishes for tomorrow. We’re all on pins and needles. I’m trying to keep positive, avoid a lot of the news buzz, and let the process unfold. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to tell you Alys that what you may think is knee-deep in creativity isn’t as it appears. We are ALL struggling with that, just like you. As a matter of fact, my friend Michelle wrote about it here and I found it helpful: https://acraftymix.com/blog/creative-spark/. Michelle’s last recommendation to get your spark back is to give yourself time which is key. Your volunteer work is so important to the lives of those women, so you’ve been busy bringing joy to others and that, my friend, is admirable! Don’t feel you have to rush the creative endeavours!

    You look fabulous in that green dress (my favourite colour)!

    Your meme made me chuckle but I hope it comes to fruition! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you this week 🙂

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    • Sara, thank you so much for sharing Michelle’s link. I enjoyed reading her post, as well as your comment about growing your audience. You produce such stellar blog posts along with the creative work you blog about. I think good tagging is critical, as well as finding, following and commenting on other blogs. It’s a big sea out there. I too wish you had a larger following, because your content is so darn good.

      I love green and it’s a color I wear well. It’s so often hard to find though. There are a lot of things in pink and red (not my colors at all), black and white and grey. Bring back the blues and greens fashion industry (can you hear me…). I don’t think they’re listening.

      It’s going to be such a stressful week. I’m curtailing as much news as possible, keeping busy and hoping sanity returns. If we can win the presidency and flip the Senate, it will go a long way toward healing some of the damage of four years with the Narcissist in Chief.

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  6. Wow Alyce!! You always impress me with your kindness, generosity and creativity. I have also felt sapped of energy to create but this beautiful post is the reminder I need to do good things. Take care of you.

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    • Hello Amy. It’s nice hearing from you. It seems many of us are sapped of energy, which carries over into creativity. It helps to remind myself that I derive real pleasure from the process…once I finally get started. Creating something that others can enjoy, especially now, connects us to the community and the world at large. We need that now more than ever. I hope all is well with you and yours.

      Like

  7. You looked more like a fairy princess than ready for Halloween in your costume. You look just stunning! I think we are all in the same boat. I’m sleeping less than 5 hours a night and wake up thinking of what I’ll do if we have 4 more years of this. The time change adds to the lack of balance we are feeling. I don’t think we will have a definitive answer tomorrow but hopefully when all is said and done, we will have kindness in the forefront again. Love all of your card kits. It’s hard to put your energy out when you are feeling a shortage for yourself. I’ll keep good thoughts for you. This will make next Halloween all the better. Let’s hope Covid is gone by then.

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  8. There you are glistening in the garden! So pretty and what a fun way to lift spirits at Lifted Spirits. Looks like you had a good stash of spirited items to offer too.
    I’m so happy to see you’re knee deep in creativity! It certainly helps to take your mind off current worries. Cute ideas Alys, I love the envelopes too.
    I try not to think about, “what-if the current president remains”? It’s just beyond comprehension. I struggle to even understand how bright, educated people reconcile the lies and behaviour and continue to vote for him. They’ve certainly drank the Kool-aid.
    As I mentioned in a DM this AM (I’m so techie, LOL), we had about 60 kids. There was a fair bit of decorating on my block. I think those of us who participated did a little extra for the kiddo’s who were out and about. Bigger treats, more lights and such. Many parents thanked me.
    Stay positive my dear! Soon, with any justice, this will all be in the past and we can say, ‘remember that year?” xoxox K

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  9. Your take on Halloween 2020 – is fabulous – and you shared with your neighbours and you Lifted Spirits – in the best way possible.

    And as for creativity that’s a BIG PLUS, PLUS, PLUS

    Although, I do understand those feelings of not footing it with the folk, who saw 2020 as a way to play and make with all kind of crafty things…I had the same issues in our severe lockdown in NZ. Mainly because I was home alone (still am) and my time was taken up with finding and getting food into the house when technically I couldn’t even assess essential food stores.

    Then my headspace got jumbled – but actually it resolved a bit like you have done for Halloween – your card kits and your boo-marks. I remembered I had a paint kit and then discovered that I had already bought tiny canvases – and I started working through the booklet… it got me back to “making”

    Looks like card kit making has some more traditions on your calendar…maybe with this week unfolding, time to get lost in your paper, glue, gadgets and enjoy making more…

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  10. Well, you certainly have made up for your recent so-called lack of creative endeavours with all those cards and kits – you have definitely brought a smile to many faces! Halloween passed by as uneventfully as always here. Wishing you a good November Alys! 🤗

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  11. I am writing this on the day of your election. I can feel the tension, even from thousands of kms away. So I will be thinking of you my friend, hoping that the decency and care for others you show everyday comes to the fore. xxx

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