Halloween Revisited and a Few Lasting Impressions

With my youngest son away at university our household Halloween mojo has been split in two, severed if you will, covered in cobwebs and devoid of life.

fall garden, pumpkins, ghost

Fall garden, pumpkins and obligatory ghost

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I knew Halloween would feel different this year. My youngest has enormous Halloween spirit, and that spirit has momentarily left the building.

I shook off my wistfulness and set about decorating in my abbreviated style. We didn’t set up the inflatables this year, and there are no teenagers at home to “build” a haunted house.

The light-catcher is up in the window, and my pumpkin collection adorns the table, now set with two places, not four. There are a few night lights lighting the way to the bathroom in the dark hours of the night. Both lights were gifts from friends.

We have pumpkins, of course. The squirrels planted a few seeds last fall, and most of the vines grew in the planting box.

My Halloween cards are also simple this year. I pulled out my Big Shot and a few watercolor postcards and made pumpkin leaf impressions. The transfers turned out really well with the extra moisture from the leaf absorbed into the paper. They have a nice, organic scent to them too, though I’m not sure it will last. Who doesn’t love the smell of chlorophyl?

The process is simple. While the leaves are freshly harvested, you sandwich the leaf against the water-color paper, then insert between folded scrap paper before running it through the Big Shot. The leaves have a lot of moisture, so the extra paper helps absorb it.

After drying, and pressing the cards between a hefty volume of Shakespeare, I hand-stamped a few images on the front and back of the card.

I found beautiful dragon postage stamps at our local post office in orange, purple, and gold. They’re the perfect finishing touch.

We attended one Halloween party this year, and as usual had a wonderful time. The theme this year: horror kitsch. We struggled with a concept, till one of the women at our favorite costume shop, Natasha’s Attic suggested the ghosts from the Haunted Mansion Disneyland ride. I love Natasha’s and the folks who work there. It’s a family owned business here in San Jose.  They’ve been around since 1977. It takes me back to my theatre roots whenever I’m there.

Natasha’s pulled together vintage pieces for us from their costume shop. We bought shoes from a charity thrift store, donned wigs and painted our faces a ghostly tint. My friend Isaac suggested seed lights to add to the ghostly effect. I sewed one strand under my skirt and another strand under Mike’s cravat.

Mike’s makeup is superior to mine *and* he did it all himself. He applied latex, then makeup, and even bought a pair of “rotten teeth” for full effect.

With the horrific news of this past week, Halloween gave us a welcome respite from the madness. If I haven’t said it lately, thank you for being here. My heart sings a little song with each comment and like.

Happy Halloween!

And Just Like That It’s November

Halloween came to a screeching halt at midnight, October 31st.


Thanks to the end of Daylight Savings Time, the clocks rolled back an hour the next day. We spent part of Sunday putting things away and adjusting to the time change.

We’ll leave our Jack ‘o Lanterns on the deck until the inevitable decay. Mike’s pumpkin carvings were as wonderful as ever. He carved three masterpieces, two from commercially bought pumpkins and the third one from our garden: The Great Drought Pumpkin of 2015.

The tall, slender pumpkin is a Minion for the popular children’s movie.
pumpkin carving collage 2015

The squat pumpkin is Jack Skellington. Jack is a fictional character and the protagonist of the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack is the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town and lives in a fantasy world based solely on the Halloween holiday.

jack skellington pumpkin

Jack Skellington

I found inspiration for the smaller pumpkin from a fellow blogger. Mike used small saws and a drill to create the stars. It’s our beacon of light.

pumpkin stars beacon of light

A Beacon of Light

My sister and I celebrated our birthdays together with a cheese fondue and salad lunch and a full-screen viewing of My Fair Lady. That beautiful movie just turned fifty years old. (We’re still older).

Today I woke up to rain.

azalea after rain

Azalea after the rain

In other parts of the world, rain is a big bore, something to endure till the next sunny spell. Here in our drought-parched state it’s the topic of conversation on Facebook. I woke up at 3:30 this morning and could hear the rain coming down outside my window. Large, musical drops fell and fell and fell. I stepped out on the deck in my bare feet with my camera, wanting to preserve the moment. Then I came back inside to warm my toes and grab a few more hours of sleep. Bliss!

As I write this late in the afternoon, the wind is beginning to howl. Be still my heart. It might just rain again!

Have a terrific week.