November 1, 2013

the day after the night before

Savouring a quiet moment between groups of trick-or-treaters.

Several good scares. Some jaded ten year-olds. A few kids too frightened to walk up the path and instead, having treats taken to them by my son (in costume), which was apparently also frightening. And only one child who may be traumatized for life. The wind and rain held off until 9 o'clock. Allowing us to pack up the lightweight props. 

Still windy and rainy today. Nothing to do but organize and pack up and eat leftover candy.

October 31, 2013

happy halloween

Candy corn in my breakfast smoothie this morning.

Monster meatloaf (albeit more cheerful looking than I had intended) this evening.

It must be Halloween! Happiest of Halloweens!

October 29, 2013

countdown to halloween: frosty

It's certainly been the coldest Halloween week in recent years.

Woke up this morning to frost on the tombstones.

October 28, 2013

countdown to halloween: signs of life

Finally. Just when hope was all but lost. Scattered signs of Halloween's proximity have begun to appear around my neighbourhood.

This tree witch and her ilk have arrived not a moment too soon.

October 27, 2013

countdown to halloween: fingers crossed

According to the long term weather forecast, today's rain should be the last rain I'll see until Friday.

So I'm hopeful that, between now and Halloween, there'll be no more days spent looking out the windows at wet pumpkins.

October 26, 2013

countdown to halloween: the birds

I have been a Hitchcock fan for most of my life. But one of his movies that I have consistently avoided has been The Birds.

I blame it on my childhood chicken trauma. When I was very young, we kept chickens. And I have nightmare-ish memories of standing near the hen house as they rushed out and surrounded me. Dozens upon dozens of chickens. Heads bobbing. Feathers ruffling. Emitting horrible . . . chicken noises. I trace my lifelong aversion to birds to these early days of horror. So, of course, watching "The Birds" was inconceivable.

In case it might result in an experience like this:

Or this:

But now, more than 40 years later, I felt ready. I was confident that I might now sit and watch birds (even vicious, unpredictable, blood-thirsty birds) on a screen in front of me. Without fear.

So 50 years after the film's release, I made the attempt.

And I'm proud to say that I survived. With no pillow required to hide behind. In fact, the screen birds weren't even especially terrifying. Which is the beauty of a 50-year-old film and those vintage special effects. Real-life birds are still terrifying to me of course, but this experience may have given me the confidence to begin to revisit a variety of childhood traumas. Who knows?  Maybe I can address my childhood insect trauma with a viewing of The Fly (1950's version only).

October 25, 2013

countdown to halloween: jekyll and hyde

A church. A cold, dark night. A silent film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with live musical accompaniment provided by the church organist.

 That's all I needed to hear.

Oddly, the tickets and posters advertised the Fredric March version. What we saw was the John Barrymore version. But why quibble?

October 24, 2013

countdown to halloween: october reading

A highlight of last October's trip to Salem was The House of the Seven Gables.

We visited the house, upon which the novel was based, twice during our weekend trip. Once for a daylight tour and once for an evening theatrical presentation focused cleverly upon the story, with the audience moving through various rooms in the house and having the story gradually revealed by an actor within each room.

My enjoyment of the experience was not at all diminished by the fact that I had never read the actual story.

But I was determined to rectify this. So when I stumbled upon a copy of the story at a summer book sale, I bought it to add to my autumn reading. I'm halfway through and the neat thing is that, as I'm reading, I'm visualizing the actors and their presentation of the story. Which I think is a credit to their performance.

Unfortunately, Dusty (the seven gables cat) has yet to make an appearance in the novel.

October 23, 2013

countdown to halloween: things I love about late October

We've reached the point in October in which the number of leaves that remain on the trees is roughly equal to the number on the ground. And the air is filled with the smell of decaying plant matter.

I love this part of autumn.

October 22, 2013

countdown to halloween: lights out

Out running errands after dark this evening, I was vigilant for glimpses of orange light.  Or any other visible sign that Halloween night is just over a week away. But other than one neighbour who is a kindred spirit and the occasional porch pumpkin, there was nothing in my neighbourhood. At all. In fact, it seems like there's less and less local enthusiasm for Halloween each year.

So I came home, lit all of my candles, and made a cup of pumpkin chai. I feel better now.

October 21, 2013

countdown to halloween: flowers are blooming

I gave my flowers (which only bloom in late October) a fresh coat of paint and planted them in the front yard.

It brought a whole new glow to their eyes.

October 20, 2013

countdown to halloween: cookies!

So after a weekend of prop enhancement and yard set up, I'm settling in for a Sunday evening of Halloween Countdown blog reading and pumpkin chai drinking. When someone says to me, "I just found out I have to bring snacks tomorrow; the theme is Halloween."

Luckily, I  a) was in a good mood,  b) had candy corn on hand, and c) recalled a super-quick cookie recipe.

Otherwise, the evening might not have ended well.

Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies 

1/2c butter, very soft
1/2 c sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c regular unsweetened cocoa

About 36 candy corns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Beat/stir the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in the egg yolk, baking powder, and salt. Add flour & cocoa, and mix until a dough forms. Scoop out level teaspoons of dough. Roll into balls. Place balls on baking sheets, 2 inches apart. (It looks like too little dough for each cookie, but it works.) Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are firm and cookies are dry to the touch, 10 minutes. Remove from oven; gently press a candy corn into center of each cookie. Eat.

I kept four for myself. As payment.

October 19, 2013

countdown to halloween: make fences while the sun shines

The sun returned today. And with it, a beautiful, breezy, perfect fall day. An ideal day for building a Halloween fence extension on the deck/workshop.

With a break for a cup of pumpkin chai.

Must work quickly though. The rain returns tomorrow. October, sometimes you make it hard to love you.

October 18, 2013

countdown to halloween: weather delay

I had the day off. My plans were made. I arrived early at Home Depot. Just me and the contractors and retired home renovators. I picked up the hinges and staples. Bought a few pieces of cheap, unfinished wood. And headed for home. Today was to be construction day on the extension of my rickety fence.

 And then the rain started.

I photographed this guy while remaining warm and dry inside. Even though I'd expected him to be fenced in by now. Luckily, iron bats don't mind the rain.

October 17, 2013

countdown to halloween: spooky tea

Couldn't resist the "spooky collection" at David's Tea this evening. So in addition to my old favourite, Pumpkin Chai, I now have Stormy Night and Ceylon Star. Not sure what makes that last one spooky but I intend to find out.

October 16, 2013

countdown to halloween: the final five

Considering how many fledgling pumpkins died on the vine this summer, I'm grateful to have these five potential jack-o-lanterns.

Here, the survivors of the 2013 front yard pumpkin patch enjoy their remaining days on the porch.

October 15, 2013

countdown to halloween: coffee time

My favourite Cape Breton cafe was ready for Halloween when I stopped in during my long weekend road trip.

Makes me wish I still drank coffee.

October 14, 2013

countdown to halloween: happy thanksgiving

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving! A day which, despite this sign, I don't associate with pumpkin treats as much as with road trips, since this holiday weekend rarely finds me at home.

The Thanksgiving weekend also marks the beginning of "Halloween panic mode". In which I realize just how close we are to October 31st.

October 13, 2013

countdown to halloween: candy conservation

I was flipping through magazines when I encountered one of those monthly planner pages. The kind that offer suggestions for productive/enjoyable things to do on each day of the month. When November 1st's entry caught my eye.

All year?

I'm not sure how many leftover candy bars they're talking about here, but in my world, there are usually about twenty to thirty left over at the end of the night. And those will have vanished by the weekend. Without making it anywhere close to the freezer.

Perhaps I need to work on my willpower. Maybe November 2nd's entry will be more achievable for me.