Friday, October 31, 2008

My New and Improved Halloween

I love celebrating holidays. I love the demarcation of moments and events throughout the year. I notice the passing of the seasons more, I mark the religious symbols more, and I feel I am more alive, more thankful, more anticipatory with traditions and holidays to look forward to, prepare and celebrate.

Since our Marriage, I often tell Avram that we should celebrate holidays better, brighter, and with more planned notice, and we've done so with some patchy success, but have never attempted to do so large scale on any other holiday than Christmas (which is both our favorite holiday).

Being the list-lover that I am, I recently wrote out every holiday from Epiphany on January 6 (Festival of the Kings; when the Wise Men traditionally reached Jesus, and a holiday I've celebrated French style since my childhood because my Mom served her mission in France) to New Year's Eve. Then I listed all the food if any that we associate with each holiday, and after that any activities we like to do. My goal as this next year plays out is to plan and execute fun-filled wholesome family recreational food, and activities, that most importantly of all lead to memories.

Normally Halloween has slipped by as a mostly unnoticed evening with the occasional Halloween party that a friend or group puts on so I can just go and be a passive celebrator there. This year we did attend our Ward Halloween party last week, but today we also had our own celebration. (Sans decorations. I'm waiting to buy my first Halloween decorations tomorrow, because I'm cheap like that.)

I have lived my life scared of the dark. When I was a child every time I went from our basement (where my bedroom was) to the main floor I ran up the stars screaming like a banshee. I knew, KNEW, that the woman from the short scary story whose had a ribbon around her neck and then when she finally took it off her head floated off was following. Just her head was following me. Up the stairs. Every time. And no matter how many times I whipped my head around, I knew she was more cunning than I and anticipated my turnings, so I never caught her. Who wouldn't scream under these circumstances?

After Avram and I married we watched Hellboy, which is actually a good movie. Except there is an assassin who is run by clockwork and filled with sand, and he can't die, because he technically already has. And he was after me. Every night when I got up to use the toilet (which was often, as I was pregnant with Lydia) he was waiting for me. In the dark. I could tell. He would come and stand over our bed and wait for me to wake up. I knew, KNEW he was there. Every night I woke Avram up and made him turn on the lights ahead of me, like Israel of old with Jehovah leading the way as a pillar of fire. It wasn't until the birth of Lydia, when my motherhood instincts kicked in and I decided that if the Assassin came for me I would stand up to him so he couldn't hurt her that I finally could walk in the dark alone in my home.

I've believed in Ghosts my whole life - although I don't want to, because I also believe that only those who believe in them could probably see them. I've had countless dreams about ghosts, where I know they're there.

The scariest movie I've ever seen was the Sixth Sense, and it scared me so badly that once when Avram and I spent the night at his brother's house in Salt Lake, and they were watching it in their one bedroom little apartment, we spent the entire duration of the movie sitting in their hallway together, because neither of us could stand watching it a second time (Avram also doesn't do scary things). Of course, we could have asked them to turn it off, but that would have made sense.

This is why Halloween and I have been so long coming in making friends. Much of what the holiday is centered around leave me scared spitless when contemplated on very long. I've never in my life dressed as scary, but rather have had a long string as a fairie, Pippy Longstocking, a Celt, Medieval, A Romano Celt, a princess, and anything that may be fanciful, but could never be spooky.

With all this behind me, I wanted to find a way to celebrate Halloween while still enjoying it. So this year I've focuse on celebrating the Autumnal aspects. For Halloween this year Avram and dressed as Romano-Celts celebrating Autumn. We wore White Robes, and Avram wore a Periwinkle Wool Toga (wrapped in the true historical manner), a Torque and a rope circlet entwined with Autumn leaves. Over my white robe I wore a green (real) silk historical swag thingy held up with a brooch, and another Autumnal green and gold rope circlet in my loose hair with real Mum flowers in it.

Then today for Dinner we had a Butternut Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Soup that my lovely Sister in Law Aleatha gave me the recipe for. Along with our soup we had sliced pear, but nothing more, to save room for dessert. Although when we used the broiler in our brand new oven to roast the red pepper the entire house stunk up of plastic and gave Avram and I (and I assume the girls) huge headaches with the smell of burning plastic. We have no idea how the smell was produced, since when we actually opened the oven it didn't smell weird at all, and there was clearly no plastic in ther, but all over the rest of the house hung the heavy, toxic burning plastic smell. We soldiered on through, and completely the pleasantly orange soup though.

Before dinner we made (with the ever "helpful" but appreciated help of Lydia) the dough for Pumpkin spice cake donuts, and after dinner we rolled out, cut out, fried and then covered half with a glaze and half with powdered sugar. Unlike my last donut fiasco, this recipe worked perfectly. The donuts even looked right, with the uneven tops where the glazed pooled and hardened - my favorite part because they are little hidden treasures of sweetness among the spiciness of the cake. The glaze even hardened appropriately.

We had planned to go trick or treating a little bit with Lydia, but decided to nix that in favor of watching the Vincent Price episode in the first season of The Muppet Show. We still had our "candy" to hand out, at least. I bought little packets of animal crackers and goldfish to hand out, because I am that house that everyone hates to go to, because instead of the desired candy you only get health food or little toothbrushes at. The kids must have been able to smell the lack of candy, because no one came to our house. No one. I mean, I know we live in an apartment complex, and I know that the vast majority of the inhabitants here are foreign, but there are kids who live here, and we neighbor on a street, and I peered down that street several times tonight and around the complex, and No One. Not a single soul was out. In fact, our apartment and one other were the only houses with their front porch lights on.

Good thing I didn't get candy, because Lydia now has her afternoon snack dealt with for over a month to come. Did we miss something? Do they not trick or treat in Columbus? In our neighborhood? Is it not October 31? Do they know not to visit apartment complexes because no one here seems to celebrate Halloween? I'm mystified, but we did not let the lack of trick-or-treating, the actual modern day point of Halloween stop of from having fun. Lydia loved the homemade donuts (so did I!) and she didn't even get scared when one muppet swallowed another one on the show.

Now if I can ever wrap this up, Avram and I are going to watch the 1931 Frankenstein and then my new and improved Holiday celebrating of Halloween will be complete.

P.S. We even listened to Michael Jackson's Thriller and the Monster Mash today.


  1. Yay squash soup!
    Here's another thing I ate today at a party: A pumpkin, seeds scooped out, filled with (already cooked) beef/rice casserole, and baked until the pumpkin is soft. Scoop out some casserole and some pumpkin together and eat it. SO GOOD! I'm going to buy a pumpkin tomorrow cause they'll be on sale!

    I didn't like Hellboy either, but I wasn't too scared of the sandclock man. What I hated was the gucky gooey mucus monsters who slimed everything and then exploded slime everywhere when they were finally killed. GROSS.

  2. Psst.

  3. We're working on taking the gruesomeness out of it and just making it fun. We had a Fall Feast last night with friends, drank wassail after and pumpkin cookies and ginger snaps, and watched The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and reflected on what a bad example those Peanuts are to our kids and why were we watching it anyway? It was a blast.

    Next year we might add bobbing for apples in...

  4. I like the fall fest idea too. You can talk about seasonal things like leaves, pumpkins, harvest, spiders, etc. without having to get into ghoulish stuff.

  5. No kids trick or treat in our complex either. But I know they do it in neighborhoods. I actually went with some friends in their neighborhood. Probably just that you're in a complex.

  6. i dont do scary either. and i hate the movie sixth sence. most creepy movie ever for me. i think becuase i saw grandpa once... after he was dead. so anyways i dont like to think about that or any deap people or their ghosts ( well i think about taylor often but thats not as creepy to me becasue he is a baby) anyways i had nightmares for months after seeing sixth sence and i had to have a blessing that night just to fall asleep.

    BUT i like you also wanted to be a fun mom that made lots of fun holliday memories. So last year after holloween i went and bough 75%-90% off decorations such as orange lights and fun halloween signs ect so that this eyar my home was decorated and it was fun. ( i dont do scary just fun halloween)

    Oh and YUM on the donuts. they sound so delish. I am verry envious. we did the traditional trick or treat becuase porter is four and knows about ti and wanted to go. So we have a large assortment of yummy candy that i cant seem to stay away from.

    okay i have lost my train of thought as to what my point in all this was.... um... man three kids make it hard to concentrate.

    I love you!

  7. I have so much to say about Halloween that I probably will have to make my own post about it. This is the problem with your blog. Your posts inspire me with things that I want to say so I respond to them and type horribly long comments and then never get around to saying interesting things on my own blog. That is the secret insideousness of your blog and your delicous literary style.

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