Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Perfectly Wonderful Ghost Story

Last night I finished the BBC series The Living and The Dead and I am so happy I stumbled across this show. It was released in 2016, but just recently made it's way to Amazon Prime where I discovered it. I use "discovered" lightly because Amazon kept throwing it in front of me, but I'm not complaining; I think it may have become my favorite ghost story on film.

IMDb describes it like this:
When a young couple inherit a farm, they are determined to turn it into a success, but strange supernatural forces soon intervene, threatening their marriage and their lives.
What IMDb leaves out is that it takes place in the late nineteenth century, the husband is employed in the new field of psychology and is dealing with grief over the death of his mother and, more significantly, his son. I'm going to leave out an important plot feature too because it would ruin the surprise.
The series has only six episodes and the story moves along quickly, but that didn't stop it from giving me spooky shivers of delight with each episode. I'll even admit to putting my hands over my eyes a few times. This is a ghost story that hovers between reality and imagination. Is Nathan seeing ghosts or is his subconscious dealing with his grief? The dark mood is further enhanced by the pagan practices that are still being practiced by the workers on the farm.

The show is beautifully filmed and the actors well-cast. I'm sure BBC and movie fans will recognize several of them. Unfortunately there are no plans for a second season although the ending leaves an opening for one. Don't let that stop you from watching the show, though, because it wraps up with a great ending.

If you like the opening music as much as I did The Insects put out a FREE compilation of their music from the show that you can listen to on SoundCloud. Howlin' Lord provided vocals on several of the songs.  According to The Insects, the opening song  A Lyke Wake Dirge "has pagan pre-Christian origins and tells of the soul's travels on its way from earth to purgatory."

I can't recommend this show enough. If you time it right, you can watch episode five on Halloween (All Hallow's Eve in the show). It's super spooky!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Let's raise our snout to the moon and give a howl for werewolves. I love them and fear them. I kind of feel that you might be able to reason with a vampire, but a werewolf? Good luck. They symbolize wildness and base instincts. If you don't believe me, just take a look at the covers of the hundreds of adult romance novels with a handsome bare-chested werewolf. I had no idea this was a genre till I started looking for werewolf items to show you. It might deserve a post at some point if I could bring myself to actually read any of them...

The Wolfman Vintage Mug from MarmaladeFoxVintage
Werewolf Figure from MiniatureAnimals
Werewolf Pillow Cover from MenagerieofMayhem
Werewolves Not Swearwolves Tote Bag from UnicornEmpirePrints
Werewolf T-shirt from LaughingMoonArtworks
White Werewolf Figure from WolfberryCrafts
Original Werewolf Illustration from TheNarwalPrince
Werewolf Beer T-shirt from RocketE3
Werewolf Print MedievalOccultCraft
Werewolf Candle from DarknessVoid
Little Werewolf Doll from GakmanCreatures
French Werewolf Print from CuriositesRenversade
When I win the lottery I am going to buy that little baby werewolf doll. I already have a carriage just waiting for him.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Traditional Halloween Flames Arrive

It's really not Halloween until we put up the plywood flames in front of our house. My husband grumbles about it every year, but thankfully as he pounds them into the yard at least one neighbor will walk by and tell us how they look forward to them every year. It's almost like the Great Pumpkin has arrived in the neighborhood.

The idea to build some giant flames was actually my husband's. Thirteen years ago we were sitting on the front porch one warm October afternoon having a beer when he said it would be funny to surround the house with flames for Halloween. The following October I made it a reality by sketching them out with a line down the middle of a piece of plywood so that when the line was cut two flaming pieces were created. I got out the paint and the flames were born.

Outside Halloween Decorations

Outside Halloween Decorations

Since then, the outside decor has grown: the orange and black striped banners, the gentleman crow, the metal bat, and the inflatable cat. It doesn't change much, but that is how traditions are made.

Outside Halloween Decorations

Outside Halloween Decorations

Outside Halloween Decorations

Outside Halloween Decorations

I'll keep adding to the look until the day of Halloween and then it all magically disappears the next weekend until the flames arrive next October.

If you'd like to see how we created the Gentleman Crow you can read about it right here.

Monday, October 16, 2017


When I hear the word "mummy" the first thing that comes to my mind is an episode of Scooby Dooby Doo with a mummy shuffling around saying "coin....coin....." I don't remember what the episode was about, but for some reason that has stayed with me for over 40 years. It's weird.

Maybe I'll get that episode out of my mind after looking at these mummies.

Mummy Antidote from martinefa
Mummy Wreath from Mesh Addict
Mummy Sweatshirt from PrinceandTower
Mummy Pin from RockCakes
Mummy Necktie from accessorytoawedding
Mummy Concrete Garden Statue from BlackJackThreads
Mummy Ornament from TheSugarPumpkin
Sarcophagus Pendant with Mummy Inside from SOcreativejewelry
Black Cat Mummy T-shirt from TNCGifts
Mummy Mask from CedarfoxStudios

Eenie the Mummy from BeauliesChristmas
Mummy Mouse from joycemac634
Stirling Silver Mummy Charm from Jewelrybyxinar
Someone has to say it: I want my mummy.

Friday, October 13, 2017

13 Things

It's Friday The 13th and it's in October! I decided today to take a moment (a breather) and think about the things (let's say 13 things to be consistent) that get me excited for Halloween. There will be no earth-shattering surprises here, I'm sure, but if I miss doing just one of these things Halloween isn't the same for me. I hope you'll take a minute today to reflect on what makes it Halloween for you.

Thirteen Things I Need For Halloween 

(in no specific order)

No. 1
I have to watch the movie Sleepy Hollow. It has the perfect mix of Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, Johnnie Depp, and Christina Ricci. I think it's Burton's best film.  It's spooky without being overly violent and gory and that suits me just fine. 

No. 2
No excuses, I have to watch It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. For me the most significant line is "I got a rock." It just breaks my heart every time. It's also the place where I first thought about dunking for apples. Does anyone really do that?

No. 3
At some point, I'll settle into a cozy chair surrounded by cats and read The Homecoming by Ray Bradbury. You were probably expecting me to say The Halloween Tree, but if you haven't read The Homecoming I suggest you pick it up. It's the story of a family of vampires, ghosts, and witches coming together for a family reunion. You can read it in five or ten minutes. Do it.

No. 4
Number four happened just this past weekend. I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts shop and had a pumpkin donut. Sure, the orange-iced donut with a black munchkin in the middle and iced spider legs called to me, but I knew it wouldn't be right not to have a pumpkin donut first. It was as fresh, moist, and delicious as I hoped it would be. I'm usually not a fan of the pumpkin-spiced anything, but that donut brings me to Halloween every year.

No. 5
I don't know why, but every October I buy a giant bag of Smarties. It's not something I give the trick-or-treaters; they'd probably throw them away. If someone asked me what my favorite candy was, Smarties wouldn't even come to mind, but for some reason I eat them during October. This year I bought a bag of Sweet Tarts shaped like bones and skulls and it just wasn't the same. I'm headed to the store today to get my bag of Smarties.

No. 6
I look forward every year to seeing the Halloween decorations hit the stores. I get most excited for HomeGoods and Target and I'll stalk the stores for weeks starting in August for signs that the fresh batch of decorations are coming. When I arrive and see the fully stocked aisles my heart beats a little faster. I don't go directly to the Halloween section. I circle it like I'm going after some prey. I size up the people nearby wondering if I'll have to wrestle something out of their hands. So far everyone has made it out alive.

No. 7

The day I decide to pull out my Halloween decorations is always monumental. While it's true that many of my things stay up year round, I know it's Halloween when I pull out my collection of pumpkins. My favorites are the carved gourd I purchased at a farm in North Georgia, the giant wax pumpkin I purchased at Target to use as part of our wedding decorations, and the beeswax pumpkins that glow so beautifully.

No. 8
On October 1st I dive deep into my closet and pull out my bin of winter clothes. This treasure chest includes my Halloween wardrobe for the month of October. Every Halloween t-shirt, dress, and skirt is inside there. I try to wear something Halloween-ish everyday in October. It always make me happy. (Last year I posted about my Halloween wardrobe- see it here.)

No. 9
Visiting a pumpkin patch is high on my list. I don't even always carve the pumpkins I buy. Sometimes they become squirrel food, but I love seeing mounds of pumpkins. I love walking through the rows and picking them up to find the perfect shape and the most decorative stems. The decisions are treated as life changing and I take choosing a pumpkin very seriously. I do not condone buying pumpkins from grocery stores or super stores unless there is an extreme emergency.

No. 10
More food: Halloween is the only time I make foods like mummy hotdogs and skull cookies. I don't really like cooking unless I have lots of time. So when I make something different it's an event in our house.

No. 11
In the days surrounding Halloween, I'll set up some candles around our family altar and prepare some of the favorite foods that those of our family who have died loved to eat or drink. Sometimes it's a jelly donut for my mom and a Zima for my dad when I can find it. I'll spend a few minutes thinking about them all and wishing them well. It's an important part of the season for me. (You can read more about our family altar here.)

No. 12
Decorating the outside of our house is always a highlight. I pick a day in early October when the weather is beautiful and I start pulling out all the lights, the tangled extension cords, the banners, and most importantly the flames. This year I'm running a little late and am still putting it all together. I should have pictures of this year's decorations for you next week. 

No. 13
I really enjoy handing out candy on Halloween. I hope for pleasant weather so that I can sit on our front porch and wait for the kids to arrive. I usually have a cocktail nearby and a spooky podcast playing and between visitors I often feel a little spooked. I love talking to the kids about their costumes and, for those older kids without costumes, I ask them to sing a song or tell me a joke. Everyone who arrives at our door gets candy.

I think that about wraps it up! As I look over this list, I realize I have to get moving on some of these things. The season passes so quickly; enjoy every minute of it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

No Pumpkin Spice Intended

The ultimate symbol of Halloween has to be the pumpkin. I'm a big fan of the carved jack o' lantern, but not such a big fan of the over-hyped pumpkin spice. You know it's gone too far when you see pumpkin spice dog treats. So make sure you have a pumpkin or two in your collection, but stay away from the overly-sweet stuff.

Jack O' Lantern Lamp from TheSnowmade
Pumpkin Candle Holder from TurquoiseBun
Leather Pumpkin Mask from TheFallenCrown
Beeswax Demon Pumpkin Candle from CatfishCreekCandles
Pumpkinhead Mask from WolframCreative
Francine Fungus Paper Maché from CreepycuteDollWorks
Plastic Pumpkin Teeth from PumpkinTeeth
Ceramic Jack O' Lantern from MyGrimmWorld
Pumpkin Embroidery from LunaGirlDesign
Pumpkin Bowls from SomethingLucky13
Pumpkin Spoon Ring from Spoonier
White Ghost Pumpkin from lindafrenchgallery
White Ceramic Pumpkin Candle Holder from Barruntando 
Pumpkin Yard Art from GrizzlyCustomSteel
Pumpkin Skirt from RoobyLane
Carved Beeswax Pumpkin Lights from Bee Natural
Any of these items would be great additions to your Halloween collection. Don't forget that your purchasing quality items that you can pass on to someone one day. It's not too late to start!