Happy Haunting

Thursday, October 31, 2013
If you know anything about me, you know I just love Halloween. It is ab-so-lute-ly my favorite holiday. Even as a kid, I'd get so excited when stores began displaying ghosts and witches, and big bins of pumpkins replaced summer watermelons. It isn't common to find a child who loves Halloween more than Christmas, but oh, I did. Christmas was well...Christmas. Sure, there were toys to unwrap and cookies to eat, but for me the real magic was in Halloween. Still is.

To me, Halloween isn't about the blood and the gore and Friday the 13th. In fact, I despise all of that. Halloween is about the beautiful fall harvest, pumpkins, warm and cozy comfort foods, costumes, glitter, and a little mischief and make-believe. It was the one time of the year I truly believed in magic! My father who is a 6th generation Kansas rancher always showed me the beauty of Kansas this time of year. I remember riding out to the farm with him in the pick-up and looking at the vibrant fall colors and pointing out turkeys along the creek. Nothing beats a bright blue October sky underlined by lush red and orange milo fields.

My mother who is retired now, taught high school drama for almost 30 years if that tells you anything about her love for Halloween, too. I fondly remember how she'd decorate our house at 225 W.Webster with tons of mums (her favorite!) and pumpkins. I just love the crisp, spicy scent of mums! All October we'd watch Halloween movies, bake apple crisp, and roast pumpkins. She used her extraordinary skill of storytelling and background in theatre to make my birthday parties on Oct. 19 the talk of the town, or at least the elementary school. We'd start brainstorming in September and by the time my birthday rolled around we'd have a complete ghost story ready to go with the lead parts played by our neighbors. From gypsies camping in the pasture telling fortunes, lost hobos, a wandering pioneer woman ghost, to a haunted house tour through my hometown. My mother and I loved creating these stories and parties. Only one time did my parents have to call one of my friend's parents to tell them their daughter got too scared at my party.

Trick-or-treating was also a wonderful memory! My dad is his true politician style would answer the door and ask each little kid who they were, what grade they were in, what they were dressed up as, etc. He'd record all the stats on a legal pad and then report to us at the end of the night. He could give you quite the report of demographics and certain statistics from Halloween if you wanted him to. My mother usually took me and my friends around. We'd pile in the car and she'd turn to public radio so we could listen to "Night on Bald Mountain" by Mussorgsky. It really gets you in the Halloween mood!

Hopefully, you all have fun, magical Halloween plans tonight! I believe you're never too old to enjoy the magic of Halloween! Here are the five things I think truly makes a great Halloween night:

1) Jack-o-Lanterns
Don't know the history of Jack-o-Lanterns? It's very interesting! My favorite tip for making Jack-o-Lanterns is to sprinkle cinnamon on the top of your pumpkin lid. You don't even know how fantastic it will make your house smell when you light it...that is unless you already do this. Then you know.

2)Hocus Pocus
Hocus Pocus is not only my favorite Halloween movie, it's just one of my favorite movies period. When it was released in 1993 it wasn't that well-received but now it is such a pop culture classic! The visuals in this movie are fantastic. And, you just can't beat Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters. BoooOOOOook! If you haven't ever seen it, you need to watch it. Tonight. Please.

3) Dressing Up
You're never too old to dress up! Have some fun! I love coming up with a costume. Throughout the years I've been a mermaid, witch, 50s girl, cowgirl, ballerina, Britney Spears...here I am modeling my very first Halloween costume...and then here's this year's Andy Anderson from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Yellow must be my color.

4) Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky
Classic Halloween music. If you have kids you can have them create a story to the music! Great to play in the background for a Halloween dinner or party.

1982. Michael Jackson in that red suit. If you have never seen the almost 15 minute long music video, you need to enjoy it this Halloween. It reminds you just how awesome MJ was back in the day. I had my Zumba class do the Thriller dance this year, and they loved it.

Halloween doesn't have to be bloody and scary. I love the fun and the frightfully fabulous things. Have you ever done floating pumpkin candles? Made pumpkin pie martinis? Try it. It will help you see how bootiful the holiday can be. Sorry, had to throw a little cheese in there.

Have a very Happy Halloween, all!

3 comments on "Happy Haunting"
  1. I loved every every thing about this and rented Hocus Pocus to watch tonight. Hoping I can convince Kip too! Your birthday parties were the talk of the STATE not just town. And I didn't know Keith did that. I might do it tonight!

  2. Sasha - that may be your first costume but I remember your first Halloween! We were in Chase County, pheasant hunting and trick or treating, then drove to Jewell County to meet you. Thanks for the memories.

  3. I loved the memories! Happy Halloween to my October birthday girl. Time to listen to Night on Bald Mountain and get in the mood! Happy haunting! Love, Mother


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