|Hallowe'en here at Tumbledown is sometimes all about the pumpkins.|
If you don't know this yet about me, Hallowe'en is my fave holiday of the year. It's gotten more so as I've aged, and each time it nears I'm reminded of every Ray Bradbury story I've ever read and my head spins with his images.
To me it's all about the atmosphere.
|Now it's usually more about the 'creepy' than the 'cute.'|
James is an old-school, 'slasher film' kinda Hallowe'en guy. And a Young Frankenstein kinda Hallowe'en guy. There's humor in his holiday, and a healthy pinch of gore. He's not above the pop-up-and-scare-you stuff (at which I draw the line). And a trip to a seasonal Hallowe'en outlet with him is 'interesting.'
Left on our own, I will go directly to the atmospheric stuff (The candelabra! The fringed black tablerunners!), but James wants the crawling zombie animatronic. He wants the clacking and sparking lab device, the knife switches, the bubbling beakers with their contents of fake bloody body parts. He wants the quaking tombstones and the screaming wraiths....
So I've taken to divvying up the house: I get the inside, he gets the outside. And then I tweak all that he does because I'm a Hallowe'en control freak.
|Mr. Bones relaxes by the fire.|
Before we even got him home I'd already named him Mr. Bones. Not original, I know, but when I first saw him in the store I couldn't help but say, "Ahhhh, we meet again, Meestah Bohnz!" (Admit it; not even you can say his name without sounding like a Bond villain.) And not surprisingly, the name stuck. What can I say?....
|This looks equally nice as a mantel scarf!|
|I love the result, don't you?|
While I was playing around indoors, James was busy in the front garden, stomping my sedum and artemesia into fragrant dust while negotiating the logistics of the fog machine. And then there were tombstones to hook up to it, obelisks to arrange, and battery-operated Angels of Death to suspend from my garden hooks -- all before the trick-or-treaters were due to arrive.
This season we discovered a creation at the Goodwill that we refer to now as 'Cocoon Man.' It's a vaguely body-shaped lump wrapped in fake spiderweb. The thing I love about it is that even though it's battery-operated to do stuff, it's still pretty low key for an animatronic. No deafening sound effects. No stupid cackling voice shrieking things like, "Get me out of here!" (I could never figure out why it's not enough for Hallowe'en decorations to just look cool....)
|The photo doesn't do him justice, but you get the idea.|
After combining Cocoon Man with the archway, I again couldn't help thinking how much better he'd look with some more of my tweaking. I entwined the arch with a swag of black plastic maple leaves, then wrapped Cocoon Man in more spiderweb before sprinkling him with a few plastic spiders. Then I affixed a large furry spider (it has a funny face, so I'm guessing it was originally meant as a table decoration) to his throat to make it look as though Big Mama spider had chosen him as dinner for her spiderlings. Mwa-ha-haaaaa. I had no idea that the whole effect would look so awesome come nighttime....
|Cheap top hat + valance + eyeliner = costume|
Three dozen trick-or-treaters and a handful of Addams Family TV-series reruns later and Cocoon Man and the rest of his graveyard friends were back inside, awaiting their return to the basement again until next year.
Sadly, our trick-or-treater count was down from seasons past. James thinks that our usual Goth teens have grown up and moved on, and he hopes that we're somehow inspiring Hallowe'en-lovin' little ones to return in future. At least a couple ventured forth with their parents this year and whispered shyly to James that they 'love our house,' so it was nice to know that all James's work was noticed....
And I say 'James's work' because he really did do the bulk of it. I felt bad that because of my mood this year I was unable to do much of the stuff I usually do for Hallowe'en. No pinky-grey Jell-O molded to look like a human brain. No paper lunchbags inkstamped with witchy images and filled full for the trick-or-treaters. No Body Bag Tacos or cauldron brimming with green margaritas. No haunted house sounds moaning from the stereo speakers.... I'm blaming it all on a bout of Post-Fest doldrums followed by a month that was all about obligation when it should've been about recovery...
But I have high hopes for next year.
Lest you think I've forgotten, today's additions to the Thankfulness List are:
1.) A birthday that's in the month of October.
2.) Leftover Hallowe'en candy.
3.) Ray Bradbury and how he gets into my head more than ever each autumn.
4.) Actress Carolyn Jones' oh-so-curvy Morticia Addams.
5.) A guy in my life who doesn't mind putting away the Hallowe'en flotsam. (Thank you, James!)