by Jeanne Adams, AKA The Halloween Maven
Let me start by saying those immortal words...no not THOSE words...these words:
There, now that we have that out of the way, I want to talk about pumpkins.
Not more, you ask? Not warlocks, or mad scientists, or rubber-masked villains or superheroes?
Nope. Pumpkins and Witches.
Before I begin, however, I will be making a large disclaimer, note of excusement, proviso, etc. which says, in large letters: THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL BLOG post, nor should it be construed as such.
Ahem. Now that we have that out of the way....
A recent comment by a candidate which went something like this (I'm paraphrasing): "I'm not a witch, I'm just like you"
This actually made me laugh out loud. Really. Right there in my living room, I was having a snork-fest.
The woman in the ad is wearing a twin-set and pearls, is gently coiffed and well groomed. The only thing she apparently has in common with any witch I know is that she's wearing black. But a lot of people wear black and look quite good in it. Doesn't make them a witch.
So, I laughed. I'm sure many people did because she's not what most people think when they think "witch" - seriously, do you immediatly think sweater-set and pearls, when someone says, "She's such a witch!"?
Hollywood portrays witches as both good and bad - its actually very even handed these days - in movies like Practical Magic (good witches, fabulous love story), Hocus Pocus (bad witches, engaging story), Bewitched (good witch, bad movie, great tv show), and The Witches of Eastwick (good witches, bad warlock).
Seriously, you wouldn't ever think of Sandra Bullock as a traditional Bad Witch. Sandra? REALLY? Nope. The image just won't form.
Cher was pretty cool as a witch too, in Witches of Eastwick, as were Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Buffy, while technically not a witch, had one as a friend and hey, every Slayer needs a witch-y pal, right?
I've met many a witch, and you and I could meet one every day for a year and never find one who was haggle-haired, snaggle-toothed, muttering or otherwise behaving in typically wicked-witchy fashion. Most of them don't even like pointy black hats, or cooking in cast iron pots. Nor do they have an odd penchant for brooms for that matter. While even witches can have the occasional cranky day, most real, modern witches only mutter darkly whilst in the grocery store as they try to remember that third item on their list. They may cook in cast iron if they're Southern and like cornbread, or they may even wear a pointy hat, for Halloween.
Just a note on the hat thing? Those things give you a wicked case of hat-head, and they are SO 13th century, you know? Snork.
However, the point is, Witches, like pumpkins, come in all shapes and sizes.
There are anime witches, pin-up witches, old witches, young witches, running witches, cooking witches, witches who like cats, and witches who are deathly allergic to them. There are thin witches, fat witches, and witches who need dialysis, chemotherapy, or their daily dose of insulin.
It occurred to me as I was drafting this blog that except for the medical stuff and the allergies, you could substitute the word "Pumpkin" in there and get the same result. Pumpkins, like people (and witches) come in all shapes and sizes. Big, little, tall, thing, skinny, fat, and every shade of orange, white, green and reddish brown you can imagine. They still have seeds, they still have slimey guts, and through and through, no matter how they look or what their color, they're pumpkins, people and witches.
I think it's a DNA thing. If you need further clarification, we can call in the mad scientists. Snork.
That said, it has amazed me to see the sheer artistry of the pumpkin carvers today. From the simple to the masterfully complex, pumpkin carving has been elevated to an artform. There are gruesome pumpkins, Obama pumpkins, puking pumkins, haunting pumpkins, happy pumpkins and pumpkins that appear to be suffering from post-traumatic-carving symptoms.
Now why, you ask, would this occur to me now? Why would I juxtapose all this nonsense in my fevered, writer's brain??
Blame Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
Their rally was this weekend here in DC and several friends went to it, and the news made great fun with it. One photo showed a woman with a sign that said "Keep Your Laws Off My Cauldron" Another was carrying a carved pumpkin head and a sign that said "Zombies for Colbert, Keep Fear Alive."
Still another said, "My Witch is Bigger."
Not sure if that last one was meant to be a compliment, a warning, or some kind of personal statement, but the drawing was very cool. Ha!
Now I know that you're wondering if I overspiked the Halloween punch - totally possible, btw - to bring all this together to be comparing pumpkins, witches, Snoopy, and the First Amendment (which guarantees Freedom of Religion and the press), but that's John Stewart for you. (For those of you outside the US, who have no idea who these people are, they're comedians and they staged a rally in Washington to "Restore Sanity" - Jon Stewart; and to "Return to Fear" - Stephen Colbert. It turned up a massive attendance.)
Everything's all mashed up and somehow, even Charlie Brown and witchcraft are part of the political agenda. It's very Comedy Central, don't you think?
Me, personally, I VOTE FOR Pumpkins. I think we should all buy them, carve them, cook them into pies, cakes, cookies, rolls, jam and otherwise generally enjoy the heck out of the big orange/green/white fruits that they are.
(Yes, they really ARE fruits because they have seeds.) Grins.
As for witches, I think we should respect them, just like we respect all our neighbors, whether they be tall, thin, fat, short, green, pink, purple, or even orange. And several of my neighbors were all of those colors at my Halloween party this weekend.
And, in the immortal words of three fabulously Hollywood Witches, I'll wrap this Halloween craziness up:
"My darling girl, when are you going to understand that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of Courage." - Aunt Frances (Stockard Channing), Practical Magic
"There's a little Witch in Every Woman..." - Aunt Jet (Dianne Wiest), Practical Magic
"AMOK! AMOK! AMOK!" - Sarah Sanderson (Sarah Jessica Parker), Hocus Pocus
So, Have you seen any of the witchy movies I mentioned? Do you have a favorite?
Did you carve pumpkins this year? Happy or sad, scary or gruesome?
How many pumpkins did you carve? I did seven this year....
Did you go to the Colbert/Stewart march? If you lived closer, would you have gone? Did you see it on the news?
Are you afraid of Zombies? Grins.
(Had to see if you were still awake....)
Happy Halloweeeeeeen! Let me know if you're going trick-or-treating too...