Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Spooooooktacular!!!!

by Jeanne Adams, AKA The Halloween Maven

Let me start by saying those immortal words...no not THOSE words...these words:

HAPPY
HALLOWEEEEEEEEN!!!!!

There, now that we have that out of the way, I want to talk about pumpkins.

And Witches.

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.

Seriously.

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...

52 comments:

flchen1 said...

Happy Halloween! No, haven't seen the movies, and haven't carved any pumpkins yet :) But there's still time! ;)

Helen said...

Is he coming to Oz for Halloween

Have Fun
Helen

Helen said...

Close Fedora I am sure he will have a lot more fun in The States for Halloween than Australia have fun with him

Have Fun
Helen

flchen1 said...

LOL! Not sure, Helen! He'll have to deal with my kids wanting to dress him up for the festivities ;) As for zombies, I can't say that I'm especially fond of them, but there are more stories including them these days!

Daz said...

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Fedora! You got him! Helen, she nipped you at the post this time. Grins. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Fedora, I have one yet to finish. I said I carved 7, but it's really 6 3/4. I had to leave the last one undone for now...thankfully as you said, there's still time!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Daz! Happy Hallllllowwwweeeeen!

Helen said...

Happy Halloween to you all in The States hope you all have a good one

I haven't carved any pumpkins and never have sorry although I like looking at the pictures of them. I have seen a few witches movies and have enjoyed them and I am sure I have talked to lots over the years unknowingly of course LOL.

I am sure that there will be a few kids knocking on my door tonight so I do have a packet of bite size mars on hand just in case.

Have Fun
Helen

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, bite-sized Mars bars...YUM!! Love those!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Happily, I'm off to sleep here in the States...dreaming of pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds. Grins. See you in a few hours...

Jane said...

Happy Halloween. I just finished carving a little pumpkin and my fingers are still hurting. I saw the Rally for Sanity on TV and I wish I could have been there. I love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Stewart is saner, smarter and more trustworthy than most out there. I like how Stewart and Colbert play off each other. Loved the music performances, too.

Congrats on the GR, Fedora.

barb said...

Well done Fedora you just pipped Helen

I have never carved a pumpkin and we don't really celebrate halloween but there are more halloween products in the shops every year

Happy Halloween

Kirsten said...

Hey Ms. Halloween -- that was the most ADD blog I've ever read. *LOL* Fantastic job! :-)

I have been at the World Fantasy Convention, so I haven't had the chance to participate in the slew of parties happening back home (though I did get to have lunch with the marvelous Donna MacMeans, AND have some incredible pumpkin ice cream from Jeni's). Normally, my favorite parts of Halloween are the pumpkins and candy -- I'm NOT a fan of being scared. Call me a scardy-cat. Whatever. Like Mr. Colbert I live a life of fear. I don't need zombies or horror movies to get me there.

So...HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone! Get out there and enjoy some wonderful, safe, calorie-laden FUN!

Minna said...

Happy Halloween!
I have seen The Witches of Eastwick. And I remember this tv series, Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Our bear is still hanging around. There is no snow at the moment, so you can't see any paw prints, but he had pooped in the middle of the road, so he's still here.


4R - Loving the alien
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im8ymPR98to

Rowan Atkinson in Hell - WITH SUBTITLES
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UbqZ_oN5do

Doing It All For My Baby - Huey Lewis & The News
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=090DlQcnh18

Pissenlit said...

Hee! Hocus Pocus was funny, I'm always up for rewatching Practical Magic whenever it's on tv, I LOVED Bewitched(the tv show...we shall not mention the movie) and I've not seen The Witches of Eastwick but I've watched an ep or two of Eastwick.

I can't help flashing to the witch scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Absolutely hilarious!
- Now, why do witches burn?
- ...because they're made of... wood?
- Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?
- Build a bridge out of her.

No pumpkin carving this year but when I do, I don't like carving faces in them. Twice, I carved owls and once, I did a sort of dancing faerie.

I heard mention of the Colbert/Stewart thing yesterday.

Nope, not scared of zombies but I don't like zombie movies 'cause well, zombies are kinda not pretty to look at...LOL.

Happy Halloween!

PJ said...

Happy Halloween!

Congrats on nabbing the rooster, Fedora! Will you be "dressing" him for tonight?

Great blog, Jeanne! Anybody who saw my blog the other day knows how much I love Halloween! :) I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to scary movies but I enjoy the witchy ones. Loved Practical Magic! Loved the TV show, Bewitched! Didn't bother with the movie. Witches of Eastwick and Hocus Pocus were pretty good too.

Only one pumpkin for me this year.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Our Halloween was over Thursday night. I did not carve pumpkins, no not even one. I did watch Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus, that is a Halloween tradition. I have never met a zombie but I am quite sure I would be scared if I did. I don't do scary.

I didn't see the march on the news but chances are I wouldn't have gone even if I had known about it. Not much of a go-outer.

Louisa Cornell said...

Fedora, what will you dress the GR as for Halloween?

I'm not afraid of zombies. I work for them! They are slow moving, don't do any work and eat at my liver on a daily basis. See! ZOMBIES!

The rally might have been fun, but as The Duchess of Hot Dayum is rather petite I wouldn't have been able to see anything!

Didn't carve any pumpkins this year. Nephew did one and posted pics on Facebook. He did an awesome job.

I have seen all of the movies you mentioned. And I DO love those quotes from Practical Magic. As a distinctly "not normal" person I can SO relate!

I know a couple of witches (Wiccas) one Creek medicine man and a couple of voodoo priestesses. All completely benign and always willing to answer my questions.

Going to have lunch later with the scariest woman I know. My MOM !! I swear growing up we KNEW she had eyes in the back of her head, hearing like radar, the ability to throw a shoe at you from one room and hit you in another and she can still tell when we are lying! Scary!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Mornin' Jane! yes, I'm up. I stayed up waaaaay too late last night. :>

Pretty cool on watching the "Guys" on TV. My BIL and nephews and a bunch of friends went down.

You're right about them - even as comedians - being saner than most. Grins.

And that's as political as I'm gonna get.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Mornin' Barb! I didn't really realize Aus didn't celebrate Halloween the way we do. Then again, I'm not sure anyone celebrates stuff the way the Americans do. (with cheerful commercialism and excess, that is. Grins.)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kirsten said: Hey Ms. Halloween -- that was the most ADD blog I've ever read. *LOL* Fantastic job! :-)

Wasn't it though? Have to confess though that it's the way my mind words.

"Ohh, look Witches...Pumpkins....Colbert....Stewart....I should blog about all this!"

Snork

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Minna! Eastwick's a fun movie, isn't it?

I love that Rowan Atkinson in Hell bit. Makes me laugh every single time.

Christie Kelley said...

Happy Halloween, everyone! I enjoy Halloween but not as much as Jeanne!

Jeanne, you'll be very disappointed to hear that I did not carve a pumpkin this year. Last year my back hurt for two days after leaning over to scoop out the innards and I decided that was it. I told my 13 yr old if he wanted to do the work then I'd buy a pumpkin for him to carve. He only wanted the fresh roasted pumpkin seeds. So no pumpkin.

My 18 yr old was very disappointed that he had to work from 2-7 yesterday so he couldn't get down to DC for the rally. Several of his friends went.

Zombies? No, not afraid of them.

Gannon Carr said...

Great blog, Jeanne! I love Halloween! I own all of the witchy movies you mentioned. *g* And Bewitched was one of my favorite shows when I was growing up. Who didn't wish they could wiggle their nose and make magic happen??

I helped my daughter carve two pumpkins---a snowman (used three white pumpkins) and a barfing pumpkin (gross, but hilarious!). My oldest son and his girlfriend carved a few last week, so we now have 5 sitting on our front porch.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Pissenlit! You said: - Now, why do witches burn?
- ...because they're made of... wood?
- Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?
- Build a bridge out of her.



Hahaha! LOVE that part. We frequently quote the other part:

"She turned me into a newt"

Everyone looks at him....
"Welll....I got bettah..."

Snork

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi PJ! I read your blog several days after you'd posted it. Grins. I was away from home so wasn't reading my usual blogs. Grins.

You said: Only one pumpkin for me this year.

Awwww, too bad. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Dianna! I love your tradition! You said: I did watch Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus, that is a Halloween tradition.

What a cool thing to do. grins.

Pratical Magic is one of my favs. I adore the house in that movie. :>

Joan said...

BOO!!!!

Did I scare you? Huh, did I?

Of the witch movies, I liked Practical Magic best. Hocus Pocus has enough undercurrent of evil...shiver...I didn't care for it. I often have dreams that I am Samantha twitching my nose to make "something" happen. May try that as I soldier on with my WIP.

As to pumpkins, haven't carved one in years. But I'd go for the traditional and it would be a HAPPY looking pumpkin with a CANDLE.

Please, please tell me you current pumpkin artists use CANDLES to illuminate them! There is NOTHING like the smell of simmering pumpkin heads.

Now, I'm down to 201 mini Milky Ways out of 230...may need more before tonight.

Joan said...

Oh, and as to that rally. To tell you the truth I had no idea what it was intended to be, assumed it to be a liberal political thing and am so tired of politics right now, brushed it aside.

But what I'm hearing today??? Makes sense! Stir Peanut Butter, not Anger!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Louisa, you crack me up, you said: The rally might have been fun, but as The Duchess of Hot Dayum is rather petite I wouldn't have been able to see anything!

You make a very good point, my dear Duchess. You would have been quite height-challenged especially in this rally which numbered in the 100,000+ they now think.

Had to LOL about your Mom being scary. Mine was lke that too. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Christie said: Jeanne, you'll be very disappointed to hear that I did not carve a pumpkin this year.

Drat! Usually, you're my partner in crime in the carving division. grins.

Fortunately the massive number of pumpkins in and around the Lair were carved by Sven and the boys. Come to think of it, I did hear a couple of the gladiators complaining about their backs hurting. Must've been the carving.

I also noted that there were dishes of roasted pumpkin seeds EVERYWHERE. Sven must've been thrifty, as usual. grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Gannon! I had to LOL about "wanting to wiggle your nose" I'll raise my hand and testify here, I really, REALLY wanted to be able to do that.

Grins.

You also said: I helped my daughter carve two pumpkins---a snowman (used three white pumpkins) and a barfing pumpkin (gross, but hilarious!). My oldest son and his girlfriend carved a few last week, so we now have 5 sitting on our front porch.

Yeah! Pumpkin carvers! Love the snowman one. I'm stealn' that idea for next year. grins. I've seen the barfing ones and LOL.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

*Shiver* Joanie, you're so scary! You DID frighten me.....NOT! grins.

You said: Please, please tell me you current pumpkin artists use CANDLES to illuminate them! There is NOTHING like the smell of simmering pumpkin heads.

I agree. I always light mine up with candles despite the proliferation of electric/battery opereated candles.

The whole reason behind the pumpkin carving is to keep away evil spirits on Halloween night, the night when the Veil between worlds is thinnest. spooky, fire-lit faces were thought to do the job most effectvely. I still think they are. grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

About the rally, Joanie, you said: But what I'm hearing today??? Makes sense! Stir Peanut Butter, not Anger!

Heehee. Yep. Evidently the final words from Stewart were, "Ignore what you hear on television, ignore the 24/7 news, and THINK for yourself. Conservatives and Liberals work together every day and do just fine, otherwise the country really WOULD fall apart. We're fine people, we're doing good. Don't let the media tell you otherwise."

He also said that even when we have "dark times" they aren't "End Times" I think that's a huge key to remember. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

You know, Kirsten, my reply should have said that it's the way my mind WORKS - not words. *eye roll* D'oh!

catslady said...

Happy Halloween everyone! I'd love to see a pic of your seven pumpkins. We have a pumpkin carving party every year. There's usually a lot of competition because my one daughter and her boyfriend are artists but they couldn't make it this year so we all eased up lol. I enjoy all the witchy movies!

jo robertson said...

Entertaining post, Jeanne, WTG!

Yay, Fedora!

I agree about the zombies. They're the scariest to me. They're the grossest and most grisly of all the regular Halloween monsters. No romantic heroes (like vamps and weres) to appeal to teens and tweenies. Just yucko monsters that have to be killed.

Joan said...

fire-lit faces were thought to do the job most effectvely. I still think they are. grins.

I don't know....it's pretty scary here when the kitties go into their "midnight crazies".....

Minna said...

http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2010/10/31/

http://www.offthemark.com/daily.php/?go=1287802800

Parody of Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me ("Just A Zombie")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5bL5mZk8hk&feature=channel

Lady Gaga - Poker Face - Parody ("Outer Space")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h47fNaOb-JU

flchen1 said...

I'm not sure I'll be dressing the GR tonight--it'll depend a bit on whether or not I can catch him ;) He's been slinking about in his camo gear and eye black, and seems to be turning his nose up at this very adorable Mickey Mouse costume or roly-poly pumpkin outfit I have picked out... Harumph!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Catslady! :) You said: We have a pumpkin carving party every year. There's usually a lot of competition because my one daughter and her boyfriend are artists

Oh, how cool! I'll post some pix on my Facebook page of the pumpkins and maybe some at midnight between this post and the next. Grins. My boys go for the spooky/gruesome (imagine that, being my kids) so some are fanged and one has an ax in his head. snork.

Would love to see some of yours too, Catslady!~

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Jo! Hey! I'll bet Halloween was wild around your house when your kids were home. :> I know what you mean about the zombies. Slow and ugly and, one would presume, QUITE smelly. They are the grossest of the "regular" monsters. :> I'm sorry, you just cannot make a zombie sexy or hero-y. Can't do it.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Joan said:
I don't know....it's pretty scary here when the kitties go into their "midnight crazies".....


Heehee. Aren't those funny? I used to call them the "runny-growlies" because my cats would run up and down the hall way, back's arched, growling. It would then turn into a thundering-herd-run fest. Pretty funny.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Snork. Fedora, you have a roly-poly pumpkin outfit for him? HAHAHAHA!!! That's too funny.

Rooster as Jack-o-Lantern.

Snork.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey, it's TRICK OR TREAT TIME!!! How many goblins do you get on your street?

Pat Cochran said...

Hi Duchesse,

We get such few Trick or Treaters,
we're an aging subdivision! No
pumpkins carved, no pies baked,have
not seen any of those films, not
fond of zombies, Houston is bit of
distance from DC so I didn't attend
the Rally or watch it on TV,(Altho Son #1 will be in DC next week to visit friends) We did put a lighted
pumpkin out front and a largish
pumpkin cut-out by the front door.
I'll be wearing my black outfit &
pointy witch's hat as I answer the
door and pass out candies (Gummy
Life Savers, Air Heads, Starburst
Chews, etc.)to any & all visitors!

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Jeanne, hope you have a great Halloween! We went into it for the first time as our 4yo is a real little ghoul. Even bought a $20 pumpkin at the supermarket and carved it. Was very happy with how it turned out, even if I am rather conservative in my carving! Amazing what people are doing with pumpkins these days! But no trick or treaters came to our door and we ended up in the swimming pool rather than knocking on doors ourselves. It's just not that big a deal to Australians yet, although it's growing. Hope you have a great one!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Pat! Thanks for leaving the trick-or-treaters long enough to say hello. :> Had to LOL about the aging neighborhood.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Christine! IN the pool?? Wow, I always forget that it's the warming months there. It's in the 40's here tonight for Trick or Treat. brrr! grins. I love it and the kids dressed for it, but the Dads or moms walking with hot-natured, running trick or treaters were getting cold. grins.

Joan said...

Yeah, Jeanne it's amazing the thundering noise two little 5 pounders can make!

I had about 50 or so Trick or Treaters. One Dad left the 6 mo old "dressed up" baby in the stroller and brought the pumpkin up for the candy. "What," I asked drolly, "was the baby's costume." He acted taken aback. *rolls eyes*

And I swear, one of them was dressed like Aqua Buddha...local political joke...

Cassondra said...

Ohhhh...I'm so sorry I'm late!

I just could NOT miss this Halloween Party though.

Yes, I have seen those movies. LOVE Practical Magic and rave about it regularly. Only sort of liked Witches of Eastwick--the puking scene kind of got to me.

But just every now and then I send out an email to some friends who know me well...and all it says is "Amok Amok Amok Amok Amok!"

I did not carve a pumpkin this year. *sad face* I DID buy an awesome witch hat but then did not get to wear it anywhere for Halloween...Ah well..there's always next year.

But where DOES one get a box just right for storing one's witch hats???