Friday, October 7, 2011

3 Easy Steps to Getting into the (Halloween) Holiday Spirit

By Kate

I want to welcome my fabulous friend Regan Hastings to the Lair today! Regan is the dark alter ego of my equally fabulous friend Maureen Child. As Regan, she writes The Awakening, a series of sexy paranormal romances, in which a coven of reincarnated witches must atone for their actions 800 years ago, when their thirst for power led them to open the gates of Hell. VISIONS OF SKYFIRE, the second book of The Awakening is available now.

And now here’s Maur – I mean, Regan Hastings…

Christmas is taking over the calendar, and I resent it. Santa Claus must have a good press agent. Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I just want it to stay in December, where it belongs. I’m okay with a slight encroachment into November. The Christmas season has my permission to begin the day after Thanksgiving.

But in my opinion, Halloween should have exclusive rights to October. Unless Santa is dressed in a zombie costume, I don’t want to see him.

Let’s band together and take the fat boy down! Let’s reclaim October. This month, the “holiday” in “holiday spirit” shall be Halloweeeeeeeeeeeen!

3 Easy Steps to Getting into the (Halloween) Holiday Spirit

1. Eat candy. Buy a huge bag of miniature candy bars in early October. Brand name candy bars, the ones that kids really like. You want those tiny goblins to tell their little friends to be sure to go to your house. Test one, just to be sure they’re okay, then put the bag in the freezer. Out of sight, out of mind. It won’t hurt if you sample one every now and then throughout the month, though, right? On Halloween, check your supply, realize that there are only two bite-sized candy bars remaining, and they’re unlikely to procreate. (Even if one does have nuts, and the other doesn’t.) Rush to the store to buy whatever meager pickings are available at the last minute, hoping desperately that they’re good enough to keep kids from toilet-papering your trees.

2. Decorate your yard. In October, you can always tell where the really cool people live by the number of tombstones in front of the house. Freak out your neighbors even more by putting their names on the tombstones. Add a zombie arm clawing its way out of the ground, and you’re Halloween gold, baby.

3. Read a book filled with witchy goodness. I was thrilled when I learned that VISIONS OF SKYFIRE would be released in October, because I knew that diving into the dark paranormal world of the Awakening would help put readers in the Halloween spirit. (Take that, Santa Claus!)

As VISIONS OF SKYFIRE begins, Teresa Santiago can feel that her powers are on the verge of Awakening. Since she was young, her abuela has told her that she’s destined to become one of the most powerful witches who has ever lived. If the Bureau of Witchcraft gets its way, she won’t live for long. In this modern day world, witches are hunted and killed. The instant her powers Awaken, the BOW will detect her magic… and they’ll come for her with every weapon in their arsenal.

Her only hope is that her Eternal warrior-protector will get to her first. Rune was forged from the sun to be her mate. With him by her side, she’ll find her piece of the artifact that will save an ungrateful humanity from the demons of Hell… or die trying.

Click here to read a free excerpt: VISIONS OF SKYFIRE

How do you get into the Halloween spirit? Do you decorate your house? Do you dress in costume? Do a lot of trick-or-treaters come to your house? What is your favorite kind of Halloween candy? If you’re from another country, how does your Halloween tradition differ from what we do in the U.S?

Kate here again! Another great thing about October? Well, I can't tell you. It's a secret. But it's good, and you'll love it, and... okay, I better stop now before I spill the beans. All will be revealed later this month!


Sonali said...

I get the pesky rooster today. GR your coming to Fiji. I think i have a huge pack of Ferrero Rocher hidden somewhere in the pantry.

Sonali said...

Well where i am from we don't do much to signify Halloween. That is one holiday that we do not really celebrate. Although last year i went to the most fabulous halloween party. Dressing up was compulsory and my friends went all out with the decorations. There were carved pumpkins, huge cobwebs, bats, skeletons, ghosts and a lot of fun.

Anna Campbell said...

Sonali, looks like the chook's going to Fiji. Wish I could come with him!

Hey, it's my drinking buddy, Maureen! No, it's not, it's some chick called Regan! Oh, well, she looks like she'd raise a glass with the best of 'em (hey, that's MEEEEEE!!!!).

Huge congratulations on the release of VISIONS OF SKYFIRE! Sounds fab! I know this probably means you're never going to want to emigrate to Australia (sob) but we don't really celebrate Halloween over here. It's slightly bigger than it was when I was a kid (when it wasn't celebrated at all) but it's kind of a novelty thing rather than a real holiday.

Christmas on the other hand seems to start in bloomin' September! I get very sick of Rudolf and his pals by the time 25th Dec rolls around. And then they start selling Easter merchandise! Sheesh!

Helen said...

Sonali yes you have him I am sure he will find the chocolate.

Whoo Hoo Regan congrats on the release. I am with you I think Christmas should stay in December as well.

Here in Australia we don't really celebrate Halloween although over the last few years it has been getting a bit bigger last year for the first time ever we had children knocking on my door lucky I usually have a stash of chocolate and lollies here for the grandkids, so this year I am going to make sure I have some especially for them if they come a knocking.

have Fun

Jacinta said...

sadly here in Australia we dont do halloween or thanksgiving (that one for obvious reasons). So for us its all about christmas. We get the odd group of teenagers who tick or treat but often no one has candy and its more of a dress up like a hooker and toilet paper peoples houses event. We sometimes try organise a dress up party but no one is really interested, i have always said that i would love to go to america for halloween, so if you see a slightly older trick or treater be nice to her and give her candy because it might be me!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


BIG THANX to Kate for inviting you, though you know you are WELCOME ANY TIME! :-)

I LIKE your 3 easy steps... esp. the eat candy one. YUM!! Oh, and starting around mid-July, I tell people all those spider-webs hanging on my eaves are Halloween decorations. LOL!

Can't think of a better way to celebrate Halloween than a GREAT BOOK like Visons of Skyfire. That groaning you hear is NOT zombies, but my TBR mountain swaying with the strain of yet another book.

Favorite Halloween candy? Why ANYTHING from See's candy store, of course!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I'm afraid your Ferrero Rocher is a GONER! The GR can't resist. Oh, and he LOVES dressing up, for Halloween or any other time!

I'm sooo sorry all our friends in Oz don't celebrate Halloween. :-( Actually, I don't think we celebrate here in the US as much as we used to. I remember my mom making popcorn balls and caramel apples to give to trick-or-treaters. NOBODY would dare eat a homemade treat these days. :-P Anything not wrapped tight in original store wrappers gets tossed. Sad, really.

As for celebration, I actually like Mexico's "Day of the Dead" rituals. Everyone goes to the cemetery and decorates family graves and leaves "treats" (usually sweets and liquor) for their dearly departed, who are suppose to "visit" on Oct. 31st.


Mary Preston said...

We don't celebrate Halloween here in Australia. I do enjoy my taste of it on the internet though.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I do love Halloween but it is not the occasion it used to be. I did used to decorate a good bit but that too has gone to dust. My son is 21 now and he doesn't get into it anymore, he made a great Harry Potter though!
One Halloween my daughter dressed up in a black dress and white make-up and laid on the chaise on the front porch and just laid there swinging a sycthe back and forth. When the kiddies and parents came up on my porch she would just sit straight up, scared the bejeebers out of some peeps and just for the record, it wasn't the kiddies she scared. One lady almost fell off my porch!

Nancy said...

Sonali, congrats on snagging the rooster--keep the chocolate under wraps!

Regan, I am so with you on wishing the Christmas marketing would hold off until Black Friday at least. By mid-December I'm so sick of hearing the music every time I go in a store that I feel downright grinchy.

We don't do a lot for Halloween. We did when the boy was little, decorating the porch with a spooky ambience, but that dwindled as he got into high school and had other interests.

Anna Sugden said...

Maureen/Regan!!! Great to have you back in the Lair!! I can't keep track of your various incarnations *g* - for those who don't know, Maureen also wrote the most fabulous Western historicals (with a dash of woo-woo) as Kathleen Kane. Still my favourites.

This latest series sounds awesome. Can't wait to read it.

Like the Aussies, we don't really celebrate Halloween, though in recent years, we have had a few trick or treaters in the neighbourhood. Shops are also beginning to carry Halloween themed stuff.

Our big fun-fest is Guy Fawkes Night (November 5th) where we have bonfires and fireworks and yummy toffee apples.

Mozette said...

I'm more spirited with Halloween than most in my unit complex, but I find it fun; and so does my family.

I buy the pumpkins and keep them until a couple of days before and carve them up... I love carving them as I'm getting better at it each year!
Then, about a fortnight or so before I buy some bags of lollies and use the toys from last year. Lots of fun for everyone.
I attach a large skull mask to the door and dress up in my witch's costume with make-up and have a trick ready for the kids - just in case they ask me for one (usually it's a bowl of cold cooked spaghetti with grapes I get them to feel with their eyes closed. It feels disgusting! One year, I put food colouring in it and a kid lifted the towel and put his face about an inch from the bowl, so I pushed it against his face for a second... little did I know the food colouring didn't come off his face for a week! And he was sent home from school because of it! Oops!).

I stay up until midnight and cast a Witch's Circle and call in the Pagan New Year. It's wonderful to be able to do this kind of thing in my own back yard - without having to hide from the public; as it's now legal to be a practicing witch since 2000 in Australia.

So, there's my All Hallow's Eve. The rest of the three day festival is just as fun!

Deb said...

I used to buy the cheap candy that I don't like because I snack on all the chocolate bars....But, bought good stuff last year and didn't do too badly staying out of it. Maybe that's because I took a scoop or two and set it aside. ;) I don't know how the neighbor guy can afford it, but he passes out king-size Snickers.

I decorate with fall colors and gourds and pumpkins on our front porch. We'll carve pumpkins around the 20th or so. We have an electric big jack-o-lantern on the front porch, too.

I don't dress up, but my daughter has fun doing so. Last year, she was a rock star diva with a blue wig. She took her brother's graduation cap and gown and wore that one year. This year, we bought a cute sourthern belle costume at WallyWorld and she's going to be a Georgia Peach. ;)

Kaelee said...

Back about 15 to 20 years ago when we had lots of kids in the neighborhood we really put out lots of Halloween decorations. We used to have at least 100 or more kids coming around. Now we put out a few decorations and the numbers of trick or treaters has shrunk to between 20 and 30. I still buy myself some treats usually Reese's.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Snicker bars person here... and we always go to the local auditorium and watch silent movies with scary themes and matching organ music... cause we live out where the kids don't trick or treat.. not enough houses... They hit the subdivisions instead!

Hellie Sinclair said...

Halloween is my favorite holiday (which my father finds weird; and my mother found concerning). I love the spooky and I love the dressing up and I really love the candy.

This year I'm dressing as a witch (ironically a costume I've never worn on Halloween, though perhaps unofficially on other days). Which reminds me I better get on it. I need to finish my hat and cape; then work out what my outfit will be. (My favorite costume I ever made was Eve--I made this dress of fake leaves and had a blond wig. OH, that was fun!)

My favorite candy is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (in all forms: teeny tiny to extra large.) :)

This book sounds amazing. Will definitely need to pick up a copy for myself.

(And I love the picture of the tombstones of the Jones--HAHAHAHAHAHA!)

Regan Hastings said...

Sonali, Yay to you for getting the rooster.... and an even bigger yay for getting to live in Fiji!!!! Suddenly, I'm jealous of a golden bird.

Anna!!!!!!! Always great to see you. I'm going to raise a glass to you right now. It's orange juice, but we can pretend it's something a little more potent.

Christmas starts in September here, too. Sheesh. Too much! The only place you should see Christmas stuff in September is in a craft store because the crafty types need time to make those Christmas gifts. But it should be illegal to have anything Santa-related in a regular store before the end of November. One month is plenty!

Regan Hastings said...

Uh-oh, Helen. That's how it starts... When kids start to realize that you're buying candy specifically to give away on Halloween, they'll tell their friends and younger siblings and before you know it, you'll have those zombies in your front yard.

Thanks for the congrats on the release of VISIONS OF SKYFIRE! I hope everyone who likes paranormal romance with a bit of an edge will check it out.

Amaris, there's a lot of that "dress up like a hooker" syndrome here in the States, too. Halloween calls out to the inner slut in every girl.

Regan Hastings said...

LOLOL on the cobwebs, Cindy! I see nothing wrong with that at all. You gotta start growing them early.

Thank you for adding VISIONS OF SKYFIRE to your TBR pile! It can take one more book, you know it can! ;)

Marybelle, love that the internet brings the world together!

Diana, ROFL on your daughter scaring the neighbor ladies!!! Young kids are all about the candy, so they probably didn't even notice your daughter much. Just yeah, yeah... where's my treat?!

Regan Hastings said...

Nancy, Halloween really is for the children. They make it more fun. They put on those costumes, and suddenly they BECOME whatever outfit they're wearing. It's so fun to see them with a sparked imagination.

Thank you, Anna!!!! Always fun to visit the lair. You know, I recently epubbed SMALL TREASURES, one of my Kathleen Kane books. No dash of woo-woo in this one, just a fun historical about a pint-sized heroine who falls in love with a rough-around-the-edges giant mountain man. Here's the link: Small Treasures

Regan Hastings said...

Mozette, wow, sounds like you really do it up right! Fun about the cold spaghetti and grapes. It would feel even more gross if you warmed them up a bit... like they had just been removed from the body, but not hot enough to burn. LOL Ewwwwwww!!!!

Deb, Halloween candy is irresistible. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, my diet doesn't stand a chance the last quarter of the year! I spend the rest of the year repenting my gluttony.

Kaelee, where did all the children go????

Regan Hastings said...

girlygirlhoosier52 (wow, that's a mouthful! LOL) I love Snickers! You know those commercials that say "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't"? I always feel like a nut! They're nuts if they think I don't feel like a nut. ;)

With a name like MsHellion, I probably would've guessed that Halloween was your fave. LOL Thank you for saying you'll pick up VISIONS OF SKYFIRE! I hope you'll love it and really get into the darkness. While writing The Awakening books, I try to make them realistic in the sense that I want to capture how I think our society and government would truly react if we discovered that witches were real and potentially dangerous... it ain't pretty, let me tell ya! But the books are SO much fun to write (and I hope to read) because the world feels completely real to me.

Anna Sugden said...

Very cool on epubbing Small Treasures, Regan! I hope lots of people will snap it up. Am I being too much of a fan-girl to admit I have a hard copy of Small Treasures on my TBR shelf? (yes, I hunted down all the KK books a few years ago - just haven't had a chance to read them all)

Minna said...

Well, Halloween here in Finland is really new thing. I think it's the sales men who really brought it here in order to sell more stuff! However, this has caused a counter reaction and in some parts of Finland they are trying to revive Kekri. In the old days, the men of the church didn't like Kekri, so it was pretty much abolished.

catslady said...

I decorated a lot more when my kids lived at home but I still do it some and my family has a pumpkin carving party every year. The youngest is now 23 (yikes) and my mom is 89! Sometimes I dress to hand out the candy which is especially fun with the little ones. We probably get around 75 kids give or take, depending on weather.

Cybercliper said...

My favorite part of Halloween is the candy - Candy Korn and Caramel Apples!! Growing up, the coming of Halloween always signaled apple cider making time, fall festivals, and hay rides. I don't do the decorating or dressing up anymore, but I still do the fall festivals - and the candy :-D

Regan Hastings said...

Aw, thank you, Anna! You can never be too much of a fan girl! I hope you'll pick up VISIONS OF SKYFIRE, too.

Minna, I think a lot of holidays - probably all of them - have grown bigger because of merchandising. Stores need to find a way to keep people coming back for more, newer things. Thanks for sharing the article about Kekri. I had never heard of that holiday before, so I'm fascinated! I'd love to travel to Finland some day.

Louisa Cornell said...

The GR is no dummy, Sonali! He LOVES it at your place! That Ferrero is a goner for sure!

Regan, CONGRATS on the new release!! This series sounds fabulous. Can't wait to read it! I especially love the idea of the witches having to atone for past sins.

I nearly fell out of my chair when I read your first step for celebrating Halloween! I have a bag of 3 Musketeers Miniatures on my desk as we speak. LOVE Halloween candy!

Working in retail you get beyond tired of the holidays early and often! We have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas stuff in the store already.

I have over 200 dozen Halloween cupcakes decorated already and the boss wants 200 more. SIGH!

Regan Hastings said...

Catslady, How fun that your 23 year old still wants to carve pumpkins with you! I'm amazed by some of the creative pumpkin carving out there. People are very talented with a knife. I'm more of triangle eyes, straight lines on the mouth kind of pumpkin carver... when I bother to do it at all.

Cybercliper, Oooooh, caramel apples! Candy you can eat while feeling proud of yourself. :) It's fruit! It's healthy. Okay, yes, it's smothered in butter and sugar (the ingredients of caramel), but still. It's FRUIT!

Regan Hastings said...

Louisa, WOW!!! 400 Halloween cupcakes? Your boss must LOVE you! Hope you get paid for making those... and for decorating them!

I'm so glad you're hooked on the premise of VISIONS OF SKYFIRE. Hope you'll love the book!

TrishJ said...

I decorate my house. Spooky music, spider webs, the whole 9 yards. Guess you never outgrow the kid in you.

Louisa Cornell said...

LOL, Regan! Yes, I get paid. I manage a bakery for our local Walmart. Cupcakes are my business!

And yes, the boss does love me because I try to get all of these things done ahead of time so he doesn't have to panic.

Walmart sends out a style sheet for holiday cupcakes for each holiday, but we always do our own designs. We go "off the book" so to speak and every year photos of our work goes to the home office. The first couple of hundred cupcakes are fun, but after that we all get carpel tunnel from wielding those icing bags!

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Kate! I used to do the whole bit,
windows, doors, projected Halloween
scenes, lighted pumpkins, and so on.
Age has brought about a slow down in
decorations at Chez Cochran. Nowadays,
Halloween is me dressed in black with
my witch's hat and a big bowl of candy.
I do get the good stuff because having
only 10-20 visitors at the door leaves
a lot of candy to be consumed by you-

Pat C.

Kaelee said...

Re: Regan asked where did all the kids go to?

The children grew up and just their parents live in the neighborhood now. We do have a few families with kids moving in but it seems like people don't want their kids to go around trick or treating anymore. The malls all have Halloween parties. I miss seeing the costumes and the fun.

When we lived in a condo back in 1975 to 1978 we had over 300 kids come for treats. Condo complexes are a great way to hit up a lot of people in a very short space of time.

Christina Brooke said...

Hi Regan! Great to see you back in the lair. Kate, thanks for bringing Maureen to us today.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of reclaiming October for Halloween. I'm so with you on loving Christmas but I get anxious when people begin talking about Christmas too early so your post really struck a chord. Love the sound of VISIONS OF SKYFIRE. I hope it sells its socks off for you.

Barbara E. said...

I agree, keep Christmas out of October, it's Halloween's month. I love Halloween, especially since my birthday is the next day. I usually decorate, but don't dress up. My favorite candy is those fun sized, Abba Zabba's, peanut butter and taffy, yum.

Regan Hastings said...

Trish, life is more fun if you embrace the kid inside you. Good for you!

Regan Hastings said...

LOL, Louisa! Well, that's good at least. I was picturing some office boss who wanted to give away cupcakes to all his clients, so he had you slaving away during your time off to get the cupcakes ready for him. :)

LOL, Pat! My rule of thumb when buying Halloween candy is to always get the stuff I want to eat. That way, if there are leftovers, they won't go to waste.

Regan Hastings said...

Thank you so much, Christina! I'll take all the good wishes I can get for VISIONS OF SKYFIRE!

Happy almost birthday, Barbara!!! I think if my birthday were November 1, I'd cry uncle early on and celebrate the night before. What fun!

Mozette said...

You wouldn't believe it, girls, here in Australia, just last week actually, I was out doing my fortnightly shopping when I walked in K-Mart and they had the Christmas ornaments, trees and cards and streamers out already!

Every year, our stores skip Halloween and just jump straight to Christmas... it's pathetic. No wonder nobody knows when it is here.

I say that because last month, on 30th, September, I was sitting at a bus stop at Garden City and the lady next to me had a bag of goodies with her and she turned to me and said: "Well, at least I'm ready for tonight!" I asked "Why? What's tonight?" she replied, "Well, it's Halloween, of course." I had to break it to her gently that she was very well-prepared a month ahead of the actual date. She was very surprised to hear she had the wrong date - not to mention month!

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

I couldn't believe it yesterday while out shopping both Macy's and Nordstrom's had Christmas decorations for sale. I agree with you, keep all holidays separate.

I have so many Halloween decorations, it's ridiculous.