Thursday, October 07, 2010

Halloween Thursday (Something New!)

Yes, I know it's Friday & not Thursday.
On Thursdays this October, starting today, I'll share with you bits of Halloween legend, history, writings and other surprises.
For those who've been with me for a while now, you already know that Halloween is my absolute favorite time of year! (Again, I know how shocked you are at this news flash).
Everything about it makes me happy, the colors, making jack-o-lanterns from pumpkins & turnips, the images, the spooky & scary side, the creepy & magical sides, the decorations, the Fun of it all. (I'm not big on the candy side of it believe it or not!)

"...She loves Halloween. She loves it for all sorts of reasons. The decorations. The mystery. Remembering the little chill that went up her spine as a child, feeling her way through the dark, trying to get a little something for her trouble. Trick or treat! Now, she likes to watch the children traipse through the neighborhood in their disguises..." From Sufficient Grace: A Novel by Darnell Arnoult. (One of my favorite southern lit novels of all time).
I believe my love of Halloween started when I was young. My Mom decorated for it inside of the places we lived and she was the only mom I knew who did. She always made sure I was home to see The Great Pumpkin. (She did bribe me with cash so she didn't have to take me trick-or-treating after a while but she was a single working mom so cut her some slack!) She still has many great decorations but sadly doesn't put them out any more. (And she stopped having a Christmas tree years ago too).
Have you ever read Edith Wharton's short story "All Souls"? Her ghost stories are the best but this one is my favorite. I first discovered it in a collection of Halloween themed stories entitled "The Ultimate Halloween," purchased in 2001. Since, I've read Wharton's story annually the week of Halloween. Talk about mood and tension!

Now I realize that All Souls Eve is actually on November 1st (as All Souls Day is on November 2nd) so while technically this story doesn't take place on Halloween, if you've read it, you'll know why I make the exception. If not, I highly recommend The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, in it you will find "All Souls."

"Who that has lived in an old house could possibly believe that the furniture in it stays still all night? Mrs. Clayburn almost fancied she saw one little slender-legged table slipping hastily back into its place."

"A noiseless world-were people so sure that absence of noise was what they wanted? Let them first try a lonely country-house in a November snow-storm!"

"More and more the cold unanswering silence of the house weighed down on Mrs. Clayburn. She had never thought if it as a big house, but now, in this snowy winter light, it seemed immense, and full of ominous corners around which one dared not look."

I love Tim Burton's movie adaptation of "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving, which I'm sure many of you have seen, but have you ever read the short story? I have it in the Penguin Classics Washington Irving The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories, purchased in 2000.

"The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander in chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon ball, in some nameless battle during the revolutionary war, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk, hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on wings of the wind."

Molly Capes
Bolt and bar the front door,
Draw the curtains tight,
Wise folk are in before
Moonrise tonight.
Halloween, Halloween,
Chestnuts to roast,

A gift for the fairy,

A prayer for the ghost.

Who will have their fate told
This night is known,
Whose hand is full of gold,
Who goes alone.
Halloween, Halloween,
Snapdragon blue,

A lover for me,

And a fortune for you.
Stars shiver blue and green,
Moon's wide and white;
There tattered clouds between
Witches take flight.
Halloween, Halloween,
Apples a-bob,

Elves at the keyhole
And imps on the hob.
"Twelve" calls the deep bell
To the hollow night;
"Twelve" whispers steeple tops
Far out of sight.
Halloween, Halloween,
Fires burn high,

Who shall say certainly,

Who can tell truthfully

What solemn company

Pass through the sky?


From Ghosts and Goblins Stories for Halloween.

(I just love (free!) vintage Halloween clip-art!)


Lisa said...

I wish we could find posters of these! I'd pull down all of my other artwork in October!

Brenda said...

I love vintage clipart and artwork too.

thanks for sharing.

We don't even get to celebrate Halloween at school anymore. Can you believe it?

I don't decorate for the holiday, and for the last few years I have not given out candy, which makes me sad. I might do it this year.

Anyway, I do enjoy seeing what you have posted.

Thanks for sharing.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Thank you for the gorgeous entry!

And thank you for the reading ideas. Always love them. :-)

Have you read "The Hollow" and "The Haunted" by Jessica Verday? If not, oh please do get them out of your library! Betcha' you'll be a fan of hers, too! Betcha'! :-)

I hope you enjoy coming back to her whole site and poking around there. It's great fun! I especially love the story behind the story.

Gentle hugs...

Jo said...

Lisa, great idea - I'll bet posters could be made! (My husband will just adore you for the suggestion, LOL!)

Not allowed to celebrate Halloween at school anymore Brenda?! What the hell is this world coming to? We don't get many trick-or-treaters in this area of the neighborhood for some reason but I give out candy every year anyhow. This year we might be away for Halloween and I'm not sure I'm happy about that idea.

I haven't read those Aunt Amelia but will definitely look into them, thank you for suggesting!!!

rlee8235 said...

I love Autumn and the days where you can almost smell the coolness in the air!! I also love the art work!!

Jo said...

Thank you! If you use Google Images and search for 'free vintage Halloween clip art' you'll find lots of great stuff that comes up!

dmuseit said...

I have become a free vintage image collecting fiend recently as well.
This was a wonderful and well written post. I could read your work for hours if I did not have cats to feed.