Sometime last month I was scrolling through the instagrams, and I paused, thoroughly enchanted by some photos that my friend Megan had just shared. To give a little backstory, Megan and I met at Orlando’s inaugural Death Cafe, which I was hosting at the time, and, having several interests in common of the morbid and macabre variety, we became fast friends. As a matter of fact, she learned of that Death Cafe event entirely due to the fact that I had posted about it beforehand on instagram…. which, at the time, I thought was maybe a frivolous way to advertise for an event, but, hey, it worked! Megan is a lovely friend and I always looking forward to spending time with her and talking perfumes and jewelry, and Hannibal, and spooky stuff whenever the opportunity presents itself.
At any rate, several weeks back, Megan and her family had begun their annual Halloween decorating party, and, as I believe this was probably in back in August’s sweltering dog days, that makes these seasonal preparations even more delightful (as I’m sure all my rabid weenie weirdo friends would agree!) I suppose I just really adored that idea that she has made a yearly tradition of bringing out all the Halloween-themed goodies and turning the festooning of their home into into a celebration with her children to herald in their favorite season and its high holiday. It reminded me a bit of how I felt when September rolled around when I was a little girl in Ohio. Though I don’t have many memories of my early life there, I definitely recall the eerie cardboard skeleton being hauled out of storage, and once it was affixed to the basement door with lots of scotch tape, I knew magic was soon to be afoot!.
I asked Megan if she would mind sharing a few words with us here at Unquiet Things about the spoopy childhood magics conjured forth via her pre-Halloween festivities, and she happily obliged. Read on for more, and thank you, Megan!
Every year at the end of August, (after weeks of anticipation -i.e. pestering- from my little monsters) we pull down the orange & black storage containers from the dusty attic and commence what I have not-so-creatively titled “The Annual Halloween Decorating Party.” It really isn’t anything too elaborate: I bake cookies, light a Fall-scented candle (go ahead, call me a basic witch!), queue up the Beetlejuice soundtrack, and we all dance around decorating our home with ghosts (both literally & figuratively) of Halloween’s past. The kid’s faces fill with wonder and excitement as they unearth the next decoration from the box, as if discovering treasure for the first time (even though it’s just the same ol’ stuff), or greeting an old friend they haven’t seen in a year. Elaborate or not, a wonderful time is had by all.
This has always been a sort of tradition for me at various stages of my life, drawing from my early childhood experiences centering around the holiday. In those days (you know, the days of yore – AKA the 80’s) I’d watch my mom pull out the terracotta jack-o-lantern
from some seemingly secret cupboard containing all-the-cool-things, and carefully place it in the center of the dining room table. Then we’d hang up the old & worn (now vintage!) paper witch & skeleton & pumpkin and that’s when I knew: HALLOWEEN IS COMING! The very sight of these things would send spooktacular shivers down my spine. Oh, the magick of the season!
Now, decades later, I create these moments with my children in hopes of passing the same magickal feelings on to them. They are intangible but so very real, much like memories themselves. I hope that they will look back on these times with great fondness. Maybe they will continue the tradition someday, excitedly unpacking decoration after decoration from an orange or black box and invoking the magick of their past. Or maybe they will share it with their own little monsters, should they choose to have them.
There are many opportunities throughout the Fall to practice a bit of childhood magick. I love to pick pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, get lost in a corn maze, and of course we are in full-on celebration mode come Halloween night. But for me, it all begins with the decorations. Just like it did all those years ago with one silly little terracotta jack-o-lantern and some worn out paper.
What about you? What sort of special Halloween magick lives on from your childhood? I’d love to hear about it!