A Vintage Halloween


Ah, Halloween. The night when my door is pelted with eggs and gigantic teenagers stoop down low and pretend they are not to old to be trick and treating….

Oh we love it really don’t we? We love the idea of nearly drowning when we duck for apples. (Or is it only me who remembers the sensation of cold water up my nose?Now I do it with a fork clamped between my teeth.) and spooking ourselves silly when we amble about the house in the dark and daft husbands jump out from behind closed doors and can’t understand it when we are still shaking ten minutes later. (You are not funny Mark.)

Tonight make Halloween as scrumptiously silly as possible by cooking something daft, playing Vintage Halloween games or taking inspiration from one of the many scary sites on the net…

But when the festivities are over and you have tucked  your little pumpkins into bed, remember that Halloween doesn’t just have to be for kids. Or even big kids. As Sarah Ban Breathnach reminds us in today’s Simple Abundance chapter, Halloween can be a gentle reminder that magic exists in our everyday lives, no matter how cynical we may be about witches and goblins…

“..I believe that Halloween is the perfect reminder that magic flows through us, mystery infuses every encounter of everyday. We conjure up the shoe that cannot be found anywhere in the house, transform leftovers into a feast, coax bounty from barren earth, banish fear, heal hurts, make money stretch till the end of the month. But most women are not aware of their tremendous power for good. We are asleep to our Divinity. We are not consciously awakened to the realization that we are descendants of an ancient, sacred lineage: the She.”   

And isn’t she so right? Don’t we choose to ignore the daily miracles and sheer coincidences that pass our way all the time? Why? What would happen if we quietly acknowledged that our very will has the power to create the tiniest of mundane but absolutely magical moments? What would happen if we learnt to trust what we cannot control?

Tonight after the kids festivities are over, mark Halloween and the gift of magic in our own grown up lives, in your own special way...

*Brush the path leading up to your house. Scrub your doorstep, leave your broom leaning in your porch and light a candle on your path to how good spirits the way into your home…

* Turn out every light in the house, but leave the curtains of the room you are sitting in wide open, all the better for spotting any spooky passers by.  And light just one candle. Perhaps in the pumpkin you carved with the children.See how it feels to experience darkness. To not rely on electricity or the glow of the television.

*Open a window in every room to allow free access to the spirit of magic. Ring a bell to welcome the angels and scare away yukky things…

*Serve something suitably spooky, but elegant all the same. Cook black squid ink pasta (or add a few drops of black food colouring to a pan of tagliatellie) with scallops, Gorgonzola as I will be doing with pancetta and parsnips. Drink deep, dark, syrupy red wine and gorge on a sliver of pumpkin pie…

* Simmer a mixture of nutmeg and cardamom and nutmeg on the stove to warm and scent the house, or burn frankincense and myrrh to offer peace and rest to uneasy souls, and leave bowls of hazelnuts around the kitchen as an offering to the spirit of magic,as hazelnuts ate commonly believed to hold the wisdom of the future…

* Take a long candlelit bath in winter spiced red water. Then create an altar on your bedside table. Choose one perfect flower,( a yellow marigold is thought to welcome the souls of lost ghosts home…) a candle,( purple for pain, white for hope and pink for celebration) an apple, an image of something you dream of, your journal, some coins and a handful of hazelnuts. Close the door on your bedroom and let magic get to work…

* Dress in something scrumptiously spooky. Waft about the house in a long black negligee. then accessorise it in demented Brocante fashion with a flannel dressing gown, and some yummy, snuggly socks  so that as it nears midnight you can open the back door and make a wish on the moon and stars…

Wear amber around your neck as a talisman against evil for your children…

* Arrange bowls of apples (said to tell the future on Halloween night-particularly if you are willing to sleep through the discomfort of having one under your pillow!), nuts, and marshmallows on a small table, and feast on toffee apples and tangerines…

* Make some Mexican hot chocolate (unsweetened chocolate with cinnamon, vanilla and a dash of salt). The  secret is to make sure that your chocolate is frothed to a frenzy, because the Mexicans believe that the spirit of magic exists in the froth…

Serve in huge mugs, with a cinnamon stick to stir and snuggle up in front of the dying embers of the fire with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow..

* Read each other ghost stories out loud, and peel an apple as you read- the person with the longest unbroken length of peel will live the longest…) or when you have eaten and bathed, curl up on the sofa and watch the spookiest movie you own in the pitch black of night…

* Bring journalling night forward and use tonight to create a collage of your dreams for the future. Or write a letter to yourself, a letter stuffed full of hopes for the future, then wrap it in a plait of purple ribbon and tuck it away somewhere, where only magic can find it….

* And if you are really up to it, stand in front of the mirror in the witching hour, as you brush your hair and look into your very own future, then make a wish as you blow out your candle…

Have a spooky time!

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4 comments on “A Vintage Halloween

  1. Gill on said:

    I remember when you first posted this Alison. Are you cleaning up Virtual cupboards?? 😉 Gill

  2. Loved it! Today is dark, grey, very cold… I could make myself believe it’s nearly that spooky time of year… My favorite! I had to tease you! But I did love it!

  3. That is so weird. I was thinking how it felt more like October than May. I love Autumn and Halloween so it was a nice surprise to see this vintage post today.