Monday, October 29, 2012

Gearing up to All Hallows' Eve

Last night Mighty Reader and I indulged in a bit of scary story reading and listening, preparatory to Halloween. We also bought a pumpkin at the market (where Mighty Reader was dressed as a witch because it was the local "Harvest Festival" where the neighborhood closes down the main street and merchants set up booths and children of all ages wander about in costume begging for candy) but that's by the way. Our scary stories kicked off with a listening of Neil Gaiman's "Click Clack the Rattlebag," which you can download for free. It's for a good cause and Mr Gaiman reads the story himself, and he's a good reader. I don't know if it's true that his accent has been insured for a million dollars, but I have heard that rumor.

While we were listening to Gaiman's story, Mighty Reader piped in with, "Hey, this is just 'The Open Window,' that O. Henry story." I did not know the O. Henry story, so naturally dinner preparations were interrupted to search the interwebs, where it was discovered that the story in question is actually by Saki. You can read it here. Mighty Reader read it to me (she's a fine reader) and I enjoyed the tale though I spotted the trick halfway through and afterward said, "Oh, that's nothing so scary as 'The Monkey's Paw,' which Mighty Reader did not initially recall though she later remembered it, because who hasn't read it? You haven't, you say? Then you should get yourself to this page and give it a looking over. It has a classic three-act structure as well as being a solid example of the classic horror story structure. Mighty Reader declared it good and scary and was immediately afterward driven to watch a video of a singing cat to clear the fright from the atmosphere.

We might read more scary stories to each other leading up to Halloween. We might not. We'll see, is what we'll do. I have no idea what we'll do on the night in question; we don't get much in the way of trick-or-treat children in this neighborhood. The pumpkin will be transformed into a ghoulish jack-o-lantern, surely, and possibly Mighty Reader will again don her witch costume while I dress as a writer relaxing after work (lazy? unimaginative? me?). Possibly we'll watch one of the BTVS Halloween episodes or maybe I'll lobby for a Hitchcock film. Don't know. I like the scary story idea best.

Though there is also, of course, this:

(photo by Mighty Reader)


  1. The pumpkins we carved got moldy rather quickly. I blame Los Angeles weather, which is also keeping me from wearing sweaters that feel like hugs.

    Have you read October Country? Those stories still creep me out.

  2. I have learned not to carve pumpkins before the 30th. We saw a lot of moldering jack-o-lanterns yesterday, cut too early, alas etc.

    I'm wearing a sweater today. It feels like a sweater. I have one really thick wool turtleneck that I'm waiting for colder weather to wear. Maybe if it snows.

    I read October Country in the late 70s, so I remember reading it, but I don't remember what I read. I'm sort of full up on Bradbury for the time being. Maybe next year. Right now I'm reading an 800-page Spanish novel, a short Nabokov, a collection of Yeats poetry and prose and God knows what else. Soon I'll start reading about arctic explorers. And I want to read Ulysses again this winter.

  3. You two really get into the holiday! That's great!

  4. We have as yet not done a single thing to decorate the house. Last year by this time we had cobwebs and electric tarantulas. We had big plans for this year, but not so much in the way of energy.

    Your pirate costumes last year were great. That was last year, right?

  5. Wait, so this isn't the first Halloween ever? And there will be others? Then why am I trying so hard? Really, I just wanted an excuse to get together with friend. And the pumpkin pie helped too. For the last week I have been feeling like the day is already over, and I'm ready to take down the spiderwebs that make my messy home seem even messier. Boo humbug.

  6. Every Halloween is extra special, Davin! Put a costume on Peanut and hand out candy to your neighbors, especially the ones you don't know! There's time to make another pumpkin pie, too.

  7. I don't decorate. Poor Darcy. She kept begging me to get decorations like everyone else has around here (#momfail), so I told her she could make some. They are now taped to our window. Colored drawings. Really cute. It's something, at least!

    I made pumpkin bars. Yummo.