Halloween

draculahorror.jpgWhen my brother and I were 4 1/2 we were taken to see a movie called X-76 Bloodrust. I can’t find a single living soul who has ever heard of this movie. Not even John Landis.  What I gleaned about the plot, which was observed through a space between two fingers covering my eyes, was that this undulating creature (that looked like vomit, by the way) was created in a Sparkletts bottle, and if it touched you, you would die. I think it might have been the poorer cousin of The Blob.

The denouement had this vomit creature trying to force its way out of a baggage hold in an airplane and the passengers freaking out. My brother slept with a nightlight for the next 11 years. His head wrapped tightly with the sheet and just the tip of his nose poking out so he could breath, because we all know that monsters can’t touch sheets or blankets. I on the other hand became fascinated with Science Fiction and horror.

Charles Laughton’s Quasimodo, Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, Bela Lugosi’s and Christopher Lee’s Dracula and Henry Hull’s Werewolf of London (definitely more sexy than Lon Chaney Jr.) I even remember an early Humphrey Bogart chiller called The Return of Dr.X. where he played a man who had been executed and was brought back to life by the laziest of plot devices: electricity. His line to the girl he kidnapped and brought to a remote cabin will stay with me forever: “Don’t bother to scream, no one can hear you”, as he pulls out the biggest fuckin’ hypodermic needle I’d ever seen. Thass what I’m talking ‘bout!

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pumpkinpudding.jpgAre you ready for Halloween? Do you have your costume? Do you have enough candy to hand out to the little goblins in your neighborhood? Do you have whiskey? No, not for kids, for you.

Here's how it works: Make yourself a batch of David Lebovitz's boozy butterscotch pudding, and chill it in the fridge all day. Then after you've finished handing out all of your Halloween candy, put the kids to bed, turn off the lights and treat yourself.

Just be sure to serve it tricked-out with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a few candy corn. That is, if you haven't already gobbled up all the candy corn in your house. If you have, then switch to salty, roasted pecans.

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moms.jpgIt was Halloween 1976 and the movie showing in town that week was "Carrie." Back then it didn't really matter what was playing because my Mother and her best friend, Mrs. Mary Lynde had made a pact, which is still standing to this day and I think it went like this, "We will go out every Saturday night with our husbands, first meeting at one of our houses to have two Jack Daniels and diet Sprite and then to a restaurant without any of our children." It's only been in the past few years that I have been invited out with them on an occasional Saturday night. 

Mother and Mrs. Mary Lynde had seven children between the two of them when they were in their 20's, which I can't imagine. Many people thought we were all one family or at least cousins because we were always together.  I can only imagine how much they must have looked forward to Saturday nights.

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HOFViewMy husband and I are not fans of Halloween. I hate dressing up - clearly I lack a sense of whimsy and the need to pretend to be something I am not. Or maybe I'm just content with who I am. You can be the judge. His birthday is three days before and his childhood parties were always black and orange-themed and required a costume. You'd think all the free candy would balance the drag of dressing up, but as the years went by his hatred only grew. Since we don’t have children avoiding this holiday is pretty simple…just turn the lights off and stay away from the front door.

Or go to visit relatives. We usually visit our families back East once a year and had the great luck, unbeknownst to us, to find ourselves in the quaint hamlet of Cooperstown, NY on Halloween in 2006. We honestly didn't even think about it. We were on vacation so the days just ran together. It was just the day we happened to be there. We didn't even realize it WAS Halloween until we entered the Baseball Hall of Fame.

We are big fans of America's past time and we were determined on this trip to actually take some time to see something new for once. If you've never been to the Birthplace of Baseball, well, you are really missing out. Walking around Cooperstown is like stepping back in time. It's small town America at its' best. No chains, no fast food, no big hotels. Just mom & pop small businesses - most with a baseball theme - centuries old stately homes and a fancy restaurant or two that have been providing fare since before our grandparents were born.

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fall-leaves.jpgI remember it like it was yesterday – laying in bed, completely entranced in the fiery excitement of it all. It was nothing I had ever experienced. My senses were heightened, an obsession had begun.

I was experiencing my first real autumn. 

Growing up in New Orleans, fall was something that just … happened. The days went from excessively hot, to a little less hot, to bearably warm with the occasional jolt of cold (Cold, of course, being temperatures in the 50s. Brrrr). The leaves bypassed that whole color-change thing everyone always talks about. It was green to dead and that was that.

That is, until I began my freshman year in Maryland at Goucher College. As I plucked away at my snooze button, cursing the existence of a 9:30 am class, I rolled over and froze. There they were – red, orange, yellow and every combination between the three.

Once I was able to tear myself away from the window, I sprinted down the hall. “Have you seen them? They’re beautiful!”

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