Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween: Ghost Stories to "Get in the Spirit"

(Cupcakes from Whole Foods)

If you've read this blog around this time of year in years past, you'll know that I really, really don't like Halloween. At ALL.

This year I'm feeling a little less bah-humbug about it, though. Maybe it's all the Ghost Whisperer reruns I've been watching. Or maybe trying to focus on the creative aspects of Halloween (rather than the morbid and gory) is making it more positive for me.

Take food. All you have to do is browse through Halloween entries on to appreciate how creative people can be with culinary celebrations of Halloween. Inspired, I turned a quest to develop a moist, dense amaretto-laced cake into this Ghost Cake with white chocolate buttercream frosting. It was yummy.

Then there's music. NPR has this Halloween music mix and a list of "Tunes That Terrify" to get people in the mood, and a Halloween music puzzle that, I am horrified to admit, totally stumped me.

I don't like scary movies at all, but I've always enjoyed a good ghost story. In honor of New England author Mary Wilkins Freeman, who was born on Halloween in 1852, here's a list of spooky stories to enjoy on Halloween night or some dark, stormy night when you're curled up under a blanket and there's a fire crackling in the fireplace. Most of these are available online.

The Man Who Found Out by Algernon Blackwood
Mrs. Zant and the Ghost by Wilkie Collins
The Signal-Man by Charles Dickens
The Captain of the Polestar by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lost Ghost by Mary Wilkins Freeman
Of a Promise Broken by Lafcadio Hearn
Pigeons from Hell by Robert E. Howard
The Lovely House and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs
The Whisperer in Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft
The Apparition and The Wolf by Guy de Maupassant
Four Ghost Stories and The Shadow in Moonlight by Mary Molesworth
The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
The Body-Snatcher by Robert Louise Stevenson
A Ghost Story by Mark Twain
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

Halloween gives us a chance not only to read about fascinating characters and other worlds but also to enter into some of those fictional worlds by becoming characters ourselves. That's one aspect of Halloween I like - the costumes. I enjoy seeing what my friends and family choose each year, and I have to admit I have a little escapist fun dressing up. How do people go about picking their costumes? Favorite books, shows? This year my daughter is pulling off a wonderful "Abby Sciuto" from the show NCIS. I saw some folks show up to a costume party as "rescued Chilean miners." I was boring and went to this costume party in an Indiana Jones hat, but I still had fun.

Finally, there's one more spirit-building treat I revisit each year: this addicting online pumpkin carving activity. Halloween. Love it, or hate it? Hope you can enjoy it this year, however you usually feel about it. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

1 comment:

laura anne said...

Boo, you don't even like poltergeist (the movie)? One of my favorites .