I love the gloomy and slightly spooky atmosphere surrounding Halloween, or at least what I associate with Halloween as someone who lives in a country where it’s not widely being celebrated: the night on which he souls of the dead revisit their homes and the boundary between this world and the Otherworld thins, making it easier for spirits or fairies to come into our world. This is what I first learned about Halloween, which I now know comes from the Gaelic festival Samhain which was the Christian inspiration for Halloween, and still appreciate best. Of course I do also like some aspects of modern day (American) Halloween, particularly the carved pumpkins and other natural decorations, the cute cookies and the good costumes. What I do not like is the scary stories and the horror movies that most people here in the Netherlands associate with Halloween. I don’t like being scared or watching teenagers being sawed into pieces by a madman with a chainsaw. What I do like is being bewondered (is that a word?) by what we don’t know, or don’t understand, and the magical possibilities that that holds.
So here are some simple tips if you, like me, love the gloom but not the doom:
– Corpse Bride. She literally rises from the grave! Beautifully made, romantic, heartbreaking and wonderful.
– Sleepy Hollow. Hauntingly beautiful and sometimes a little too scary, but totally worth it.
– Stranger Things. Sadly we have just finished watching, but you can bingewatch it all on the 31st if you please. LOVED IT.
– This Halloween themed Indie/Folk/Alternative Compilation from my favorite compilator.
– Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell – has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween but is haunting and beautiful and I suppose that’s what it’s all about for me.
– Build a bonfire, light all the candles, turn off the electric lights.
– Bake some simple cookies shaped as ghosts, broomsticks or bats. If you don’t have Halloween themed cookie cutters, make a simple white frosting and go to town turning regularly shaped cookies into ghosts and spiderwebs. Then eat them.
– Carve a pumpkin, or better yet, cut the whole thing into slices, put it into a pan with some broth, garlic, onion and ginger and boil until it’s soft before adding a can of coconut milk and blending it into a delicious soup. Then eat it.
What are your favorite non-scary activities for Halloween?