Ode to Halloween

Time changed here and I’m discombobulated.

This is iteration number 3 of this week’s post. I had started to write about YouTube algorithms and which music they present to you (might return to this in the future). And then I started to write about trying to figure out how to be in our current world. All abandoned when I remembered that I’d be posting on Halloween (even if the post was for 1 November).

Can’t ignore Halloween.

I think I may have mentioned that this is one of my favourite holidays.

It’s not as exciting here as it was in the US even though the village we used to live in made a big effort. The current village is doing it strangely this year. In the past, there was a sort of trick or treat group thing. But this year it’s somehow morphed into that plus a gathering which has to be paid for. Seems a bit grinchy for a place with million pound-plus houses.  It’s focused on families so I don’t participate.

Anyway, things I love about Halloween.

New York City (well, Brooklyn – I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Manhattan parade) is amazing in the run-up to and during the holiday. People take it very seriously but in a tongue-in-cheek way (see pictures from Carroll Gardens taken in 2016). There’s a parade on 7th Avenue in Park Slope (where my father lived). The candy available is mind-blowing (I sent my son his Halloween box to university – I could only get bags of mixed stuff – a bit of candy corn, some pumpkins and something else – rather than the usual simple bags of candy corn). There is much joy in Halloween which isn’t matched here.

Pumpkins. I love pumpkins. Big ones, little ones, green & orange ones that seem to be growing in the farm shop patch (see below).  Here’s a pic of mine from this year. I am not on the village stroll (too out of the way) so I don’t carve mine – just admire it and then make pumpkin soup. Extremely spicy pumpkin soup.

Yeah, costumes, but only insofar as they are part of the joy. I think my best costume ever was worn to a party in Manhattan in the 1980s as a dryad (tree nymph). Slicked back hair with green glitter, green glittery face makeup, green leotard and brown tights, diaphanous green/yellow thingy worn over it all. Someone asked me out purely due to the costume.

Candy corn! I know a lot of people aren’t partial to this, but I love it. It’s a good thing it’s now (particularly this year) hard to get hold of here. I don’t like the little pumpkins that much and I’m wanting chocolate less and less unless it’s in small fancy doses with nice stuff inside (I got my German teacher a box of autumn spiced stuff from our local upmarket chocolatier). But, candy corn still does it for me.

Halloween smells. Cinnamon and spice; pumpkin spiced lattes (I don’t drink them – just like the way they smell); wood burning; leaf mould. Le Labo Patchouli 24. I have one of their small bottles of this. Birch (tar), styrax and vanilla. It smells woody and leathery on me, drying down to a woody smoky vanilla which is just mouth-watering and a tiny bit spooky.

Finally, I was wandering around the BBC website early this morning (as above, the time changed here – fall back – overnight and I don’t react well when this happens) and there was a short video about a company in Bristol (Bristol Blue Glass / https://bristol-glass.co.uk/) and the mini glass pumpkins they make (they also appear to make bigger ones). I was so overcome I bought three. I’ll post a pic of mine (other two will be gifts) when in hand.

So, what about you? Is this one of your holidays? If you have kids, does Halloween take over the house in the run-up? What was your favourite costume and what is your favourite candy?


  • Patty says:

    I love Halloween. We used to do a big outdoor display, but haven’t gotten it started again here. I’m assembling all the skeletons I need for the display, but the ones I want are big and expensive, and I need like a dozen! But I love and hate this time of year.

  • Dina C. says:

    I have a theatrical background so for me the best part of Halloween has always been the costumes. I’m not into scary horror at all, so mine run the gamut. Sewing costumes for my kids was great fun, too, during their growing up years. Nowadays, my daughter is a professional cosplayer, so she is all about costumes, and my son still puts in the effort every Halloween. I dislike pumpkin flavor and scent — I prefer apple cider for my fall scent and apple pie at Thanksgiving. I enjoyed your memories, Cinnamon.

    • cinnamon says:

      It’s funny. Growing up we went apple picking each fall and got cider along with the apples. I don’t like cider. I love the taste and smell of apples but cider is a big no. I’m really impressed by being able to sew. I’ve tried learning several times but have ended up just being able to do repairs etc.

  • March says:

    I LOVE those glass pumpkins! There’s a glassblower here who makes them and I’ve been eyeing them … I generally just love this time of year — the decorations, the smells, etc. In my neighborhood people put up fun and creative displays, including (around the corner) an entire skeleton family with a skeleton dog (cat?). Also very impressed that it’s been up for a couple of weeks without anyone stealing any of it!

    • cinnamon says:

      I’m not big into chachkas but these are just too good. That’s a wow on the skeleton family — no one is quite that imaginative here. The pics from 2016 were the first time my son had seen proper Halloween decorations.

  • Musette says:

    I don’t ‘do’ Halloween any more. In the past I went to friends for a costume party but that was in another life, another locale. My house is almost ‘Last House on the Left’ – the houses here are set FAR apart and we’re a block from the edge of town. Too far for little kiddies to traverse. Add in the Terrifying Predators (at one point I had an entire pack of predator dogs – pretty scary) – yeah, this is a house to avoid.

    Spice pumpkin soup sounds divine!!!


    • cinnamon says:

      My house is sort of the opposite of yours: on the main road, so not on the regular ‘path’ most people in the village take (and way downmarket too). Yes, I’m looking forward to doing the soup. Might stir fry some chicken (again really spicy) and throw it in.

  • Pam says:

    I love Halloween. I dressed as a cowgirl this evening and handed out candy to the treat-or-treaters while my daughter and son-in-law took the little one around the neighborhood. That way I got to see lots of cute kiddos in costumes. My favorite candy is those little Snickers bars. I could eat a ton!

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    We don’t do Halloween much here in Parramatta. It’s an apartment.
    This year though for the first week back at Trivia, after 4+ months, the venues asked if I’d dress up. So I made a few spooky adjustments to a headdress, made a skull topped staff and had a fab time. Loads of the teams got into it, dressed their tables and themselves up.
    I’m a true sugar junkie. LOVE IT ALL! We have a chocolate bar here in Australia called a Flake. It’s just chocolate but as a kid I’d break tiny bits off and the bar would last me hours. I think that’s my favourite.
    Portia x

    • cinnamon says:

      Great that you’re back to Trivia. Did it feel different after 4 months? There’s a flake here that is sort of tubular. It gets stuck in soft serve ice cream a lot. My sugar tastes seem to be changing … I crave a lot of things but if I really think about them I realise that’s not what I want. Weird.

      • Portia says:

        YEAH! That’s a FLAKE! So bloody yummy.
        Jin and I have bought some pre made advent calendars. I bought them online and in reality they are MUCH smaller than expected and hardly fit anything in the little box drawers. A single Ferrero Rocher will fit if it’s squished tightly in. Yes, that small. So almost all the candy’s that we bought now will be going to Jin’s work. I can’t have them here or I’ll scoff the lot in two days, go into a diabetic coma and they’ll have to cut my feet off.

      • Musette says:

        I feel the same way, C. It’s bizarre, how things you once craved fall off the radar. My sugar consumption is WAY down and I don’t seem to miss it. I had a piece of chocolate yesterday and it tasted… alien. Not awful, just…


        • cinnamon says:

          Yup, I got a piece of pumpkin Halloween cake from my fave bakery nearby. The cake itself was great — moist, not very sweet. But I ate all the icing too because it just looked so nice and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking ginger water to clear my being out. I appear to be able to do cream based desserts (pannacotta and mousse are fine) and things like banana bread, but anything more sugary than that causes issues. And I really don’t get what’s going on with chocolates. I look at them and my heart goes oooh, but if I eat one I think no, that didn’t really work very well.

  • Tara C says:

    Not my holiday, no interest in costumes or parties (there was a very loud one nearby last night). I’m in a funk about how to live in the current world. Never would I have believed things would be like this, growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. Patience with uncertainty is not my strong suit and we’ve got it in spades so I’m struggling.

    • Jo Ann says:

      Tara C. I hear you in regard to struggles during uncertain times. Hang in there!

    • cinnamon says:

      totally get being in a funk about our world. I find I can’t actually think clearly about stuff. I sit down with the intension of trying to think through some stuff and just get stuck. there are too many different things in the soup.