My wonky pumpkin

I’ve said in the past that Halloween is my favourite holiday. It’s interesting, it’s fun, it’s quirky, it features pumpkins. It doesn’t come with the baggage you get with other holidays.

I’m not hugely big on Xmas. I don’t like Easter much (I’m not even that fond of chocolate eggs at this point – I prefer weirdly flavoured fancy stuff). Thanksgiving is fine. I dislike Bonfire Night here intensely because it upsets the dog loads. I consider the Vernal Equinox and the Winter Solstice important holidays because the former heralds spring, which starts my fave parts of the year, and the latter means our world will start to get lighter. I certainly consider birthdays holidays.

In any case, I love pumpkins and always have (yes, I had to say that again – a person who loves a vegetable). So, that’s certainly a reason to adore Halloween.

It’s become more of a thing here than it used to be. But I miss the madness of it in the US: the NY parades, the amazing decorations in Brooklyn, the waxy Halloween candies that lots of people love to hate (I adore candy corn).

There was decent trick or treating in the previous village where we lived. This village is more staid. The younger kids go on a T or T snake at around 6, the older ones a bit later. They end up at the local pub for snacks. As I live on the main road (the ‘poor’ part of the village) no one ends up here. Which is ok.

One of the fancy chachka shops next village over had beautiful velvet pumpkins for sale (£15, £20, £25 regarding which I restrained myself — I did take a picture but it won’t transfer to computer from phone). I’m not so keen on all the pumpkin latte stuff (the farm shop offers one with whipped cream – the other day when I was there it was sold out at 9:30). I do miss the pumpkin pie my mother used to make though. I’ve looked up recipes for the holiday and there are some nice ones of pumpkin infused brownies and brownies topped with huge marshmallow ghosts.

As I said, Halloween is fun day. It doesn’t have the ‘most important day of the year – you must spend money you don’t have’ aspect of Xmas I find really irritating. And you aren’t expected to cook for hours, eat till you’re ill, and then have to clear up for another hour or so. Yes, you get leftovers but those get boring by the third day.

Doing Halloween things doesn’t cost the earth. All you need to get in the groove is a pumpkin. You don’t even have to make a Jack O’Lantern if you don’t want to sacrifice your pumpkin in that way. Somewhere in the shed I’ve got black paper bats. Dressing up is fun but not required.

I loved seeing what other people wore as costumes when I lived in NYC. It’s still fun here but not quite the same. There simply isn’t the same level of imagination and oomph – even though I read an article a few days ago about areas of London where Halloween has become a ‘thing’, with wonderful decorations and loads of T or T.

Anyway, I also love Halloween smells. And it’s definitely a holiday that calls for spicy perfumes. Plus, I tend to cook or bake something on the day that’s strong on cinnamon, cayenne, cloves and all spice even if that just ends up as chicken.

I looked up some Halloween-specific fragrances and to be honest that seemed sort of cliched. I end up doing my own concoctions.

This year, perfume-wise in the run-up I layered Shalimar and Serge Lutens’ Arabie which resulted in smoky vanilla woodsmoke. That was really good and very appropriate. Then, the other morning morning, I layered Arabie (because it’s got all the right spices and the dried fruit feels very Halloween) and Theo Fennell Scent (because I’ve been wearing this almost non-stop since I unearthed it from the box and it just came over me it might work with Arabie). Finally, this morning, for the day itself I did The Perfumer’s Story Old Books and Arabie and that was seriously good. Dry, woodsmoky, dried fruit, like a display on someone’s front porch with gourds, Indian corn and a scary creature of some sort.

So, what about you? Is this one of your holidays? Could you care less or even find it irritating? If you’re enthusiastic, what do you do on the day and which perfume will you be wearing?

Pics mine and pexels

  • Tom says:

    I like Halloween, but not a lot of the festivities (I am actually posting something about it tonight) We never get trick-or-treaters; they don’t bother with the apartments where us poor people live when there are big houses just across the boulevard where they can get full size candy bars and perhaps a development deal.

    Covid put the kibosh on the WeHo festival and frankly it was about time: they were getting 1/2 a million (not exaggerating) people and it was becoming a war zone. At the last one there were a bunch of injuries including a couple of people who were set on fire. THe city skipped it (and the $5 Million bucks it costs them) this year and just had a regular Halloween, which by all accounts was great.

    • cinnamon says:

      Sounds like the WeHo had stopped being fun and just become weird and a scary. I miss the NYC and Park Slope parades, which were weird, fun and not scary.

  • shiva-woman says:

    Halloween is my birthday, but for the last several years something has come up that has prevented me from fully celebrating or enjoying it. This last weekend was spent grading 46 college essays, and today was spent at the lawyer’s office, writing my own brief for the Butte Fire of 2015 caused by PG&E damages for which I’ve still not been paid. So, I’m in a bit of a funk. However, this is also a shared birthday; my maternal grandmother was delighted when I popped out around 4:05 on Halloween, son “her birthday,” so that’s cool, and she was one of the most lovely, fun, smart people I knew.
    Today, I’m wearing my “positive thinking” and “magical power” perfume: Vallee des Rois by Mira Takla. I wear this rarely now, but for days when I need success, want the job, want the win, want the whatever–this is the pull-it-out-once-a-year perfume. And it’s really lovely–but not very “Weeny” or spicy or fall in particular.
    After the unpleasant time spent working on the brief and my own case, I will finally head over to a Thai Restaurant, grab takeout, go home, hit a bottle of Pinot Grigio hard and light a pumpkin-spice candle from Trader Joes. The hubs and I live in a rural area (think “Deliverance”) so there will be no trick or treaters or costumes. I have put up corn silk tassels and stalks from corn I actually grew (for the first time myself) on the porch columns along with pumpkins and squash my neighbor gave me. Happy Halloween, and may the kindly spirits visit you! Off to the land of Pad Thai…

    • Maya says:

      Happy Birthday!!!

    • cinnamon says:

      Happy (now belated) birthday. How frustrating on the marking and more so on the legal issues. Interesting bottle on the Vallee des Rois. 1988. So, it’s lasted ok? I hope the Thai food and wine went down well.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    There seem to be more and more TorT-ers in our area. Jin bought a big bag of Chupa Chups but then we decided to go out so just threw the bag to a small group, they were delighted, as we sped off to other adventures.
    My job is basically 365 days of Halloween so dressing up seems kinda silly. I did make up a new headdress and a staff to go to my mate Scotty’s party. wore them with a T-Shirt and linen trousers. Called myself Casual Evil. Jin brought a jar of home made pickles that Scott adores and called himself The Pickle Monster. So we were LAZILY Halloween.
    Your perfume choices sound really good. Mine were so unmemorable, I can’t remember.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      Casual Evil and the Pickle Monster. Certainly imaginative for the day. I miss the massive mixture of candy I got at Halloween as a youngin’. The stuff you get here is much more mundane.

  • Musette says:

    after a long weekend spent digging I’m banged-up on Tramadol and coked-out in every iteration of No5 known to man: soap, body oil, a bit of creme, a vinty perfume. You probably can smell me over there, cinnamon! Ask me if I care 😉

    No Halloween for this house. This is ‘That Lady with the Dogs’ house – nobody comes here.


    • Maya says:

      So THAT’S what I kept getting vague sniffs of. Lovely!

    • cinnamon says:

      Ouch. Hope the pain is receding. I have never encountered Tramadol. So, that was you I smelled. I imagine that kind of layering would make it round the world.

  • Maggiecat says:

    I’m wearing Farina Eau de Cologne right now because I had a massage appointment and wanted to be sensitive to the environment but I’ll find something more suitable before handing out candy (maybe Lush’s Shade?). I like giving out candy, eating candy, and chatting with the neighbors, and the weather is nice here. This isn’t a major holiday for me, but it’s nice all the same.

    • cinnamon says:

      Had to look that up. Appears on amazon here. Those were the types of things I enjoyed about Halloween as an adult. But alas no one showed up here yesterday. As I said, we’re at the poor end of the village, on a main road, and no one bothers. Need to decide whether the wonky pumpkin will be soup or roasted.

  • springPansy says:

    Tea for Two will be my nicely spicy SOTD. I like Halloween although I don’t go all out like some of my friends. I don’t need the super ghoulish elements, but I enjoy the rest. We don’t seem to get trick or treaters on our street, but I live in hope and have a bag of Twix in case.

    • cinnamon says:

      That sounds like a wonderful Halloween perfume. I like the decorations that are a bit more tongue in cheek rather than the full on horror show stuff.

  • March says:

    Ooooh, I love your scent-layering! Halloween was huge in my last house — lots of kids + many from other neighborhoods because it was “good” candy territory, small lots, well-lit, low car traffic. Way too quiet in my new place last year, hoping for more this year… I read a fascinating comment thread that sprung up on an article recently, Brits (allegedly) arguing amongst themselves about Halloween details; one commenter complained about costumes being not scary or spooky, and was denying the concept that costumes could be, well, pretty much anything you want (princess, unicorn, sushi, etc.) Another wanted details on US candy lol. I’m old enough to remember when people MADE treats like caramel popcorn balls or candy apples and we ate them without fear!

    • cinnamon says:

      Was the article on the Guardian site? I saw something somewhere about Americans in London arguing about how things are done here (and done wrong). Sigh. That sounds like the sort of place I lived growing up in Philly and suburban NY — where everyone participated and lots of big, detached houses with welcoming people — and great candy hauls.

  • Maya says:

    I loved Halloween as a kid. It was great fun to wear a costume and go out at night with a group of kids and get lots and lots of candy. Now it’s a lovely time with mostly happy people letting out their inner child. But it’s still All Hallows Eve when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. The perfume for that, for me, can only be Iris Silver Mist.

    • cinnamon says:

      Interesting perfume choice. Our time changed late Saturday night/early Sunday morning and today does feel otherworldly.

  • Dina C. says:

    I like Halloween for the costumes. I’ve always loved dressing up in costume since childhood. So, no surprise I was a theatre kid. Liked trick or treating. Really hated the scary, spooky elements of it though. I can’t do horror movies or books. No way! As for perfumes: I used to wear Messe de Minuit since it smells like a cold, dark stone church. When that decant ran out, I’ve been wearing anything else incense-y.

    • cinnamon says:

      No, no horror movies. Actually find the Halloween series really irritating. Had a bottle of MdM back a decade or so. Don’t know what happened to it. Another one sadly gone now?

    • March says:

      MdM is perfect!

  • Tara C says:

    Halloween is not my holiday, as I dislike costumes, parties and commercial candies. But at least it’s not as oppressive as xmas. I do love spicy foods and perfumes though, I am planning to wear Wazamba today, a bit of spicy incense.

    • cinnamon says:

      ah, I really enjoyed dressing up for Halloween and watching others once I stopped doing it. That’s exactly how I find Xmas — oppressive. Incense. I will need to try layering that with Arabie.

  • alityke says:

    Hi Cinnamon
    Halloween only really became a thing in much of the UK about 30 years ago. Areas in large cities probably caught on first but rurally it was slow to catch on. Bonfire Night is a bigger celebration historically but I agree with you about not enjoying it as an adult. My eldest was terrified of them & now the dog is scared stiff.
    I’m currently wearing Shalimar Millisime Tonka on repeat. Incredibly soft, comforting & pillowy. Not much sillage & longevity is only 5 hrs or so, but the baby poop of Shalimar EdP is minimised, which is a good thing. SMT is closer to Shalimar of the 80’s in smell but less radiant.
    Other years this period usually finds me wearing ELDO Like This. Pure pumpkin spice in a bottle

    • cinnamon says:

      I live near a royal marine camp which does serious fireworks each year. they are beautiful but the dog gets really scared and I spend most of the evening sitting with him with my hands over his ears. I believe I’ve tried that ELDO but can’t recall it at all. I think my pumpkin might become pumpkin fritters this year.

      • alityke says:

        Pumpkin fritters sound delicious.
        My favourite pumpkin dish is pumpkin dahl. The sweetness is perfect with the earthy lentils & warming spices