Low-key Halloween

HalloweenSo Halloween is Tuesday. Say what??!! How on earth can it already be the end of October? But it just kind of crept up on us, didn’t it? When my son was younger, Halloween was always a busy time and a fun adventure. Over the years he’s dressed up as a baby pumpkin, a lion, a knight, a pirate, a vampire, a jungle explorer and Mr. Incredible from “The Incredibles,” among others. But this year, like the last several, now that he’s a big ‘ol teenager he’s helping man the door when the trick-or-treaters come, although there seem to be fewer of them each year, alas. The Halloween spirit is further dimming as our neighborhood may no longer be hosting its annual colorful Halloween parade.

But last week at the library, a book caught my eye — one that was perfect for this time of year. “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter,” by Theodora Goss, takes a novel twist on traditional horror characters in literature, centering on the children from the various stories. The central character is the daughter of Dr. Jekyll, but the offspring of Mr. Hyde, Dr. Frankenstein and others also play key roles. We even get to meet Sherlock Holmes and Watson.

I adore fiction set in Victorian-era England and this novel did not disappoint. So if you’re looking for something a little different to read this autumn, this might be worth a try.

So please share: What are your favorite horror books and authors? Or what are your favorite Halloween traditions? Are any of you dressing up for work or to greet the trick-or-treaters?

  • HeidiC says:

    My son is 5, so we’re right in the thick of prime Halloween years. Last year, he was puking sick on Halloween and didn’t get to go out, so he is especially invested this year. He’s going to be Harry Potter, and I’ll be Professor McGonagall. Fun!

    I haven’t read the Goss book, but it sounds fantastic. Do you like graphic novels? The first volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen sounds like something you would love (the movie was shite). I’m also in love with anything by short-story writers Kelly Link or Karen Russell.

  • March says:

    Halloween updates! Yeah, our community parade got cancelled yesterday due to weather, a cold front moved in with a lot of wind and rain.

    Like Tiffanie I’m at the point where my teens just aged out (more or less) of trick or treating but are willing to take over the candy hand-out. I live in one of those pocket neighborhoods near the high school where kids love to trick or treat — the houses are close together and the sidewalks are well lit, and no cars are cutting through, which is always a concern in our heavily trafficked urban area. So I think we get kids whose parents drive them in by the carload from more exurban areas — and I’m totally fine with that in case it’s not clear!

    I admit I have a tiny twinge of sadness at the passing of the era of my little kids’ hyper excitement about the evening, although with four kids it’s also a bit of a relief.

    Finally, I do love seeing some of the costumes the kids come up with — one of my recent favorites was a girl who came as a roll of sushi, with a black plastic bag as the nori wrap and styrofoam peanuts as the rice…. it was fabulous.

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    It is nice to read the book recommendations. I don’t seem to find enough time to read these days. I really enjoyed The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, about an elderly, retired Holmes, who “never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection.” [description from Goodreads]. Right now I am reading Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz but it isn’t very exciting…

    The Lions Club in my city always holds a big Halloween parade. Unfortunately, we had heavy rain yesterday, so it may have fizzled. I loved Halloween as a kid. Nowadays, it is over-commercialized and tacky. Or maybe I am just old and cranky, LOL! It used to be witches, ghosts and the like. Now we have TV characters, politicians (eeek!), and superheros–more of a masquerade, IMHO. And why do vampires have to be sexy? They’re just kids!

    We are not expecting many kids this year–last year there were none! I will wear some kind of Halloween thing at work tomorrow, just can’t figure out what it will be.

  • MMKinPA says:

    My son is on his last year of dressing up. Last year I saw around 100 kids- probably would see more if I set up a table in my driveway. We have steps up to the front door and it seems like a lot of kids don’t want to take the extra time to climb, they stay on the low side of the street with level front walks! I don’t dress up but I always have or Halloween playlist on!

  • tiffanie says:

    Hi Ann, thank you for the book recommendation. It sounds like one I can enjoy that my teen daughter will like too. She goes for the YA horror but I am a wimp so we don’t often read the same thing.

    I recently enjoyed The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley. She also wrote The Watchmaker of Filligree Street. You might enjoy both of these titles. They also are set in historically-inspired alternate versions of England.

    No kids to dress up in our house anymore, but we enjoy the little ones who visit on Halloween. I’m grateful my teenagers like to answer the door and hand out treats. We typically see about 100 kids.