The morning after.
Maybe it looks like a glistening carpet of candy wrappers, clear cellophane or brightly colored paper, reminders of sweet treats sacrificed to a holiday binge shared (or not) with family.
Maybe it looks like makeup and hair products made lurid in the morning light, a collection of lace or fishnet scraps tossed next to a wig or a fistful of bobby pins.
Maybe it looks like tree branches festooned with long tails of toilet paper, swaying in the cool breeze.
Whatever it looks like, the morning after Halloween, All Saints’ Day, can be kind of a sobering wake-up call after a night of costumed partying.
But as we’re struggling, however briefly, to remember whether this is the day we change the clocks or where we hid the really good leftover candy, our minds turn to one question.
How can we keep Halloween in our hearts all year-long?
I’ve got a couple of ideas.
- Keep all the candy. I’m a firm believer in the idea that a sweet treat at the end of a meal signals the brain that the meal is ended, so I should stop eating. I also don’t really want to fully participate in a world without dessert. And how often am I going to get my hands on a single roll of Smarties to pair with my spinach salad? Not often. Make every day Halloween, friends. Eat the candy.
- Play dress-up. I don’t have kids, so this is just a theory, but I think the difference between pretending to be Princess Leia for a day and actually being Princess Leia for a day is just a matter of timing. If you’re hanging out in the princess’s iconic white outfit on Halloween, people think you’re wearing a costume. If you’re wearing the very same outfit on a Tuesday, people think you’re Princess Leia.
For us grown folk, a variant of the same theory applies. Over the years, I’ve gathered a closetful of costumes and costume elements. The truth is that I feel a bit like a superhero every night, but I feel even more like a superhero when I have my Storm wig on. Or I can decide to be Catwoman. Or Marie Antoinette. Let’s just say life is pretty awesome in the costume closet. Want to bring that holiday spirit to your everyday world? Be the princess, wear the uniform, and reap the rewards.
- Consider some alternate uses for that leftover candy. I’ve made ample use of the break room table at work, and while it might take a couple of days, my coworkers never fail to dispose of any extra sweets I bring in. But why not make little treat packages for my other loved ones. My genius mechanic. The guy who introduced me to my genius mechanic. My vets. My hairdresser. Maybe not the dentist, unless yours has a sense of humor. A little off-season thank you gift goes a long way, right?
But this year, I have a little stash of bubble gum set aside for an experimental use: infused vodka. I love the flavor of pink bubble gum, and infused vodka preserves that special taste without the eventual chewy toughness that goes with the real thing. I’ve found any number of recipes for bubble gum infused vodka online, and I’ve chosen the one at Tipsy Bartender. I think I have more vodka than the recipe calls for, so I might have to do a bit of math, but I feel up to the task. There’s a hot pink jar of goodness at the end of that particular rainbow!
There is one more way to keep Halloween well, all year-long. Have a look at Mysteries of the Macabre, a Halloween anthology with six short stories all centered on the best holiday of the year. My contribution, “Three, After Midnight,” tells the story of a young widow who uses Halloween … and the nearest hot body … as a means to reunite with her beloved husband. It’s kind of a sexy cautionary tale about why it’s so important to talk with your partners about that threesome you’ve been dreaming of.
Want a peek?
Deirdre turned to Trip in bed. “I need some ice,” she said. Her chest burned with longing to squeeze his thigh between hers one last time.
He kissed her again, his tongue teasing the delicate flesh just inside her mouth before he withdrew. “Anything for you,” he whispered. In the soft openness of his voice, she heard more of the gentle kindness that came through in his lovemaking. When he said “anything,” he meant it.
That wicked grin reappeared on his face as he left the room. Did he know what the ice was for? ” She’d dared to hope for a man like this – kind, open-minded, and a tireless sexual dynamo – and now that he was here in the flesh, she really hoped this wouldn’t end up being weird.
The stairs creaked beneath his weight. She pressed her tongue to the roof of her mouth and strained to hear him. A man like Trip, who knew how to use his body to control the bodies of others, would move gracefully all the time and quietly when he had to. She didn’t expect to hear anything more, unless he got all the way to the icemaker.
Cam would probably stop him before then.
In the anthology, you’ll also find a shivery romance, a creepy story set on an aging farm, a work of very dark humor, and other tricks and treats. Just like that big bag of little chocolates, Mysteries of the Macabre has a flavor to suit every taste. With six very different stories from six authors, it’s sure to keep you warm long after the jack o’ lanterns are gone.
It won’t pull down that toilet paper, though. You’re on your own with that one.
Alexa Day supports her lifelong reading and writing habit with a succession of really strange jobs. She lives in central Virginia, but you can find her online every Tuesday on Lady Smut (www.ladysmut.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/alexa.day.35), and occasionally on Twitter (www.twitter.com/alexajday).