Halloween is a huge deal in this house. We spend the entire month of October celebrating!
My daughter has already decorated with sparkly pumpkins and Halloween gnomes and spiders. We’ll plan pumpkin decorating—mostly painting them because last year they went all out with everyone carving pumpkins and my dd didn’t like the mess. Painting them and letting them rot on the inside is the better plan in her mind.
Of course, there will be big plans for costumes. We get costumes, but we’re really serious about the accompanying makeup transformations. (I’ll share photos throughout the month of previous efforts.)
Then there are the events around the local area. Tomorrow’s the “Pumpkin Patch” in a little town not far from here. If the rain that’s forecast holds off, we’ll head there for hayrides and good food. Halloween night itself is a marathon. The town’s churches hold “alternative” events, giving out candy and hosting games. The kids time it so they can hit every one of them and still be able to “Trick or Treat” around a neighborhood or two. At least, the little ones do. Okay, so the big ones will go in costume and hold the 8-year-old’s hand and hope the person at the door sends some extra candy their way. You are never too old for Treats!
And of course, every weekend until the big day, we’ll be watching some Halloween classics. Of course, there’s Hocus Pocus and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Those were my dd’s favorite when she was growing up, and she’s continuing the tradition. We’ll watch Halloweentown and the new Halloween classic starring Adam Sandler—Hubie Halloween.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, offer some more suggestions for movies or Halloween activities!
It’s beginning to feel a lot like fall… Well, not really, but it hasn’t felt a whole heck of a lot like summer. I mean, it’s been hot, but hey, this is Louisiana. When isn’t it hot? And maybe I’ve just become immune to the heat, but it hasn’t felt as hot this year as it has previously. Or maybe it is due to that elephant in the room that everyone is sick of talking about but understands there’s not much getting around it: Miss Uninvited Guest COVID herself that has taken away many of the outdoor activities I generally participate in. And we also had another unwanted party crasher in Ida, who just ransacked what Ms. COVID had left available. In any case, I find myself welcoming the arrival of fall for the first time. Along with fall comes the season of holidays. And in my mind, it’s never too early to begin planning for the holiday festivities. Well, almost never too early. I can’t quite get on board with the whole Christmas in July thing.
Halloween is my jam. It didn’t always use to be though. When I was younger, I didn’t enjoy going door to door asking for candy. I preferred being the person who distributed it to others. Then, when I moved to the place that shall not be named, the majority of residents in that area do not celebrate Halloween. In fact, there is an unspoken anti-Halloween movement where groups purposely engage in behaviors that will prevent people from being able to participate in trick-or-treating. For example, some organizations hold “meetings” that will keep parents at work longer. Others speak negatively about the holiday in an attempt to stigmatize parents who allow their children to celebrate or any adult who celebrates. Some even go as far as to destroy decorations. Others who aren’t anti-Halloween seemed to hold the belief that it was a holiday only for children, and thus, do not do anything special. While there, I learned to fly under the radar with some ways to celebrate without being too obvious to a casual viewer.
Orange trash liners. Most people I know hate glitter and confetti because it gets everywhere and they hate cleaning it up. But let me tell you, my trash sparkles. Several years ago, I accidentally discovered this decorating gem. I needed trash bags and randomly grabbed a box without paying attention to color or size. It turned out that they were orange and didn’t fit any of the trash bins in my home. Additionally, they were super thin (practically transparent) and not strong enough to hold anything heavier than paper. Since I’d opened them before noticing my error, I decided to take them to my work office. At the time, I had a coworker who was convinced that anything having to do with Halloween invoked evil spirits and demons. So, when she saw the orange trash liners, she assumed I was involved in some voodoo witchcraft. She also was the kind of person who inspects other people’s trash and spread gossip about the contents. Honestly, using orange trash lines as decorations hadn’t crossed my mind. My hand happened to land on orange and could have just as easily grabbed blue, purple, or pink. When my coworker began with her neurotic blathering and accusations, of course, it tapped a passive-aggressive nerve in me. I had recently received a package that had black tissue paper, and my child had a project that she’d used black glitter. It all found its way into the orange trash bags daily. Now, normally, the trash was collected from each office, but I set mine outside my door for pickup by janitorial staff. So, each morning there was a translucent orange orb filled with black glitter and confetti. It wasn’t long before other workers adopted the idea. Simple and petty.
Plastic caldrons are easy to find, inexpensive, and make excellent candy dishes. Most dollar stores and craft stores sell packages of plastic caldrons for just a few bucks. Fill with your favorite candy or popcorn and place wherever you like. At first glance it may seem like an ordinary bowl, but a caldron can add a fun pop of holiday spirit to a room without being over the top. For writers, use these caldrons to hold writing materials such as pens, erasers, paperclips, sticky pads, bookmarkers, etc.
Of course, one can never go wrong with a holiday wreath. Depending on how obvious the design, holiday wreaths can range from being subtle to obnoxious. They can be delicate with silk flowers and frilly ribbons, a bit silly with googly-eyed ghosts and laughing Frankensteins, generic with pumpkins and black-and-white trimmings, or frightful with monsters and gory vampire teeth dripping blood. Perhaps the best features about wreaths are that nearly every place sells them, they are easy to make, and it doesn’t take much to refurbish them. Premade wreaths can be pricy at some stores; however, in general, really nice wreaths can be constructed with materials from the dollar store for only a few bucks. This means that wreaths are within most people’s budgets. For book lovers, add something that is themed for your favorite book or author.
A friend had the daunting task of cleaning out his attic, garage, and basement. As would most people, he divided all the items into three groups: keep, sell/donate, and toss. When it came to the two aquariums, he could not find anyone to rehome them to. (I guess fish are not popular.) He didn’t want to throw them out because they were in perfect condition and he felt throwing them in the trash would be wasteful. What he knew was that he didn’t want fish anymore. When he’d moved, he placed the aquariums in his basement converted mancave. However, something about the ventilation in the room (he explained it to me but I forgot what he said) wasn’t conducive to having fish (even with pumps). In short, his tanks had become fish death chambers. After some thought, he decided to turn them into display cases. For Halloween, he decorated one in what I think closely resembled a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean. He had skulls and fish skeletons guarding a half-sunken treasure chest while human skeletons were half-buried in rocks and plank. What was interesting about this décor was how pretty it was. While it gave the vibe of Halloween, it was more purples and blues than oranges and blacks for a refreshing take on holiday decorations.
This idea may resonate with people who enjoy decorating but do not want to spend money on seasonal items. That is what sparked the next idea for a friend. She really enjoys the holidays but feels that she will never get her money’s worth out of decorations. She developed the idea to arrange of her “horror” and “spooky” books and books with orange, black, white, and gray covers on the same shelves on her built-in bookcase. She then added old muslin that she’d found stuck away in a box, used candles in worn candlestands, old jewelry (I don’t know why this worked with the theme but it did), and bottles she filled with water and dye to look like potions. What she ended up with was a show-stopping Halloween display nook that cost her zero bucks. She does the same for other holidays, and it only takes her a couple of hours to gather what she needs and design it. It changes the entire feeling of the room.
So, those are five quick, inexpensive, and maybe less thought of Halloween decorating ideas. Now it’s that time to let me know what your thoughts and opinions are. What did you think? Did you find any of this information helpful? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. Also, let me know if you would like me to cover more of these types of topics or dive deeper into this one. If you like this post, please click the like button and share it. If you’re not following me on the Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.
When the scandal of a double homicide threatens to destroy his career, this billionaire hockey player hires an ambitious sports agent to improve his public image. It’s time to let the puckery begin.
Timothée Croneau is that jock—the bad boy superstar with the naughty reputation. He’s handsome, arrogant, and a billionaire. He’s also the number one person-of-interest in a double homicide and recently traded to a losing team who is showing him no love. And wouldn’t it be just his luck that his career splashed in the toilet six months after his long-time agent kicked the bucket? Now, he’s stuck with Ryker Kitsch. An agent is supposed to fix his life, though, not break his heart.
Speaking of breaks, ex-athlete Ryker Kitsch wants his in the sports agency realm. He sees his chance to make a name for himself by helping rebrand his agency’s newly acquired hockey star, Timothée Croneau. The guy needs every lick of positive PR he can get. So, why is the devilishly gorgeous forward fighting him at every step and leaving Ryker to wonder if he’s been hired for a babysitting gig?
The mess Timothée is stirring was never in any contract Ryker was hired to handle. One thing’s for sure. Whether it’s a forecheck or backcheck, collision is inevitable.
For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.
It’s hard to be chatty with one-handed typing. I say that, but I just finished a novella typing with one hand and one finger. It can be done if you’re properly motivated! No excuses!
I’ve been plotting my new book and another series I’ll be showing you soon. Well, as soon as I can get a cover for you to drool over. It’s not easy looking for the right series name, the right branded look for a cover. I love my Montana Bounty Hunters books’ “look”— sis (Elle James, if ya didn’t know) did an awesome job with that.
I spent (er, wasted an afternoon and evening looking for the right guy to be on the first cover. I still have no clue. Nothing jumped out to me from the usual sites. If any of you out there have recommendations for photo stock sites with really hot, rugged men, I’m game to go look!
I spent an hour cleaning my desk. If you could see the amount of crap I keep on my desktop (toys, cups of pens, those weird solar-powered dancing figures, notebooks, and on and on, you’d see what I mean. I’m not taking a photo because you’d call one of those hoarders shows or sic Marie Kondo on me, but I don’t roll with Feng Shui. I roll with clutter.
So, tonight after midnight, Lawless releases! Expect fun, sexy times. Due to my hand, it’s shorter than what I’ve been writing lately, but it’s satisfying and sweet, and the heroine is badass in her own way. The hero is an ex-Ranger and presently a Texas deputy—so a guy who can handle thangs. And he has chest hair, which the guy on the cover clearly does not!
A few minutes ago, I went upstairs to start coffee for my dd. She’s got all four kids in the sunroom with the windows open. Outside, it’s sunny and just right—breezy with just a hint of cool. They’re gathered around the table out there with their school laptops and tablets, doing their homework. My dd’s in her groove in the mornings, making sure everyone is keeping up on assignments and getting to their zoom meetings on time. She does all that while doing dishes and laundry. She’s amazeballs.
2020 will be a year everyone in our family will look back on with mixed emotions. I think the fact we’ve pulled together as a family and spent so much time figuring out how to be happy will be something we’ll look back on with fondness. Everything we do is purposeful. Every little victory is worthy of celebration—a movie night, a special dinner.
Which gets me to the coming holiday…Halloween. I’d love your suggestions for making it fun and memorable. We’ll be skipping the door-to-door stuff and the many activities I’m sure most folks will still be doing around town (folks here aren’t much on science or masking). So, offer up ideas for things for us to do around the homeplace, and you’ll be entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
This is a pic from one of my favorite Halloween memories! My family takes their costumes seriously!
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to accompany the kids tonight when they go trick-or-treating. 🙁 I’m fighting a horrible cough that’s making my back and ribs hurt like hell. If you all partake, I hope you have fun! Even if it’s only to rave over the kids’ costumes when they come to your door for candy!
Is the pic festive enough? I love busy images, so this one’s fun for me! Halloween is our family’s favorite holiday. We go all out with costumes. And then we make a mad dash around the surrounding area, looking for fun, kid-friendly trick-or-treat parties. And then, there are the photos. We take them every year. These are a few of my favorites…
I think the 5-year-old was 2 when this was taken. She was already great with the camera. She still loves getting into character.
Here’s the pic of all the kids, taken in the front yard. We’d had hay delivered for the horses…
This was a couple of years ago. Note the werewolf in the wheelchair. We took the photo in front of the town’s cemetery gates…
There’s an “extra” kid in the mix in a ninja outfit. My dd tends to gather kids for these events. This year, we’re taking the van and an extra car to ferry everyone around. I’m not 100% sure I’m going. I had a late night. But I’ll try to get a nap, because I’d hate to miss the fun!
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card,
tell me what your Halloween plans are!
Oops! Adding one more fave! The 14-year-old way back when. She went as an Aztec princess…
This month, my guest post on Delilah’s blog will be a few words plus a link to a FREE SHORT STORY, Emily’s Very Special Halloween.
What happened is that one afternoon I had this sketchy idea for writing a Halloween story. I thought, okay, something with dark mystery would be nice. I’d figure it out the next morning.
During the night, this idea came to me about a book and a magical man. Next morning, I could think of nothing else. I sat down at my desk and by noon, the story was finished.
I’ve never had that happen before.
So…I hope you enjoy it. I’m still a little creeped out by the whole process, and I’m absolutely not going out for Halloween. Anywhere. My two black cats are enough, thank you very much.
Usually, that’s how it works for me with a character appearing out of the shadows. They start talking, showing me the story. This one is spooky, which is not my norm. Rest assured there are plenty of others that will wet your panties and keep you up too late.
Here’s the first part of the story:
The book fell, quite literally, into Emily’s hands. Teetering on the tall ladder, she set down the duster and examined the small volume. Bound in blackened ancient leather, the book seemed unremarkable. The title, visible more from the indentation on the leather than by any surviving original lettering, said “Spells and Incantations.”
Briefly, she leafed through the brittle pages. Elaborate scrollwork ornamented the letters, which didn’t form words she knew. At one random page, she tried to read the text and succeeded only in mumbling nonsense phrases.
She’d never seen it before, but that wasn’t a particularly odd circumstance considering the thousands of books crammed onto the shelves along the narrow aisles of Taylor’s Used and Collectible Books. Mr. Taylor himself, a distracted older man with a pinched face and thick glasses, liked to joke that the books bred when the lights were out and he took no responsibility for the overflow that sometimes ended up in hopeless stacks partially blocking the aisles.
Then he’d look over his glasses and wink in an admission that yes, on his off hours from tending the store, he roamed through garage sales and flea markets and browsed the internet to find more books. As far as Emily was concerned, Mr. Taylor cared less about selling books than he did about acquiring them. She’d seen him become visibly pained when someone insisted on purchasing a book that he held in particular regard. Which more or less applied to a majority of the works in the store, a ramshackle red brick structure on the corner of a minor street on the edge of downtown.
Turning to replace the slender tome, Emily frowned at the crammed shelves. She tried pushing the books over where she’d dusted but there was absolutely no room for another book. Even more puzzling, additional books lay on top of the upright ones, filling every inch of space. She looked around wondering where the book actually fell from, then tucked it in her oversized apron pocket, stifled a sneeze, and climbed down.
At the front counter, she set the book down as a man walked up. There had been only a handful of people in the store this morning, not exactly one of their busier days. Somehow this guy had slipped by her. Had she not heard the bell ring?
“How can I help you?” she said, trying not to gape at his appearance.
He studied her with intensely dark eyes, almost frightening at first glance but then engaging in a fascinating way. Short dark hair and a slight after-five shadow set off his chiseled features, a combination of strong aquiline nose, stern brow, and sensual lips she couldn’t avoid noticing. His lips seemed to move slightly even though he wasn’t talking.
He cleared his throat. “I’m looking for a particular book,” he said. The corner of his mouth crooked in the hint of a smile. “Do you have a section for vintage and collectibles?”
His melodic baritone voice sent chills down her spine that collected at her nipples and pressed them to hard points. Almost breathless, she clutched the edge of the counter, pointing to the place she’d just been dusting.
“Aisle 5,” she said. “Halfway down. There’s a ladder if you need it.”
Download the full story at Smashwords and use coupon code CY64F. Hurry! Coupon good only through October 12.
P.S. My apologies to Delilah fans who are also subscribers to my newsletter. This free story offer was extended in the October issue of Liz’s Hot News, meaning you didn’t get anything new here. But stay tuned—more free stuff coming to newsletter subscribers! For those not yet subscribed, when you join the fun, you’ll get excerpts from forthcoming works, short stories, coupon deals, previews and more. You can unsubscribe at any time, and it’s FREE. Easy signup athttp://eepurl.com/bHOyS9
I don’t know about you, but Halloween/Samhain/Dia de los Muertos is kind of a big deal around here. We don’t buy candy because we live in the boonies—no one goes door-to-door with their kids. We’ve painted pumpkins, put up our Halloween tree (a silver metal tree to hold our Strangeling ornaments), and begun purchasing the pieces of our costumes. We’re still hunting down all the face and hair paint we need to make a credible Harley Quinn. 🙂
All this made me wonder what sort of prep you do for the big date? Tell me about it and you’ll be entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
The morning he’d woken, feeling as though he had the worst hangover ever and rushing to the fridge for the hamburger I’d thawed the night before, he’d recognized the signs.
I’d awoken with him standing in the doorway, his eyes haunted.
“What’s wrong?” I’d asked.
He’d given me a tight smile, but then I’d noted the deep gray shadows beneath his eyes, the slick of perspiration on his forehead. The reddening irises. “Danny?” I’d asked, sitting up on my elbows as my stomach roiled.
No, it can’t be happening. Not to us. We’d done everything right. We’d stayed clear of quarantined areas. Used our own vehicles rather than public transportation to get back and forth to work. We never drank after one another. Didn’t eat out in restaurants where we couldn’t watch the cutlery and plates being sterilized. Didn’t kiss.
“How?” I’d asked, my throat thickening with tears.
He shook his head. “I don’t know, baby. But I have to go. I’ll walk to the center. Turn myself in. I won’t tell them where I live, but you’ll need to sanitize when I’m gone.”
My stomach tightened in rejection. “You aren’t going there.”
His sweet smile stretched, although his eyes watered with unshed tears. “I don’t have any choice. I’m already scared to death I may have infected you.”
I shook my head, the back of my throat burning. “You know what they say about those places. I won’t ever see you again.”
He spread his hands and gripped the doorframe, his head bowed. “I love you, Trish.” Then he backed away from the door.
I threw back the covers. “No! We’ll find another way. Wait this out. They’ll find a treatment.”
But he walked away, down the hallway toward the front door.
I scrambled from the bed and followed. Before he reached the door, I encircled his waist with my arms and held him back. “Don’t do this. Stay with me. We’ll find a way to keep me safe. You still have a little time.”
While he’d finished the raw hamburger and I’d drank a pot of hot coffee, we’d conspired. By the end of the day, I’d hit the hardware store two counties over, and he’d cleared his beloved studio.
That hug at the doorway was the last time I’d touched him.
I locked the door and walked around to the glass. The pile of clothing was where I’d left it. My gaze shot to Danny. He hadn’t torn the clothing to shreds as he had every time I placed a fresh stack inside his cage since the illness had taken his mind.
Instead as I watched, my eyes filling, he hobbled toward it. He shucked the grimy, blood-encrusted sweatpants he’d worn since he’d slipped the manacle around his own wrist. He bent and picked up the washcloth and clumsily soaked it in the water, rubbed it on the soap, and began to wash.
The fact he could think through the process of cleaning himself made me sob.
The sound must have penetrated the glass because his dark gaze found mine. His features were still cast in a dull, emotionless mask, but his red eyes told another story. He was there.