Category Archives: hallowe’en
I always wanted a pumpkin patch.
My earliest Halloween memory is of Trick or Treating with a hollowed out turnip dangling from a string that threatened to snap as the candle flame licked at it and my tender young fingers. Actual pumpkins were in short supply when i was a kid (back in the late 1800s). But they became easier to pick up as the years rolled by, and are now a seasonal staple in farm shops and supermarkets across the land.
My first attempt at growing my own jack o’lanterns took place two decades later in a tiny, urban garden in the heart of Camden Town, London. The soil composition was mostly thick clay and cat poo, so it was a miracle when one green little fruit appeared – and not at all surprising when it died a week later.
Fast forward another decade and here we are at Lee Cottage. It’s our second Halloween out here in the countryside (…the October Country, if you will) and as the Season of Mists fast approached I was more determined than ever to give growing pumpkins another go.
We started them off in my office, on the windowsill that gets the sun. I read M.R. James Ghost Stories to them to get them germinating, and pretty soon we had four viable plants. We planted the best three of them outside and, after a lot of feeding and watering and slug wrangling, got two lovely pumpkins per plant.
The smaller ones we ate in September (one roasted in a risotto, the other souped up) had a very mellow flavour. But October’s batch has ripened much more, with that classic earthy sweetness.
Our biggest, prize pumpkin will be carved up by our two little monsters today. I like to think my sons will, like their Dad, marvel at the fact that they are scooping seeds from a pumpkin that we grew from a seed.
And at this special time of year (when the cycle of life, death, and birth is embedded in our Samhain rituals and customs) i can’t think of a more perfect way to celebrate than with a pumpkin plucked from my very own patch.
I always wanted a pumpkin patch.
Well, at long last i got one. And next year, it’ll be bigger.
Happy Halloween to you and all your pumpkins. Young or old, shop-bought or hand-cultivated, enjoy them!
Happy Halloween dear f(r)iends!
Plenty of Tricks and Treats for you here, in Count Frazula’s Halloween Playlist:
(Spotify) Halloween Playlist 1 – Count Frazula
And here’s my favourite of the latest Halloween viral videos (thank goodness the characters in my tales aren’t this sensible! HELL NO!)
It’s that time of year again folks. The time when the air turns frigid and the trees drop their leaves in terror and excitement for the tricks and treats to come. A time for Monster Munch. And Monster Movies.
I’ve been gearing up for the ghoulish with a free short story and Q&A over at the supercool Hell House Hotel Halloween Advent Calendar, and a Halloween Haunts guest post at the Horror Writers’ Association Blog ~ check ‘em out!
And if you find yourself in foggy old London this Hallow-eek-end, do drop by and say hi…
27th OCTOBER ~ SAMHAIN STORIES AT ABNEY PARK CEMETERY
28th OCTOBER ~ WRITING HORROR at LONDON SCREENWRITER’S FESTIVAL (5pm, LSWF delegates only)
And whatever your plans dear f(r)iends, i wish you a very HAPPY HALLOWE’EN…and a SCARY SAMHAIN of course…muah ha ha!
Announcing the first ever UK Samhain Horror event!
- a guided historical cemetery tour
- live readings in the atmospheric Chapel
- followed by book signings/meet and greet
The event is free, with a voluntary donation to Abney Park Cemetery on the gate. All are welcome (but please note the event will include adult content).
Official Facebook Event Page
for further details/updates.
Samhain Stories at Abney Park Cemetery is Supported by Samhain Horror http://www.samhainhorror.com
It’s been a helluva couple of days here at Lee Towers. Hallowe’en was a blast as always and I am now only just removing the last of the pumpkin soup from my hair… those pesky trick or treaters. The Lamplighters ebook launch went off with a cauldron-sized bang. I had fun giving away Samhain Book Vouchers on Facebook & Twitter, and answering probing questions & posting excerpts at the Samhain Cafe.
The dollop of cream on top of the pumpkin pie was the news that The Lamplighters hit the #1 spot in Samhain Publishing’s Horror Bestsellers list, thanks to all those purchasing the ebook. I made the screengrab (below) as I’m fully aware that these things are only fleeting ~ and The Lamplighters sure as hell can’t hold off all that amazing Samhain Horror talent for long!
Talking of which, I traded interviews with fellow Samhain author Hunter Shea (if you missed it, you can check out his insightful interview here) and you can read my musings on all things horror, The Lamplighters and my fishiest secrets at Hunter’s official website.
Yup, it’s Hallowe’en all week here… so here’s wishing you a Happy Hallowe’ek!
Today’s Lamplighters Countdown post is… well, a bit of a rant about HALLOWE’EN.
What inspired this post was a trip to my local library last week, where I spotted this poster on my way out:
What really blows about the message of the poster is the assumption that trick or treating is somehow “anti-social behaviour waiting to happen”.
Give me a break. Really.
Now I understand that costumed freaks knocking on the door for sweets* might be intimidating if you’re a little old lady (*candy if you’re reading this in the good ol’ U.S. of A.). I get that, I really do. I’ve lived in some of the roughest areas of the sprawling metropolis in my time, and I admit that a couple of times I was bricking it when I answered the door on Hallowe’en night. But I have always, always opened my door to trick or treaters.
In fact the day I don’t answer the door, to a bunch of kids dressed up in their Hallowe’en finest, with a ceramic Jack Skellington head filled with treats is the exact same day I’m officially no longer useful. I mean it, it’s proof-positive that I’ve become an old fart (oh, okay that happened already). But if that day really does happen, go ahead and ship me out to Resyk. Turn me into Soylent Green (“…is people!”). The day I don’t open my door to trick or treaters is the day I succumb to the fears that the cretins at the Daily Mail would have me losing sleep over. It’s the day I lose my optimism that the Great Unknown, the Big What If might offer something fun, something different, maybe something challenging and – yes – scary.
Hallowe’en (and its origins) is all about us facing up to perhaps our greatest fear of all – that of our own mortality. Samhain rites around the world have resonated with the simple, common core idea that we should honour our dead on one day of the year – stare death in the face and celebrate it – laugh at it. Celebrate death? How queer. Think about it, if we can do that then we are no longer afraid – and we might even be inclined to give ourselves over to some optimism and fun for at least some of the days and nights that we are still on the planet.
And we might even be inclined to open that door and make a child’s day by joining in with the fun.
I say save the bah humbug for Christmastime, and here’s wishing everyone – young and old – A HAPPY HALLOWE’EN!
Today’s Lamplighters Countdown post is all about a fun Hallowe’en contest:
Light a lamp for The Lamplighters and WIN a FREE “VACATION”** ON “MEDITRINE ISLAND”**
**well, a copy of The Lamplighters ebook that will transport you there!
1. change your Facebook profile photo to The Lamplighters image you see on your left anytime between now and 1st November
2. post on the Wall at The Lamplighters Facebook Page in the comments box under the post about this contest
It’s easy as that!
3 lucky winners will be drawn at random through the day on 1st Nov, when the ebook launches.
**the actual prize is a $5 Gift Certificate to use in the Samhain Store on a copy of The Lamplighters (or any other book that takes your fancy!)
Good luck, and don’t forget to pack your sunSCREAM – it gets rather hot & SCARY on Meditrine Island this time of year (or any time of year for that matter)…
‘Til next slime, take scare,
About The Lamplighters:
Life on Meditrine Island is luxurious…but brief.
Marla Neuborn has found the best post-grad job in the world – as a ‘Lamplighter’ working on Meditrine Island, an exclusive idyllic paradise owned and operated by a consortium of billionaires. All Lamplighters have to do is tend to the mansions, cook and clean, and turn on lights to make it appear the owners are home. But the job comes with conditions. Marla will not know the exact location of the island, and she will have no contact with the outside world for the duration of her stay.
Once on the island, Marla quickly learns the billionaire lifestyle is not all it is made out to be. The chief of security rules Meditrine with an iron fist. His private police force patrols the shores night and day, and CCTV cameras watch the Lamplighters relentlessly. Soon Marla will also discover first-hand that the island hides a terrible secret. She’ll meet the resident known as the Skin Mechanic. And she’ll find out why so few Lamplighters ever leave the island alive.