Halloween Die-ary: October 27, 2018

I liked today. Like, a lot.

Woke up to a nor’easter in progress. Torrential rain and gusting winds blowing yellow leaves through the sky like flocks of birds fleeing from ghosts. My father brought a box of Halloween donuts from Dunkin’ for breakfast. Purple and black and orange icing and sprinkles and, of course, the legendary spider donut.

We ate those donuts while watching spooky docu-programming. Outside, the weather continued to rage. I have this great living room arrangement where the TV hangs beside tall windows that look onto the forest at the edge of our back yard. I can see live foliage while watching TV this time of year.

Afterwards, we had visitors for the newborn child. Wise men, shepherds, you know the deal. So the house got lively for a while.

After that, my father had to head home to the Mid-Atlantic, so me and my eldest ran to the chaos of a mall Target during a rainstorm to pick up some Pumpkin Masters carving tools. We do this every year, and I have no idea what happens to the previous Pumpkin Masters tools. These days, the array of Pumpkin Master utensils is staggering. I joked during a previous OTIS Halloween season that we’re almost to the point where we could swap out all the Thanksgiving silverware and utensils with Pumpkin Masters tools. I think we’re just about there.

At home, we taped black trash bags to the floor, wiped the rain off our pumpkins that we’d picked up from Lull Farm, cued up Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow on the black rectangle, and got to carving our jack-o-lanterns. I’ve written about this ritual a lot over the years on the OTIS Halloween Season Blog. In quick precis, I believe it’s the Halloween climax. Not the parties. Not trick-or-treating. This. Metal blade in orange flesh. Having fun turning something harvested into something monstrous. So it’s not just the climax. It’s the metaphor for the whole season.

This year was a year of firsts for the jack-o-lantern ritual. First time with five pumpkins. First time our eldest wielded her own carving knife (I still remember the first time we had to buy a THIRD pumpkin). First time our middle child was old enough draw her own face and be engaged with the whole process (she panicked when she saw that the lines she’d drawn on her pumpkin weren’t straight).

After the ceremonial lighting of the jack-o-lanterns (the electric candles for which I pilfered from our fireplace decorations), we baked up the pumpkin seeds (butter and Old Bay this year), sent the kids off to bed, and Lindsey and I finally finished The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.

I’m still thinking about this one, but my initial reaction is that the first eight episodes are great (with episodes 5 and 6 achieving brilliance). The show gets shaky during Episode 9. And Episode 10 might be irredeemable. Like I said, I’m still thinking about it, but there’s a good chance I could change my mind about the last two episodes, but there’s one thing that I’m bedrock sure of: The last line of narration in this series is so godawful, bone chillingly bad that I almost wish I hadn’t watched any episode in the series just to not have that line stored forever in the neurons of my brain.

That said, the show was a big part of this year’s Halloween Season for us, giving us something to watch anytime we needed it.

I finished the night sometime around 2 am after being interviewed about A Season with the Witch by Ian Punnett on Coast to Coast AM, in between commentary on secret elites looking to arrest control of the world back from the United States and the possibility for Tonopah, Nevada, being the new Roswell since it’s being hidden from Google Maps.

I love this season-and-sometimes-the-world.