On the First Day of Halloween…

September 7, 2021 — We kicked off the Halloween Season at my house on September 3, but honestly, it didn’t totally feel like we kicked it off. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. It just wasn’t a solid switch-over. For instance, all evening on September 1, a hard rain a-fell for hours here. So hard that I didn’t need my fan noise when I went to bed. So hard that I ripped awake in the middle of the night to make sure our basement wasn’t flooding. It was the perfect atmosphere to have flamed a pumpkin spice candle, turned on the Halloween decorations, and watched a horror movie. We didn’t, of course, because, you know, it wasn’t time.

September 2, we found ourselves on the eve of a four-day weekend, so we (okay, I) got tipsy watching a few X-Files episodes, including the Season Five episode The Post-Modern Prometheus. Man, when the Great Mutato jumps from his seat and pumps his deformed fists in the air while Cher belts out Walking in Memphis, it gets me every time. After that, I finished up the last touches for launching the Halloween Season on OTIS itself…complete with an ugly, cheesy, generic front-page graphic that I loved. So again, X-Files and OTIS Halloween, that would have been a fine kickoff, too. We would only have needed to theme our cocktails.

So let me tell you about our actual kickoff day, Friday, September 3. It started with me nursing a hangover, munching some Halloween Crunch, and completely replacing that godawful graphic that stupid, tipsy last-night me had loved.

Then we took off to a nature preserve in Beverly, Massachusetts (so close to Salem that we actually saw a witch logo at one point), to find the ruins of an early 20th century mansion build by a U.S. ambassador. I’ll do a full article on that soon.


On the way back (listening to a playlist of Halloween tunes, including our first and certainly not last brush with Werewolves of London, The Time Warp and Thriller), we stopped at a Barnes and Noble to see if they had any Halloween tables out yet. They had…and I was on one! Or A Season with the Witch was on onethe table marked, “To Be Read with the Lights On.” Then I saw The Smashed Man of Dread End on the New and Notable display in the children’s section. Back in the day when I wasn’t published but yearned to be, visiting a Barnes and Noble was always a bummer of an experience for me. All those bylines on all those miles of shelves and none of them mine. No moral on that anecdote. Just feels good to compare the two experiences.

Back home, we lit a fire in the pit in the backyard and threw packets of something called Magical Flames into the fire that turned the blaze from Halloween-orange to Easter-rainbow. I posted a video of it on Twitter.

Then we topped the night off with the new episodes of What We Do in the Shadows. No drinking this night.

So spooky books, spooky ruins, spooky shows, spooky cereal, spooky music, a smoky fire.

And that was the other reason it didn’t totally fell like we kicked of the season. Technically, all the events of the day could have been any random Saturday for us. Well, any really good random Saturday for us (and with Crunch Berries instead of Halloween Crunch, I guess). But that’s how early September is, a bit of a tentative walk as you figure out the feel of the new season and wonder when it's time to level-up your suddenly bare-seeming walls by decorating.

But today could have been a bad, awful, terrible kickoff, and it still would have meant something great, that so many Halloween and Autumn moments are imminent…just around that next bend in the corn maze.