For the last few years, with inspiration from the defunct app Polyvore, I have put together fashion collages for my Halloween costumes. Last year, I was a journalist, the year before I was Mary Winchester from Supernatural. This year, in honor of the fifteenth and final season of Supernatural and Wayward Mama Bear, Sheriff Jody Mills. I see so much of myself in her, and I was very comfortable “being” her for the entire day.
Yesterday was Halloween, and for those of us with children this is second in planning and importance only to Christmas. I’ve always loved Halloween. I like getting dressed up, I like decorating, I like theme desserts and meals, and the specialness of the different time of the year.
I have been somewhat lazy in the last couple of years, and my daughter discovered my holiday boxes. She has taken it upon herself to drag them up from the basement, and make the house, inside and out, look magical and perfectly balanced for the holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas. And I hate to admit, because I was really good at it, but she is better. She’s faster, she’s creative, she thinks outside the box, and it’s just a beautiful display.
This year, her costume was the the 13th Doctor as portrayed by Jodie Whittaker. There were some things that she wanted, and needed to buy, but there were others that I just refused – no to $20 yellow suspenders (“but I’ll wear them more than once,” and she probably would) and I said no to the $30 new sonic screwdriver, and she borrowed my boots that coincidentally are almost exactly the same at the Doctor’s. For the sonic screwdriver, she spent $2 on orange sparkly lights from Target and used aluminum foil and built herself a sonic screwdriver, pictured below.
My son grabbed his Flash t-shirt and ring, and went to school as Barry Allen, the Flash’s alter-ego. He has his own wonderful way of being creative and creating costumes and decorations from what he already has. I’m glad that they’re both so independent minded and creative.
My cosplay was a riff on the one I did in 2016. In 2016, I saw an everwidening chasm towards the vilification of journalists, and it concerned me. I’m a strong proponent of free speech and a free press. They are so important to our country, to our ideals, to our democracy. This Halloween I had intended to be a professor from the Harry Potter world, a Hufflepuff, of course. And then the President continued with the enemy of the people rhetoric, Gianforte is running for re-election (google Ben Jacobs, journalist), Bob Woodward published a very frightening look at the Trump White House (and he and Carl Bernstein are personal heroes of mine), and then The Washington Post’s Jamal Khashoggi walked into a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, and never walkied out. He was murdered, assassinated, but not just that, the level of response from the White House and from the Republican side of Congress appalled me, so I thought it was important to take a stand, especially this week before Election Day.
October is my favorite month for a lot of reasons. It is also the beginning of a very stressful and anxious time for me. It’s almost every year, and once this was brought to my attention, I was able to pay attention to the signs, to be self-aware, maybe a little overly self-aware to remember to take care of myself and to enjoy what I do enjoy and push through what I find difficult.
For one thing, school is humming along. All of the back to school paperwork has been handed in, drama club has begun, my son’s birthday is in two weeks, the leaves are changing, we’re planning our applepicking day, choosing Halloween costumes, not buying candy so we don’t eat it before the 31st, and I’m kind of getting ready for Nanowrimo. For the past two Halloweens, we’ve only started buying candy on the 29th and 30th. So far, so good.
I have a lot of medical stuff getting done this month. I’m about to schedule a mammogram, and my physical and colonoscopy is near the end of the month. I’m getting hearing aids in two weeks, which is nerve-wracking, depressing from a getting older perspective, and also excited anticipation so I can hear half of the things I’ve been missing.
I was also just informed (cautiously, nicely, with as much gentleness as was possible) that my oldest child is moving out. To be honest, I know he’s ready, and he’s thought it through, and he’s good and decent and it’s time, but also to be honest, I’m devastated. I can’t think of anything else. He’s been working two or three jobs for the last year, so it’s not like I’m used to seeing him around anyway. His main job is an overnight, so he gets home in the morning while I’m still sleeping, and he’s sleeping when I get up for the day. He hasn’t eaten dinner with us in weeks (months, really), he only answers about half my texts, and so physically not much will change.
But I’m still distraught.
The depression is building.
It’s also an election year – it is the most important election year in our lifetimes. That is no exaggeration. It’s time for those of us in the majority show the rest of the country what that actually means.
We are about to seat a new Supreme Court Justice, and the nominee (without the baggage of credible allegations of sexual assault) is the least qualified, the most lacking in temperament, the most self-entitled man to be chosen by any President in modern times. I’m also still deeply pained by the disgusting partisan insulting treatment of Judge Merrick Garland, and the traitorous behavior of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not only for that, but also for refusing to sign onto a bipartisan statement informing the American people of the Russian election interference in the 2016 election.
I am not over that election. I will never be over that election.
A foreign government put their finger on the scales of a fair and free election, and our Republican party helped.
I do apologize for this political outburst. That is not what this monthly blurb is about, but this hangs heavy over my October this year.
I’m going to take a deep breath, and make a few suggestions to you, and to myself while I try to keep October on an even, mindful, centered keel. As the campaign season winds down to Election Day (in thirty-four days), more than likely we will all need some form of self-care, and October actually lends itself really well to some unique ways to bring ourselves back to the center.
1. Take a drive to see the fall foliage. Many regions of the US have a beautiful change of season. I am very lucky to live in the Northeast, so it goes from green to bright oranges, reds, and yellows, sometimes in a matter of days.
2. Go applepicking. While you’re there, definitely eat one apple from the tree. Clean it on your shirt, and listen to the sound of the crisp, juicy snap of that first bite of the apple, its stem still attached, the leaf brushing against your nose. My favorite variety is the snapdragon, a relatively new hybrid.
3. Cook something comforting. Stew, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, mac&cheese, apple bread, apple pie.
4. Have a cup of tea. Or better yet, a mug. And keep them coming.
5. Light a scented candle. I like lilac.
What would you add to this list?
It’s not so much the month of September that I love but what it brings combined with the back to school season. While October is my favorite month (more on that tomorrow), ultimately this is my favorite time of the year from September and Back to School until the end of the year. I find it more of a renewal time of year than the January new year or spring when we all come out of our winter cocoons and spring clean.
We have a much more focused energy on fall cleaning, getting ready for the rest of the year. Clearing out the clutter for homework spaces and new school supplies (one of my weaknesses), earlier dinner and groceries in the house, bath schedules, physical, but also mental space.
It’s time to settle down and ease into our semi-hibernation.
We’re also getting ready for the holidays. Getting it clean and straightened and maintaining it for the myriad of family gatherings that are happening between now and the end of the year. Our outside gets decorated for Halloween with pumpkins and caution tape, spiders and witches. We move our decorating talents inside for Thanksgiving. Cornucopias, squashes, oranges and browns, table runners and lap blankets. Fall is applepicking, apple pie, chutney, tarts, or just a cold, crispy snap of an apple in the orchard.
I always find the Jewish New Year a time to reflect, think, and read. No work means settling down with a cup of tea, a buttered slice of challah and a pile of books. Yom Kippur brings the fasting and the prayer; time to atone and forgive; asking for forgiveness and offering it. Forgiving ourselves.
For us politicos, especially this year, we’re gearing up for an election, getting out the vote, promoting our candidates and our values.
School supplies, the Hogwarts Express, leaves changing colors and falling gently to the browning grass, Christmas card lists, buying stamps, printing return address labels, designing Halloween costumes and cosplays, Thanksgiving shopping and organizing recipe cards.
If we could carry fall with us all year, the world (and our worlds) would be a better place.
Prompt: Treats. Or tricks. Halloween or Other Treats.
When the real fall begins.
The colors of the leaves are changed just enough to notice on every highway; every corner.
If you have kids they will bring home fall art of trees using “fall” colors in torn tissue papers, sponge prints, fingerprints with tiny thumbs red from pressing apples onto the trees.
Rows of pumpkins appear on every church lawn, primarily Methodist for some unknown reason (to me) reason.
Harvest festivals and school fundraisers as well as my local retreat center and interfaith council.
Apple, pumpkin, and sweet potato pies fit for space on supermarket shelves.
Trying to squeeze in family applepicking before the apples are gone, but scheduling around work schedules and birthday parties.
October is also the month of the rosary. This year is a special one as we celebrate the centennial of the Marian visitation to Fatima, Portugal. The process for Sister Lucia to join her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco in sainthood has begun. Will she be beatified on the centennial of the final visit (October 13th)?
This will be my second year participating in the Living Rosary at my church.
Jack O’Lanterns, spiders, and a row of little Batmans and Disney Princesses round out the moth and usher in the holiday season from Halloween until the New Year.
October has arrived.