Bring on Halloween 2020!

Covid be damned!

No, you’re not imagining anything. America is definitely ushering in Halloween earlier than we ever have before. We’re not waiting for the ‘Ber months. The unofficial pre-season starts now!

Between trying to keep our families and ourselves safe from Covid-19, the stresses of working from home, health worries, money woes, and fear and loathing of societal ills, including a looming election to determine the fate of America’s soul, honestly, we need the distraction.happiest pumpkin

Autumn and Halloween merch have already hit the craft stores, retailers have released their catalogs, and candy has hit the shelves. Halloween Haunters, artists, bloggers, content creators, and writers are buzzing with ideas and upcoming projects. The Samhain Society has new members, and I encourage everyone to hit up links to some of the best Halloween bloggers and content creators on the planet. Here at Halloween Haiku, I have cool celebrations planned this October, so keep checking back regularly.

I’ve also been reading responses from Halloween fans on social media forums and have determined that despite the pandemic, there will be so many cool things happening to ensure Halloween 2020 will be the auspicious event we all know it will be.

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Of course, Halloween 2020 won’t be without its controversies. Some of us will be all dressed up, with nowhere to go. There are rumblings that trick-or-treating, parties, parades, haunted attractions, and other mass gatherings will get nixed. I can see why this is alarming, and it’s gonna be tough when autumn leaves peak and temperatures cool. We’re going to be tempted to throw caution to the wind and traipse around in the world, looking for inspiration and celebrations with our fellow Halloween fans. I got three words for you:

Halloween at home.

Carve your pumpkins. Decorate your homes. Pick out your costumes. Bake ghost cookies. Eat candy. Watch scary movies. Drink your spirits.

But please, please, for the sake of American lives, Halloween at home this year. Wear masks. Social distance. Let’s make America safe again.

Yeah, I really just did that. 😉

Honestly, I think Halloween at home is exactly what America needs, a reminder that Halloween lives inside of us. It’s not a place we go or a thing we do. It’s something in our hearts. It’s about honoring and remembering our loved ones and those who have passed on. Traditions mean nothing if there’s no one to share them with. As long as we keep that in mind, and we try the best we can to keep each other safe, we’re all going to have an amazing Halloween season. So, relax. Be smart. Be safe. Stop worrying. Halloween is what we make of it, and as long as you’re celebrating, nothing is canceled.

Have a Happy Halloween season!

Spooky Spring Photo Challenge

Celebrating May Day with a 25-day photo challenge. Head on over to Instagram and post your favorite photos representing Spooky Spring. Join in any day!

Don’t forget to tag your pics using #spookyspringphotochallenge

HH Spooky Spring Photo Challenge Redux

 

Happy Caturday!

March is a mystical month filled with fairies, spirits, and mischief. Fantasy artist Nico Niemi captures it all perfectly with the “Cat Fairies”.

Cat-Fairies
Cat Fairies ©Nico Niemi

Artist: Nico Niemi
Website: https://www.ebsqart.com/Artist/Nico-Niemi/2736/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/artbyniconiemi/  or
https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/niconiemi/

 

Recipe of the Month – December: Spiderweb Soup Halloween Recipe

A day late and a dollar short, that’s what’s going on my tombstone.  Apparently, I was naughty this year, so Krampus brought me a nasty cold for Christmas. Not sick enough to die, luckily, but sick enough to miss my blog post-deadline. Mea culpa. It’s been a rotten week.

The good news is being sick means you get to eat soup, cuz soup is great for colds. It’s also great for cold, rainy days. So, thanks to the folks over at the Gourmet Food Store for this perfectly simple and tasty recipe for Spiderweb Soup with Halloween shaped croutons: https://www.gourmetfoodstore.com/spiderweb-soup-halloween-recipe-15336

spiderweb-soup-halloween
Spiderweb Soup from Gourmet Food Store

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-½ cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp. ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 8 slices white bread
  • 2 tbsp. Chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, basil, and rosemary)
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 16 peppercorns (pink if available)
  • 7 oz. crème fraiche
  • Special equipment: Halloween-themed cookie cutters, piping bag

tomatoes

For the full recipe and cooking instructions, please go here: https://www.gourmetfoodstore.com/spiderweb-soup-halloween-recipe-15336

If you still have leftover ham, this soup pairs fangtastically with a ham and cheese panini.

ham and cheese chef Akis Petretzikis
ham and cheese – chef Akis Petretzikis

 

Best Xmas Gifts and Stocking Stuffers for Halloween Lovers, 2019

Halloween fans are dreaming of a dark and moody Christmas. Forget the goofy grandma sweaters and wicker baskets full of over-processed cheese and stale crackers, this year, slay the holidays with some frighteningly awesome gifts for your favorite Halloween lover or yourself!

THE STOCKING STUFFERS

Halloween miniatures, $2-$20

Help your Halloween fan get a jump on creating a miniature display for next season with these adorable little Halloween miniatures.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheLittleHedgerow?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=562375513&ga_search_query=halloween+miniatures&section_id=11989979

Halloween and horror pins, $5-20

Pins make the best stocking stuffers. Most are cheap but the collectibles can be more expensive.

https://lunarcryptco.com/search?type=product&q=pins

Vintage-style Halloween magnets, and stickers from Vintage Spooky Company, $5

Graphic designer Gary makes all his own original Halloween and monster art, inspired by vintage Halloween wares and other spooky stuff.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Vintagespookycompany

Batteries, $8-$40

Don’t laugh. Everyone needs batteries. Sure, you could go for AA or AAA, but I suggest those CR2032 batteries that go in tea lights and animatronics. Those little guys get costly. Believe me, they are so appreciated.

https://www.amazon.com/JOOBEF-Electronic-Cell-Button-Calculators/dp/B06VX7XDKJ/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=batteries+for+tea+lights&qid=1575660693&sr=8-5

LAST MINUTE BUYS FROM AMAZON

Llewellyns 2020 Magical Mystical Calendar featuring artwork by Lisa Parker, $15

Llewellyns make the best mystical, spiritual and witchy calendars, and they’ve once again teamed up with renowned fantasy artist Lisa Parker for 12 months of magical felines

https://www.amazon.com/Llewellyns-2020-Magical-Mystical-Calendar/dp/0738760056/ref=pd_sbs_14_1/136-9589722-3958451?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0738760056&pd_rd_r=22c842eb-d06b-497a-a1ef-ebb8f002945c&pd_rd_w=vq6An&pd_rd_wg=gcDFK&pf_rd_p=5873ae95-9063-4a23-9b7e-eafa738c2269&pf_rd_r=5Q1F0CPNNRM83FN8H2XT&psc=1&refRID=5Q1F0CPNNRM83FN8H2XT

Gracula Garlic Twist Crusher, $16

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The kitchen is one of the hardest rooms in the house to decorate for Halloween fans and this little garlic crusher is simply delightful. This little novelty item is probably not good for serious cooks and heavy usage but seems perfect for once-a-blue-moon meals.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076CTTZKX?creativeASIN=B076CTTZKX&linkCode=w61&imprToken=xu4iVfROQtjjhHAB4lUGoA&slotNum=41&tag=bfheather-20&ascsubtag=5212165%2C11%2C107%2Cd%2C0%2C0%2Cbf-bshp%2C776%3A1

Black Candle Pillar Holders, $20

retro candle holders

Every good witch needs a little iron and light to help ward off evil. Black candle pillar holders come in many shapes, sizes and styles, start here:

https://www.amazon.com/Cylindrical-Festival-Birthday-Candlelight-Decorative/dp/B074C34NZ9/ref=pd_sbs_201_t_0/134-2838771-8268900?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B074C34NZ9&pd_rd_r=a7fe565d-31e8-4617-87c0-2b45ff25b47e&pd_rd_w=CvVsX&pd_rd_wg=N3Y9u&pf_rd_p=5cfcfe89-300f-47d2-b1ad-a4e27203a02a&pf_rd_r=3G0D4ZGEY73RD6R2NMKM&psc=1&refRID=3G0D4ZGEY73RD6R2NMKM

Haunted Skull Cake Pan, $28

pizza skull pan by nordic

The Nordic Ware Haunted Skull Cakelet Pan is an absolute treasure. You can make pizza skulls, skull muffins, skull burritos, Dia de Los Muertos cakes and whatever your imagination can come up with. This quality cast aluminum, non-stick pan is a must-have for any Halloween lover’s kitchen.

https://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Haunted-Skull-Cakelet/dp/B00Y6PRETK/ref=asc_df_B00Y6PRETK/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167152175681&hvpos=1o25&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15619877883895473149&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9031194&hvtargid=pla-166479118326&psc=1

TIME TO SPARE

Poe Ornaments and Tea Ball Infusers by Annabel Lee and Me, $9-10

Annabel Lee and Me specialize in Poe centric and gothic wares. After you put up your dark and spooky Christmas tree covered in Poe ornaments, sit back with a nice cuppa hot tea.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/677381427/edgar-allan-poe-tea-ball-infuser-goth?ref=shop_home_active_114

Prints from the Edward Gorey Collection, $12

Eccentric artist Edward Gorey liked to draw creepy creatures and cats. He even drew the Prince of Darkness in a whimsical scene. If you’re ever in Yarmouth Port, MA, stop by the Gorey House Museum.

https://goreystore.com/

The Ghoulish Grimoire books by artist Diana Levin and author Shawn Givens, $12

Now on the 7th issue, these unique horror anthologies feature stunning black/white pen and ink illustrations, accompanied by two short stories, sometimes poems and other musings, which are always the perfect blend of creepy and macabre imagination. Back issues from this talented couple are still available. Get them before they’re gone!

https://www.ghoulishbunnystudios.com/books

Horror Movie T-shirts from Fright Rags, $25-40

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Halloween fans and horror lovers can represent 365 days a year with these officially licensed T-shirts and other cool merch from the most iconic horror films of all time.

https://www.fright-rags.com/

“United” Halloween flag 3×5 ft by Rhode Montijo, $25

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Halloween fans can now let their freak flags fly with this giant orange and black striped jack-o-lantern flag that will look great hanging on the wall. Don’t forget to pick up some adorable Halloween prints and buttons too!

https://rhodemontijo.myshopify.com/products/pre-order-for-large-united-halloween-flag

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly, $25

frankenstein gg ms

Citing the monster as a childhood favorite, acclaimed artist Gris Grimly jumped at the chance to illustrate the very first, full-length novel using the original 1818 text from Mary Shelley. This beautifully haunting book with stunning artwork is one-of-a-kind. Pick up a copy at his newly reopened online store.

http://grisgrimly.com/product/gris-grimlys-frankenstein/

Fine Art Prints from Killer Pumpkins, $30

Welcome to the colorful and spooky world of artist and designer John Pelico, whose digital artwork is simply mind-blowing. Whoever thought grim could be so cheerful. Only prints are available online but if you catch Killer Pumpkins at San Diego Comic Con or other So Cal conventions, sometimes they carry unique merchandise like coffee cups and lamps.

https://www.killerpumpkins.com/store

Infernal Creatures: A Collection of Rare Occult Artworks book from Century Guild, $35

infernal creatures Century Guild

Century Guild is a private museum and gallery, now based out of Southern California, that specializes in fine arts between 1880-1920s, particularly Arte Nouveau and Symbolism. This exquisite hardcover book features full-color, professionally photographed art and posters, printed on the highest resolution paper. Fascination with death and the occult is not a contemporary concept

https://centuryguild.net/collections/books/products/infernal-creatures-rare-occult-artworks

Horror Movie Burst a Box, $50

A unique twist on a centuries old child’s toy, which still features the chilling ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ tune. Choose from Billy, Chucky, Freddy, Jason, Pennywise, or Sam.

https://www.mezcotoyz.com/category/burst-a-box-cg/categories/burst-a-box/1.html

Need more ideas? Check out last year’s blog posts for great stocking stuffers and Christmas gift ideas for Halloween fans.

zombie christmas card

Haiku of the Week

evergreen

evergreen
alone for christmas
red berries

Happy Krampusnacht!

According to German folklore, December 5th is the day that Krampus visits all the naughty children and whips them for misbehaving, gives them lumps of coal, or steals them away to eat them later. You gotta be really, really bad to have the latter happen. You might not agree with the methods of Santa’s evil twin, but you gotta admit, he gets results, even the adults act a little better during the holidays. Besides, Santa doesn’t really like being the bad guy, and all that coal weighs down the sleigh. Better to outsource a job like that.

These days, we hold annual balls and festivals in honor of Krampus, who’s now more a whimsical dark hero to us misfits.

Ghoulish Bunny Krampus
Krampus ©Diana Levin

Artist: Diana Levin
Company: Ghoulish Bunny Studios
Social Media: https://twitter.com/ghoulishbunny or https://www.instagram.com/ghoulishbunnystudios/

Shop: https://www.ghoulishbunnystudios.com/shop

 

 

Recipe of the Month – November: Cranberry Crisp

Since November’s Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving, I’m breaking my own rule and posting a recipe this week.

Let’s be honest, next to green bean casserole, cranberry sauce is the least desirable dish on the holiday table. I suspect that’s because it’s so plain. Well, I found a recipe that might spruce up the trimmings, thanks to the good people over at Gimme Some Oven and their recipe for Cranberry Crisp.

CranberryCrisp3 GimmeSomeOven
Photo ©GimmeSomeOven

INGREDIENTS

CRANBERRY FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 ounces (about 6 cups) fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of one orange

CRISPY OATMEAL TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios…you pick!)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup flour (or almond meal)
  • pinch of salt and ground cinnamon

For the full recipe and baking instructions, please go here: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cranberry-crisp/

CranberryCrisp GimmeSomeOven
Photo ©GimmeSomeOven

Now, instead of a boring side dish, you can serve a sweet and healthy dessert. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to really make it pop!

 

Tips for Handling Post-Halloween Depression

Well, it’s happened. Another Halloween season has come and gone, and it’ll be 11 long months until our favorite holiday comes back around. Post-Halloween Depression is real.  There never seems to be enough time to do all the things we want to do during the month of October. While it’s easy to fall into the trappings of woulda, shoulda, coulda, guilt never brought back Halloween any sooner. If you have a serious issues, get help.  Young folks, talk to someone. For reals. Maybe you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is the loneliest time of the year and it doesn’t have to be.

If you think you got a handle on it and you’re just looking for ways to squeeze the spookiness outta the holidays. Here’s a few helpful tips:

Find Your Tribe

Life is simply too short not to hang with people who don’t engage your interest, inspire your creativity or support your vision, even if it’s just turning your front yard into a cemetery every October.

Halloween groups on Pinterest, Reddit and Facebook are great places to find likeminded fans. Commiserating with others helps us not feel so alone, and trust me, you are not the only one who cannot bear to watch Freeform’s sugary programming on repeat for the next two months.

ALL my Friends are Spooky

Shop ’til You Drop

Don’t put away that credit card just yet because shopping for Halloween items is even better after Halloween. This is the time when stores are blowing out their stocks and have slashed prices from 50-80% off.  Spirit stores, Michaels, Joanns and World Market, just to name a few, all have big sales still going on. Never underestimate the power of retail therapy.

Scare up Your Next Halloween

There’s no time to cry when you’re a notebook deep full of ideas for next Halloween, and next year is gonna be a doozy. Halloween 2020 will be on a Saturday, there’ll be a full moon and that’s also the day we set our clocks back. Sounds auspicious already!

Let Autumn Linger

I don’t understand why people insist on rushing into Christmas when we have the beauty and wonder of the harvest to celebrate. Pumpkins, scarecrows, fall leaves, much of what we love about Autumn is what we love about Halloween, and nothing is better than natural spookiness of fall.

dark-autumn-days-inge-bovens

You can always decorate with autumn lights and harvest candles. Hang a fall wreath on the front door or somewhere over the mantle. Instead of the Christmas tree, put up an autumn tree during the month of November. Check out this fantastic autumn home decor from All for Fall & Halloween member Megan Sanders:

Give Thanks to Dark and Moody

Maybe you’re one that needs to feed your gothic soul all twelve months outta the year. Well, Wednesday, keep your striped socks on, because it’s quite easy to flip the holidays to satisfy our love for all things dark and brooding, as seen here in this incredibly beautiful dark holiday photography:

For more photos like these, check out our Dark and Moody Holidays board on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/halloweenkristy/dark-and-moody-holidays/

Celebrate Bad Santa

Of all the bad Santa origin stories in the world, Germany’s Krampus is the clear winner. The half-goat, half-demon, schnapps loving, children whipping, horned god of the witches is the most recognizable of all holiday bad boys and has been depicted in numerous way, but the consistency has always been his long twisted horns, a long tail, snake-like tongue, razor-sharp claws, and black hooves for feet. Additionally, he often wears a long heavy coat, wrapped in heavy chains, with some type of big bell attached.

Krampus is bad cop to Santa’s good cop. He carries a bundle of birch branches for whipping naughty children and stuffs the really, really bad ones into a basket or sack that he takes home to torture, drown and eat.

How this devil ended up as Santa’s evil sidekick is a mystery but he’s the only one celebrated internationally, even has his own designated night, Krampusnacht on December 5th

Embrace the Spooky Side of the Holidays

Krampus is more proof that Halloween and Christmas go together like peanut butter and jelly. Artists, creators, and movie makers have been genre-bending and making the holidays scary for decades.

From twisted Santa histories to spooky holiday tales, there are plenty of the dark or supernatural elements to admire or revere during the holiday season.

So, dry your tears and get to planning, cuz the holiday scares are just beginning. Put some fangs on your snowman or hang some bloody reindeer antler bones on your front door and your relatives just might behave on Thanksgiving day.