I’m Going to be Hiding on Halloween

Not everyone wants to be a part of Halloween. We all have our reasons and we might actually enjoy parts of the holiday and the days leading up to it. But, not all of us want to wait by the door to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Not all of us want to attend Halloween parties. For whatever your reason, you may be among those of us who hide on Halloween.
Halloween-Wallpaper-7

Create Your own Halloween Magic – A disappearing act

Personally, I have no children and would rather leave the handing out of candy to those who would enjoy it. I don’t. Nothing against the dear little children but handing out candy is just a chore to me. It means spending 2 or 3 hours (sometimes more) pretending I’m happy to see a lot of parents and children and teenagers coming to my door. I’m a introvert, not a great party host. The times I have handed out candy I really did it for the teenagers. I don’t like the way some people are ageist about Halloween. Let the teenagers trick-or-treat and don’t give them a hard time about it.

Anyway, the past three years I have left behind Halloween and done something else. I love the decorations and all the fun leading up to Halloween but on the night itself – I disappear!  Just think of it as a little Halloween magic.

Grab a Good Book – Think H.P. Lovecraft to keep in the Halloween theme

Of course, what you do while disappearing will depend on who you are. I prefer to take along a good book and hide out at the coffee shop. When it gets late enough I head along home. It is especially nice to take the bus (if the bus is available for you). Let someone else worry about driving on Halloween night with children running amok and jack-o-lanterns being smashed on the road.  It’s a good time to treat yourself to the public chauffeur.

Here are some other ideas:

  • Go to the movie theatre or a play
  • Visit someone else staying home
  • Go out for dinner, bonus if they have a Halloween special
  • Have a Halloween drink out somewhere
  • Find an adult party and dress up for Halloween
  • Run errands and pick up a few things at the mall
  • Stay overnight at a fancy hotel
  • Take your vacation time from work

There is always the Halloween staycation too. If you can keep the house looking dark from the outside and ignore the rustling at your door and around your yard (because you know there will be some who just have to try every house for candy, lights or not).

Some people would leave up a sign telling kids they aren’t doing Halloween. Some people would leave a bunch of candy for kids to pick up. Neither of these sound good to me. I think it’s smarter and simpler to just leave the lights off and pull any Halloween decorations inside the house where they won’t be seen or broken.

Decorate Cookies for Day of the Dead

dodcookieMy sister would love these. She decorated her whole face as a skull last year for The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos). They actually call it the sugar skull. You have probably seen it somewhere by now.

The Day of the Dead is not about Halloween or zombie movies. It is a real event in Mexico, a long time tradition.

Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday celebrated October 31, November 1st and November 2nd in connection with the Christian days for All Hallows Eve, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.

Family gather to remember and pray for deceased friends and family members. Traditions include building private altars to honour the deceased. The altars are decorated with sugar skulls, flowers and the favourite food and drink of the departed family and friends. Gifts and/or possession of the dead are left on graves. The living will spend the day (and possibly the evening) at the grave. They pack food and have a picnic in the cemetery.

Day of the Dead is not a grim holiday. Other cultures may not understand that this is a family holiday, a day of remembering and giving thanks for the people who have been important and valued in our lives. Pagans have a very similar holiday, Samhain, which is also based on remembering the past and celebrating the harvest in the present. In North America we call this Halloween, but it has lost most of the original meaning behind the holiday.

Warm Your Feet with Slippers this Winter

My Mother has decided to make slippers for Christmas this year. She knits. I crochet and sew. We have tried two patterns found online so far. One did work but the slippers are pretty huge and floppy. I do like the chocolate brown colour she knit them in. They remind me of the sweater she knit me when I was still in high school, same colour and same style of knit.

We have looked at a lot of patterns. Some just don’t look right. Some are too cute for me to consider – maybe if I were still a child. Some patterns look so complicated I don’t think I’d want to start them as just a light-hearted project. But, a few look great. One I especially like but it’s a knit pattern and we need to get out and buy a set of four knitting needles for it. We haven’t done that yet. (It’s on the to-do list).

This whole winter slipper project started because I have bought so many slippers and then found them disappointing. One pair actually lasted a second winter, but then I decided to get a fresh pair and used the pink furry stuff they were made from for a holiday gingerbread man I was sewing up. If I had known those were the last slippers I would find to be good, I would have kept them. I bought three other pairs after that. All of them fell apart, became worn out or were awful because they didn’t have some tread – especially bad when the floors are a bit wet in the kitchen or bathroom.

So on the project goes. Between the two of us we will create a great pair of slippers, one method or another. I haven’t bought a pattern book, but looking online does make it tempting. I found one pair made from felt, those look warm and toasty for a cold winter.

One interesting thing I’ve discovered – in the US people leave their shoes on in the house. As a Canadian this sounds really odd. We take our shoes off at the door. That’s why we wear slippers in the house. Or, socks or just bare feet, if we don’t have slippers to put on.

Keep Your Poinsettia After Christmas

poinsettiasIt is possible to keep your poinsettia alive into the Spring season when it can flower again for Christmas holidays the next year.

Of course, flower is the wrong word when dealing with poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima, from the spurge plant family). They don’t have flower petals. Those red leaves are called bracts. The red leaves are just more leaves on the planet but they turn red as they grow from the top. The actual ‘flower’ is that knobby looking part in the centre of the plant. This is why poinsettias are propagated through grafting in commercial nurseries.

I’ve never tried growing one from seed either. I just do my best to keep my live plants going from year to year. I did have one which I kept for several years. It finally caught a white fungus during one of my moves from place to place. It couldn’t be saved that year.

The plant needs 12 hours of daylight followed by 12 hours of darkness in order to bloom – get the leaves to turn red. With some fussing, you can induce your poinsettia to bloom red again after the holiday season when the leaves usually begin to drop off and leave you with a pretty bare and barren looking plant.

How to Get Your Poinsettia to Grow Again

Prune the plant. Take off the red leaves, if there are any left. After the last of the frost is gone from outside, take it out for some fresh air. Don’t rush to get it out there. The poinsettia is not hardy for being out in the northern climate. They are native to Central America and Mexico.

You can leave the poinsettia outside all Summer. It will grow and look much healthier than it has since Christmas. Bring the poinsettia indoors in the Autumn. It really does not want to catch a chill outside. Bring it in before the first frost. Place the poinsettia in a room which you can give it darkness (complete and uninterrupted) after sunset. The plant needs those long, dark periods for at least two months if you want to get the red leaves developing in time for Christmas. Any light during this stage will set it back.

If you only have dim light, not full dark, try putting a cardboard box over the poinsettia for those 12 hours of full dark it needs. Another idea, put a tomato cage in the plant pot and cover it with a cloth/ fabric tablecloth to block out the light. Don’t use plastic, or anything else which will cut off the air as well as the light. Don’t forget to uncover the plant at dawn so it can also get the full 12 hours of light it needs. We tend to have longer nights than days in the Autumn so it will need all the daylight you can give it too, the balance of light and darkness.

Keep the poinsettia on the dry side when it comes to watering. Set the pot on a few pebbles, marbles, beads, something which will make sure it is getting good drainage rather than holding excess water inside the pot. I also pot them with a few rocks at the bottom of the pot if I give them a new container, other than the one they came in from the store. The poinsettia likes moist soil but it does not like to be sitting in water or have water poured over it. The best thing is to let it be just a bit dry and then give it a soak in a bucket (or some other container) of water. Then take it out to drain out any extra water before you put it back where you have it growing.

Poinsettia Growing Links