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

Alone for the Holidays

You can be happy being alone over the holidays, even your own birthday. Avoid being alone if you want. Or enjoy being alone if you want a break from being social.

So many of the big family holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and of course New Year’s Eve) arrive at the end of the year. If you are single, not dating anyone or a single parent with kids to celebrate for and with, it can be a bit lonely – if you let it.

I am single, divorced and don’t have any children. I do look after my sister’s children but it’s not the same. I kind of look forward to being alone. Maybe it’s because I’m not alone very often. I share a house with my Mother for half a year. The other half of the year I have a brother and two sisters who keep in touch. It’s all good. But, I crave alone time sometimes. So, I may not be the prime example of being alone for the holidays – because I’m happy to be alone and do whatever I want to do.

Avoid Being Alone

Accept invitations from family, friends and co-workers.

Find other holiday orphans and get together somewhere. Have a great evening out.

Attend events like the office Christmas party.

Invite people over to visit you too.

Go to church. Even if you don’t attend usually, churches will have people and host their own events during holidays.

Go somewhere you know there will be people, like a shopping mall, a coffee shop, a restaurant, and strike up a conversation. Even a short chat can make you feel connected to the world again.

Host a party or get a group together for a day out.

Make the Best of Being Alone

Create a new holiday tradition of your own. Have Chinese food delivered on Christmas Eve. Enjoy a taco salad on Valentine’s Day. Find your own personal way to celebrate.

Plan an event for each day of the holidays, or those coming up to it. Give yourself something to look forward to every day. You can always visit the museum, art gallery and buy tickets for the theatre.

It may feel pretty self-indulgent but, buy yourself a gift or a card for the holidays. Have a Valentine card you sent yourself. Get yourself something you know you really want for Christmas. Send yourself flowers on your birthday.

Write a holiday journal about your adventures.

Be an artist, even if you can’t draw, take along some paper and pencils/ pens and draw some holiday scenes.

Enjoy some alone time to think.

Whatever the holidays and season you can still decorate the house for the holidays: St. Patrick’s Day, Valentines Day, Halloween, Christmas… all the holidays can be an excuse to indulge in a little excess cheer around the home.

Rediscover a creative talent. Become a baker, or a film maker, or take up crochet discover a new creative outlet.

Eat out somewhere new you have wanted to try.

Eat in – cook yourself a wonderful dinner with new recipes and unusual ingredients or go for all comfort foods, the foods you love, cooked the way you like them.

Buy something from a fancy bakery but get just one slice, one piece, one square you can enjoy all by yourself.

Put together a holiday emergency kit for yourself. Stash it with the things you really want like a few chocolates, coffee beans, pick a great wine, a fresh book, candles, bubble bath, gift cards and coupons for a restaurant.

Have some special plan of your own. When others talk about their holidays you will have something to talk about too.

Redecorate your bedroom, your kitchen, find something new and great for the house and make it fresh, shiny and new.

Pamper yourself with all the little luxuries, like a real soak in the tub. Have a spa day at home.

Use the time to catch up on reading, rent movies you wanted to see and anything else you have let slide while you were too busy with other people or a full schedule.

Work on little home repair projects you just haven’t gotten around to yet.

Indulge yourself. Go to the unfashionable, geekiest, nerdiest movies, events, and places you’d love to go but would never ask anyone to attend with you.

Be of service to others. Be a volunteer for a day. Phone or write to relatives and acquaintances you seldom think about. .

Take a road trip, a bus trip, a train trip. Plan a day trip and be home before midnight or plan an overnight away. Look for great tour packages and travel even farther.

Book a room in a downtown hotel and spend your time indulging in downtown holiday events, tourist places and all the holiday decorations.

If you’re single, try a few dating sites, look into a dating service, something where you might find someone new to meet over coffee.

Revel in Being Alone Don’t be SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) creeps up on people during the winter holidays. I think we can feel the same SAD feelings around our own birthdays too, but that doesn’t seem to have a name yet.

If you are feeling alone and neglected let your family and friends know so they can make sure to include you in their events and get togethers.

Avoid being SAD. Use the time alone rather than letting it drag you down into feeling alone around the holidays.

If you need other people around – get them. Make plans with others but understand that plans around the holidays change a lot and last minute things pop up. Have back up plans if you are planning to meet a friend, that way you still have something to do if the friend can’t be there.

Find yourself a patch of sunshine somewhere and sit in it awhile. A great place to try this is a coffee shop window where you have some sun and people watch while you read a book and enjoy a great coffee too.

Not Everyone Alone for the Holidays Needs Cheering Up

People who don’t want to be alone for the holidays are more likely to be upset or feeling down about the holidays.

Some of us, like myself, LOVE having some alone time. For me being alone during the holidays is great. I spend time with family and I make arrangements to meet up with friends and co-workers. I attend the office/ work parties. But, I really enjoy the days I am alone and I can do just what I want to do.

I feel empowered when I am alone. I soak up the holidays: the good cheer, the lights and decorations and the excuse to be self indulgent. Being alone for the holidays is like having an extra birthday – the day that is especially all about you! Make being alone for the holidays all about you.

A Few Links

Join The Holiday Project – Local chapters visit people confined to nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions and enriching the experience of a holiday for everyone.

National Regifting Day

National Regifting Day
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…Regift

In honor of holiday office parties and the “unique” gifts exchanged at them, the creators of Regiftable.com have declared the third Thursday in December as National Regifting Day.

This date is particularly appropriate since, according to our unscientific research, the third Thursday of December it is the most common day for a holiday office party. And, according to our very scientific research, 4 in 10 regifters (41%) target coworkers as the recipients of their regifts.

We’d like to suggest that you bring regifting out of the supply closet and turn your gift exchange into a regifting party. In case you are hesitant to break tradition, you can rest assured that the majority (60%) of people think that regifting is becoming more accepted; the top two reasons are to save some green.

25% believe that regifting is becoming more accepted because it is a way to save on holiday expenses.
14% believe that regifting is becoming more accepted because it is a method of recycling.
Q: What’s slightly used and green all over?
A: A regift, of course!

It’s also my birthday.

Jewellery as Christmas Ornaments

jewelled ornamentsI like to buy new holiday brooches every Christmas season. My favourite to find (and collect) are the Christmas trees. Next are poinsettias and from there I like an assortment of Christmas things. I do prefer natural themes like birds, pine cones and snow people to the religious themed brooches. That’s just me as an Earth Witch though. Everyone has some part of Christmas which is special for them.

One thing about having a collection is finding a new and creative way to display it and store it (especially if you move often). I have found a few wonderful ways to display, use and show off my holiday brooches – and all my old sparkly brooches if I want to include them.

Decorate with Brooches this Year

You can make a holiday brooch bouquet. I first noticed this as a new twist on the wedding bouquet. Several brooches are gathered up, given a stem and then tied together with ribbon. There are a few other steps, but that is the basic idea. This can work with holiday brooches and be used to decorate inside your home over the Christmas season.

xmas tree broochAnother idea is to create a holiday wreath with your brooches. Cover a wreath form with gathered fabric which you can pin your brooches onto. Add extras and optional ideas like a big bow, some holiday ornaments or pin a few Christmas cards to the wreath with your brooches. Or, use the form of a Christmas tree, cover it with something strong enough to hold your brooches and create a Christmas tree decorated with all your holiday jewels. BHG has a jewelled wreath to give you an example.

A third idea which I have seen is to pin your brooches into the shape of a Christmas tree (use a luxurious fabric like velvet or something sparkly like left over wrapping paper) then place an elegant photo frame around your brooch creation. I found lovely inspiration for this idea at the Moon Diamond Etsy shop.

Rubber Ducks are Spooky Too

Halloween rubber duckiesThe typical rubber duck is yellow, squeaky and cuddly (according to Sesame Street). Halloween rubber ducks look a little spooky. I’d expect some misbehaviour, some tricks and not so many treats.

You may not want to take these rubber ducks into the bath tub with you. Sure they can swim around on the water but, can you trust them? After all, Halloween is not the holiday for good will, jolliness and the eating of large birds. It is quite possible the rubber ducks are not going to be the standard nice ducks, happy to decorate your room and wait for bath time.

That duck wearing the black cat costume, well, it looks like it ate the original yellow rubber duckie. The skeleton wearing duck looks far more like a pirate than a Trick-or-Treater. I’m not sure what the orange guy with the fangs actually is, but I have some theories. The vampire in the sailor suit tries to look non-threatening, even cute. Of course, that’s the one I trust the least. I like the Jack-O-lantern, but I suspect she is actually the leader of the group and the rest are squeaky minions.

Halloween rubber ducksBeware the Rubber Ducks of Halloween:

Don’t feed your rubber duckie. If these rubber ducks grow any bigger or spookier you will have to build them an outdoor pond – to say the least.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a few rubber ducks for Halloween. If you display them at the doors and windows they can scare away all the other little monsters that come out at Halloween. (Except of course, those little monsters related to you).

ducknoteBelow in this post you can see another rival gang of Halloween rubber ducks. These characters have to be sold separately, it’s not a money thing or a packaging thing. It’s the element of danger.

Glowing rubber ducksIf a few rubber ducks don’t scare you… why not get a few more?

You can tuck them all away in a strong box at night. Lock it up tight. That way you won’t have to keep one eye open all night… checking for rubber ducks.

The best thing about rubber ducks is not having to clean up after them. They don’t eat, they might squeak a little but they can be great listeners. As a bonus, Halloween rubber ducks will share their candy (once you give it to them.)

If you were looking for a good pet this Halloween, consider a rubber duck. These guys come already dressed up for the occasion.