There is a certain time in the early Fall when the air becomes very clear and clean and the sun seems to have a more golden glow than the Summer sun can achieve.  In Missouri, the day time temperature will still heat up my closed car as it sits in a parking lot, making the steering wheel hard to hang onto, but at night I'll likely  carry a sweater because the chill can be enough so that I see my breath as I head to the car.  The tops of the trees, just a few leaves, really, get tinged with yellow/orange or red and you notice that the squirrels are racing around with acorns and seeds.  They seem to know, even before the human population, that time is short and winter will put a finish to the bright sunny warmth before we are ready for it to end.


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   Little Jack-O-LanternAbout the middle of October the leaves will be vivid and there can be no denying that Halloween is well on it's way.  More and more porches and yards are sporting pumpkins and artfully arranged straw bales and corn stalks.  Ghosts and skeleton figures sway, suspended from some neighbor's trees and a few especially enterprising folks place life sized scarecrow figures in porch swings or propped against hay bales.
     I go down the basement stairs and pull out the storage boxes with the lighted Halloween cat that we've had since the girls were little and the dear little ceramic candle holder shaped like a little trick or treating girl draped as a ghost that I found in a shop the first year after our daughters left home to start family traditions of their own.  Two big boxes of assorted spooky stuff to set the mood:  Halloween's almost here!  Some years I get ambitious about planning treats and get started early to put them together.  Most years are much more laid back and candy bars will be the "treat" at the Abbott's door.
Little Jack-O-Lantern
    At our house, the trap spiders build dozens of real webs in the flattop trimmed cedar shrubs around the front door stoop.  They compete with the artificial webbing which is part of our yearly ritual of "decorating for Halloween" and it causes me to wonder, nearly every morning as I step out the door to get the daily paper, if the spiders ever walk the carefully draped threads that I have spun around our entryway.
Little Jack-O-LanternOne tradition waits for the afternoon of October 31st.  The carving of the pumpkin always happens then and at dusk he gets candle lighted and set out on the porch.  I walk all the way to the curb without peeking, then turn around to get the full effect from the street.   The last couple of years, we've done two jack-o-lanterns and I love the effect!   The more the merrier!
    My favorite Halloween "tradition" doesn't happen every year.  Some years just don't lend the right circumstances.  But some years are perfect.  I take one or more of my family along for a walk around our neighborhood, after most of the kids (except for an occasional group of boisterous older ones) are already home sorting their loot.  The best nights for this are not too cold, but definitely brisk.  Leaves crackle underfoot or make a kind of swishing sound, if you are walking through a yard.  The pumpkin faces grin at us from dark porches where the lights have been switched off for the night.  The walkers go mostly in silence or we speak very softly to comment on a particularly great Jack's leer.  One really outstanding year in my memory, we had special effects of a wispy, foggy mist threading around every available light source.  It just doesn't get much better than that and I still recall it to all the family every year, as "Remember the year......".
Little Jack-O-Lantern




'A Touch of Country'      I LOVE HALLOWEEN!      I hope that I have woven  just a little of the Magic of that Special Spooky Night for you.   BOO! 



Spooky music, Scary Jack
Green-eyed kitten looking back.

Guess it's time to scream with fright.
Come on out...It's Halloween Night!
arol Abbott, 2003


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Don't Go In There!



Care for Your Kitties

            During the month of October, please keep your cats safe from those human predators who would use and abuse them in rituals. elegant.gif (548 bytes)
  Please don't let any thing bad happen to Your Pet!









  Little Jack-O-Lantern Every year, lately, we seem to get fewer Trick or Treaters.  I understand the reluctance of parents to send their children out into an occasionally dangerous  world and even though I agree with their decision, I grieve a little for the necessity of its happening. 

     When my sister, brother and I were young, it was THE ONE NIGHT that my folks pretty much allowed us to "run the neighborhood" and the neighborhood extended several blocks farther than at any other time. 

     We had "rules" like 'don't knock on doors where there is no porch light on' and 'always say "Thank You" loud and clear (no matter what the treat is)'.   We knew better than to try any "tricks" like soaping windows or smashing pumpkins but we ran THROUGH YARDS that our parents taught us at all other times were private property and not to be used as "short cuts" to where we wanted to go. There was a free and easy feeling and, even though it was dark, there was a friendly, welcoming quality to the atmosphere. The wind rustled bushes and skittered the leaves along in the gutters. Neighbor's houses didn't look the same as in daytime with deep shadows hugging the edges of porches, where the lights didn't quite reach (WHAT'S I see something moving?); giddy giggles and occasional shrieks floated in the air; the smell of candle wax and singed pumpkin flesh reached your nose. All these experiences were only some of the sights and smells of a neighborhood that WAS and yet WASN'T exactly like the one we knew the rest of the year. 

     I'm just sorry that youngsters nowadays can't have those same freedoms to run around their neighborhoods, especially on Halloween night.  There is something very liberating about HALLOWEEN to a child's memories. I'm GLAD I grew up at a time when I could experience all that.
Little Jack-O-Lantern








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