We decorated for Hallowe’en this weekend. In this picture you can barely see my paddlewheel quilt made of William Morris fabrics. You have to just think about how wonderful William Morris fabrics are and let your imagination fill it in.

I also have a Hallowe’en quilt:




The colors clash horribly with our regular decor, which I consider part of the Hallowe’en effect.

A detail of the Hallowe’en quilt:

I used to be ambivalent about Hallowe’en. We dressed the kids up, did a little mild Trick or Treating some years, and otherwise ignored it. Then one year, just before Hallowe’en, my little brother died. That Hallowe’en, with people putting out gravestones for fun and dressing up as accident victims, was indescribably horrible, so I won’t bother trying. By the next Hallowe’en, I had determined that we had to come up with some other associations for Hallowe’en, or suffer miserably every year.

I don’t believe in unnecessary suffering, so we embraced Hallowe’en, and now we celebrate it properly. We make special foods, including carefully-molded marzipan pumpkins. We decorate. We play special music and even sound effect tapes. We carve pumpkins. We have one of those shadow machines that casts eerie patterns on our porch. We all dress up. We watch slightly spooky movies and read ghost stories.

#1 son’s favorite spooky author is Edgar Allen Poe, and it is hard to argue with that. I like Saki (H.H. Munro) as well, though, and have just introduced the boy to his collected works. I hope you will consider reading one of his short stories, too. Here is one of the creepier ones, which you might enjoy: http://mbhs.bergtraum.k12.ny.us/cybereng/shorts/vashtar.html

Since it is on the screen and does not require propping, you can read it while you knit. If you are knitting little skulls, a pattern which has incomprehensibly popped up all over the web, you will have a total Hallowe’en experience.

Here is a detail from the table runner:

Can you tell that it is completely different from my usual style of quilt? I had read an article about a Bad Girls’ quilting group, of which a friend of mine is a member, and how they gloried in their imprecision and primitive folk-art quality. That’s what I was going for. I may get it done this year, but of course if I just fling it onto the table without finishing it, it will be even more imprecise-looking.

I’m also thinking of making my garden into a Hallowe’en decoration. Instead of cleaning it up, I can put in some pumpkins and stretch some of that artificial cobweb over it and pretend that its unseemly messiness is part of the Look. In fact, this could open whole new vistas. A dozen packages of that cobweb stuff would cover all the untidy parts of my house, and I could pretend the entire thing was a carefully-arranged Hallowe’en Look.