Now in the darkening of the year the veil between the world wears thin and those gone on ahead draw near. In the hours of quiet remembrance that the waning season brings, we may feel their whispered presence like the brush of a gentle wind.
SAMHAIN (The Summer’s End)
Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of the Celtic year, for the Celts divided the year into two seasons: the light and the dark, at Beltane on May 1st and Samhain on October 31st. Some believe that Samhain was the more important festival, marking the beginning of a whole new cycle, just as the Celtic day began at night. The most magically potent time of this festival is the night of October 31st, known today of course, as Halloween. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle. In the country year, Samhain marked the first day of winter, when the herders led the cattle and sheep down from their summer hillside pastures to the shelter of stable and byre. The hay that would feed them during the winter must be stored in sturdy thatched ricks, tied down securely against storms. Those destined for the table were slaughtered, after being ritually devoted to the gods. All the harvest must be gathered in, barley, oats, wheat, turnips, and apples for come November, the faeries would blast every growing plant with their breath, blighting any nuts and berries remaining on the hedgerows. Peat and wood for winter fires were stacked high by the hearth. It was a joyous time of family reunion, when all members of the household worked together baking, salting meat, and making preserves for the winter feasts to come. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. As a feast of the dead, it was believed the dead could, if they wished, return to the land of the living for this one night, to celebrate with their family, tribe, or clan.
Today, I will show you the pumpkins I carved for the “The Colony Family Fright Night” event in 2014. These pumpkins gained me 1st Prize. And the award was a $50 Movie Theater gift card. The white skull pumpkin is from Courtney. She asked me if I could capture a photo of it. It looks so cool, I had to add it to my Jack-o-Lantern photo collection.
Kevin worked on the cauldron in previous years. But it came out the best on Halloween 2009. He had to cut a hole in the bottom to fit a pipe for the fog maker. A purple light bulb was installed before he aligned the inner cauldron with some dark fabric. Kevin glued some eyeballs and bones on top of the fabric to make them look like the witch just tossed them for her brew in the cauldron. Of course, needed a stand and a “fire”. Kevin got some golfball-sized styrofoam balls, cut a small hole, and spray painted them, so they would look like charcoal. Then he pushed red string lights in the precut holes to make the “charcoal look like it is glowing in the fire. Once the stand and the “charcoal” were in place, he set the cauldron on top of it and let the fog machine do its job. Ta-da! The witch had some brew cooking.
Another Saturday has arrived to show off some of my Jack-o-Lanterns from the year 2013. Some I carved for our local “Family Fright Night Campout”. And a couple of pumpkins, I carved for Halloween night.
Katelynn wanted to help me with the pumpkin carving. So, I’ve got her a little pumpkin she could play with and get the pumpkin guts out. She always loved to say: “We need to get all the pumpkin yikes out!” And then she played with the gooey inside of the pumpkin.
Sara was only twelve days old when we celebrated Halloween in 2009. She was such a cute little Pumpkin. Katelynn wanted to help with the pumpkins again, while her little sister took a nap. Katelynn was very proud of being a big sister. She really enjoyed taking Sara out for her first Trick-or-Treat. All bundled up we walked through the neighborhood and collected candy on this cool October night. The fresh air was good for the little munchkin.
Kevin had a couple of motors, he wanted to use for something neat on Halloween. He decided to make moving cat eyes. A couple of tiki candle holders, styrofoam balls, and spray paint needed to be purchased. The strings, wooden picks, black foam sheets, and velvet fabric we had laying around the house. Kevin also installed some mini light bulbs inside the eyeballs. So, they were glowing, while they moved and stare at everyone.
Sven, Christopher, and Gunnar are back and dressed for the festivities in October. They are so ready for “Trick-or-Treat” by the end of this month. Since the gnomes had so much fun with the last photo shoot, they agreed to do another one. 😉
… This Halloween season was completely different from last year’s. Katelynn was excited to go to “Trick-or-Treat”. She knocked on the doors with a happy “T’ick-or-T’eeeeat”. Since she couldn’t pronounce the “r”, the neighbors thought she was adorable and gave her a lot of candy. After three houses we had to walk home to empty the bag before we could go out there and get more candy. Oh my, so much candy and no meltdowns anymore.
The Munster Mansion in Waxahachie, Texas
In 2004 I heard about the Munster Mansion Replica when I watched VH1 while I was preparing dinner. I talked to Kevin about it. And one weekend, we drove from Dallas to Waxahachie. When we found it, we looked at it. The owner, Charles McKee waved at us, and we waved back.
A couple of years later, I read in the Dallas Morning News that the McKees have these weekend tours right before Halloween. Kevin and I got a babysitter for Katelynn, and down we went to Waxahachie again. They used the big parking lot in front of a local school. A school bus and a limousine were busy around the clock, picking guests up and dropping them off. It was a long wait. But once we were on the property, we had a lot of entertainment. One of the firebreathers asked me to pull a nail out of her nose. I replied, “… before this happens I will pass out.” Everybody in line was laughing. 😊
Once we made it inside the mansion, we were not allowed to capture photos or record any film. It made us pay more attention to the tour as well. If you like to see photos and documents, you can go to the official website and check it out for more information. Here is the link:
In 2007, Kevin had to go with Katelynn to Trick-or-Treat. I was still recovering from a knee injury and rather stayed at home. It was fun. Katelynn was dressed in her “Snow White” costume and received plenty of candy, while the neighbors and I were busy giving out candy. But I have to admit, I missed the door-to-door walk that year.
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble. Fillet of a fenny snake, In the caldron boil and bake; Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble. Cool it with a baboon’s blood, Then the charm is firm and good.
Diddlina is Diddl’s girlfriend. When I was younger, I was collecting everything about Diddl and his friends. I even made my own journals by drawing pictures of them. In October 2005, I decided I create Katelynn’s “Trick-or-Treat” bag myself. The bag I had from a previous occasion. The picture, I printed out, traced, and clued the tracing to construction papers. The broom got some tinsel I found in an art supply store. I used a black pen for coloring the face, hands, feet, hat, and costume, to give it character. And voilà, Katelynn had a “Trick-or-Treat” bag like no other.
Katelynn was at the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch for the first time. Oh, she had so much fun playing with the straw. Kevin and I had to fish it out of her clothes later, She was so busy throwing the straw in the air, it went everywhere. The next day, we dressed her up as a lamb. I made the costume myself. The head was a bit big for her. She enjoyed going to Trick-or-Treat with it.
It was the first year, we celebrated Halloween at our new house. I made a DIY-Diddlina candy bag for all the goodies, we would receive from going to Trick-or-Treat. On the other hand, Katelynn was still little and a bit unsure, if she really liked this whole “Trick-or-Treat” thing. When we walked from door to door, she wasn’t very happy. Once she had some candy, it wasn’t near as bad anymore. But she did not like the door-to-door walk at all. A year later, this would be a whole other story. …
A couple of years ago I was so excited when my Halloween Kringle Candles arrived in Texas. In mid-July 2020, the Kringle Candle Company had a special sale for their Halloween Kringle Tumblers. I believe, they could be ordered only for several hours before the sale was over. Kringle Candle Co. had different Halloween candles later in the year, but I wanted to get my fingers on those black tumbler candles. In July of that year, I got an email from them saying when they have the sale ready for the Kringle tumblers. Me being crazy for Halloween and candles had to go for that deal. The online store had plenty of selections to choose from them. However, I went for four different scents and purchased six candles in total.
2 Witches Cauldron
2 Graveyard Night
1 Black Cat
1 Day of the Dead (Día the los Muertos)
Who is this Kringle Candle Company?
The original founder of the Kringle Candle Co. was no other than Michael Kittredge II himself. He was also the founder of the Yankee Candle Co., which is in business since 1969. After almost thirty years of selling candles all over the world, Michael Kittredge II sold the Yankee Candle Co. to Forstmann, Little & Co. back in 1998. Michael Kittredge II retired from candle making.
In 2008 Michael Kittredge III, the son of the Yankee Candle Co. founder, made his own first candle. And it came naturally to him to make and sell candles himself. In 2009 the Kringle Candle Co. was born and has the flagship store with the candle factory/packing and shipping on an 18,000 sqft. property in Bernardston, Massachusetts. Over 10 years later, the company is still in business, growing its product line and sending the candles all over the United States. Many of the Kringle Candles can be also outside the USA.
Unfortunately, Michael Kittredge passed away due to cancer in Boston on July 24, 2019. He was 67 years old. May he rest in peace. And we are thankful for the millions of amazing-smelling candles over the past 50+ years.
Back in 2003, Kevin was on leave for Katelynn’s birth, from Iraq. Before he had to go back for another couple of months, we went to the Commissary. Kevin looked in a box filled with ‘Jack-o-Lantern’ and found the perfect pumpkin. That squash looked like it fell out of a painting or was in the story of Cinderella. Kevin knew he couldn’t be with us for Halloween. And I wanted to make something really cute for Katelynn. Kevin and I found a booklet, and we picked the perfect stencil. Kevin said: “I want you to make the pumpkin as beautiful as you can, capture a few pictures, and send them to me on Halloween! I will be stuck in Iraq, again. But I want to be a part of it! It is Katelynn’s very first Halloween.” Said, and done! Since our little family was ripped apart for this special day, the ‘Pumpkin 2003’ will always be my favorite. It was an emotional one. From that day on forward, I made a tradition out of pumpkin carving. Every year, Katelynn gets her stenciled ‘Jack’. And when Sara came along, she got her own ‘Jack’, as well.
I will introduce some pumpkins every Saturday throughout October. Enjoy, and maybe get your own ideas! If you like to show me pictures of your Jack-o-Lantern, feel free to drop a link in the comment section below. I would love to see your artwork.