One of the things that you’ll notice about Fall is that Americans (and Europeans too) just LOVE IT! Underneath the silly, innocent face of every American is an inner child who loves Halloween. As American children and adults, we have stocked up decades of memories surrounding this holiday.
It isn’t so much the candy. It’s the gore, the blood, the skeletons, the fright, the spookiness…the fact that the Earth in the northern regions of the globe begins to darken. Night lengthens its presence. The scary nature of this season may be like a horror flick where you get the occasional rush of dopamine and adrenaline.
If you dive into our pagan past, you see that every holiday is just a merger between the Roman Catholic Church and some ancient European festival. Certainly, this has given Halloween its robust texture.
In the not-so-distant past, it may have been something like this: My personal take after skimming many articles on this subject and thinking about how it all unfolded….
During Fall we are beckoned to come inside, to the glowing hearth. The earth is getting cold. The soil is almost unplowable and hardens with frost. After months of cultivation and toil in the dirt, we bring the products of our labor inside. Then we share the fruits of our labor together, while singing and dancing merrily around the fireplace. We make soups and stews, breads and cakes. We spend time canning our vegetables and drying our fruits. We freeze fruits and vegetables that we do not can. We store onions, potatoes and squash in barrels in the basement. They sustain our survival through the long, cold winter.
Fruits and vegetables are a big part of our lives. We see the harvests as big events and we plan our lives around them. Festivals emerge with these harvests. We get creative and realize that we can make artwork out of the abundance of our crops. We start to carve faces into rutabagas, beets, squash and even pumpkins. We put candles inside the hallowed out vegetable corpses and And thus, a ritual begins: carving the Jack-o’-lantern.
We hunt game during the fall. We need to stock up on meat for the winter. We get creative and use the animal carcasses as clothing or costumes. We realize the spooky nature of All Hallows’ Eve, so we dress up in the animal carcasses and parade around the village square. Are we tricksters? Some among us are. Give us some of the bounty of your harvest— yes, treats and we won’t give you any problems. It isn’t long before this practice turns into Trick or Treating on the day before All Saints’ Day.
As you can see from my creative writing excerpt above, it isn’t hard to imagine how Halloween made its entrance.
Here in our house we are celebrating the Fall–oh, and Halloween too. I am savoring every joyous moment of this spicy season. I’m pointing out the leaves changing color while we’re driving.
We’re making apple pies. We’re baking pumpkin muffins with cream cheese filling and topped with this Costco salad topper pictured below (a blend of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and cranberries). I thought, why not sprinkle these on the baking muffins?
And…the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin Recipe. Mix it up however you like, stir in the cream cheese in the muffin batter and bake @ 375 for 20 min (give or take). AND TOP WITH THAT SALAD TOPPER PICTURED ABOVE (my idea!)
Michael’s had a HUGE sale on autumn decorations that lasted only for a day. I happened to randomly walk in the store on that day (something that never happens to me) so I decided to stock up. I bought cinnamon and pumpkin pie scented candles and a massive supply of Fall trinkets (I spent under $30).
Everything about this season is heart-warming and cozy–even here in Alaska. The moose are coming out of the woods too. Just a couple days ago the neighbor children were getting off the bus. When they got to their doorstep, they discovered a moose in their front yard. I happened to be out in my yard and they approached me saying “We’re too afraid to go inside our house, there’s a moose right there by the door!”. I managed to capture a few pics.
And…we went out and bought pumpkins…
We also spent one evening carving pumpkins:
Oh, and don’t forget the pumpkin spiced hand soap!
We also made a shrine to my husband’s Mother and Grandmother who have passed on. Their pumpkin/fall paintings are in the picture frames (they were amazing watercolor artists!)