The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By Liz, enjoying all the scares that October brings!

For all you Christmas people who say December is the most wonderful time of the year – I have to respectfully disagree with you. October and Halloween is my most wonderful time. I love it all – the scary movies, the crazy costumes, the anything goes attitude – and, yeah, the candy. Even though I try to eat better candy these days, I’m still a sucker for Milk Duds.

Like my criminal- and murder-focused tendencies (well, in books anyway), I’m not quite sure where my love for Halloween came from. My parents certainly didn’t have it. They did the obligatory kids’ Halloween parties for me as a child, but they were never overly enthused about the holiday in general.

But I’ve always loved Halloween, magic and witchy things. I went to college in Salem, Mass., which reinforced that love affair. I was a sucker for any kind of mystical totem: crystals, oracle cards, magical books, tarot, you name it. When the “official Salem witch” Laurie Cabot’s store was on the wharf in Salem, I was a regular. You name it, I bought it. I have also had a long-time fascination with Stevie Nicks, the original witchy woman, and I emulated her in my clothing choices every chance I got over the years – platform boots and all.

Long after I graduated college, I spent my Octobers in Salem. If you’ve never been, seriously, you have to go. It’s changed a bit these days, but it’s still a blast. The entire month of October is a constant costume party. And they have Haunted Happenings all month long. And even though I knew the Salem lore like the back of my hand, I could never resist joining a candlelight ghost tour if the opportunity arose. And Shaggy was a Shaggy Bumblebeefan too. My favorite Octobers were the ones where she was dressed up and parading around Salem, making friends with everyone (even the monsters).

Scary movies and books have always been my jam too. I once tried to watch a scary movie every night during Halloween season. With the house decked out in orange lights, some hot apple cider and a glowing carved pumpkin in the background, what better way to spend an evening?

Well – maybe at a haunted house. I do love haunted houses…and the scariest experience I ever had at one involved nuns. Which I think is a product of my childhood Catholic school experiences.

This year, I haven’t been as much in the spirit. But there’s still a week left. I think this weekend I’m going to get some orange lights, pick out the scariest movie on Netflix I can find, and drink some hot cider. There might even be a pumpkin involved.

Readers, chime in with your verdict! Halloween – love it or hate it?

41 Thoughts

  1. I love it, mostly because I love being in costume and seeing others the same. Salem, on the other hand, I won’t go NEAR in October, LOL. I don’t really like crowds. Or scary movies, for that matter. But pumpkins and lights and little kids in creative costumes? Bring it!

  2. I love Milk Duds! I am not a huge fan of haunted houses or scary movies, but I do love Halloween night and handing out candy and seeing the little neighborhood kids turn into big neighborhood kids a little bit each year. I am most fond of the older kids who put on a costume and seek out candy.

  3. I’d like to just leave it alone, but I need to contact the organizer of the Chestertown Ukulele Club to find out whether we’re wearing the black club shirt or the tie-dyed one for the Halloween open mike.

  4. Sorry, I hate Halloween but LOVE Fall! My favorite celebration is the Scarecrow contest in downtown Fairport on the Erie Canal. All month long, scarecrows are in progress, one at each lamppost on the main street. And pumpkins everywhere, Indian corn, corn stalks– wonderful! Once mum season starts, I look for scarecrows and anticipate my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.

  5. I have always loved Halloween! Not only the lights, carved pumpkins, the scary movies and Charlie Brown, but to me it signals the beginning of Autumn. My fourth daughter and her first child were born on Halloween, so our parties sort of expaned on that day!

  6. The first time I saw Salem I was there for a board meeting for the museum where I was working at that time. I was so not prepared for the place! But that was before I realized I was descended from one of the accused witches (who survived), and a different ancestor lived right up the street from the House of Seven Gables. And I fell in love with the skeleton tombstone in the Old Burying Ground. There’s something about the place . . .

  7. I would say I don’t love or hate Halloween. I always loved seeing all the creative costumes at Halloween and particularly creating the ones for my boys. We would sit down and talk about what they wanted to be and then go wild & crazy on that. I also like the jack-o-lanterns, we always had fun doing that, although we haven’t carved one in the last couple of years or so. ..not sure why. ..just haven’t. Hmmm…may have to do that this year! But as for the scary side of Halloween….FORGET IT! I like to be able to sleep at night! LOL!

  8. I love passing out candy and seeing all the little kids in their costumes. I don’t really like dressing in costume myself. I don’t like scary things either—haunted houses, scary movies, fright night at the local amusement park.

  9. While I love October and the crisp air, I am not a Halloween fan. I think having to come up with multiple costumes for my kids when they were younger (each activity required a different costume) wrecked me. And I’m not much on dressing up myself. And I don’t particularly like scary movies or books.

    Wow, I’m quite the Halloween curmudgeon, aren’t I? LOL

  10. Halloween is for kids and the kid in all of us! Snickerdoodle (our Chihuaha furbaby) and I love Halloween! My favorite costume of his has to be the frog. Frog was my Dad’s nickname for my Mom. We found the frog costume the year after Mom went to her heavenly home. It was like she was still with us that year. It still remains my favorite costume of his – any he has many.

    Also love the candy from my childhood and Halloween gives me the opportunity, no the duty, to indulge at least once a year. 🙂
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  11. I had forgotten how much I loved Halloween as a child. It’s been years since I’ve had a trick or treater at the house. Part of it is living in rural neighborhoods, part is a sign of the times. Dressing up though, not so much for me, but I admire folks who have the talent, and the energy! Rock on trick or treaters – save me some dark Reese’s.

  12. When my daughter was young, I made many costumes for her. I like dressing up myself, but keep it to a simple witch costume with a great right out of The Wizard of Oz hat. I love all the decorations, and the pumpkin spice flavored everything. It’s been over 30 years since I’ve been to Salem, but I love it any time of year.

  13. Feeling like an outsider. I too loved Halloween as a child, but am not excited by at at all. My middle-aged son-in-law goes all out decorating their house with skulls and skeletons and gauzy material, and I find it annoying. I also find the constant “spooky” recipes on TV annoying. I’ve been known when living alone to turn off the lights and hide so trick-or treaters won’t know I’m home. It all makes me feel like an out-of-season Scrooge, but there you have it. Give me Christmas any time. But, Liz, I’m glad you enjoy it and I wish you lots of goblins and ghosties and things that go bump in the night.

  14. Wow, you wrote this last night after your Facebook live post? I’m impressed!
    I used to hate Halloween, but my husband’s love of the holiday has caused me to be more into it. We go ALL out in decorating the house. We go for cool scary and not the stuff nightmares are made of. We have a graveyard with skeletons and stuff projected in the windows and creepy thunder and lightning outside. We really don’t decorate for any other holiday so I refuse to be outdone on Halloween.
    Mom was in Salem one year in October. She loved it.

  15. Samhain followed by Yule – yep that works for me too! Granted I like a quiet Samhain, but I celebrate all the same 😀

  16. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I am fascinated by horror movies (specifically slasher movies), but I rarely enjoy them. (Spoiler alert, I’ll be reviewing three slasher movies before the end of the month.) I like seeing costumes, but the work involved in putting one together usually is more creativity than I have.

    It’s certainly no Christmas.

  17. I’m a December/Christmas lover and while I love New England in the fall, I hate Halloween. We lived on a busy street and while I always tried to give my kids the Norman Rockwell experience they expected, I was always stressed out doing it. My husband worked in politics and election day is always the Tuesday after, so he wasn’t around while I was having a nervous breakdown. Now that my kids are grown I celebrate Halloween by turning off all the lights and pretending I’m not home.

  18. I’m on the fence about Halloween. As a kid, it scared me because it seemed to give older kids permission to bully. But I loved it when Eliza was little. It was so much fun to dress her up and take her out. Then she got too old to want Mom and Dad with her, so we’d hang out at a friend’s house while the kids went out, and had our own treat – wine and beer.

    I’ve always wanted to go to Salem. I didn’t know there was a college in the town. What a fantastic place to go to school, Liz!

  19. Count me in as a huge fan of Halloween! The whole month of October is a favorite for me, but most of the reason for that is because I celebrate Halloween with decorations put out no later that Oct. 1st. The orange lights are only on one table this year, but everything else is up to snuff. It was especially fun when the kids were little and choosing costumes every year. The granddaughters live an hour away, so I don’t get to go trick-or-treating with them, but my daughter and her husband have a Halloween party every year at their cabin, and that’s lots of fun. My dream is to go to Salem one of these Octobers, and, Liz, you’ve made me want to go even more. Maybe next year. I do try to read some spooky short stories and scary books during October and watch some scary movies, too. I have Shirley Jackson’s Dark Tales short story anthology I’m going to dive into starting tonight. I just finished Sharon Bolton’s new book, The Craftsman, and that was spooky enough to qualify for a scary read. A couple of weeks ago I watched all the episodes of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, and it was awesome. The acting is excellent, and the story expanded from the original Jackson one is great. I do still need to watch Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus, two of my must-watch Halloween flicks. I’d like to fit in The Shining, too.

  20. I wasn’t that fond of Halloween even as a kid. I don’t like fussy costumes and am particular about my candy. I used to trade with my brother so I would have a small pile that would last 2 months, and he would have his huge pile eaten right away. Also why I didn’t have a cavity until I was 18 but Bob had a bunch. My birthday is in October so I enjoy fall but Christmas is my favorite holiday. I decorate some for Thanksgiving and Easter but Christmas is the biggie. I love every kind of Christmas music, too.

  21. love Halloween.love decorating,and really love that they play horror movies all october.i enjoy seeing the kids in their costumes and giving them Reese’s peanut butter cups.especially love that i get to eat any leftovers.they’re my favorite

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