Halloween and Blue Moon Rising; Thirty-Three Weeks In

There was a war going on in our neighbourhood and my husband declared himself the winner.

So how was your Halloween?

We had about 25 Trick or Treaters, which was a great number for our street. Our neighbours told me that they each had about six, and so I think kids were only going to houses with lots of decorations this year; a signalling thing, I suppose.

I handed out full-size chocolate bars like a Very Fancy Lady, in the most Covid-safe way I could think of. Most of the people in my neighbourhood, according to the Facebook page, had treat tables set up with little bags, and in one case, a giant spiderweb with full-size bars stuck in the web. However, I like to see the sweet costumes, and so tongs and PPE it was.

We weren’t going to carve pumpkins as the Decorative Gourds I bought are now, due to the extreme cold and snow, mush, but my friend offered me hers and so I stole an idea from my son’s friend:

I’m having a bit of a Nora Ephron I Feel Bad About My Neck moment here.

My kids did not Trick or Treat, being “too old,” but they did wander the neighbourhood for a few hours with their friends, all eight of wearing burlap sacks on their heads. Eight giant teen boys wandering around in the dark wearing burlap sacks on their heads, what could possibly go wrong.

Speaking of scary and spooky things, I have been reading Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales. When was the last time you read an actual fairy tale, one that hadn’t been modernized or Disney-fied? YOU GUYS. Shit gets REAL in Fairy Tale Land.

It all started months ago when I put this collection on hold at the library, as I was thinking about the original Little Mermaid. I knew it was a sad ending but couldn’t exactly remember how it went, and yes, it is definitely worth reading about the sharp and shooting pain that the Little Mermaid has once her fin is severed and she’s walking around on legs. It is a very sad story, but no more sad than most of the tales in this collection.

For example: The Little Match Girl. I vividly recall reading this story as a child; it was terrifying then and it’s even more so now. Here’s the premise for this tale geared towards children: a little girl, whose job it is to sell boxes of matches to passerby, is wandering around the street barefoot on New Year’s Eve. Let us recall that Hans Christian Anderson was Danish, and therefore it would be VERY cold wandering around the street barefoot on New Year’s Eve. She’s barefoot because she has no shoes; she wore her mother’s shoes to go out to sell matches, but as they were too big she lost them while dodging carriages in the street. Anyway, here it is, New Year’s Eve, and she is scared to go home as she has sold no matches today, and if she goes home without the pennies she would have earned for selling matches, her father will beat her.

Let’s just let all that information sink in for a moment.

So anyway, here she is, freezing cold and hungry – obviously she hasn’t eaten either – and not all that willing to go home. In any case, home is a literal shack with holes in the wall, and there’s no food there anyway. She sits down in a little corner of the street and tries to warm her hands by lighting a match, and from the illumination she starts to hallucinate things like a warm fireplace, a roast goose dinner, and a Christmas tree. She lights match after match and the hallucinations – yes, children’s story – continue until she sees her dead grandmother, the “only person who ever loved her.” She begs her grandmother to take her to heaven with her, and she subsequently dies, frozen, with a smile on her face.


Another story I remember from my childhood – I am sure I had one of those little records with a book that you could read along with, that had a little chime when it was time to turn the page – was Thumbelina. Wow, is that a messed up story. I remember loving it as a child, and I can see why: everything is in miniature. Thumbelina has a walnut shell for a bed, a tulip petal for a boat, a little hammock woven out of grass. So sweet! And yet the story itself is Crazy Town. Thumbelina gets kidnapped by a toad’s mother so that she can be the toad’s bride. Hello meddling mother-in-law. She is, understandably, distraught about being kidnapped and marooned on a lily pad so she can’t escape her toady bridal chamber, but some fishes and a butterfly help her escape. When winter comes she seeks shelter with a little field mouse, who introduces her to her neighbour, a mole. The mole wants to marry her and all her troubles will be gone, as the mole is portrayed as being wealthy. The only catch is, because her new husband will be a MOLE, she will have to live underground forever and never see the sun.

I feel like a whole series of dissertations could be written about the symbolism herewith.

Anyway, Thumbelina finds what everyone thinks is a dead bird, but it’s really only just frozen. She nurses it back to health and it helps her escape her safe-yet-forever-underground life of Mrs. Mole; she subsequently lands in a flower and marries a little tiny prince who is in charge of all the flowers, and yay, happy ending.

Pandemic Reading

Thankfully, I did read something besides the unsettling and opium-trippy fairy tales this week.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It follows a woman who is principal of a Muslim girls’ school that is targeted by a shooter; it describes her life growing up and coming of age as a Muslim in America. It’s a very moving and important read.

On the other side of the spectrum was this book. It was the book equivalent of coming inside after shovelling snow in the freezing cold, and having a chai and a gingersnap. It’s a sweet, satisfying, warm hug of a book.

This series of essays about being a gay black Christian man in America was both hilarious and thought-provoking.

Here’s my best shot of the Blue Moon on Halloween; and on that note, Happy November! Or, as I like to call it, Happy Countdown To The Christmas Season! I’m thinking about all my American friends this week, and hoping for a peaceful transfer of power. Stay well. xo


  1. I love you pumpkin π.

  2. Firstly, your Halloween decor is ON POINT, excellent work, A+. Secondly, I feel so tender toward Big Teens who are too old/too cool to trick-or-treat but who still have that wistful desire to do it anyway. Burlap sacks be damned, I would give them candy. THIRDLY, look at you with your full-size candy bars! You are awesome.

    The fairy tales are SO WILD. My daughter has a child version of Thumbelina and it is still BONKERS.

    I remember reading an original version of Cinderella, I think, where the step sisters literally hack of pieces of their feet to try to fit them into the glass slipper, and the slipper is filling with blood and they have permanently disfigured themselves in the service of getting with a prince. What the what?!?!

    • OH. And, still thinking about this!!!, I am now pondering Hansel and Gretel, and, I mean, what in the actual WHAT? The father lets them go into the woods to presumably die/be eaten by wolves just because his new wife doesn’t like them? And then the witch is going to EAT them? And to escape they have to MURDER her? How is any of that appropriate for children??????

      Okay, I think I’m done now.

  3. Love the caution tape spelling out victory – such a hoot. Based on the photos, I’d say victory is yours! This might be the wrong place to admit I never even got our Halloween decor out this year. Poor, Curly. She’s the only one who cares.

    I had totally forgotten those records that played along with the book. Taking me back.

    I think I was not paying attention to fairy tales as a youngster and I dare say I am the better for it.

    You were quite the generous treat lady. Your neighbors lucked out.

    Taking note of the book recommendations. I’m trying to find time to finish a memoir by Mary Karr called The Liar’s Club. It’s good. Reminds me a bit of Jeanette Walls The Glass Castle, my favorite. I’m trying to write a memoir, so that’s what I’ve been reading.

  4. I had that record/book combo thing and distinctly remember Thumbelina but, also, don’t remember all the details. Yes, fairy tales in their original form are NOT for children.

    Yes, I’d say your husband wins in the yard decorating department; as do you with the full size candy bars!

    We set out a table with bagged treats – shockingly (or maybe not, as we usually don’t get many visitors) there was candy left over the next morning.

  5. bibliomama2 says

    HA HA omg I missed the ‘Chad’ part when you posted that pic on Facebook! We didn’t bother decorating this year, we’re at the U end of a crescent so we don’t get many kids in a normal year. I was going to set up candy outside but instead we fucked off to Eve’s BFF’s house, which was amply decorated, did a photo shoot of the kids in their hilarious costumes and hung out in the backyard, then watched a scary funny movie at home with my husband. I missed seeing the costumes. I hope things are back to normal next year. I both love and hate that you’ve been counting the weeks.

  6. I love your husband’s car! He’s a stone cold boss.

    Also, I had a pop-up book of Thumbelina as a child and I remember it being the most beautiful thing – the lilypads! The flowers! The bird taking flight! So pretty. I guess I missed out on a lot of the subtext.

    This reminds me of when I read the Winnie the Pooh books, the original ones, when I was in my mid-20s. I read them at work and I almost fell out of my chair laughing in the lunchroom. Those tales are so funny on an adult level, totally missing from the Disney versions. I’m a Disney fan for sure but it makes you wonder how much of your worldview is controlled by their world view. Hm!

  7. Pumpkin Pie!!
    Your husband is a hoot! And yes, YOU are a FANCY lady giving out full sized treats; I love that.

    The fairy tales…makes me wonder, were they really geared towards children, or were they just stories and we ended up reading them and consequently having nightmares? They are TERRIBLE!

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