Saturday, October 30, 2010


Halloween postcard

Happy Halloween, y’all! I adore Halloween – the decorating, the trick or treaters, carving pumpkins, making kids costumes (The Child, I am proud to say, never wore a store bought costume) making goody bags for the young uns – everything, in fact, but putting on a costume myself. There I draw the line – Mr. Kim feels the same way, thank goodness. Occasionally we are invited to a party where a costume is de rigueur and for those occasions we own two headbands, one with cat ears attached for me and another with Shrek ear/horn/thingies for him.

But I do love to see the littles dressed up and wish that we got more visitors than we do. I used to love to make homemade goodies for the nieces and nephews and young friends when they came by. I even used to make pizza in order to tempt them to stay longer! (I’m shameless). Alas, the youngest of them is now 13 and no longer trick or treaters. The outlandish get ups that The Child wears for Halloween parties nowadays don’t much need my help, though I did recently spend over an hour wrapping her in miles of caution tape

I miss the trappings of a child filled Halloween muchly and still do goody bags of something homemade. This year I tried Bakerella’s ( cake pops:

NOT a resounding success. In fact, a giant PITA. Almost nothing worked for me the way that it does for her. The candy melts were too thick and goopy – the coating was uneven and lumpy. The food color pens wouldn’t write on the candy coating (and my piping skills? Not. I finally gave up pumpkins and just dipped them in Halloween sprinkles). There was WAY too much frosting in the cake crumb/frosting mixture. My balls fell off my sticks. They don’t taste all that great (but I really didn’t expect them to). Yada yada yada. BUT, I kinda like making them. I think that the kids will love them and the girls at my office liked them a lot. I think that I can improve my technique and I already have a ton of ideas for different ones. She does mini cupcakes the same way and they are adorable. I’m thinking of trying them with scratch cake and using real chocolate, white chocolate and royal icing for coating them. I’ve been getting some advice from the candy queens at eGullet, so I’ll be trying again.

Would you like a Halloween tour through this crazy person’s house?

There are Lilliputian skeletons in the trees:


I have most of the decorations from when The Child was little laminated (yes, LAMINATED):

I love these jaunty fellows.

Looking into the dining room:

With all my crap on the table. There is ALWAYS a mess somewhere in my house!

My newest treat for myself:

A Dorothy cake stand. Now how could I resist that? It’s not exactly Halloween-y, but it is costume-y and besides, I couldn’t bear to hide it away in the Oz room (yes, this geek has an Oz room).

The mantle:

Lord, it’s tacky. But I love it.

The gourd family:

Aren’t they wonderfully weird? I love anything quirky and vintage looking, but all three of these came from…..CRACKER BARREL! I actually find lots of cool vintage-y looking things there.

The piano:

This picture is actually from last year (bicycle guy moved over to the ladies this year). But I wanted to show the metallic pumpkin head folks – they are a Cracker Barrel purchase, too.

I like papier-mâché figures:

And this little sweetums:

She is my favorite, with her winsome skeleton smile, her big red bow and her punkin slippers. She even has spider web hair and a spider ponytail:

The tree:

Yes, we have a Halloween tree (as well as a Valentine’s tree and at least two Christmas trees on any given year).

There is a Warner Bros./Oz set of ornaments, with Bugs as Dorothy:

Sylvester as the Scarecrow:

Tweety as the Tin Man:

And Taz as the Lion:

There is a “Nightmare Before Christmas” set, too, with the strangely lovely Sally:

We love that movie – in fact, we love almost anything by Burton.


I am basically a monkey and like anything shiny and sparkly. Plus, it reminded me of the Wicked Witch of Oz!

Love this goofy fellow, with his poor eye hanging by a thread:

We found this on our New Orleans trip at Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo:

This year, I even have an orange Halloween cat:

So, yes, I am nuts. It's silly and immature and wasteful. But I love all of it. Opening our decorations for each holiday is like opening a gift and a treasured memory all in one. Sometimes I get rushed and stressed and run out of time and it all becomes less fun. But it's still worth doing. I wish we could still make popcorn balls and candy apples (I did those one year with the tiny lady apples - very cute) to give out. I wish for hordes of little goblins and princesses on Halloween night. I wish for a really good, scary Halloween movie to send chills up my spine (no gore or torture, please). I want to cuddle on the couch with Mr. Kim and The Child and a giant bowl of warm caramel corn and watch mummies and vampires (not sparkly teenage ones, either) and werewolves. Mr. Price, where are you???

Anyway – leave your porch lights on tomorrow night – you never know what you’ll see –something charming for certain. Don’t worry about too much candy – eat what you like tomorrow and take the rest to work or an old folk’s home on Monday (you should see how quickly those seniors can clean out a candy dish at the office – worse than a pack of toddlers). We aren’t carving the pumpkins until tomorrow night, so I’ll try to post our artistic efforts then!

Happy Halloween, my friends!

Sing that to the tune of “Kidnap Santy Claws” from “Nightmare Before Christmas” – it fits perfectly!

A random thought: you know those peanut butter kisses that appear in the stores around Halloween:

We buy bags and bags as soon as they begin to appear. All three of us adore them and they are getting harder and harder to find (though you can usually count on Dollar Tree to have a full shelf). Anyway, in a bag of say, forty, you will inevitably get 35 orange ones and 5 black ones. Why is this? Is black wax paper ridiculously more expensive than orange? Because if they made the same number of each, and they were just badly mixed by the factory the law of averages suggests that you’d get more black in one bag and more orange in another. But it is NEVER like that. The orange vastly outnumbers the black in every bag. Believe me, we buy a lot of these things and I check the bags. (I told you I was nuts).


  1. I love, love, LOVE this! It's like a tour of Candyland, if the architect firm were were Dali and Burton and a genius child-too-much-in-the-chocolate.

    My favorites are the Dorothy stand, the sweet little Beseech-a-Bones and that divine Dunce-topper on the tree.

    And you made CAKE-POPS!! Bakerella and Zac will be competing to kiss you all over your face. In the scheme of things in the world, Cake-Pops are WAY down there in necessity with perhaps bungee jumping and Jersey Shore, but in ATMOSPHERE and downright kvell over a creation---you're just amazing! You've made gorgeous little treats, little jewels on a stick, and I'm hoping to get my laundry folded.

    It's 11:30 on Halloween, folks are coming for the fun and for supper, all the stuff is ready to go outside, and so far today, I got up.

    Moire non on that.

    Just know I looked my eyes full, glad for your young energy and enthusiasm---I'm the Voyeur of Glad right now, so this was VERY welcome.

    moire non,

    love and,

  2. My Lord!, that's more preparation than I do for the whole holiday season! All that for one day?! It's amazing, Kim. And I bet the neighborhood kids (and their jealous parents) think you're really something special for doing it. We already know you are.

    Luckily I live in a small New York City apartment and have no room to store all the holiday accoutrements and little or no time to set them all up and take them down. Just a solitary Waterford Turkey, a Waterford Santa, a Waterford Christmas Tree, a Waterford Dreydl, a Waterford Menorah, a Waterford Bunny and Egg, a set of Waterford Millenium Flutes and Bottle Coaster for New Years. How the uppity Irish came to take over my home for the holidays I'll never know.

    For Christmas, I do have a small abstract wrought iron tree that holds Kosta Boda, Orrefors, Swarowski, Steuben, and Waterford (of course) ornaments. The whole shebang gets packed up as is back into its box!

  3. I just need to add that I have huge admiration for what you do and the spirit, joy and creativity with which you do it. All the holidays! All your family gatherings! All those things you do for your friends and colleagues at work!

    In just a few minutes the trick-or-treat period will start in my building. 4:30 to 8:00 as designated. Sadly the little-uns will not get homemade treats from me, just the usual store bought candies, but I will get pure joy watching them at my door in their colorful costumes.

  4. Rachel – thank you, ma’am for your kind words and I’m so glad you love my little “Skellyton” girl. “Beseech-a-Bones” is a fantastic name, my wordsmith friend! As you will see in today’s post, it was a race to get it all done and I never did get MY laundry folded!

    Anon – Why, sir, you make me blush! Seriously, though, you say the most thoughtful things. And your Waterford litany made all three of us snort with laughter! “How the uppity Irish came to take over my home for the holidays I’ll never know” is a true quotable quote! I love imagining you in your NYC apartment – one of my dreams – with all of the wonders of the city at your doorstep. Especially as the holiday season starts. Mr. Kim and I have a little dream: one day, when we are both retired, we are coming to NY for Thanksgiving week. We’ll stay at a hotel that looks down on the parade route, see the Rockettes, wander around the decorated city, do our Christmas shopping, have afternoon tea at the Palm Court and Thanksgiving dinner in the Oak Room. And maybe have dinner with one of my favorite un-met friends?

    (We don’t decorate for just for one day, though, really. I love it all so much that we decorate early and leave it up until the funny looks from the neighbors start!)

  5. Funny looks from neighbors starting bespeaks that they ever left off, and there's no hiatus for us, it seems.

    The cleanout from the garage s e v e r a l weeks ago still sits, flattened-down cardboards a mile high, and big black bags lurking beneath the Tree-Cup tree. Perhaps if we'd put the stuff in those orange face-bags?

    I'd love to have that dream of New York, as well---have never been, but that sounds like a holiday to dream of. I just can't get my mind around not being HOME with the same dish for the cranberry and the little yellow gravy boat. The tables have changed over the years, but some things you just need to get you through the year, and without which . . .

    My last picture of a dear, dear friend is of her bright smile and her shining hair beneath the BIG tree and all the sparkling lights on her annual Christmas Shopping-and-Broadway trip with her daughters, and there's just such a charm to doing that.

    I can't wait to you GO and do that and tell all about it.

  6. Rachel, I feel the same way about Christmas - can't imagine being anywhere but HOME. For me, though, Thanksgiving was usually a 'moveable feast' kind of holiday. We sometimes spent it on the farm in NC, sometimes at our little place on Chincoteague, at Bomo's...sometimes even at home. But it was the folks and the turkey that mattered. So since NYC and Christmas combined have always seemed like real magic to me, Thanksgiving is the only time that I could do it. Christmas itself is inconceivable and I know myself better than to think I could manage any time in between (too busy) and I am MUCH too old for New Year's in Times Square! And the idea of being eye to eye with Underdog or Spongebob is irresistible!

  7. Well, I have to comment here. I think I am a Halloween scrooge. I think it just scares me. And I admire people like you who really can enjoy it. I didn't know it from Germany, I had just arrived in USA, didn't speak much English and James called me THE DAY in the pm because his secretary had told him about it and I had to run and get candy. We lived in a highrise with about 300 units and children came to the door and I didn't understand anything they said. So, there it is! I did sew my children's costumes each year though. I am coming to your Halloween party next year!

  8. Ooooh, please do come 'trickertreat-ing' next year and bring those two delicious little children! My house may look like the witch's cottage, but I promise NOT to eat them (and we don't wear scary costumes, so everything will be fine).