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October 31, 2009

Happier Halloween
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:05 AM * 95 comments

Q: Why do demons and ghouls hang out together?
A: Because demons are a ghoul’s best friend.

Q: Why did the Fish and Game officer arrest the ghost?
A: He didn’t have a haunting license.

Q: Why does Count Dracula read The Wall Street Journal?
A: It has great circulation.

Q: What did the skeleton say to the bartender?
A: “Give me a beer and a mop.”

Q: When does a ghost eat breakfast?
A: First thing in the moaning.

Q: Do zombies eat hamburgers with their fingers?
A: No, they eat the hamburgers separately.

Q: What’s the ghoul’s favorite sport?
A: Casketball.

Q: How do you keep a monster from biting his nails?
A: Put him together with screws.

Photo: Creative commons attribution non-commercial share alike from jpstanley (CC) Found here: Geeky Jack ‘O Lanterns at Geeks Are Sexy.
Comments on Happier Halloween:
#1 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 12:11 AM:

yok yok yok.

Happy Halloween, though. And Happy Samhain!

blessed be!

#2 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 12:27 AM:

Just carved the big pumpkin, and the mini pumpkin it's eating. Boy, those mini ghost pumpkin guts are slimy. Little man is ready to tromp around the neighborhood, and I'm ready to carry his haul.

Pics tomorrow.

#3 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 02:11 AM:

What do you get when you divide the circumference of your Jack O'Lantern by its diameter?

Pumpkin pi.

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 04:42 AM:

Pumpkins carved and perched in the kitchen window. Elder child was beninja'd for a Halloween-themed birthday party last night, and looked fantastic. Younger child's Diana (goddess, not princess) costume still lacking fake greenery for the crown. To obtain today.

Unlike last year, we haven't arranged for anyone to get Trick or Treaters by. The Americans will be coming over for a sleepover, and will come in costume. We'll let them decorate cookies, maybe roast some marshmallows, and generally run about the house shrieking on sugar highs.

#5 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 06:40 AM:

Q: Why DID Count Dracula read the Wall Street Journal.
A: Because it HAD great circulation.

#6 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 06:45 AM:

As you see from a recent Sidelight, the WSJ is the one newspaper whose circulation is doing fine.

#7 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 08:20 AM:

As an early Halloween moment, my boss's boss said some scary words to me yesterday:

"Use your own judgment."
#8 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 08:27 AM:

Jim @ 6: WSJ cheated by counting online subscriptions. (After reading their op-ed page, who'd be surprised that they cheat?)

Kidlet is going to a Halloween and NaNoWriMo kickoff party with out of state friends and I haven't gotten trick or treaters here to speak of. I think I'll turn off the lights and lay low.

#9 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 08:41 AM:

I'm going to spend Halloween evening at a Steve Reich concert :) It's about as far from spooky as you can imagine (but could be considered haunting).

#10 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 09:38 AM:

I dressed up last weekend for a party-- the Snow Queen, which worked better than I expected for a costume put together in forty-eight hours-- and today... well, I'm out of jeans, so a black witchy skirt it is. I don't know how many trick-or-treaters to expect but am bracing myself for more than I bought candy for and none at all.

It turns out carving pumpkins isn't as much fun without people. One of them is missing an eyebrow because I just got bored. I have pumpkin seeds, though, and have been munching on them.

#11 ::: Ruth Temple ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 09:39 AM:

How many witches does it take to change a lightbulb?
Just the one, but who needs a frog dangling from the ceiling?!

Happy Halloween, Samhain blessings, all!

#12 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 09:55 AM:

abi #4:

[snip] ... and generally run about the house shrieking on sugar highs.

While you're doing that, what will the children be doing?

#13 ::: Darice Moore ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 10:19 AM:

Happy Halloween!

I have one adorable Siamese cat and one Dalmatian puppy to take trick-or-treating tonight. But since we aren't trick-or-treating in our neighborhood (we're going to Grandma's), we didn't make a jack o' lantern -- a decision I am now regretting, because I love homemade roasted pumpkin seeds. Maybe I'll buy a pumpkin anyway...

#14 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 10:29 AM:

At work, we celebrated yesterday with a potluck lunch, and some wore costumes. One person screen-captured and printed messages (two of them fatal errors) from the software we use, and pinned them on his shirt (which is from the same software house). We decided that was a scary costume. (Also seen: the grim reaper, Alice in Wonderland, a jester, and Miami Vice.)

#15 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 10:33 AM:

Diatryma @ 10... carving pumpkins isn't as much fun without people. One of them is missing an eyebrow because I just got bored

So was the pumpkin.

#16 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 10:38 AM:

@Serge: I see what you did there.

#17 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 11:00 AM:

I've never seen anybody trick-or-treating around here, but I bought some treats when I went grocery shopping this afternoon so that there'd something in the house if somebody did come.

Nobody has come, but about half the treats are gone anyhow.


So, a group of trick-or-treaters trudge all the way up the hill to Dracula's crypt, thinkin' a guy who dresses that nice must have plenty to share, but he pretends he's not in, so they decide to play a trick on him.

Durin' daylight, they come back. They attach wheels to the corners of Dracula's coffin, wheel it out of the crypt, and send it shootin' down the hill.

Down in the village, kindly Dr Schmidt is openin' up for the day, when he hears the rumblin' of wheels. He looks up, and there's Dracula bearin' down on him, shoutin':

"Doc, you gotta do something to stop this coffin!"

#18 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 11:23 AM:

The pumpkin carving jokes remind me of yesterday's "Bizarro" -- if you missed it, find the cartoon in your favorite paper today, check out the Frankenstein panel, then go back to 10/30 (since the link I tried to post doesn't seem to work).

My own lame contribution to the day's humor: Why did the chicken (roadkill) step into the road? To get to the Other Side.

#19 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 11:26 AM:


I'm off to a concert as well - Mostly Autumn at Burnley Mechanics. I have no idea whether it was my suggestion that prompted them to put the song "Ghost in Dreamland" back in the set for this tour :)

Second year running I've been to a gig on Halloween night - last year was Panic Room (who share two band members with Mostly Autumn). First encore was keyboard player Jon Edwards wearing a fright-wig and playing Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in A Minor".

#20 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 11:39 AM:

In the gory/silly spirit, some Comic-strip mcrash-ups. With casualties....

#21 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 11:57 AM:

Madeline Ashby @ 16... I supposed you'll now blame me for Paul A @ 17.

#22 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 12:12 PM:

I love the pumpkin pi! But the attribution is wrong; it's this one, by jpstanley.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 12:31 PM:

At last week's Halloween Party given by local fan Patricia Rogers, I learned that Vincent Price used to live here, in Albuquerque. Mister T still does, I think.

#24 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 12:44 PM:

#20 see also R. Sikoryak

#25 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 01:16 PM:

Q: What counts as a compliment in yonder world?
A: You look spritely!

Q: How could you tell the skeleton was cold?
A: His teeth were chattering.

Q: What do you call modern lycanthropes?
A: Arewolves.

The last one's a bit raunchy:

Q: Whose gene pool degraded rapidly?
A: Gur chzcxva.

#26 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 01:58 PM:

Q: What is Dracula's favourite Frank Sinatra song?
A: Fangs for the Memory.

#27 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 02:00 PM:

I wonder if there's a site that lists Marty Gear's vampire jokes.

#28 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 02:29 PM:

Serge #23: Now I am wondering what the love-child of Vincent Price and Mister T would be like. I pity the fool who'd try that combination of genes.

#29 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 02:36 PM:

As promised, pictures:

Carved pumpkins the first (and I really, really needed a grapefruit spoon).

Gareth's costume.

#30 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 02:50 PM:

Here's a really childish one:

What do monsters like to eat?
(sinister voice): THIIINGS.

And what do monsters like to drink?
Coke, because THIIIINGS go better with Coke.

#31 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 02:57 PM:

#22, attribution fixed. Thanks.

#32 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 02:59 PM:

Q. What happens when a ghost gets lost in the fog?

A. He's mist.

#33 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 03:36 PM:

The last couple years I haven't had any trick-or-treaters here. I guess middle-class suburbia is too scary.

I dressed up as a white rabbit for ballet class this morning. It went over well, but I now have a better appreciation for what Brent Spiner had to go through.

abi, I hope the kids are having fun right now.

#34 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 03:57 PM:

The boy decided to be an alien this year; mom, with very slight assistance from me, worked out how he could turn into a four-armed orange alien. (Second long-sleeved shirt with arms and gloves stuffed with rags, and with holes cut for his arms to come out underneath.) He is thrilled and looking forward to trick-or-treating. We'll be doing the mall trick-or-treating thing because nobody ever goes around our neighborhood.

In the meantime he's offered to teach us both alien language and alien writing. He invented a Martian alphabet earlier this year; not sure if this will be the same or different.

#35 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 04:12 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 34:

That sounds like a fun costume.

Is it too early to point him at the Language Construction Kit?

#38 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 06:04 PM:

Joel, 37: Eeek halp DO NOT WANT. Scariest thing I've seen today!

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 06:45 PM:

Did you know that Jane Seymour, née Joyce Penelope Whilhelmina Frankenberg, aka Doctor Quinn medecine woman, once played the Bride in a Frankenstein movie?

#40 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 06:52 PM:

I was going to type that I hadn't had any kids at the door yet, but there were just two, with their mother, all under an umbrella. Turns out it's raining, so maybe I won't get more. I'll leave the light on for a while yet, but I don't know what I'll do with all the Butterfingers.

#41 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 07:03 PM:

Joel @ 37:

Looking at the thumbnail, before clicking to get the larger image, I was sure that was a Jack O'Leetern:

<   >

#42 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 07:20 PM:

We live in a the back top apartment of a 6 unit building. Our Hollywood neighborhood is "transitioning", so most kids go elsewhere to ToT. Very few of the ones left climb up to knock on our door, but sometimes one or two do. We have a bowl of tootsie pops should one be bold enough to make the trek.

I'd like to take Ardala around in her Lobster outfit, or have her answer the door, but I'm not sure how long she'll tolerate it.

#43 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 07:22 PM:

#40 I don't know what I'll do with all the Butterfingers.

Take 'em down to the local firehouse. I'm sure the firefighters will find something to do with them.

#44 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 07:43 PM:

#40, Deep-fry 'em.

#45 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 07:49 PM:

I was in London today and ended up in Foyle's at St. Pancras International, where I bought The Graveyard Book on the grounds that I was inevitably going to sooner or later. I got to the other end of the station before I realised I couldn't have chosen a more appropriate book for Halloween.

#46 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 08:50 PM:

Having (still) no porch to speak of, and a fine assortment of mud and holes, candy was dispensed from the neighbours stoop. Seems like 2.5 bags went (although whether they went to kids or dispenser remains to be seen...)

#47 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 09:12 PM:

Finland only kind of makes a vague wave at Halloween for the most part, so I just spent my night psyched up for NaNoWriMo and started writing at midnight. I'm up 1000 words of disjointed proto-story, woo!

#48 ::: Noelle ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 09:27 PM:

With three jack-o-lanterns (one is a cat face) and a glowing blue ghost, maybe I shouldn't be surprised that we ran out of candy. But I'm mortified. Four bags gone before 8pm. Next year I'm buying more. We figure at least 60 kids. This part of Hamilton is a kid friendly place, I guess.

#49 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 10:03 PM:

I got... fewer than twenty, definitely, in the neighborhood of sixteen plus two friends on their way to a party. The only older ones were shepherding around a medium kid. The really little ones were fun-- the one who froze when I opened the door, her father laughing when I asked if she knew what to say, the pirate whose mother called, "No, don't do the falling thing," when he stumbled on the steps (he had a broken arm under his coat), the two little ones who crowded in, the girl asking if she could come in my house and then, when I asked her what she was, answered, "...three."

I was raised off the beaten trick-or-treating path, the kind where if you recognize the kid, you give out a full-size candy bar. I didn't know what to expect in this house. I'm glad I gave out handfuls, though.

#50 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 10:03 PM:

Some years we don't prepare and get lots of trick-or-treaters (and LInwood Super Foods is not the place to buy that kind of stuff...), and some years we over-buy on candy and get bupkis. This year was the latter. We saw two, maybe three trick-or-treaters in one clump at the first of the evening.

On the other hand, we are hosting an informal wedding reception and the Hallowe'en decor is going to stay up for it. And our house is clean and more decluttered. (well, mostly, reception is at 3, I need to drive a van-load of Goodwill stuff to the charity and clean bathrooms/litter boxes.)

Feeling sore but accomplished. Plus I got my annual flu shot at U. Kans. Medical Center's annual 'Drive-By Shooting'. Spent two hours in line in my car, got my shot and was away, apparently they ran out of vaccine and had to close early. I'm taking care of someone with cancer so it is important I don't get the regular flu, and we're both in the non-danger age for H1N1.

#51 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 10:11 PM:

I have never had trick or treaters in this building in the 10+ years I've lived here so I don't bother dressing up.

Tonight it's raining and I had four, making me very happy that I always buy a bag of candy, just in case.

I did go to work yesterday in the Rebecca costume after our boss decided on Thursday that everyone should dress up, which reminds me that I still need to get the pictures uploaded so all the people who helped me can see it. Maybe tomorrow.

#52 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 11:52 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 41: Yeah, I noticed that. I spent several days waffling about how to decorate the pumpkin -- for a while, I was thinking about doing something spider-like, with four eyes, mandibles, and fangs. For a couple of hours this morning, I was going to do a simple smiley: ;-) or something like that. I don't recall where I got the idea that I went with, but I had a clear image of a cartooney face that was distinctly Dilbertesque, especially the mouth. The final result matched my intentions pretty closely.

Tomorrow, I'll wash the pumpkin, then bake it, mash it, and simmer the pulp with ginger, a bit of powdered mustard, salt and pepper, cream, and a few beaten eggs. Waste not, want not, and we've been having a lot of cold wet weather lately.

#53 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 12:06 AM:

Happier Halloween linkage:
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre with a special Halloween presentation. One of them hasn't quite grasped the concept.

(Warning: There's a bit of rough language in the later stages. If that'll be a problem for you, just watch the first 2:20, and stop at the exasperated "Whatever...")

#54 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 12:23 AM:

Third year in the house, third year without trick-or-treaters. But we live in the boonies. Somehow three bags of candy found their way into the house to be consumed by the adults.

(last year, we bought two bags of candy. no trick or treaters)

We took the kiddos into town for trick or treating at a few businesses. They weren't really into it this year, maybe next year.

#55 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 02:54 AM:

I've been handing out candy from the same porch since 1987. For a few years, I was seeing children whose parents 10 years earlier had taken candy from me. The last couple of years, supply has significantly outpaced demand. Bought one bag (of 150 pieces) at Costco, and there are at least 50 pieces left. Fortunately, Best Housemate Evar works at a grad school, where leftover candy can be consigned.

#56 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 04:36 AM:

Several years ago, the computer support department at the library I then worked at had a "We'll Help You Get Rid of That Candy" offer (an email went around) and the lucky buggers had candy until Christmas. The next year at least three such offers went around, and the comp ops people were kind of choked at their relative lack of candy. The world's tiniest violin played in rest of the library system...

I spent the evening running a game at the local comic convention, so it was imaginative, if not actually in costume.

Waiting for my bus near midnight, a thought struck me: When did the default adult female costume become "skank", anyway? Nearly all the really creative constumes I saw (on adults) today were being worn by guys. Odd.

#57 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 09:39 AM:

Going out to a gig on Halloween night, and then walking back to my B&B past many, many pubs meant I saw a lot of Halloween costumes.

What on earth (or sea) is the connection between Halloween and pirates? There were a *lot* of pirate outfits last night.

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 09:45 AM:

Not many kids, last night, but enough that we almost ran out of goodies to give away. It looks like one of the (thankfully) few teenagers stole our Death Mask. The young fools! They have no idea what Dark Forces they are meddling with! Bwahahahahahah!!!

#59 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 09:55 AM:

I can't be sure, because I just leave a bowl on the stoop (with a "only one each, please" sign), but judging by how little candy disappeared, I didn't get more than about five kids this year, probably less. This slightly icky weather probably contributed to that, as did the fact that my block was closed and clogged with construction vehicles all day. My coworkers will be glad of the extra candy.

#60 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 10:02 AM:

No kids here, thanks to the rain. Of course, out record is 4 Trick-or-Treaters, so we weren't surprised. (you'd think a Dead End street would be the perfect place for Halloween, wouldn't you?)

Jumbo candy bars, anyone?

#61 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 10:47 AM:

About 45-60 kids here; one of the neighbors had an informal outdoor party so most of the houses had signs saying "Down the Street" and they had a table of one-stop trick-or-treating. I'd decorated up our place something fine so I still had people go over.

Only one group of teenagers who didn't try on the costumes; the rest of the taller T-o-Ters actually dressed up. I figure that the Halloween compact is that if you come to my door in costume and want candy, I'll give it to you... but the older you get, the more you have to try.

Oh, and we had An Incident... a guy in a full-head mask and black leather jacket walked down the street, stopped, stared a bit, walked on, stopped, stared, tilted his head, and walked on... he never said a word and his hands were in his pockets, so you couldn't even see his skin tone. All of my neighbors were totally creeped out. I thought it was hysterical. But then again, I'm a Theater Person, so I get it.

If I had a haunted house, I'd hire that guy in an instant.

#62 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 12:24 PM:

Went to friends' Halloween party as Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister) with husband as Arthur Weasley; teenager and 20-year-old stayed home to hand out candy as Dr. Horrible and Dead Bowie. There were only a dozen or so trick-or-treaters (rain and a neighborhood where many folks just don't do decorations/candy) so our kids came & joined the party after a while. Low-key, but fun.

#63 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 01:10 PM:

Dropped in on the neighborhood kids' carnival in the pocket park in the afternoon; looked like the parents were having as much fun as the kids, with music from the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" going from someone's Ipod, a bouncy castle, face painting, a haunted house, and people on their porches offering up things like SomeMores.

About 8:30 or so it became clear that our two largeish bags of candy were not going to do, so DH nobly contributed a bag of wrapped dark chocolates. The last kids came by around 9:45. We ended up with a very small surplus, but it seemed like I was answering the door every five minutes. I would guesstimate about 75 kids. We'd had no idea what to expect, it being our first year in the new house, but online comments suggest that even people who'd been around last year got blindsided by the demand.

Lots of supermarket costumes, but some older kids did their own; I was particularly enchanted by a coven of teen-age witches (or maybe vampire-slayers, hard for me to tell), and some adults were also in costume, or at least masks, including one tie-on bright yellow pig snout; not too surprising, since this city is very big on Halloween-celebrating.

Our decor was more fall-ish than Halloween. Last weekend we held a housewarming, and then this week my mother came to visit, so no giant Shelobs or carved pumpkins (which I regard as dangerous anyway, after the great Pumpkin Melted Slime Incident of many years ago; a couple of my books have never been the same since).

#64 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 01:16 PM:

We're in a neighborhood that doesn't have many kids, on a street with poor streetlights, so we never get very many trick or treaters. We got about 4 knocks on the door, for a total of a dozen or so kids. My favorite costume was a boy dressed as a zombie doctor: green scrubs, well daubed with fake blood, plus more blood smeared around the mouth. Inexpensive, gory, and comfortable! The little girl dressed as a grand piano had a much more difficult time maneuvering.

#65 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 01:24 PM:

Serge @ 39: I LOVED that miniseries! Michael Sarazin as the Creature, David MacCallum as Clerval, James Mason as Polidori (thank you,, and billed as "Frankenstein: the True Story". Maybe not so much.

And a few years later, Ms. Seymour did a pretty scary turn as Kathy in "East of Eden" (with Timothy and Sam Bottoms, Bruce Boxleitner, Hart Bochner...).

I liked miniseries.

#66 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 01:27 PM:

Daughter the elder (high school) went to school Friday as a ninja. The hit among her friends, writing geeks for the most part, was the girl who came dressed as Hester Prynne. Daughter the younger was going to be a cowgirl, but had a cold, so we kept her home since it was raining lightly.

We only got two or three trick-or-treaters, fewer than usual. Our neighborhood usually has lots, but most of them don't come to us; we're the last house before you pass a couple of transition-zone businesses and then get to a main road. Most people circle the block deeper in the neighborhood.

One of the kids' schools is collecting leftover candy to donate to an organization that uses it in filling Christmas stockings for armed forces members. Sounds like a win-win to me.

#67 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 01:40 PM:

p.s. to Serge @ 39: Both "Frankenstein" and "East of Eden" are available on DVD...although at least one review of "Frankenstein" says the print is bad.

Note to me: Sarrazin. Cathy. I should type better.

#68 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 01:53 PM:

We had one batch of kids, maybe nine or ten. They were all youngsters, aged maybe six to twelve.

That's about four kids more than usual. This is a 40-year-old neighborhood that's gone through Hawai'i housing price inflation, so there are very few starter families living here.

We have a sack of Payday bars to nibble on.

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 03:04 PM:

Syd @ 65 and 67... Ah, another fan! I've had the DVD of that Frankenstein miniseries for a couple of years now and I can say that the print is quite good. As for the 'True Story' subtitle, that never bothered me because, well, its conceit was that Shelley's story was a highly fictionalized version of real events. By the way, did you recognize Tom Baker as the captain of the ship that takes them to the North Pole?

Speaking of Seymour, ever seen her in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger?

#70 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 04:18 PM:

Serge @ 69: Um...hang on a sec...

***toddles off to put Frankestein on her wish list***

And while I probably have seen that iteration of Sinbad, the only one I can ever call to mind is The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad because of its cheesy fantasticness. Although I also have a memory of something I thought was a Sinbad flick that involved a villain who couldn't be killed because his heart was encased in a block of ice or crystal or something... It would have predated the mid- to late-60s because I saw it on TV. Egad, the stuff I dredge up.

#71 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 04:44 PM:

Haven't had trick-or-treaters here in a decade, though we had a few before that. We've long since stopped buying candy for the occasion; there was a six-pack of good ginger ale in case anybody showed, but nobody did. Some years we've given out childrens' books.

I'm in an upstairs condo, in a neighborhood of condos and apartments, but there don't seem to be a lot of kids around; it's mostly tech workers and retired people, and I guess the people who have kids go find houses or at least larger apartments. I'm somewhat at the border between the mixed-techie area of town, the small-commercial area, and the mostly Mexican area, and I'm guessing that the Mexicans do Dia de los Muertos instead of Halloween. I took a walk last night and only saw one group that looked like they were trick-or-treating, plus somebody in a car wearing cat ears.

The more serious problem was that my oven thermostat died recently, so I can't go acquiring pumpkins to make pie with, until I get the thing fixed. Anybody have a good pumpkin soup recipe?

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 04:53 PM:

Syd @ 70...

Ah, that one.
("Trust Serge to be an encyclopedia of old cheese.")
I'll take that as a compliment.
You're thinking of 1963's non-Harryhausen Captain Sinbad. It starred Lost in Space's Guy Williams as you-know-who, and Pedro Armendàriz as the cruel ruler with his heart placed at the top of a tower.

Sinbad and he Eye of the Tiger had an evil sorceress who turns the legitimate pretender to the throne into a baboon. (No, his name wasn't George W Bush.) So off to Hyperborea go Sinbad and Jane Seymour. Oh, and when the evil sorceress turns herself into a seagull to spy on our valorous crew, it backfires on her because she doesn't drink enough of the magic potion to change back so she winds up with one seagull leg. There go her Betty Grable gams.

#73 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 05:05 PM:

I usually get somewhere north of sixty. Closer to eighty, maybe, when you count the young adults that arrive later. But two weeks ago there was a fatal stabbing two blocks away and a week ago there was a shooting six blocks away, and I got maybe ten last night.

I understand. But. I wish I had more.

#74 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 05:16 PM:

Serge @ 72: That's the one! And please don't worry, I think you Roquefort your talents as a compendium of cheese!

I guess I'll have to check out Sinbad-with-Seymour now, too.

#75 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Serge @69: By the way, did you recognize Tom Baker as the captain of the ship that takes them to the North Pole?

I recall an interview talking about roles he didn't get or didn't work out, where he expressed regret that he hadn't got the role of the monster.

He also said his part in the TV movie about King Tut's curse had been bigger, but Raymond Burr had most of it edited out.

#76 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 06:10 PM:

Bill Stewart @ 71: Anybody have a good pumpkin soup recipe?

The soup which I have just finished cooking and am now eating was made approximately like this:

1 medium pumpkin (about 1/3 will be unused)
2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp powdered mustard
1½ tsp salt
250 mL table cream (18% milk fat)
4 eggs

Halve pumpkin; remove seeds. Place halves cut-side down in shallow baking dishes or on cookie sheets with rims; bake for 1 hour at 350°ree;F. Rotate pumpkin halves so cut sides are upward; bake for another ½ hour.

Scoop pumpkin flesh from the rind. Run about 2/3 of it through a blender or food processor, adding enough water that the result can flow slowly. (The remaining pumpkin is not needed for this recipe.) Put the result in a large slow cooker; mix in spices and bring to a simmer. If necessary, add more water to give a thick soup. Mix in the cream.

Beat 2 of the eggs, and mix in about the same volume of hot soup, then add the mixture back to the crock put with good stirring. Repeat for the other 2 eggs. Bring back to a simmer.

Serve as-is or over chunks of bread.

While the pumpkin (yesterday's jack o'lantern) was baking, I was out trying to find a pie pumpkin at the local stores -- they have a much better flavour and texture than the big Hallowe'en pumpkins, and I intended to bake one and mix it with the other pumpkin. I was unsuccessful: it seems that the stores managed their supplies to sell out all of their pumpkins a day or two ago. As it turns out, this was probably a good thing for me; I always forget how very, very much pumpkin mash comes out of a medium pumpkin, and the soup tastes fine.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 06:12 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 75... A King Tut movie starring Raymond Burr? He must have been hanging out too much with Victor Buono (who did appear in an episode of Perry Mason - the Battle of the Bulks indeed.)

#78 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 06:25 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @ 73: I got maybe ten last night.

I suppose that a discussion of the importance of clear antecedents in writing would be inappropriate. So instead... condolences, and I hope that your neighborhood is more peaceful henceforth.

#80 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 06:36 PM:

@42: I saw that lobster costume on Friday, on a baby who was with two parents dressed as chefs. Three totally clean-cut, non-gory Halloween costumes made one sick joke. I thought it was great.

#81 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 07:41 PM:

Jim Mcdonald, #43, I later got two batches of kids -- about 30 total, about half Hispanic -- so there's only three butterfingers left. I'll just eat them over the next week. One batch came after I'd turned off the outside light, so when they knocked and held out their bags, I reminded them that they should come earlier next year and use the outside light as a clue.

I had one really little one at the door who wanted to come in and see Loki (who was sitting on the couch) and I gently turned him back out. I'm not set up to be safe for little kids.

Mary Aileen, #59, my upstairs neighbor did that last year (he's 88, legally blind, and up a flight of stairs) and the first few kids took all the candy, even with his sign. So he didn't do it this year. I offered to give it out with mine, but he just didn't want to.

Bill Stewart, #71, our condos all have individual outside doors, so are easy to get to, but they were designed for first-time homeowners and retirees. We do have some folks with kids here now that the housing busted, but not that many.

#82 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 08:05 PM:

Marilee @ 81... I later got two batches of kids

You wouldn't happen to live in a gingerbread house, would you?

#83 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 08:09 PM:

Serge @ 72 ...
("Trust Serge to be an encyclopedia of old cheese.")

Better than an old duck... :P

#84 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 08:26 PM:

No trick-or-treaters. I saw one kid and a parent wandering around on the other side of the complex. In case they showed up I found some small chocolate bars I'd gotten for my birthday. They nver did; maybe they gave up.

#70: "I also have a memory of something I thought was a Sinbad flick that involved a villain who couldn't be killed because his heart was encased in a block of ice or crystal or something... It would have predated the mid- to late-60s because I saw it on TV."

Ah. Yes.

That Sinbad flick ran on a syndicated kid anthology program. As I recall, the "hosts" were animated Wizard of Oz characters.

The climax scared the snot out of me. The sight of that heart -- which looked terribly anatomically yucky to me at the time, but on a recent viewing was a silly valentine-heart shaped thing -- really upset me.

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 08:47 PM:

xeger @ 83... What a malpheasant thing to say.

#86 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 09:00 PM:

Serge @ 85 ...
Well... birds of a feather, y'know...

#87 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 09:05 PM:

Marilee (81): The only time I had anywhere near all the candy go was the year I forgot to put out the sign. Depends on the kids one gets, I guess. Or maybe on whether or not they have a parent with them.

#88 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 10:14 PM:

Me @ 76 -- Forgot one ingredient: 2 tsp freshly-ground pepper, added with the other seasonings.

#89 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 11:35 PM:

#66 ::: OtterB
...was the girl who came dressed as Hester Prynne.

Now I've got Meredith Wilson stuck in my head:
"I hope, I pray, that Hester will win just one more A"

#90 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 01:54 PM:

We had zero trick-or-treaters, as usual in this neighborhood. (No one decorates either. I was nervous about putting three styrofoam tombstones in my front yard because I wondered if there was some Unspoken Rule about not decorating for Halloween.)

But we had a party and decorated the interior of the house majorly. Dramatic colored lighting, lots of spiderwebs, corn-syrup blood handprints on the bathroom mirror and in the shower, even a strobe and fog machine. Lots of gross, scary-looking (but delicious) food. Too bad only 4 people came, making a total of 7. But I don't really care; I just enjoyed marking the holiday properly.

Then I got a full set of skull-themed table linens half-off at Target the next day. My table is still dressed in creepy Halloween finery today.

And I have most of a brain-shaped, gray-green vegetable paté still in the fridge. Brain- and heart-shaped jello molds are fantastic. (And the vegetable paté is very good -- it's this recipe, and I recommend it for all your party spread needs. It contains gelatin and so is not vegetarian, but you could presumably use some vegetarian thickening/setting agent to replace the gelatin if you wanted.)

I re-read my Halloween 2007 issue of MAKE magazine, too, and daydreamed about doing all of it. I ought to give project ideas and assistance for my old college dorm, which transforms three of its four floors into a haunted house every year.

Hmmm....if nothing else, I should donate a copy to the dorm library.

#91 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 03:37 PM:

Done with butternut, but will work with pumpkin:

About 2 lbs of pumkin chunks; steamed to fork soft.

A large onion, sweated with bacon fat/olive oil/ghee/butter; and a reasonable quanity of curry.

One (12 oz) can coconut milk.

Salt, to taste

Add the coconut milk, and the onion/curry to the pumkin, stir until the mixture is liquid, and bubbling.

Serves four.

#92 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 04:38 PM:

Oh well, My halloween got significantly more exciting later -- the 5 yr old was croupy and went to bed early, then woke up having labored breathing (and hunger, he missed dinner). Over the space of about 10 mins, we go from 'should we go to ER' to 'yeah we should probably go to ER' to 'ummm, not driving, calling 911'.

When you live 30 min from the ER over roads where there's no reliable cell signal for 25% of the time, the line between drive and ambulance is pretty thin for this type of thing.

There were a lot of learning points in this experience. One is that it would be nice to have oxygen around for those 7-10 minutes between call and response. Another is that we _really_ need big reflective numbers at the road. (We're on the wrong side of the road, numerically, and not visible from the street)

(and now, he and his little brother are emptying the book shelves and taking the books to his room. They're having a party, and they want the people who come to have something to do.)

#93 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 05:02 PM:

Big, reflective house numbers, visible both directions. Oh yaaaas.

That's something positive you can do, right now.

Everyone else, too.

#94 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 01:28 AM:

Reflective numbers... what a nice idea.

When I moved into my house, it had tarnished matte-finish brass numbers on the medium-blue pilaster beside the door. Lousy contrast, hard to see, and polishing the brass probably wouldn't help much. I marked the house number with black electrical tape on the white mailbox beside the door -- kind of tacky looking, but at least it was visible.

I've recently painted the house trim in a darker blue. And I've bought white retroreflective self-adhesive tape, which I'll apply to the brass numbers. That should give good visibility against the blue, day or night.

#95 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:25 PM:

I'm not fond of pumpkin pi.

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