Bone Appetite

Halloween Goodness

I love all things Autumn and especially all things Halloween. There’s something about the chill in the air, the falling of leaves and the smell of bonfire smoke that brings me back to my childhood. When we moved to an area where bonfires weren’t allowed my Mother would take a few dried maple or oak leaves from our yard, put them in a small metal tea pot near the sink and light the leaves with a match just to get that beloved smell for a short time. We as a family seemed to enjoy being outdoors more in the fall. There were more walks in the woods and more fun adventures like driving to the country to pick apples and pumpkins, attending carnivals and fairs and of course watching scary movies.

My Aunt who is now a fiction/horror novelist used to let me stay up with her to watch all the good movies. She would show me the ones that my parents wouldn’t, such as The Exorcist. I was far too young to watch a movie with that high a fear factor, but I was hooked. Scared but hooked. I so looked forward to our scary movie sessions where she would turn off all of the lamps leaving just the glow of the television to light the room. She would make it an event.

Trick-or-treating was a thrill for us too. We would normally plan our costumes but on the odd occasion things would get left to the last minute and we’d rifle through our parents closet and Mom’s makeup for ideas. I can vividly remember the smell of her lipstick as one year I used it for face paint (she wasn’t impressed). We’d scarf down a traditional dinner of homemade macaroni in tomato sauce with grated cheddar cheese and then run out to fill our treat bags. We lived in downtown Montreal where the streets were lined with large old trees and yellow lamp light. The area was populated with duplexes and apartment buildings (which meant our bags filled quickly). I just loved being out at night in the cold air, hearing the leaves crunching under my feet as I negotiated the sidewalk cracks while peering through the tiny eyeholes of those old plastic face masks, my breath creating condensation on the inside of it and cutting my tongue on the tiny mouth hole.

Good memories, not huge memories… just good ones.

Over a decade ago I decided that I still wanted to celebrate the season somehow. Without kids of my own I didn’t have an excuse to go trick-or-treating and I really missed that whole Halloween night thing. I handed out candy to the neighbourhood kids and loved seeing their costumes but it wasn’t quite enough. What to do? I began collecting Halloween decorations, researched seasonal recipes and read hosting books in an effort to throw my own (small) party with flair. Each year I buy myself one new feature decoration and am always on the hunt for new treasures at thrift shops. Family members give me Halloween decorations for my birthday and I research/test Halloween recipes in my spare time. It’s a lot of fun to see this creepy collection grow and the parties are something my nieces and nephews get so excited for that they start asking about it months in advance.

Though not a huge event, my yearly Halloween party is something I adore working on. I feel such a great sense of pride when I hear someone say “That looks disgusting” as they pick up one of my gruesome appetizers and then decide to eat it anyway or when I hear someone scream after they open a closet where I’ve hidden a ghoul. It’s these little things that keep me happy.

I’ll be posting some of my recipes and pictures of decor as we get closer to Halloween. Stay tuned and happy haunting!

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