October 31st, 2003

little review

Poem for Samhain and <a href

A very happy and blessed Halloween, All Souls, Samhain, Day of the Dead or whatever else you might be celebrating this October 31st.

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From The Halloween Tarot by Karin Lee and Kipling West.

Friday Five:

1. What was your first Halloween costume?

I was a jester, in a homemade costume by my mother.

2. What was your best costume and why?
The Statue of Liberty, also made by my mother.

3. Did you ever play a trick on someone who didn't give you a treat?
I've never played a trick on anyone other than surreptitiously trading their prized Junior Mints and Baby Ruths for my overabundant Snickers and Milky Ways.

4. Do you have any Halloween traditions? (ie: Family pumpkin carving, special dinner before trick or treating, etc.)
All of the above. We do the family pumpkin carving the night before and I toast the pumpkin seeds while the kids sketch on the pumpkins the faces they want for their jack-o-lanterns. Since we've discovered Yankee Candle's spiced pumpkin candles, we usually burn one of those every night for at least the week before the holiday, too. We try to have pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie, though not always on Halloween necessarily as we know we will be eating so much junk later that we keep dinner to a minimum. I burn incense for Samhain after everyone is back from trick or treating.

5. Share your favorite scary story...real or legend!
I've never been a big horror fan, but the stories that have appealed to me have tended to be the ones about how horrific people can be to one another. Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is probably my favorite of those.


1. What is the movie that scared you the most? (Notice I didn’t say the scariest movie.) Does it scare you still?
Actually it was Darth Vader's voice in Star Wars. I'd been scared shitless of James Earl Jones since I first saw him on Sesame Street teaching kids to count -- when he got to ten he would scream it and I would run out of the room. I called him "the bald man," since he was bald then. And I got over it at some point, though when I first saw the movie in elementary school (in 1977, I'm first generation), I had to sleep with the hall light on.

2. What is the tv show or episode that scared you the most? Does it scare you still?
The X-Files about the doctor who did the liposuction psycho stuff. I walked out the first time and I never want to see it again.

3) Do you watch horror movies/tv shows or avoid them? Why?
I've never seen any of the Halloweens and I only saw the first Friday the 13th. I'll see horror if it has some other compelling attraction, a story like Alien or an actor I like (I've probably seen more bad horror for Louise Fletcher than anyone else).

4) What is the best “Very Special Halloween” episode of all time? Why?
I'm going to have to go with Star Trek's "Catspaw." Heh.

5) You have an unlimited budget and the best costumers and makeup people from Hollywood to help you, who or what do you dress as for Halloween?
I don't care what kind of robes I'm wearing but I want to be a Hogwarts teacher with a broomstick that actually flies.
little review

Traumatic Halloween

Well, I ended up doing something this evening I did not anticipate. Saying Kaddish for my son's hamster, Ham. By his request.

Noticed when I was in the kitchen getting candy into the plastic cauldron that Ham was very still. Didn't look like he was breathing. I nudged him a little with a pencil. He was obviously stiff. We didn't tell the kids until after trick or treating -- I didn't want the holiday to be ruined for them. Good decision, as older son cried inconsolably, while younger son pretended that he was not that upset, then went upstairs and got his blankie and cried inconsolably.

What's interesting is that my little cat had been acting strangely all day and refusing to eat her food, which is in a dish right under the hamster cage. She was pacing and yowling and we decided it would be best to bury Ham immediately, so we held a candlelight funeral in the backyard. Kids took turns with the shovel, crying inconsolably. And older son wanted the prayer. In Hebrew.

Interesting that after four years of struggling to use Sephardic pronunciation at Washington Hebrew when I grew up with Ashkenazi grandparents, now I can't do the Ashkenazi pronunciations either without tripping up. (The hard Ts are soft Ss in some places with Ashkenazi pronunciations; if you've ever been to a Jewish funeral or Yom Kippur service, it's the prayer that starts either "Yitkadal v'yitkadash" or "Yiskadal v'yiskadash.")

I did not expect to be spending any of Los Dias De Los Muertos presiding over an actual funeral. In Hebrew. Am rather freaked out, though not nearly as upset as my poor kids. Maybe we should have waited till morning to tell them, but I wanted them to be able to see the hamster one more time and had no idea what kind of shape it would be in in the morning.

Ham in happier times.