Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Are You Doing Halloween?

Surely it's not too much for me to ask
What seasonal costume you plan--and what mask.
What are you doing this year

(with apologies to Frank Loesser and the more than 30 artists from Ella Fitzgerald to Rufus Wainwright who have covered his song “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”) Frank

My family is celebrating Halloween a day early. I’ll be spending Saturday with most of my family. Saturday afternoon will find us gathered around a big screen TV watching the Georgia-Florida game. We’re a lot more optimistic about the Dawgs than we were at the beginning of the season, and you can be sure than it will be a noisy few hours with lots of cautions from the great room language referees when the game doesn’t go the way the men in our family want it to.

Saturday night is for the kids. We’ll have a Cleopatra, an Iron Man, a Luke Skywalker, a couple of Bakugan Dragonoids, a cowboy, and a Tinkerbelle among the Trick or Treaters. My #1 nephew and his wife are going all out this year with a fog machine and talking ghosts. Their home will be our observation post to watch the reactions of the Grands and other costumed tweens and toddlers, as we nibble on brain dip (pink shrimp dip) and goblin cupcakes.

As always, I hope to be reading. If I can find a few hours between now and Sunday night, I’ll choose from among some thematically appropriate romance novels. Halloween books are far rarer on my shelves that Valentine and Christmas books, but there are a few. Sandra Heath has three traditional Regencies that are clearly Halloween books: two fun reads, The Halloween Husband (1994) with a matchmaking ghost and The Magic Jack o’ Lantern (1999) with a mischievous, invisible brownie, and a darker one, Halloween Magic (1996), in which a Halloween thunderstorm releases a Tudor witch 200 years after her death to seek revenge on the descendants of those who caused her death. It pits the ancient magic and evil purposes of the seductive witch against the goodness and innocence of the heroine.
A more recent addition to Halloween romances is Hallowe’en Husbands, an anthology with novellas by Lisa Plumley, Denise Lynn, and Christine Merrill. I particularly like Merrill’s Gothic romance, “Master of Penlowen.”  Vicki Lewis Thompson’s 2010 Babes on Brooms books are great fun. In the first, Blonde with a Wand, the heroine turns the hero into a cat. Oops! And in Chick with a Charm, the witchy, bar-tending heroine slips a love potion into the hero’s drink. Of course, if we count witch books as Halloween books, we can’t forget Nora Roberts’s Three Sisters Island trilogy: Dance Upon the Air, Heaven and Earth, and Face the Fire.


I reread Howl’s Moving Castle (1986) by Diana Wynne Jones, not exactly a romance but a YA fantasy, every time I have an excuse to do so, and Halloween is a good excuse. I love the story of Sophie, the eldest of three sisters who is turned into an old crone by the Witch of the Waste. She becomes the housekeeper of the infamous Howl and eventually they save each other and the kingdom. I might also watch the 2004 Miyazaki movie; it’s almost as good as the book.

So what are you doing Halloween? And do you have any Halloween reads to recommend?


TerriOsburn said...

I never even thought about Halloween themed books. I love Nora's Three Sister's Island trilogy. And that Thompson books looks good too.

I'll be in the new place for all of 48 hrs and I'm looking forward to giving out candy as well as seeing who my new neighbors are. Kiddo is going as a Rock Chick, which is how she sent to the school dance last week.

Your weekend sounds like a lot of fun, but what is a Bakugan Dragonoid?

Janga said...

Blame all those years of doing literary analysis, Terri. I think in themes. :)

I saw the pic of your kiddo. She looked darling. Have a happy Halloween in your new home!

We used to have two hundred or more kids coming by when we lived in town. The parade would start with the tiny ones brfore dark and go on with the teens untl around 11. We only get a few now that we're in the country. But there are tons of kids in the community where my nephew lives, and we're going to do our own version of trunk and treat, giving out candy from each of the cars parked in his drive beside the talking ghosts. I think it will be fun.

Oh, and a Bakugan Dragonois is one of the creatures that's part of the Bakugan Battle Brawlers. It started as an anime, but now there's a video game and a ton of actiob figures. The five-year-old and the six-year old are both huge fans who have enormous collections of the action figures. Here's a link to a costume:

MsHellion said...

I'm dressed as Robin Hood. Which is not completely inappropriate for work here, and everyone is impressed by my sewing (even if I'm not as impressed. I'm not only critical about my writing).

Halloween IS an underwritten section of the romance novel world. *LOL* Everyone wants to fall in love on Valentine's Day or Christmas. (Of course, I can't think of a lot of Turkey Day themed books either, but being that's an American holiday...and Halloween's a bit more universal.)

Other than Harry Potter having important things happen on Halloween, I can't think of any Halloween themed novels. But I did love Jill Barnett's Bewitching and Dreaming, which feature witches. And Halloween was very important to them. *LOL*

PJ said...

I'm dressing as a puppy dog this year - either a Dalmation or Scooby Doo. I haven't decided which yet.

We have a lot of local festivals this weekend. I'll probably take in a few of those but Sunday night I'll be on my front porch, in costume, ready to hand out candy to all the little goblins who come to my door.

Janga, I've only read the first in VLT's new Babes on Brooms series but I liked it. I really enjoyed her Big Knob, Indiana series. It had plenty of magic with a matchmaking witch/warlock couple, an ADD dragon and assorted others. Lots of fun.

Terri, hope you have a wonderful first Halloween in your new home!

Janga said...

Hellie, There are lots of holiday-theme mysteries. Strange that except for Valentine's Day and Christmas, there are relatively few romaances.

I share your love for the Barnett books. I'm so glad Belle books has reissued them as ebooks for a new audience.

Janga said...

PJ, did you give out lots of candy? Did you bark at the kids? LOL

We gave out fourteen bags of candy
--economy size too. We had a few narrowly averted disasters too. (1) Our Tinkerbelle insisted on wearing her boots. Her mom refused to take her trick or treating in them, so Tink was quickly transformed into a plump black spider complete with black boots. (2) Nephew & friend in Freddy Krueger masks scared one tiny neighbor into screams and tears that ended only when they removed the masks and nephew took her for a short ride in golf cart. (3) Nephew to wife: You mean you gave them my Snickers too? Wife: Yes, but there's a bag hidden behind the oatmeal.

We had a great evening, despite the Dawgs' heartbreaking loss. I hope you all did too.

Hellie, how was Robin Hood received?

TerriOsburn said...

Update - Kiddo did not get to go trick or treating. Her friend with whom she'd planned to go stood her up and we were working on the house so she stuck around and handed out candy. The little ones were so adorable!

We went through three bags and then had to turn off the porch light. The last little Batman who showed up right after the last piece was gone looked so disappointed. I promised him we'd have plenty for him next year.

irisheyes said...

Halloween was pretty subdued around our house this year. My daugher (who is her father's daughter and will probably trick or treat until she's old and gray), grabbed her cousin and they both went as 80's chicks. Very funny! They kept asking me if I dressed like that which I had to admit I did not. I was never one to follow the fashions of the times.

The kids decorated the house a little Sunday morning and then went around for an hour or two. My son took assorted things out of our costume bin (a Jason mask, a hoola skirt, a lei, muscle breast plate, a machine gun and fairy wings) and went as the costume fairy!

Janga - your Tink story sounds soooo familiar. I don't know how many times I've had to change costumes at the last minute cause one of the kids refused to wear part of the costume or wouldn't take off a certain item of clothing that just didn't match! UGH!

Hellie - I wish I could've seen your Robin Hood - I think you do an excellent job on your costumes!

Ter - Congrats on the new home. Sorry about kiddo missing out - my daughter had to look high and low to get someone to go with her. All of her friends are getting "too old" for trick or treating!

PJ said...

Janga, I did bark at the kids. lol! My 4 yr old grand-niece was Ariel. I wrapped a dog leash around my waist (I was a Dalmation)and she led me to the houses at my end of the street. I only got scolded twice. Apparently I'm not fully leash trained yet! lol! We went to six houses and then she was ready to come back to my house and hand out candy.

We had around 80 - 100 kids and, for the first time since moving here, most of them were teenagers. Some of the local churches had festivals for the kids Sunday night and I think a lot of families with little ones went there.

Janga said...

Terri, I'm sorry Isabelle's friend stood her up, but I bet she had a great time anyway. And the little ones are adorable, aren't they? We had one tiny visitor who was a woman after my own heart. She held out her plastic pumpkin, looked me in the eye, and said, "Only chocolate please." LOL!

Janga said...

Irish, I like your kids' spirits. They are clearly their own people. I know you must be so proud of them.

I love your son's costume. That would actually make a great party game--give kids--or kids at heart--a bunch of assorted costume bits and have them create a character. I ned to remember that.

Janga said...

Did you take pics, PJ. I want to see you as a dalmatian on a leash. LOL

We had a lot of church festivals here too. In fact, some people took their kids on a festival tour rather than trick-or-treating. I'm sure they feel safer.