There are pumpkins for baking
and leaves that need raking
And bratwurst and beer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Wait. What? Those aren’t the right lyrics?
Well, they should be, as far as I’m concerned. October has always been my favorite month. What’s not to love about the cooler but still lovely days (at least here in my part of the world), the longer, somehow darker nights, the big orange harvest moon, the scuttle of leaves on the sidewalk sounding like chattering teeth or clattering bones, the oooh, spooky vibe that seems to rise up like mist, growing thicker and thicker with each passing day…
Horror movies. Love them. Not the gross, slasher in the campground variety, but the classic (or re-imagined) monster movies (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, Sleepy Hollow), or the psychological, mess with your mind until your skin wants to crawl off your body variety (The Others, Pan’s Labyrinth and Skeleton Key), or the goofy/campy startled the laughs right out of you sort (Trick ‘r Treat, The Lost Boys, Shaun of the Dead).
Scary books and stories? Love those, too, and this is the time of the year when I revisit a few old favorites, like The Tell-Tale Heart, The Queen of the Damned and pretty much anything by Stephen King. I also shift the scarier contents of my to-be read pile to the top of the stack – this year, for me it’s The Gargoyle, Full Dark,No Stars, and Patient Zero.
When October rolls in, I get to crank up my favorite creepy tunes. No “Monster Mash” or “Thriller” here, just a playlist full of gothy goodness like Rob Zombie’s “Living Dead Girl”, Godsmack’s “Voodoo” and “ Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
And then there’s the food. This is the time of year when we can finally stop grilling after months of not wanting to heat up the kitchen. Cauldrons of soup, stew or chili burble on the stove all day (okay, they’re pots, but I’m feeling poetic), and roasts, lasagnas and gratins haunt the oven (poetic, people!), filling the house with delectable scents.
Scents…the smells of fall are the absolute best. Fresh air after the first rains, cinnamon and spices, that particular baked pumpkin perfume you can only get by scorching the inside of a jack o’ lantern lid with a burning candle.
Which brings me absolute favorite thing about October… PUMPKINS!
Back when my sons were wee things and my husband worked weekends, I’d strap the boys in their car seats every Saturday and haul them off to one of the many pumpkin patches in the area. Hayrides, petting zoos, corn mazes, hay bale pyramids. We rode, we climbed, we conquered – and we crowded the porch and sidewalks with our loot. Now, since the boys are older and far, far too cool for pumpkin patches (at least in public) we’ve created a new tradition. We plant our own pumpkin patch at my sister’s ranch. That’s this year’s patch in the picture above; it’s big and full of every strange and wonderful kind of pumpkin and gourd we cold find seeds for. We throw a big party in mid-October for all our friends and families, complete with hayrides, apple bobbing, pumpkin relay races, piñatas, a big bonfire and a pot-luck. It’s a blast, and we come home with the back of our truck fully loaded and ready for our annual pumpkin carving fest the day before Halloween.
And then comes the candy… Mmm, candy.
See, it really is the most wonderful time of year! What do you love about October? Do you have any favorite stories, books, movies, music or traditions? (Yes, consuming a bag full of mini-snickers constitutes a tradition.)