Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween is Not Just for Kids

Today is October 29. In two days, it will be Halloween. I love Halloween. On October 1, I decorated the front windows with black Halloween paper and orange lights. I spent nearly $30 on candy at Wal-Mart for the trick or treaters, which mostly has been eaten by my boyfriend Marshall and I over the past month. Mostly by him, a little by me. Saturday, the trick or treaters will come. I think we need to make one more trip to Wal-Mart for just a bit more candy, because all we have left is Tootsie Rolls, which are actually my personal favorite, but we don't want anyone egging the house or toilet papering the tree because we didn't have any chocolate left to give away.

We have a large pumpkin, grown in Ohio courtesy of Marshall's mom, sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be carved. The dog's faces have been traced on the front from black and white transfers I made in PhotoShop, and it is ready to be carved tomorrow (Friday) night. On the Eve of Halloween, known to many as "Devil's Night" or "Mischief Night", we will be carving our pumpkin.

Some of my favorite memories are from Halloween. As a child, I remember the excitement of getting all dressed up to go out and go trick or treating with my friends. Growing up in a real small town, we got to go trick or treating without our parents at a much younger age than kids get to these days. One year I was a witch, and my mom had a recipe for green face makeup that could also be made into warts. I don't remember what it was made of, but I remember how itchy my face got. I looked cool for awhile, until I itched it so much that it was everywhere but on my face. I still got lots of candy though.

I remember coming home from trick or treating, and dumping out the orange pumpkin bucket with the black smiley face on the front and the black handle. We didn't have green and pink and purple and yellow pumpkin buckets back then, just the standard pumpkin orange. Everyone's bucket was the same. Anyway I remember coming home and dumping my orange bucket out in the middle of the living room floor, while my Dad would come help me to "see what I got." He and my mom would make me pick some candy to keep out that I could eat, but the rest of it had to be put into Ziploc bags and put in the freezer. So I could save it for later. Funny thing is I never remember taking candy back out of the freezer to eat it. I think the bag I got to keep out of the freezer was it -- the rest of my loot went into the freezer for my parents. No wonder all the Snickers bars had to go in the freezer - a perfect midnight snack with ice cream, right Dad?

When I was in college, there were some fun fraternity house Halloween parties that involved costumes and kegs. Once I turned 21, we discovered bars with costume parties, which are also pretty cool. When I lived in Galveston, Texas, my friends and I all went to the bar one year in our costumes. I was a rock star and sprayed that hot pink spray in my hair. I think what everyone loves about Halloween is that for one night, you get to dress like someone you aren't, act like someone you aren't, and just have fun doing it.

When I moved to the Outer Banks, our local bar there, the Sandbar & Grille in Frisco, had an awesome Halloween party each year. One year I was a hippie chick, complete with an authentic 70s dress and a long blonde wig ... the next year I was a saloon girl, complete with a dress that I paid way too much for on Ebay because I HAD to beat the girl who was bidding against me.

Since I have moved to Wilmington, I have gone out to a costume party at the bar one year. Turns out here in Wilmington, no one really wears "costumes" on Halloween night. It seems to be an excuse for the girls to wear as few clothes as possible, and for the guys to look at them. Last year, I put my costume on and answered the door for my trick or treaters and gave them candy. This year, I plan to do the same. I have accumulated several costumes throughout the past few years though, and I'm just not sure yet which one I am going to put on Saturday night before the kids come. The dogs have Halloween necklaces to wear, which they don't know yet but I'm sure they will be very excited about.

So, even though my costume party days of going out on the town seem to have wound down, at least for now, Halloween is still one of my favorite days. An excuse to dress up, not look like yourself, not act like yourself, eat lots of candy, listen to Halloween music, put goofy necklaces on your dogs, and just have a good time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall at the Beach

So, it seems as though fall officially made its way to the beach. I stepped outside to get the mail one afternoon about 2 weeks ago, and there were leaves in the grass. That night, I stepped out into the backyard with the dogs in my short sleeved shirt, and it was chilly! There are more birds coming to eat out of the bird feeder, the air conditioner is off, the windows are open and it's getting dark earlier in the day.

Fishing is great at the beach in the fall. We haven't caught many fish this summer. A few bluefish, one red drum. Fall normally brings lots of flounder to the table, which are my personal favorite. A friend of ours gave us a great fish dipping sauce recipe for fried fish. Give it a try, let me know how you like it!


Hot Pineapple Fish Sauce
Take about 1/4 cup of pineapple preserves and add 2-3 teaspoons of Texas Pete hot sauce (more or less depending on your preference.) Mix it together, and serve with fried fish.

The fall and winter seasons are my favorite time of year, especially in North Carolina. I grew up in South Dakota, so fall always was kind of a gloomy season because everyone knows what is next - WINTER. Cold, snowy, frigid, miserable South Dakota winter.

Don't get me wrong, it gets chilly in Wilmington in December and January. It gets down to 25 or so at night, the plants all die off, we aren't as lucky as the palm tree loving, fruit eating folks in Florida. But, we rarely get snow. We can still go for walks and don't have to dress like we are traveling to the North Pole. It gets dark at 5:00 p.m. but it's nice to sit by the fireplace and play cards.

Winter in North Carolina is kind of like a long, cozy vacation.