Halloween feels very different in California than it did where I grew up, in New York City. Tomorrow night I’m wishing for a cool, crisp, clear evening so my felted wool sailor suit will not stifle me. October 31 is always cold in the Northeast.
Tomorrow night I’ll help make a dinner that will include late fruits of summer like strawberries and just arrived fruits like persimmons, and pomegranates. We’ll throw in some heirloom white acorn squash from Annabelle Lenderink for good measure. (She’s asked me to cook it up and get back to her– not a bad assignment.) In NY strawberries and persimmons would never exist in the same sentence. And persimmons might never exist as a noun at all.
Tomorrow night I’ll watch children giddily walking down Cortland Street in Bernal Heights, collecting sweet things from shop owners and neighbors. In New York City trick-or-treaters are climbing stairs and hitting elevator buttons. On the street, it’s all about tricks, like smoke bombs in mailboxes and raw eggs thrown from anonymous windows.
This year marks the first year in a few where I will voluntarily participate in Halloween. I plan on donning an authentic American sailor suit and walk the streets unabashedly staring at costumes, snapping photos, talking to strangers, holding the hand of my cop-clad sweetie, and share in the mirth.
In recent years I lived on 16th street in the Castro and my only plans for this night were to sleep elsewhere. It’s hard to enjoy people who keep you awake all night, vibrating bedroom windows with music, getting arrested and peeing on your front steps.
Will you be tricking or treating on Halloween?
Will you be hiding from the ruckus or making it? Dimming the lights and lighting candles or pulling your shades in tight? Hanging sheets from trees, carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds or reading your election booklet cover to cover? Will you tiptoe out your glowing orange fruity-veg to let the short folks know yours is a door whose bell they can ring?
Shuna’s famous Naked Salad.
Pastry cheffing means coming from the world of themed holidays; royal icing in every color, thousands of cookies baked in shapes, and decorating well into the night. Food coloring becomes your friend. Hands and arms get slimy from reaching in to hollow out winter squash and gourds. For one month everything is orange and black.
Halloween’s the easy part, next is Thanksgiving.
So live it up this year. Check out the latest candy miniatures. Get your fill of Beta Carotene. Take a gander or a gawk out your window. Spend some time on the streets absorbing the energy created during this nod to pagan history. Deliver tricks as well as treats. Carve a pumpkin or two. Let the flickery shadows of candles create whispery intrigue. Conjure ghosts, salt and roast pumpkin seeds, spatter the sink with pomegranate blood and celebrate
“A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest.” Mike Nichols
Whether you will be staying home to greet children with sweet treats to fill open bags and plastic jack-o’ lantern pails, or donning masks and painting the town orange, I wish you a safe, and ever-so-slightly sinister evening.