“Halloween A-Coming”

Halloween 2

Cinderilla Pumpkin

My beautiful picture

The gate where the Candy Witch stands…..


I love Halloween.  Or I used to before the Southern Baptists and Methodists stuck their noses into a holiday that was a lot of fun.  I remember getting dressed up as witches, beatniks, when I was young and getting sick on the candy we got from far flung neighbors.  The Sabatillas were the best, with a house that you had to transverse fields in the black of night to get to their tables laid out with candy.  I remember my father and his scary antics behind us, when we were most vulnerable in the dark, clutching our paper bags and of course the UNISEF boxes for the coins.  This was all in the country, up in central New Jersey, and considering the lack of any streetlights and the river that stretched out for miles, we were brave young kids. My father would accompany us unseen, and would further scare us with moans and a blast from his French horn that made us realize  it was he who did the mischief in the dark of night.

In my Atlantan neighborhood, it’s these Baptists and Methodists who turn their lights off and probably sit under their kitchen tables, shuddering at the words: “Trick or Treat!” 

They call this “Devil’s Night” but I think it’s just a chance to deny the local children any fun.  For years, before the Methodist church on the next block closed their doors, they had a “God’s Night” where they had a few sad and abused ponies trucked in for rides, and the kids got to sing hymns and bob for apples.  Big Woo.

Why can’t adults leave this holiday alone?  Why must everything be seen through their damn religions?  This year, as on every Halloween, we will decorate and have a big basket of candy.  About two weeks ago, 4 kids from the neighborhood came to our gate and asked me if I would have candy this year.  I promised I would, but two of the kids were Jehovah Witness. They sadly said that they couldn’t come because their parents didn’t believe in this holiday.  I promised to save candy for the NEXT day for them.  A couple of years ago we ran out of candy.  A few of the older kids offered back handfuls from their own bags so we wouldn’t run out so quickly. 

We don’t get a chance to see kids much, but if this is the behavior of these young teens, giving some of their own loot to an adult who ran out of candy, I can only think that Halloween can bring out the best in our youth.

Lady Nyo


It is almost Halloween.

The early dark of dusk

Creeps in before finishing

With the day–

Strange imaginings

Cause shadows to rustle,

Briars entangle

And nothing seems exactly…right.

In the mountains

Clouds dip low

Smothering the landscape.

Only the moan of winds

Round eaves shaking the skeleton hambones

Hiding in attic corners

Breaks the silence–

A strange cacophony.

Monstrous, ghost trees

Wedged together in

Stumbling rows,

Indian Snake arms

Wave warnings

To all who dare approach

Their Joseph’s –coat-of- many colors

Blasted by Autumn winds

Tearing around the mountain.

The hoot of the owl

Drives on dis-ease until dawn.

Roads dip and swell

In a frenzied, jagged run

Straight into the heart of danger.

Nerves uneasy,

There is too much mystery in the night.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2014

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6 Responses to ““Halloween A-Coming””

  1. Caliban's Sister Says:

    Amen sister. Adults should leave Halloween alone. It’s a holiday of great resonance for children, with magic and mystery. And candy. What’s better than that? Too much mystery in the night…or just enough. xo


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hey CS…..again, Amen. Magic, mystery,some thrills, costumes and CANDY! What could be better? Nothing I know.
    It’s also a sad Halloween this year because our darling Chessie, who died Oct. 13th, was not scared of the kids hording the gate…he sat in the maple tree and just watched, blinking his green eyes at the noise. Knowing they couldn’t get to his little pelt.

    Yeah, why can’t the damn adults leave something for the kids? Because they are dogmatic and selfish sots and I feel like leaving a bag of dogshit on their church steps. Pushes me away from any consideration of their damn religions. But you knew that. LOL!

    Love, Jane


  3. czbz Says:

    I love Halloween, too! My kids have very fond memories of their costumes and trick-or-treating! When we moved to France (they were 8 and 11), I created a HUGE Halloween party including a “haunted house” in our dirt-floored basement. Then the whole neighborhood of kids went trick-or-treating together, all dressed up like goblins and pirates and little french ghosts. (I had talked with all of my neighbors and asked them to buy candy for the children which they graciously agreed to do!) I am sure that those children will never forget our family!

    My daughter and I were looking through albums last week and saw our French Halloween photos! I was in my early thirties at the time, young and energetic enough to spend two weeks decorating our house. We even glazed donuts made from scratch to make the holiday authentic. And that, my dear friend, is how much I LOVE Halloween!

    And I love your poem. Rustling shadows, entangled briars, ghost trees, skeletons and attics…You made me *shiver* ha!



  4. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! A good shiver is a good thing as that ghoul Martha Stewart would say. LOL!

    I love your French Halloween! I bet the Frenchies have never forgotten it, either! These things make an impression on children and adults and I forget that they aren’t universal. I was talking to a friend in Australia…they do a little of this, but I don’t think it’s a national holiday.

    It’s not just the Baptists and Methodists who portray Halloween as evil and demonic: the Bahai’s, the Catholics, the Jews…anywhere where dogmatism reigns. Being a Northerner, it was hard to understand WHY people…especially Blacks, refused to participate, but it took me many years to understand the religious issues of these things. I thought it was poverty amongst Blacks that made them not buy candy, but now I know differently. And, it’s not all Blacks. It’s people, of all races, who have their noses in fundamentalism. My own sisterinlaw refused to allow her girls to go to ballet: it exposed the body …what part? Ankles? Feet? Legs? arms???? LOL! Frankly, what I now know of her and her fundamentalism, it was because of ‘modesty’. (I don’t think she has ever exposed her lovely, trim body in a bathingsuit…in fact, I know so.) And this modesty is a false argument. It’s more about the oppression of women and girls. My Taliban-in-the-fold-of-fundamental-Christianity sister in law. Geez.

    Fundamentalism is a real downer, period.

    But! I think many people are hungry for the experience of a social activity as your Halloween party. Year after year, we are the only ones here on this long block who decorate our house (this year we got going late and most stuff was sold, so we are reduced to that web stuff. LOL) But year after year, the kids (mostly) come for the candy and the weird scary music and the lighted pumpkins. And that the majority of the kids are Black means that they perhaps are thinking for themselves? In any case, I love to talk with them, and I am definitely the witch at the gate.

    Now, I saw a newsprogram this early morning about whether to give kids candy or not IF they appear without a costume. What elitist nonsense! What a parsing of sense! Some kids don’t have any costume, mask because their parents don’t think of these things. Others, especially the youngest come with costumes and sometimes makeup. I welcome them all to my gate. Costume or not. I am thrilled when they appear and my experience is that Halloween can bring out the best in the older kids, like giving back some candy from their baskets unasked because I was running low. And it is also a chance to meet my far flung neighbors.

    I made candy apples years ago, but there was a hue and cry generally about poisoning kids so now we stick to the already wrapped stuff. But I truly admire your glazed donuts. That sounds like you! Post some pix when and if you can on your blog, dear heart. I would love to see them.



  5. TR Says:

    Hi Jane,
    I enjoyed the poem, “There is too much mystery in the night.”

    I love Halloween, my favorite time of year. It is a time of imagination. What might be around the corner. Have a Happy Halloween and I hope you have some ‘scary’ visitors tonight 🙂 xxTR


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Sweetie!

    I agree….and couldn’t have said it better: a time of imagination! I always feel a ‘lift’ on Halloween and exactly for the reasons you write: What might be around the corner!

    Thanks so much, TR.

    Love, Jane


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