Halloween, The Morning After

Happy November 1st everybody! I saw a caption on a post this morning that went something like, “feels like November.” Included in this caption, was a picture of a lone pine tree dusted with snow. I don’t really know what that all meant. I’ve seen multiple pics today of what appears to be Christmas trees without adornment because it’s just not quite Christmas yet,  but some people are already chomping at the bit about it apparently.

I suppose this is the time of year, when the Christmas people get to throw their holiday cheer into the Halloween people’s faces (although  many people do enjoy the duplicity of both) and let’s be honest, we’re essentially talking about two Pagan Holidays here. One of which, was Christianized. I’m not here to diss on either holiday,  but to proclaim openly that I am a Halloween person.

November feels somber to me, and just like the bite of the cold, I feel a little bit frosty. If you have been following my blog for awhile you may have read my post, When Your Christmas is a Broken Hallelujah. Last year, I lost a family member on Dec. 19th (suicide) and their service was on December 26th. I just can not approach the holiday season at an accelerated rate.

Christmas will accelerate anyhow, and the whole thing is starting to feel like the first time I was on a motorbike. I revved the gas and it took off without me.  It left me with that taste of dirt in my mouth and fumes in my face, and a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Now, I don’t want to put you all on a downer, because there is an up side to this post. Knowing how I am (gulp) dreading Christmas this year, I may have overkilled it a little bit for Halloween. There are a few things that have come from this:

  1. I really tapped into my creative side.
  2. I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

I did not realize how critical of myself I had become, even with something as trivial as Halloween. Now seriously, I used to be a theatre major. I spent hours and hours creating sets and working in costume shops. If anything, I should feel rather confident about Halloween. More confident than most. My youngest daughter has become quite the artist, so I kept going to her for advice, asking opinion after opinion (she is twelve). She finally turned to me and said the most profound thing,

“You do YOU mom.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Why was I not doing me? What was me? Than I thought of all the social media BS I had been doing to become more of an influencer and pull in readership for my writing gig, and how I had been obsessing about what other accounts were doing and not investing in who I was.

I was also wondering how social media should work for writers exactly. Like seriously, it is such an integral part of writing that you almost lose your craft, like isn’t the horse supposed to come before the cart and which one is the horse?

It seems like over and over I am hearing that you should just let all that comparison stuff go, and  when “you do you” that’s when the magic happens. There’s only one of each of us in the world. One should bring that unique “spark.” We all have it right? We were never meant to be imitators. Authenticity of self seems to be the magic ingredient. At least that is the word on the street.

I believe I was stressing on the Halloween gig, because I didn’t want it to be “hokey.” I kept seeing these influential media accounts, with epic fall porches that looked like they belonged on House Beautiful and costumes that looked like they belonged on a fashion runway. I was seeing theatrical makeup that looked like it had been done by professionals.

This was my deal, let’s just say I am a little financially strapped at the moment, and I am also trying to live a sustainable lifestyle. The two actually go hand in hand when you think about it. I needed to use what I had as much as possible. I was on a budget, and let’s face it, a lot of single use plastic goes into Halloween.

Now, I can’t say I had a waste free Halloween, because that would be hypocritical. I did buy (gasp)  a few sheets of scrapbook paper, some tape, and a few other  notions, but I tried to keep it simple. Overall, I feel I had a humble Halloween haul. It’s a practice. My first conscientious effort for a sustainable Halloween, and I won’t lie, even that became a little complicated and I strayed a little bit. It takes some work and some imagination.

I’m just going to dive in here and give you a pictorial rundown. This will be a two part blog series. One on Halloween decor, and one on costuming. Yay! I get to blog Halloween one more time, because I am just not quite ready to let it go. I’m going to try and have both of these posts done by the end of the week, so be forewarned that this is going to be a double whammy.

Exhibit A


This is my feeble attempt at trying to photograph a flat lay. One day I will figure out how to take a photo of a flame. This is not really a tablecloth but a full size black fitted bedsheet that I taped a spider web too. I had big plans of hemming and cutting this sheet but it fit my table perfectly. The gathered ends kept it from sliding and I quite liked the gathered pumpkin effect at the bottom. I have no idea how this would have worked on a rectangle.

This sign was left over from my daughter’s wedding. I love the idea of a sign that changes out for multiple events. I found this pewter dish in my basement. The candles and dried flowers were left over from my daughter’s wedding. The bottles were from a collection of old bottles my husband had. The clear one had a black shadow in it that looks like a moth. There was nothing in it when’s this photo was taken. Insert creepy music here.

Here is where I fell off the wagon. I purchased bendy skeletons at Home Depot and applied dollar store wings. Thrifty but not sustainable. The pestle, I already had, because I am eccentric like that, and I like to grind mint leaves for mojitos. I wanted to jazz up my bottles and bling them out, but ran out of time embellishing hats instead.

The hat was an old felt hat that I believe one of my children used to be Abe Lincoln one year. I already had the thread and ribbon. I found the chain in an old jewelry stash I had. I ran out of embroidery thread to finish my criss cross stitching. Also, my stitches are uneven as F and I cut my finger two times. The bolts on the hat are buttons that do not match but are dark in color. I hot glued gold beads to them that I already had so you can hardly notice that the buttons weren’t matching.

The hat has a vintage feel to it because this is how it was. People had to make do. I say do the look like they did, and one can easily pull it off. That is the secret.

Exhibit B


Would you believe that these are two hand towels from Target I tacked together? I hung them with a wooden dowel, and placed them under a black light I already had. They seemed drab and white, minus the font, but under a black light everything changes.

Exhibit C


This is an idea I saw on Pinterest. This is an old pillow case draped over a tomato cage, round side down, and draped with twinkle lights underneath that I already owned. Part of the face came from a pattern I took from a pumpkin master’s carving book I found in my Halloween box.

We carved our  pumpkins too early this year and get this!? Utah had record low freezing temperatures ever recorded in our history of Octobers. The pumpkins froze and were mushy after that. I had to pull out these old plug-in jack-o lanterns that my husband had. Yes, our church trunk or treat still took place in temperatures that were below freezing.

Exhibit D

IMG_20191019_075831658 (1).jpg

I don’t have a mantel because I have a wood burning stove. I have seen so many interesting and fun Halloween mantels. I do have a shelf above my kitchen window with a high slanted ceiling. I had this old mirror and I painted the trim with a white paint that was left over from painting my daughter’s room. I saw this template for skull faces on Pinterest. I wanted them to have more of a vintage antique look, so I bought some of this textured paper at hobby lobby and made a garland out of them.

I have a light fixture in my kitchen shaped like a pumpkin, so the reflection of the pumpkin light with this skull garland turned out rather nice. In this pic, you can see the reflection of this star light I have and I liked that look also. Mirrors and lighting are one of my favorite things to work with.

Exhibit E



As much as I love a good Holiday, I don’t waste anytime putting everything away once it is over. I had all my stuff stacked in the corner. This is an old skeleton I had with one broken hand. I am still not getting a new one. This blanket on my couch, is my cat’s favorite nap spot and is made out of old jeans. Without even planning it, my black cat napping on it in front of the window  became part of the ambience.

Anyway, this was my Halloween decor, simple, and somewhat hokey, but it was my decor all just the same. I just wanted to close this blog by saying, I don’t know who  needs to hear this… but you do YOU today. Until next post!

—–Rachelle Whiting—–




2 thoughts on “Halloween, The Morning After

Add yours

  1. “Christmas will accelerate anyhow, and the whole thing is starting to feel like the first time I was on a motorbike. I revved the gas and it took off without me. It left me with that taste of dirt in my mouth and fumes in my face, and a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach”. Great writing!


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