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Ghastly greetings, dear reader! I am pumped because its finally October, the spookiest month of the year, and I am all about spooky. Since last year’s Halloween Fun List was such a spook-tacular success, I decided to create another eerie-sistible list for this year which will include thematic clothing and accessories, fang-tastic food and drink, bone-chilling books, montrous movies, and so much more.

My work wardrobe will be accessorized from head to toe with Halloween/Fall earrings, pins, infinity scarves, and socks. I may even acquire a Halloween t-shirt or two for my creepy collection. Additionally, I will be adding some Halloween decorations in the reading area of my bedroom and on my front porch, mixing them in with the fall decorations already on display. Kelsi and I have planned a couple of days to hang out together, so I am hoping we will conjure up a thrilling treat or two while celebrating this enchanted month.

BOOKS/SHORT STORIES

This Halloween, Kelsi and I are participating in a Readathon that we created together. It is the first time that we are doing this type of reading activity. Our book and short story selections are based on horror movies. I have listed my terrifying TBR choices for the month below.

  • Cabal by Clive Barker
  • Thinner by Richard Bachman
  • Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King
  • My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
  • Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine
  • Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
  • Fear Zone 2 by K.R. Alexander
  • The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg
  • ”The Mangler” by Stephen King (Night Shift)
  • ”Jerusalem’s Lot” by Stephen King (Night Shift)
  • “Sometimes They Come Back” by Stephen King (Night Shift)
  • “The Magic Ball” by Charles J. Finger (A Newbery Halloween)
  • ”The Man of Influence” by Paul Fleishman (A Newbery Halloween)

In addition to the Halloween Readathon, I will be reading The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury which was chosen by the mesmerizing members of the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club (book club that Kelsi and I started back in May 2021). Also, I will be finishing up the spine-tingling short story collection AutumnCrow by Cameron Chaney which I started on the first day of fall.

MOVIES

October would be totally boring if it did not include a few hair-raising movies, so I decided on 20 movies for the Halloween season. A couple will provide lighthearted entertainment while others are guaranteed to raise goosebumps and inspire nightmares. Two of my movie choices are based on books, which will be enjoyable to compare/contrast and to discuss with Kelsi. Nightbreed is based on Cabal by Clive Barker, and Silver Bullet is based on Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King.

EERIE EXTRAS

There are two additional aah-inspiring activities that I would love to include on my list if my schedule allows, weather permits, and COVID restrictions relax. First, I would love to see the play, The House on Haunted Hill, I auditioned for at the Columbia Theatre back in August. Second, Barry and I would enjoy shuffling in the 2021 New Orleans Zombie Run. It is a two-mile run/walk/crawl that begins and ends at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant on Tchoupitoulas Street. Of course, in the event any other Halloween or fall-related activities are lurking in the shadows this month, I will add them to my already unBOOlieveable list. Lastly, if the weather is pleasant on Halloween night, I will be handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

There was a certain crispness to the early morning air today, dear reader. October has arrived and is making sure we take notice. What are your plans for the month of October? Whatever you decide, have a howling good time. Happiness!

“There is a child in everyone of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit porch.” ~ Robert Brault 

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Autumn has officially started which means the month of October is just around the corner. Last year, I created a Halloween Fun List with all sorts of fun and spooky activities. Reading books, short stories, and poems was one of my favorite activities on the list. This year, Kelsi and I thought it would be fun to create a readathon with prompts based off of horror movies. We created a video explaining the prompts and announcing which books we will be reading for the readathon.

PROMPTS

1.“You know it’s Halloween. I guess everyone’s entitled to one good scare…” – Halloween

Read a book set on or around Halloween.

2. “Nothin’ can call it off.” – Pumpkinhead

Read a book with a pumpkin on the cover.

3. “Whatever you do… don’t fall asleep.” – Nightmare on Elm Street 

Read a book at night or in the dark to elicit nightmares! 

4. “Who ya gonna call?” – Ghostbusters

Read a book featuring ghosts or ghostly beings. 

5. “Being normal is vastly overrated.” – Halloweentown

Read a more innocent (but still spooky-themed) book geared towards kids, middle graders, or young adults.

6. “Wolfman’s got nards…” – The Monster Squad 

Read a book featuring any kind of monster…vampires, mummies, werewolves (because…nards), blobs, sea monsters, gremlins, aliens. Any monster or creature would be fang-tastic!

7. “Ding dong, you’re dead.” – House

Read a book or story featuring a haunted house, hotel, apartment, or any place that’s haunted. 

8. “If you believe in God, then you gotta believe in the Devil.” – The Last Exorcism (BONUS)

Read a book that features an exorcism or some kind of possession. 

9. “Susie, do you know anything about… witches?” – Suspiria

Read a book that features witches, wizards, or any kind of magic/black magic.

10. “What do you look like? It depends on who is looking…” – The Mothman Prophecies 

Read a book or story featuring something unexplainable, mysterious, or eerie.

11. “This one night changes everything for me.” – House of the Devil 

Read a book/story set in the 80s, published in the 80s, or a book that has an 80s feel/vibe. OR Read a book having to do with cults or devil worship.


12. “It will consume you.” – Color Out of Space

Read a book with a bright or neon-colored cover.

13. “You gotta see the shape of this fn’ guy that just walked in.” – Terrifier 

Read a book with creepy clowns, menacing mimes, or dangerous dummies. These are supposed to make you laugh, but some end up trying to murder you instead! 

Kat’s Picks

Kelsi created a bingo-style card (featuring a visual of the horror movies to accompany the prompts) for anyone who wants to join us in our spooktacular reading adventure. The card includes a bonus square for overachievers like Kelsi and me.

The terrific part of this fang-tastic readathon, dear reader, is you can tailor it to fit your reading needs. You can read novels, novellas, graphic novels, short stories, or poems. You can read something different for each of the squares or one selection could be used for multiple squares. And, you are under no obligation to choose every square…just pick and choose which prompts appeal to you. This readathon is designed for all of us to add a little more thematic fun during the Halloween season. Happiness!

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.” ~ William Shakespeare, MacBeth (more…)

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I am halfway through my Zombie Movie Marathon. I have already watched five of the ten movies selected for this month. Ravenous was my first choice followed by Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Slither, Shaun of the Dead, and #Alive. Without going into any details (discussing details with Kelsi after the marathon), I give two thumbs up to all five movies. Kelsi and I will be chatting specifically about Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and Shaun of the Dead tomorrow, so be on the lookout for our next video chat.

I’m also participating in other zombie-related activities included on my Zombie Fun List. Currently, I am reading Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith. It is the prequel set four years prior to the dreadful circumstances of Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. It reveals the evolution of Elizabeth Bennet, the Zombie Slayer.

Additionally, I watched the first and only available season of Betaal, an Indian television show created by Patrick Graham. It is a Netflix series that was released in 2020 and is comprised of four episodes. The story centers around an elite military unit called the CIPD, who are hired by the owner of the Surya Construction Company to relocate the Adivasi villagers from their home, so a highway can be constructed and the surrounding lands can be used for various construction projects. In order for the highway to be built, a sealed tunnel must be opened. Despite warnings from the locals, officials clear the tunnel and disentomb an army of British soldier-zombies.

I enjoyed Betaal and recommend it to anyone who likes the zombie genre. It is fascinating to me to see zombies in other parts of the world and in different cultures. While the trailer shows subtitles, the Netflix show is dubbed in English with subtitles for anything that appears in print (signs, text in a book, etc.). The zombies look terrifically horrific and are frightfully fast. It is eerie, gory, and includes many tense moments.

Yesterday, I watched the first episode of a British mini-series created by Charlie Brooker called Deadset which is about zombies descending upon reality television. It is also a Netflix series, composed of five episodes, that was released in 2008. So far, Deadset is pretty intense, and I’m enjoying it.


As you can see, I’m having a zombie-rific time this month watching and reading about all things zombie. In fact, to celebrate, I am having a Zombie Book Contest. One lucky follower of The Kat Files will win a copy of The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

For your chance to win this book that offers “complete protection from the living dead,” subscribe to my blog at the top of this blog post if you haven’t done so already AND email Zombie Book Contest to me at katloyacano@gmail.com and tell me your favorite zombie movie, television show, or book and what you love most about zombies.

The contest ends on Monday, 31 May 2021. Don’t forget to include your mailing address for receipt of your prize. Good luck, dear reader! Happiness!

“The dead walk among us. Zombies, ghouls — no matter what their label — these somnambulists are the greatest threat to humanity, other than humanity iteself.” ~ Max Brooks, The Zombie Survival Guide

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May is Zombie Awareness Month! I could not be happier, dear reader, because I ADORE zombies. It has been awhile since I celebrated all things zombies during the month of May (2012 to be exact), so I suggested to Kelsi that we participate in a Zombie Movie Marathon to commemorate the undead. I have also created a Zombie Fun List that will include watching movies and television shows, reading books, short stories, and articles, wearing clothing, and making a cocktail all associated with zombies. If I come across any other zombie-related activities throughout the month, they will be added to my list. Undoubtedly, I will be zombified by the end of the month. HA!

Zombie Fun List

Movies

Television Shows

  • Fear the Walking Dead
  • iZombie
  • Reality Z
  • Deadset
  • Kingdom
  • Betaal

Books, Short Stories, and Articles

For those of you that don’t know much about zombies, check out the Zombie Research Society. They have been around since 2007. The organization’s focus is on “the science, survival, and culture of the living dead.” If interested, you can also follow them on Facebook (temporarily restricted), Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

I am so excited about celebrating the month of May with zombies. Be on the look out for additional zombie posts sprinkled throughout this month. As with all of our movie marathons, Kelsi and I will be have a rotting good time chatting about reanimated corpses at the end of the marathon. Of course, dear reader, you are also invited to join us for an infectious good time. Where do most zombies live? On dead end streets! Happiness!

“A non-frightening zombie is a lame zombie.” ~ Scott M. Gimple

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For Catholics, the Christmas season officially ends tomorrow, 10 January, with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, thus marking the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. With that being said, it is time for me to reflect on the festive activities that I participated in throughout the Christmas season, mainly during the month of December. I had a jovial time watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas stories, consuming a mirthful beverage, and so much more as I celebrated the delightful season of Christmas.

As I mentioned in previous posts, dear reader, Christmas is not my favorite holiday; however, creating a Christmas Fun List helped me enjoy the joyous season with good cheer. Kelsi also created a fun list. Similar to Halloween, our lists consisted of movies (horror and classic), books, accessories, treats, and extras. Since we incorporated a Christmas Horror movie marathon and a Christmas Classics movie marathon as part of our fun lists, Kelsi and I had TWO Christmas chats. Again, Kelsi is the mastermind behind the technical aspects of our conversations and does an awesome job of hosting our chat and creating the finished product. I’ve included our Christmas Retrospective in this post.

Without delay, here are my thoughts on how I spent the Christmas season.

Movies

I selected 24 movies, 12 Christmas Horror and 12 Christmas Classics. What an insane amount of movies for me to view in a month! I decided to complete my Christmas Horror Marathon prior to starting my Christmas Classics Marathon. To read more about the Christmas Horror movies that I watched, to listen to the song I wrote about the Twelve Days of Christmas Horror, and to check out my conversation with Kelsi discussing the Christmas Horror movies, please visit my post “The Gift of Christmas Horror” which includes all three components. Unlike a few of the movies on my Christmas Horror list which I didn’t like very much, I loved all the movies chosen on my Christmas Classics list. The movies are ranked in the order of how much I liked them and the stars represent my rating.

My top six movies all received 5 STARS from me. I have seen all six of these films numerous times over the years. My absolute favorite is Love Actually. It is a fantastic romantic comedy full of wonderful characters whose lives intersect while navigating through the chaos caused by love and loss during the Christmas season. I watch Elf every year. It never gets old, and Will Ferrell is hilarious! Next up is How the Grinch Stole Christmas with the brilliant Jim Carrey as the Grinch. The 2009 version of A Christmas Carol is beautifully animated and terrifically terrifying in all the right places.

I had not seen Home Alone in several years, so it was a real treat to revisit. Andrew and I watched it together, and I laughed hysterically throughout the entire movie, especially at the shenanigans of the Wet Bandits. The Polar Express is another visual delight. I’m a fan of the author, Chris Van Allsburg, who wrote and illustrated this beautiful story. I love how well the film captured the heartwarming message of the book.

Out of the remaining six movies on my list, three of them were new watches. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a marvelously magical musical that gave me a holiday happiness boost. The young actress Madalen Mills who portrays Journey is pure delight. I hope to see her in other productions in the near future. Klaus is an amazing animated breath of fresh air with a heartfelt message and a new spin on the legend of Santa Claus. It is not a musical, but it has a lovely soundtrack. And, Rashida Jones, alum of The Office and Parks and Recreation, is the voice of Alva.

My third new watch, He Sees You When You’re Sleeping is an enjoyable movie-of-the week based on a mystery novel by Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark. I’m a fan of both authors. In fact, I’ve been reading Mary Higgins Clark since I was 18 years old. This movie isn’t exactly a Christmas movie, but it takes place during the Christmas season. The acting isn’t stellar and there are some cheesy scenes, but it does have a decent plot. As for the final three movies, which were all rewatches, it was lovely to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. My favorite scene is when all of the children are dancing on stage. Of course, Snoopy steals the show with his endless imagination and sense of humor. It has been over 20 years since I’ve seen The Muppet Christmas Carol. Luckily, I was able to see it with my hubby in the theatre. It is a lovely musical starring the talented Michael Caine as Scrooge alongside the fabulous Muppets. Last but not least, A Christmas Story. I know I have seen this movie quite a few times and in recent years; however, there were many scenes I did not remember, so I’m guessing I had it playing in the background while engaged in other activities. It’s not my favorite, but it has plenty of entertaining moments that make it worth the watch.

Books/Short Stories

I picked out two books to read throughout the month, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Santa’s Twin written by Dean Koontz and illustrated by Phil Parks. Even though I have seen a variety of cinematic versions of A Christmas Carol over the course of my lifetime, I have never read the classic novella. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a superb piece of literature that I highly recommend to everyone. Santa’s Twin is another equally enjoyable read. It is a beautifully illustrated picture book with an endearing story featuring two charming and spunky little girls.

Initially, I was only planning to read those two books. Shortly after I finished them, I read four more terrific books. Two of them are picture books, The Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg and The Animals’ Santa written and illustrated by Jan Brett. One of them is a splendid children’s lit selection that features a debonair mouse, Merry Christmas, Geronimo. The final one is an anthology, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus edited by Kate Wolford. I think anyone who is a fan of Krampus will enjoy this collection.

Thematic Potpourri

Besides watching both creepy and classic Christmas movies and reading holly and some not so jolly stories, there were several other thematic activities that I engaged in throughout the month. I wore a pair of Christmas socks a few times during the month. Every day at work, I wore different Christmas pins. Although I did not buy a Christmas sweater (the only item on my fun list I did not complete), I bought a Christmas mask to wear at work. I sent out Christmas cards to family and friends which included flying wish paper. Kelsi and I both included flying wish paper demonstrations in our chat.

I made a sweet and salty Christmas treat. It is super easy to make and only requires three ingredients (a bag of Snyder’s Snaps Pretzels, a bag of Hershey’s Hugs, and a bag of red and green M&M’s). I used my toaster oven and set it for about 275 degrees. Put a piece of aluminum foil on a pan (you can also do it without aluminum foil). Place pretzels on the pan first. Place a Hershey’s Hug on each pretzel. Put the pan in the oven for two minutes to make the Hug soft. Take it out the oven after two minutes and press an M&M on each Hug. I carefully take the aluminum foil with the treats and place it in the refrigerator to harden. Voila! You can basically make this treat anytime and for any holiday just by changing the colors of the M&M’s.

On Christmas evening, my hubby and I went over to Shelly and Kerry’s house for our annual Christmas visit. We generally have a glass of wine or a cocktail and enjoy leftovers from lunch. What a perfect time to try a Christmas cocktail! Kerry, who is our designated bartender, mixed the Grinch Cocktail for us. Instead of using Ginger Ale, he used Sprite. He also did not get the simple syrup or the green/red sanding sugar to decorate the rim of the glass. It was a yummy cocktail that I would definitely drink again. Afterwards, we enjoyed a glass of 19 Crimes Cali Red, featuring Snoop Dogg. With that, my Christmas Fun List is complete!

December was an amazingly merry month thanks to having a Christmas Fun list. Seeing Christmas decorations lit up in the evenings when I’d drive through the subdivision, reading thematic stories, and watching both creepy and classic Christmas movies added so much joy to my life. I will definitely be doing this again next year although with fewer movies on my list. What did you do to celebrate the Christmas season? I hope you will take a look at my conversation with Kelsi, dear reader. We’d love to get some feedback on our conversation and what we might consider for next year. Happiness!

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~ Dr. Seuss

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Unlike Halloween which I absolutely adore, I’m not a huge fan of Christmas. Since participating in Halloween activities throughout the month of October was an absolute delight and a tremendous success, I decided to create a Christmas fun list for the month of December that encompasses the traditional Christmas spirit but with some spooky undertones sprinkled in for jolly good fear, I mean cheer. Instead of starting the 2020 Christmas season off with watching classic Christmas movies, my Christmas festivities will commence with 12 Days of Christmas Horror which entails 12 Christmas movies that deck the halls but aren’t so jolly. The first Christmas horror movie I will watch will be a toss up between A Christmas Horror Story and Krampus. Considering the Christmas season officially starts after Thanksgiving, I plan to start my Christmas horror movie marathon before the first of December.

Kat’s 12 Days of Christmas Horror

In addition to watching Christmas horror movies, I plan to read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Santa’s Twin by Dean Koontz. I’m also secretly working on a wickedly Christmas appropriate piece of writing to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas Horror that I hope I can share with you at month’s end. Nothing like a mysterious and unexpected gift for Christmas. 

Of course, I will be wearing Christmas socks and pins to work throughout the month. Maybe this year, I will even invest in an ugly Christmas sweater. That would be pretty horrific, but it would also fit in quite nicely with the Christmas horror theme. I must also celebrate the season with a Christmas cocktail, and maybe I’ll even try a Christmas-related treat. What’s more, if time permits, I will acquiesce and watch a few traditional Christmas movies. I’m not that much of a Scrooge, dear reader. Finally, Kelsi and I are planning to have another Zoom Conversation to discuss our Christmas fun lists and compare notes on movies we watched throughout the season.

The Christmas season is upon us, dear reader. Like Thanksgiving, Christmas 2020 will look and feel a bit different; however, we can still find joyful ways to celebrate the holiday. What are some fun activities that you plan to engage in this Christmas season? Happiness!

“It is required of every man,” the ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“Well, well, well. What have we here?” ~ Oogie Boogie, The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Halloween 2020 has come and gone; however, I must reflect on the fang-tastic activities that I participated in throughout October before I can get into the heart and soul of November. I had a horror-rific time watching Halloween/horror movies, reading scary stories, consuming a spooky libation, and so much more as it all led up to the magical night of Halloween.

As you know, dear reader, Halloween is my favorite holiday which makes the month of October super special for me. Inspired by my dear friend Kelsi, who also adores Halloween, I created a Halloween Fun List. Basically, it was a fun list of activities planned for the entire month of October that encapsulates the spirit of the season. My list included: movies, books, accessories, events, and extras. I took the liberty of incorporating some spur of the moment items which included a spooktacular conversation with Kelsi. We were actually scheduled to have our conversation the Thursday evening before Halloween; however, it was postponed because Hurricane Zeta swept through Louisiana causing damage and power loss. Unfortunately, Kelsi was one of many who lost power, thus putting a slight kink in out creeperific plans. Thankfully, her power was restored, so we recorded our conversation Friday night. Please check it out! It is my first attempt with this type of format. And, I LOVED it! Podcasting is something I really want to do in the near future, so having this opportunity was both important and exciting for me. Kelsi is such a pro and is responsible for setting everything up, editing it (such cool graphics), and getting it out into the world.

So, without further ado, my thoughts on how I spent the month of October.

Movies

I chose 13 movies. Five of them were movies I had seen before, but wanted to revisit since it had been quite awhile since I had seen them last. The Haunted Mansion (ghost story), Hocus Pocus (witches), The Nightmare Before Christmas (animated dark fantasy), Sleepy Hollow (headless horseman), and Salem’s Lot -1979 (vampires). Thankfully, movie theatres have opened again, and the AMC Theatre in Hammond is showing FAN FAVORITES for $5. I was able to see both Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas in the theatre to my great delight. I cherish both of these films. I enjoyed all of my re-watches, but was a bit disappointed with Salem’s Lot. I remember it being terrifying when I saw it as a kid but not so much as an adult. In all fairness it was released as a made-for-tv movie back in 1979. The head vampire is a nod to the German vampire Nosferatu (awesome), the vampire children floating outside the window are still creepy, and seeing David Soul again was visually appealing.

As for the other eight movies on my list, I was pleased with my choices. My new favorites are Train to Busan (zombies), The Ritual (Norse mythology), Death Note (Japanese death god), and The Innocents (ghost story). I definitely recommend them to anyone who enjoys the horror genre. The Vatican Tapes (demonic possession), Dark Skies (aliens), and Color Out of Space (sci-fi) were all entertaining. While they are not necessarily my favorites, they are all worth the watch, especially Color Out of Space. Based on a H.P. Lovecraft short story and starring Nicholas Cage (a fave of mine), it is an artfully, over-the-top gem. My only disappointment was House of the Witch (witches). It wasn’t terrible, but not really scary. There were a couple good jump scares, nice special effects and makeup, and an interesting plot twist. While some would enjoy it, it is one where watching it once was enough for me.

Books/Short Stories

I chose two short stories written by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion” and “The Purloined Letter.” Of the two stories, I enjoyed “The Purloined Letter” more. It featured C. Auguste Dupin, a fictional character who uses his intellect and imagination to solve mysteries even though he is not a detective by profession. Then, I chose three short stories from A Newbery Halloween, and all three were gratifying. My favorite of the three was “The Year Halloween Happened One Day Early” written by Virginia Hamilton. The short story is taken from Chapters 7 and 8 of her book Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed which was inspired by “The War of the Worlds” radio drama.

Of the three children’s novels that I read, Ghost Squad, Witch Catcher, and The Collected, I was disappointed with The Collected. It didn’t quite have the same creepy energy as K.R. Alexander’s other scary books. I also added Coraline which is a reread for me. Neil Gaiman is a fantastic author and one of my favorites, and Coraline is a classic. I would highly recommend the book and the movie. Lastly, I tackled the monstrous novel NOS4A2 written by Joe Hill. It was AMAZING! I feel like I must devote a whole post in the future to this novel and Joe Hill because there is so much to say about it. Kelsi and I discuss it more in depth in our conversation, and she reviewed it on her blog Kelsi Explains It All.

October Reads

Thematic Potpourri

Besides watching spine-chilling movies and reading scary stories, there were several other thematic activities that I engaged in throughout the month. I wore Halloween socks and pins every day to work and on the weekends. My hubby and I attended a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I savored a wicked beverage called Witch Potion Cocktail while socializing with my best buds from high school. On Sunday evenings, I immersed myself again in The Walking Dead universe. On a whim, I posted a Halloween-related Snoopy picture daily on Facebook (my story). My favorite was Pinhead Snoopy. And, for the first time, I sent out a few Halloween cards to friends I know who appreciate the holiday as much as I do.

And, last but not least, Kelsi introduced me to David S. Pumpkins. It is completely absurd but totally entertaining. I watched it numerous times throughout the month.

Halloween Night

On Halloween night, I dressed as a witch. My plan was to hand out treats to all the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. One of our neighbors had signs made for anyone in the neighborhood who wanted to hand out treats. We placed the sign in our front yard, so the children and their parents would know who was handing out candy. I placed the candy in my cauldron and set it on a table. I wore a mask and socially distanced. Son #1 dressed as Cookie Monster and his girlfriend Kayla dressed as Oscar the Grouch. They brought an inflatable Haunted House that we set up in front of my table, so it looked like I was in the house. It became a huge hit with the children. Many parents took pictures of their children in the entranceway or near the haunted house. It was a pleasant night. Afterwards, I watched Eli Roth’s History of Horror. The episode was on witches. Then, I watched a little bit of Halloween before hitting the hay.

October was an incredibly BOOtiful month thanks to having a Halloween Fun list. Seeing Halloween decorations lit up in the evenings when I’d go for a walk, partaking in seasonal events, reading scary stories, and watching creepy movies added so much joy to my life. I will definitely be doing this again next year. I’ve already started compiling my list. What did you do for Halloween? I hope you will take a look at my conversation with Kelsi, dear reader. We’d love to know what you think and what we might consider for next year. Happiness!

“Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.” Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow

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carved pumpkins

Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

October 1st is literally just two days away, and I couldn’t be more excited because I am celebrating Halloween all month long. Inspired by my friend Kelsi, I created a list of activities to commemorate my favorite holiday. To start the spooky season off on the right foot, I will be donning Halloween socks. Pins, earrings, and other fall/Halloween accessories will be worn to add a little magical flair to my otherwise uninteresting wardrobe.

I am currently reading NOS4A2, a horror novel written by Joe Hill and Ghost Squad, a ghost story by Claribel A. Ortega. Other books on my list include Witch Catcher, a fantasy novel by Mary Downing Hahn and The Collected, a horror novel by K.R. Alexander. 

Halloween BookIn addition to books, I have several short stories to devour throughout the month. I will begin with two tales of mystery and horror by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Purloined Letter” and “The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion.” Other selections will be taken from A Newbery Halloween. The stories that I have chosen from this collection include “The Baddest Witch in the World” by Beverly Cleary, “Witch Girl” by Elizabeth Coatsworth, and “The Year Halloween Happened One Day Early” by Virginia Hamilton. 

October would not be complete without the return of all things The Walking Dead. Sunday, 04 October is the air date for the long-awaited Season 10 finale of The Walking Dead followed by the premiere episode of the newest spin-off series, The Walking Dead: World Beyond. The following Sunday, 11 October welcomes the return of Fear the Walking Dead for its 6th season. Zombies, zombies, and more zombies!

My hubby and I will be attending the screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Columbia Theatre in Hammond on Friday, 09 October. The following week, my friend Helen will be visiting from Colorado, so we will celebrate one of the nights with a Halloween cocktail

The month-long celebration will also include numerous movies, 13 to be exact, for frightfully delightful cinematic pleasure. I will watch them in no particular order; however, I plan to watch Sleepy Hollow first. The first four movies on my list were influenced by Kelsi’s horror movie marathon list. 

Movies:

  1. The Haunted Mansion
  2. Train to Busan
  3. Hocus Pocus
  4. Color Out of Space
  5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  6. Sleepy Hollow
  7. Salem’s Lot (1979)
  8. The Innocents
  9. The Ritual
  10. The Vatican Tapes
  11. Death Note
  12. House of the Witch
  13. Dark Skies

Dear reader, if you are interested in more Halloween fun or want some inspiration to create your own Halloween Fun list, check out Kelsi’s blog post “Happy First Day of Autumn!” How do you celebrate the Halloween season? I’d love to hear of anything else I can add to make the upcoming month more spooktacular. Happiness!

“Every day is Halloween, isn’t it? For some of us.” ~ Tim Burton

light landscape sky sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Reading is my favorite way to pass time, so I added a new reading goal for 2020 inspired by Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project. In 2019, as part of her yearly Design Your Summer and 19 for 2019, she took a literary adventure with Summer of Proust. After reading her blog post “Reflections on My ‘Summer of Proust'” and seeing how much she enjoyed reading all the works of Marcel Proust, I decided I wanted a “Summer of Poe” and put it on my 20 for 2020 list (#16). What a fantastic idea!

Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite American authors. My love affair with Poe’s work began in the 8th grade when I chose to recite the poem “Annabel Lee” for my Reading class. Throughout high school and college, Poe was assigned literature for English classes which always brought me considerable joy. As a junior high English teacher, I felt it was only fitting to impart my love for Poe to my students. For years, my students and I read and discussed “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” and “The Raven.” Therefore, choosing to spend the summer reading one author’s work was a no-brainer. 

PoeUnlike Rubin, I did no preparation prior to reading Poe’s work like she did for Proust. In hindsight, I probably should have done a smidge before starting my own literary adventure. From the beginning, I knew the odds of me reading everything written by Poe in one summer would be impossible. One reason, his writing is challenging. I personally cannot read his work quickly. Another reason, because his writing requires so much concentration on my part, I knew I would also need to read other books written by other authors that did not require so much mental effort. Therefore, I chose to read The Edgar Allan Poe: Anthology of Classic Tales since it did not contain a complete collection of Poe’s stories and poems, and it was given to me as a gift from Andrew. To my dismay, while perusing the table of contents, I soon discovered that over my lifetime I had only read six of his short stories and two of his poems. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.

I chose to read all of the short stories, poems, and the one novel, which were organized by genre, in the order presented in the anthology.  It was wonderful to revisit tales that I was familiar with like “The Fall of the House of Usher” (still scary after all these years), “William Wilson,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Masque of the Red Death” (haunting), “The Tell-Tale Heart” (never gets old), “The Black Cat,” “The Raven” (nevermore), and “Annabel Lee” (beautifully written poem about death). If you notice, dear reader, the tales of Poe that I have previously read over the years are included in the horror genre. And, I must confess, his short stories and poems in this category are quite riveting and are probably my most preferred of his writing. Of my new horror favorites, two are revenge stories, “The Cask of Amontillado” (confirms that I will never visit catacombs) and “Hop-Frog” (never underestimate a jester). “Morella” and “Ligeia” are equally creepy and best read during the day. 

My leisurely excursion through this treasury revealed to me that Poe was so much more than a horror writer. He is credited with inventing the detective story, and the two stories in this collection, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” are suspenseful and quite enjoyable. There are seven short stories and his only completed novel under Adventures of Sea and Sky. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the short stories, especially “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall,” “The Gold-Bug,” and “The Oblong Box.” “Mellonta Tauta,” which is set in the far future seems to eerily parallel our current societal times with the past of the narrator who is writing letters while on a balloon flight.  His novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, is about the adventures and misadventures of Arthur Gordon Pym on the high seas. While it took me a long time to read, this novel is interesting and entertaining. At some point in my lifetime, I will revisit it. Surprisingly to me, until I read this compilation, I was unaware that Poe wrote humorous and satirical stories. There are only three of those types of stories in this book; however, in my other book Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, there are a total of 25 stories. Of the three that I read, I adore “The Spectacles” and “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether.” Both are incredibly amusing. I cannot wait to read his other stories in this genre. Finally, there are only four poems in this collection, and I fancy all four of them. When checking my other book, Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, it revealed a total of 55 poems. All gems, I’m sure. 

My “Summer of Poe” was a huge happiness boost and has made living through a pandemic more bearable. Clearly, I still have so many more stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe that I must read, so another “season” of Poe is necessary. In the meantime, I will delight in the stories and the poems that I have read by Mr. Poe as I venture into a realm of other books by other authors awaiting my discovery. Have you, dear reader, ever devoted a period of time to reading a certain author or genre? If not, would you consider it, and which author or which genre would you consider? Happiness!

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe Collection

 

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Easter BasketAlthough this Easter will look a bit different from Easters of the past, the fact that Jesus Christ has risen today remains the same. And, that brings about a peaceful feeling for me. Even though we did not celebrate Easter Mass at a physical church this morning; we still celebrated with a FB LIVE Easter Mass with Fr. Jamin, pastor of St. Margaret Church. The Easter Bunny still made a stop at the Loyacano household. Instead of hanging out with extended family today, I’ll be hanging out with the hubby and Andrew. What we do today doesn’t really matter to me. We are alive, well, and ready for a rebirth.

My walking streak continues. Because of the threat of impending bad weather, I chose to walk early this morning. I encountered a few sprinkles at the beginning of the walk and right at the end. I am still walking daily with Levar Burton (skipped Thursday with Levar to finish listening to the latest episode of Office Ladies). This will be the routine until I catch up with the episodes or start run/walking, whichever comes first. This week I listened to episodes #49 – #54. As always, I enjoyed all six stories; however, “Shoggoths in Traffic” (nod to H. P. Lovecraft) and “Cuisine des Memoires” were my favorites.

#49: “The Simplest” by Nicky Drayden
#50: “Shoggoths in Traffic” by Tobias S. Buckell
#51: “Cuisine des Memoires” by N. K. Jemisin
#52: “Small Medicine” by Genevieve Valentine
#53: “Face Value” by Sean Williams
#54: “Blur” by Carmen Maria Machado

Lily

My friend Ming sent me a photo of her beautiful lily.

Each day I feel as if I am improving with my productivity. I have been sifting through and discarding old paperwork. I have started to clean out my master bedroom closet. I ordered some dies for scrapbooking; therefore, along with my new grid paper, I really am hoping to get some layouts completed in the next few weeks. I completed the book of short stories (Full Throttle) by Joe Hill, and immediately started a collection of four short novels (Strange Weather) by him. I learned how to ZOOM and zoomed twice with some of my teacher friends. My hubby and I purchased a new dryer since ours gave out last Sunday. He was able to order one from Lowe’s and picked it up on Thursday evening after work. He is officially on vacation, so I am hoping we can complete some projects around the house during the upcoming week.

My Easter wish for you today is to have an enjoyable day, dear reader. May your Easter Sunday be filled with joy and a renewal of hope. Happiness!

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair: We are the Easter people, and Hallelujah is our song.” ~ Pope John Paul II

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