Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The 2012 Post-Halloween Post

The Illusion Starring Phoebe in the Role of "Graveyard Cat"

Well, it turns out that this year's post-Halloween post is a little more post-Halloween than I had originally intended. I can't believe we're more than halfway through November. Where did 2012 go? A hectic October meant that I didn't tick everything off my Halloween "To Do" list either, but Hurricane Sandy's Halloween party-pooping certainly puts any minor frustrations of mine into perspective.

For my little family, Halloween consists of a nice meal, a spooky-themed dessert, and a movie. Any decorating is restricted to indoors because living in a terraced townhouse means the front garden is a communal space, and well... Australia doesn't have the appropriate seasonal frame of reference for the occasion. When I look out my window on Halloween, I see springtime blossoms and fresh greenery, not the gold and russet of autumn leaves. One day, I would love to experience an American Halloween, and all the autumnal festivities that surround it, but in the meantime, I've decided there's no point bemoaning topsy-turvy seasons and will simply improvise.

The Reality

Living in a country that is known colloquially as both "Oz", and the "Land Down Under", pretty much invites over-the-rainbow and upside down shenanigans, in my opinion. So, in the spirit of a bizarro Halloween, I turned a tiny corner of my tiny living room into a portion of a walled cemetery with creeping ivy, and I enlisted Phoebe to play the role of "graveyard cat".

Jack-o'-lantern 2012

My jack-o'-lantern stays inside too. I'm not quite sure how peculiar this is or not. If the pumpkins didn't have to be imported at this time of year, which makes them very costly, I'd have loads of them, inside and out, but my one precious jack-o'-lantern stays indoors with me, so I can enjoy every moment of his short lifespan. This year his carved face was based loosely on the pumpkin-headed scarecrow in the opening scene of the movie Sleepy Hollow.

Sleepy Hollow and The Frighteners

In the lead-up to the big night we watched Sleepy Hollow and The Frighteners. Not only are they two of my favourite movies, but they both manage to be creepy and at the same time encompass the lighter side of the dark side, which for me, is what Halloween is all about. On Halloween itself, we watched Hocus Pocus, which is just pure, delightful All Hallows' Eve fun!

Halloween Treats

For dinner, I made Japanese Gyoza. What does Japanese Gyoza have to do with Halloween? Er... nothing whatsoever... but, to me, it is party food, and Halloween is a party after all, and besides, this is Halloween through the looking glass, right?! My son enjoyed some delicious Zombie Virus with his meal, while my husband and I sensibly opted for a bottle of All Hallows' Eve Protection. For dessert, I made giant chocolate jack-o'-lantern cookies filled with orange cream, which were consumed with coffee in the company of the Sanderson sisters.

Hocus Pocus

So that was my kooky little Halloween. It was nothing spectacular but it was fun, and as an added bonus, I even got my very first trick-or-treaters ever!

But wait, there's more...

A Dutch Treat
Talking of trick-or-treating, I got a treat of my own this Halloween. I won a giveaway over at the blog of artist, Laury, and she sent me a sack load of Dutch candy and an original drawing, all the way from England. You can check out Laury's blog, and her pen drawings of the strange world inhabited by her character, Echo, at Echo's Wanderings blog. Thank you so much, Laury! 


  1. i am in love with your cemetery. love. also, I have never seen a use for the stencils you presumably used on your drinks, but now will KILL to get some.

    so creative and lovely!!

  2. Aww.... thank you, pensive! I got the stencils from Shape Foundry on Etsy. They're very reasonably priced. Here are the links:



  3. It's 4:00 a.m. and now I'm craving giant chocolate jack-o-lantern cookies and a cappuccino ... and I just went to Etsy and "hearted" the stencils.

    Glad you got some trick-or-treaters! Did you invite them in to see your lovely cemetery? :D

    1. Hi Insomniac's Attic,

      What were you doing up at 4.00 a.m.? Sorry to be a cookies tease! ;) The cappuccino stencils were great. I've had them for a few months now, but I was determined to hold out until Halloween before using them for the first time. Now I want chocolate-y skulls and bats on my cappuccino every day, of course! :D

      Trick-or-treating is in its infancy in Australia, so the two lots of them we got were already so impressed by the fact that we were prepared for them with a cauldron full of candy that I don't think decorations would have even registered. I had to laugh because my son kept thanking them all, profusely, for coming!

    2. Couldn't sleep ... that's why I only "heart" things or add them to watch lists - because any decisions made at 4:00 a.m. are never good ones! :D

      With such a well-mannered reception from your son, those trick or treaters are sure to be back again next year, along with ten or twenty of their friends. Single-handedly, you WILL bring Hallowe'en to Australia!

  4. Small cosy Hallowe'en celebrations are often far more enjoyable in my opinion! You don't get the chance to watch your favourite Hallowe'en films when you're drunk at a party (in my case anyway!) I think you should definitely have your own private little non-hallowe'en hallowe'en celebration during your tospy-turvy Autumn!

    Those giant chocolate cookies look amazing and sooooo nommy! I wish you could have sent some over to us, we had store bought Hallowe'en biscuits! I really want some cookies now :| I love your neat idea of carving the Sleepy Hollow pumpkin face!

    I adore the frighteners, I've not watched it for at least 6 months so I think it's time for a rerun! ~♥~

    1. Hi Bella Morte,

      Yes, I definitely enjoy doing the cosy Halloween thing too! I've actually already decided to do a "Halloween in April" next year, like the "Christmas in July" concept, so I can sync Halloween with the autumn vibe, albeit artificially. I haven't decided what to do yet, but I'd like to make it a bit of a blog event if possible.

      The cookies were yummy and they didn't last long. Haha. I'm feeling like a cookie now as well. I love 'Sleepy Hollow' so much that I decided to go with that face for the jack-o'-lantern this year. One day, I'd like to try and recreate the whole pumpkin-headed skeleton as a Halloween prop, but there was no time this year. Even my fake cemetery was nowhere near as elaborate as I had originally planned.

      Oh yes, definitely time for a rerun of 'The Frighteners'! :)

  5. Love the look of your little cemetery, and your Sleepy-Hollow-pumpkin looks simply badass! Also, super-cool cookies, hilarious coffee and omg, Zombie Virus? Hell yeah, I MUST try that!
    Who cares about America? Next Halloween, I'm gonna travel to Australia :-) Austria and Australia finally united :D

    1. Thank you, Maynard! The cemetery was supposed to have more elements but I ran out of time, so I'll save them up for next year. We definitely had fun though. I want to try out another Halloween cake idea on the weekend, so we're going to pretend it's Halloween again on Saturday night. I've already got more Zombie Virus and a bottle of All Hallows' Eve Protection set to go, so I just need to pick a movie. Haha. I'm a total Halloween tragic!

      You've got me laughing so hard about how badly you travelling to Australia could mess with people's minds. I'm imagining you having a profile picture of yourself in front of the Sydney Opera House with "from AUSTRIA (not Australia)" written underneath! That would be wicked! :D

  6. Haha, I like Hocus Pocus too. It looks like you had a nice Halloween.

    1. Hi Adsila,

      Oh, 'Hocus Pocus' is awesome! I watch it every Halloween. It's a ritual! :)

  7. Have jack, Halloween will make. Thats my feeling on it. Hocus Pocus us a favourite of mine too. Who says Halloween is all horror films. Monster House and Monsters vs Aliens Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space are a couple more. I don't know about you, but I'm already planning for next year.


    1. Hi Ali,

      Oh, I agree, it's all about the jack-o'-lantern! If you've got that, then everything else is just an added bonus. I'm so glad they're importing the lovely, orange Halloweenie pumpkins to Australia now. Before they started to do that, I would carve an Australian pumpkin variety called the "Queensland Blue", which has such a tough skin that it's kind of a nightmare to cut through.

      Yes, Halloween is more about spooky fun than hardcore horror to me, so 'Hocus Pocus' is perfect. I actually watched 'Monster House' a few weeks prior to Halloween. That's a great movie too!

      Yep, I'm planning for next Halloween already as well. I figure if I get started now on the things I didn't manage to get done for this year, I'll actually be organized for next October 31st! :)

  8. Wow! I can pretty well tell you thats more than most people do at Halloween in the States, it sounds very quaint! Phoebe photographs well in the graveyard, may be destined for Halloween stardom!

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thank you! I wish I had been able to do more, but time was against me. Halloween is just so much fun!

      Phoebe's a very good sport when it comes to modelling for me and unlike those demanding Hollywood starlets, she's perfectly satisfied with just a scratch under the chin and a few cat treats. ;)

  9. How cool to see your cemetery, after picturing it in my mind! You probably already told me what the stone wall is made from, but I forgot. Is that one of those images you can adhere to the wall? Or maybe you actually have stone on that part of the wall! Your cat looks perfect in the cemetery. Every spooky cemetery needs a cat hanging around, right?

    Your jack-o-lantern looks nearly identical to the Sleepy Hollow one! How cool to do a tribute like that. I can tell that you are very careful and precise with your pumpkin carving. I need to watch Sleepy Hollow again, to soak in the atmosphere if nothing else. The Frighteners is definitely on my to-watch list. I need to start watching these movies, instead of just adding them to a list!

    Ah, so that's what the Gyoza looks like! Awesome job with those cookies. Again, very precise! It's cool to see those labels in action too. The "All Hallows Eve Protection" looks really classy on that wine bottle.

    Way to have this much Halloween spirit! The Halloween Gods rewarded you by sending those trick-or-treaters to your door. :)

    1. Hi Justine,

      As you know, I was planning to make piles of autumn leaves, but I just ran out of time, so my cemetery is rather more manicured than I had intended. I agree, every spooky cemetery needs a cat, although Phoebe's probably a little better feed and groomed than your typical graveyard cat! Haha. I tracked down the wall online. It's technically a dungeon wall backdrop, but it worked fine for what I wanted. I just cut it to size and stuck it to the wall with Blu-Tack.

      Thank you! I really enjoy the pumpkin carving and I'm glad you think the face came out pretty close to the movie one. I had to improvise a bit because the 'Sleepy Hollow' pumpkin's head is a bit fatter than mine. My jack'o'-lantern face had to fit into a narrower space. He looks a little like the 'Sleepy Hollow' pumpkin after being caught in elevator doors. Haha.

      You should definitely watch 'The Frighteners' if you can find the time. I know what you mean though, my to-watch and to-read lists are ridiculously long.

      Maybe Gyoza has a different name in the US. I'm thinking about profiteroles versus cream puffs now. ;) Yes, the labels were great and added to the atmosphere. James got a fun one, while Danny and I got a more stylish one, so we had the best of both worlds!

      Haha. Yes, the trick-or-treaters were a nice little bonus, so I'm very grateful to the Halloween Gods. :)

  10. its all about making the best out of things...nice things aint very Autumny here in south texas, till it gets grey and gloomy... which is great...lovely kitty by the way

    1. Hi don,

      I agree, you've just got to make the most of what you've got! :) Yes, I guess the southern parts of the US wouldn't experience autumn in the same way more northern areas do. And thank you for your kind words about Phoebe. She is a little sweetie-pie! :)

  11. Just found your fantastic site!

    I'm due for my year-end Halloween wrap-up myself. Reading yours inspired me to finish that post.

    Love your little cemetery set-up!
    Here's my question: if Halloween traditions haven't quite caught on in Australia (like trick or treating), what do the kids do when they show up to a house to trick or treat, and the people don't know what they're talking about?

    Or is it just like here in the States, where the kids only frequent the houses that have Halloween decorations up?

    I'm curious!

    Keep up the great work. Love the Halloween cookies and I recognized your jack o' lantern carve as the Sleepy Hollow scarecrow instantly. Yep, I'm a jack-carve-geek.

    1. Hi AllHallowSteve,

      Thank you for your kind words and for dropping by for a visit. (I LOVE the banner artwork on your site, by the way!)

      Oh, Australia knows all about Halloween and trick-or-treating, it's just that it's still more of a novelty here, rather than the cultural tradition that it is in the US. The two groups of kids we got were just from the general neighbourhood and were going door-to-door trying their luck. Most Australian households have treats of some kind in their cupboards at any time of the year, so those kids made out like bandits. Haha.

      I've never seen anyone decorate the exterior of their house for Halloween here. Perhaps they do it for Halloween parties, but I've not come across it. Retailers are starting to see the commercial opportunity of Halloween, so we're getting more and more paraphernalia available in stores each year. Of course, there are some Australians who (inexplicably) hate the idea of embracing Halloween traditions. I call them the "Hallowon'ts", and the less said about them the better! ;)

      Thank you! I'm so glad my jack-o'-lantern was recognizable as the 'Sleepy Hollow' face!

  12. Those pumpkin jack o lantern cookies look so delicious!:D
    Halloween isn't much celebrated here in Holland as well.
    I hope you liked the Dutch sweets, I think everyone in Holland knows the famous old Dutch;)

    1. Hi Christel,

      Thanks, the cookies were pretty yummy! The Dutch sweets were fabulous too! My son's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw what was in the parcel! :D

  13. I am now counting down the days till next Halloween <3 love your blog!

  14. Nice! It looks like you know how to have fun on Halloween. :) Your cat looked so cute in that picture. Don't come to Utah for Halloween, it snows in October. And April! :/

    1. Hi Jenny,

      Thank you! Luckily, I've got a very patient kitty! Really? It snows that early in Utah? I didn't realize that.


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