Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

                                             - Witches' Chant from Macbeth, by William Shakespeare

Bubbling eye of newt and toe of frog
(aka squid ink pasta for dinner)

Halloween season has begun and we had one of our celebrations last weekend.  Witches and warlocks, creepy monks and TV characters I couldn't name padded about the house.  It was a blast.

And what was I?  Hard to say.  I can never seem to settle on something obvious. Thoughts of Edgar Allan Poe wrapped a raven around my neck.  The other parts somehow flew together after that ... dark velvet here, a black butterfly there, a soft Goth face.  Can I get by without a label?

The rest is easier to describe.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I had slowly been transforming our house into a Victorian manor of sorts.  In fact, there was a hint of Miss Havisham's decaying banquet in the table setting.

It was a great excuse to bring out tattered lace, generations old,

tarnished silver with a century of family stories to tell,

My husband's family silver

and a phantom bride (of sorts) to greet the guests.

My grandmother's lace blouse and my old tutu
reincarnated as a spectre

Even my husband was struck by inspiration.  A fresh ditch in the backyard - for a plumbing project - soon held half-buried body parts.  The more delicate ladies in the party (and some children) couldn't bear to look.  Of course, their husbands thought it was the best part of the party!

I must say, Halloween parties have got to be the most fun ever. When else can we stage outrageous things without offending many?  Perhaps it's the frustrated set designer in me, but there is something cathartic about creating a theatrical production in the course of everyday life.   Or maybe it's simply part of being alive.  After all, the greatest stager did say,

All the world's a stage, 
and all the men and women merely players.

How about you - do you have a burning need to create something, anything?


  1. Edgar Allan Poe meets Miss Havisham's decor sounds like an excellent combination of creepy literary influences. Great image of you poised over the steaming cauldron too.
    I can only marvel at the playful commitment to detail that saw a plumbing ditch transformed into a savage grave. I'm definitely with you though on the joy of creating the theatrical in the every day. That is of course why I still have such a huge dressing up box under my bed back at home, and why as a child and adolescent, the box was raided frequently to mount plays or moving 'installations' with friends. It's also why I continue to love creating a costumed 'role', with interesting sets and backdrops for blog posts.
    So yes, all hail the celebratory art of playful dressing up and reveling in performance. You do it with such great style here.

  2. Dear Rosalind, I can certainly see your gift for the theatrical in your blog posts! Diving into the costume box is such great fun, and I can just imagine the treasures under your bed. We are having another party on Halloween itself -- this time, instead of arriving in costume, everyone is supposed to assemble whatever strange character they can dream up from the costume & accessory bin! Good thing these are my more bohemian friends coming. I know they won't be shy.

  3. Macbeth, my favorite Shakespeare play.. Beautiful dark post!
    I create everyday. (Visual artist here.)

  4. Oh wow. Your preparations look and sound AMAZING - and so creative! Such great use of antique lace, a plumbing ditch, your grandmother's blouse and your husband's family silverware. Ahhh, theatricality in everyday life - is there anything more gloriously whimsical? Love that first shot and your dress is gorgeous.

  5. Gorgeous photos and sounds like a fun party! One of my neighbor's does something similar, and it's become so popular that it shuts down our street on Hallowe'en! He pays for the police to come in and literally shut down the street, so the kids won't get run over as they gawk at his house. He's a cartoonist for the New Yorker, so you can imagine when he decides to go all out, it's quite a sight. Wish I'd taken more pics actually...I was busy chasing my Baby Yoda down the road all evening :).

    1. Gosh, how much fun to have a New Yorker cartoonist for a neighbor! Sometimes, all I have time for is a glance (and a laugh) at those cartoons. I can just imagine what his Halloween ideas must be like. Coincidentally, when we sold our co-op in NYC before we moved to CA, the purchaser was a writer who had published in the New Yorker, among other things. I don't recall if he was a humorist though.

      Your Baby Yoda must have had far less wrinkles than the 900-yr old one :)


Dear Fellow Aesthetes, I love hearing your thoughts. I think the other readers find them valuable too! Much love xxx

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