Tracey’s Tricks and Treats

While I can’t honestly say that Halloween is my favorite holiday (sorry, but Christmas will always hold that candle), I have always loved it ever since I was little, so I thought that today I would share some memories of Halloweens past.

A large part of that love for this holiday is, of course, the candy. I can remember when I was little that we would get sacks of treats. The houses in my town were pretty close together, so you could get to a lot of them very quickly. People also seemed to give out better stuff back then (though that might just be my memory being nostalgic and my current self being cynical). To top it all off, there were no curfews on Halloween back then (or at least, it was so late that it was never really an issue), so we would be out for hours, hitting every house in town and winding up with enough candy to kill a kid. I remember that my best friend and I used to do a kind of figure-eight through town so that halfway through the night we would end up back at my house. We would dump our candy (which by then was an absolutely disgusting amount), grab new bags, and head out for round two.

One of the Halloweens that I remember the clearest from my childhood was one when my bestie and I were still pretty young – young enough to need a parent to take us around. Her stepfather took us that year, along with her younger sister, and by the time we made it halfway through town and back to my house, her stepdad was several years closer to death. You see, cans of pop must have been on an excellent sale that year because every second house seemed to be giving them out. It didn’t take long before my friend and her sister and I couldn’t carry our bags anymore, so stepdad carried them for us. By the time he got the opportunity to drop off what we’d collected thus far he must have been lugging about eighty pounds on his back whilst trekking through town after three kids. I remember afterward, when I was going through my candy, I tried to fit as many of those cans of pop in my parents’ fridge as I could. I filled both crisper drawers and half a shelf, plus put a bunch on the door of the fridge, and there was still a bunch left.

I had a few store-bought costumes throughout my Halloween history, but my mother concocted quite a few of them on her own as well. Some were from the patterns you buy at a store, like the year I was a pointy-hat-wearing clown with funny felt dots all over me. Others were less creative and more…horrifying, for the wrong reasons. One year in particular I hadn’t yet chosen a costume myself, and my mother kinda forgot about Halloween until it was too late to start anything complicated. I eventually ended up convincing my parents to buy this Arabian Nights-style dancer outfit for me, but there was no way that I could wear it during our chilly Halloween night (the damn thing was a belly-shirt, for Pete’s sake!) The end result of our combined procrastination was that at the last minute my mother bought an orange garbage bag – the kind with a jack-o-lantern face on it that you’re meant to stuff with leaves and put out in your yard – cut arms and leg holes in it, and stuffed it full of crumpled newspaper to make it round. For her part, it was some quick thinking, but I nearly denounced my relationship to her that night. The costume was annoying as hell to walk around in, and by the end of the night all the crumpled newspaper had worked its way down around my rear end so that I looked more like a holiday squash than a pumpkin.

Another Halloween, one of the last that I went out because I was getting older, my two friends and I took a long route around areas of town that we didn’t normally go to because it was a really long walk. Just when we were as far away from any of our houses as we could possibly be while still being physically in the same town, it began to rain…a lot. This was before the days of young kids having cellphones (in fact, I think this was even before my dad got his first cellphone), so we had no way of calling for a pickup. We had to walk all the way back to my house in the rain. We were actually pretty cheery about it, all things considered, but the detail that I recall that really made the night for me was that all the mascara and eye makeup that I was wearing (I was a vampire that year and I went all out) ran so much that it got in my mouth. I almost threw up before we managed to get in out of the weather.

The very last Halloween that I ever went out, I went with a group of friends from high school. We were way too old to be trick-or-treating, but we thought, screw it, and went on our merry way around a small town where the houses are very far apart. It took us twice as long to get through the night as it ever had any other year, but we came out of it like thieves. As it turned out, the majority of the people who lived in this particular town saw very few kids on Halloween (remember, the houses were quite far apart), and as a result they gave out majorly nice goodies. I recall one house in particular that was way up on the top of a hill on a dead-end road; that guy was giving out big brown paper bags packed with goodies, and since it was near the end of the night by the time we got to him, he gave us each two. Another older woman had a giant bowl full of random stuff and just kept tossing huge handfuls of it at all of us. It may have been the biggest haul I’d ever gathered, and I can’t honestly say that I didn’t feel a little bit dirty about that, given that I was 16 at the time.

In later years my husband (then boyfriend) and I tried to be fun and cute, dressing up to give out candy, but over the years we’ve never had a lot of luck. We’ve always manged to live in areas where very few kids bothered to tread, so our efforts were generally in vain. But we always had one or two kids whose nights were made that much better by our playfulness. One year I made hubby into Goku from Dragonball Z, and the few kids who came to our apartment were flabbergasted. Unfortunately the pictures from that Halloween were lost on a bad hard drive, but another year we dressed up as Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees…
hallo.ween07 035-1…and there were definitely a few kids who fell in love with us that night. We eventually stopped dressing up, but we’ve always continued our tradition of giving out super-packed treat bags since we always get so few kids overall. I’ve heard more than one “Wow!” in my candy-distributing days, and I can’t say that those moments don’t make me smile like a fool.

These days my Halloweens are, of course, more focused on my daughter than anything else. We still make up great treat bags for the kids who make it to our door, and the hubby has taken to actually decorating the house (though that seems to be a tradition that’s gone by the wayside around these parts), but of course the important thing is the little missy’s costume. Before her first Halloween my husband suggested that I make her costumes from scratch, and to be honest I thought he was insane (a seamstress I am not), but it’s been a lot of fun so far.

20121021-050342.jpg10. October02I’ve gotten to use her as a canvas for our insanity, and next year she will be old enough to actually understand Halloween and tell me what she wants to be. Until then, however…we’ve got one more bout of retro fun to inflict upon our poor child…
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Whoever knows who she is gets a virtual Halloween cookie. ^_~

Happy Halloween everybody!

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 43

As the season of spooking comes ever closer, my ability to get business done evidently devolves at an exponential level. In my defense, I did spend two days straight (Saturday and Sunday) standing in my kitchen with a glue gun, a metric ton of foam, and half a dozen cannibalized pairs of blue pants, and then spent a further day (yesterday) traveling two and from my hometown (an hour and a half one way) and back and forth between houses so that our families who live nowhere near us could see the baby’s completed Halloween costume.

It is at this point that I would like to mention that while I praise the creator of the hot glue gun, I also hope to never look at one again.

And with that bit of nonsense out of the way, let’s see how bad the week went, shall we?

Health and Body Image Goal

I am feeling, again, that I should simply stricken this goal from the list. While I’ve been managing to force myself to make small, good decisions (water instead of pop, chew gum instead of popping some candy, etc), I haven’t been getting any exercise in at all (unless you count the aforementioned 2 days of standing at a glue-gun station). In addition to that, my and my husband’s tradition of watching horror movies every night in October inevitably ends in my munching on snacks at all hours of the night.

On the upside, I haven’t gained any weight from all these poor habits.

I’m hoping to get back to a half-hour on the treadmill each day in November, since I won’t be stressed out trying to get the baby’s costume done. I will, however, be busy doing NaNoWriMo, so we’ll have to see how that goes, won’t we?

Editing Goal

As mentioned already, I spent a lot of time this week feverishly trying to finish the baby’s Halloween costume, thus I lost a lot of writing and editing time. Luckily I went a little crazy at the beginning of the week and managed to get quite a bit done. I currently have ten chapters completely finished, with five chapters remaining. I can’t honestly see how I could possibly get those last five chapters done by the end of the month, but I’m going to try. Even if it’s not perfect, I’d like to have the main round of edits done this month so that I can throw the manuscript at my beta reader, curl up in a ball to cry for an hour or so, and then move on to my NaNo idea. I’m sure by the end of November I’ll be sick as hell of my NaNo novel, so I can worry about the second round of zombie edits in December. 😛

1,000,000 Word Goal

Again, I lost a few days this week, but was quite fervent in the earlier days. Between editing changes and blog posts and the like, I managed to write 10,149 words this week. That brings me to just under 375,000 for the year. Since I’m hoping to push my NaNo word count up to 75,000 this year, I plan to be at approximately 450,000 words by the end of November. Then it’s just another 50-thou (JUST!) to hit half a mill. That would only be half of my original goal, but still a major accomplishment for me, since I don’t think I’ve ever written more than 100,000 words over the course of an entire year before.

And now that we have that over with for the week, I have less than 72 hours to try and edit 5 chapters. Excuse me while I go drown myself in coffee and chocolate.

The Countdown is On

October means a lot of things for a lot of people. It means that Summer is over and Fall is beginning. It means putting away tank tops and shorts and skirts, and breaking out sweaters and jackets. It means crunchy leaves on the ground, and less sun throughout the day. It means buying (or making) costumes for the kiddies, and giving out (or begging for) candy. It means spooky movies and ghostly TV specials.

And for myself it means the countdown to National Novel Writing Month.

Chances are that most of the people reading this blog will have heard of NaNoWriMo (as we call it) before, because in past years it’s become incredibly popular and well-known. But just in case you don’t know, National Novel Writing Month is exactly what it sounds like…it’s a challenge, which falls in November, for all writers across the globe to attempt to write a novel in one month. Since novels can vary dramatically in length, the number we use is 50,000 words. If you can write 50,000 words entirely within the month of November, you “win” NaNoWriMo.

This will be my sixth year participating in this yearly event. Of the five years I’ve already done, I “won” four times and came pretty damn close that one other year (last year). This year I hope to wash away the lost of last year and bag my fifth win.

2013-Participant-Facebook-ProfileNon-writers and skeptics don’t tend to “get” NaNoWriMo, but it is really quite the inspirational event for writers. For a lot of writers the challenge gives us the motivation – the little boot in the arse – we need to push ourselves into super-writer mode. The community over at the NaNoWriMo website is an amazing thing to behold, and throughout the month participants get pep talks and advice from published authors. Many NaNoWriMo participants have gone on to have their novels published as well, which proves that this isn’t just an event for posers. Thousands upon thousands of writers, young and old, participate in this event. Thousands upon thousands of people can’t be wrong, right?

This year I have high hopes because it’s looking like I’m still going to be unemployed through the month of November (not to say that that’s a good thing, but you know what I’m saying…), meaning that I’ll have more time to write than any other previous year. I hope to note only “win” by hitting the 50,000 word mark…I hope to totally demolish the 50,000 word mark. In fact, this year I plan to up my goal word count to 75,000 words. Life is nothing without goals, right? 😀

So what am I going to write about this year? I haven’t 100% decided just yet, but I am seriously considering writing a vampire novel. No, not a Twilight clone, or a Vampire Diaries knockoff… I’m talking about real vampires: powerful, evil, frightening, bloodsucking monster vampires. While I enjoy a sexy vampire as much as the next True Blood fan, I think it’s about time the world was reminded of what monsters are supposed to be all about…scaring you half to death!

Do you participate in National Novel Writing Month? If not, why not? If so, what are you thoughts on the event? If you are a participant, please feel free to leave me you username for the site! I’d love to add a few more writer buddies!