Tag Archives: Halloween

Spooky Stories

2016-10-29-002Before we leave behind Halloween, I attended two story-telling events that were great.

The Historical Society had Linda Ford, formerly of Sleepy Hollow, come in and tell spooky stories for the season. Linda now lives in northern Florida, and you can take the girl out of Sleepy Hollow but NEVER take the Sleepy Hollow out of the girl.

Linda retold The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as well as told stories that I had never heard before. They were great. She told a story by Ray Bradbury, who had given her permission to tell it years ago, that I later found out scared a friend of mine out of her wits when she first read it. The sanctuary of home, of that place where we are invincible and nothing can harm us, is turned upside down after a long, scary walk through a hollow that turns out to be the place of relative safety, as the woman who arrived home unfortunately found out.

I got a chance to talk with Linda for a few minutes. She misses living in Sleepy Hollow but, like all retirees–and younger people of normal means–are discovering, the taxes in Westchester are too high to be affordable. I cannot own a house here, which is why I only rent. (Actually, I’ve rented everywhere I’ve ever lived, except when I was in2016-10-20-001 my parents’ house.) She would love to return to the area, but would have to live a few hours away. Thankfully in that regard, there are some options. She did, however, have some wonderful things to say about the southern storytellers with whom she had met and discussed their craft.

The following Sunday, I attended a storytelling session with David Neilsen, formerly Major André, who did a wonderful telling of stories in the Washington Irving Memorial Chapel in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Whereas Linda Ford told her stories from memory, Neilsen read his from a book, but his reading was very dramatic.

My favorite story was the one where the students are gathered in the cemetery trying to raise the dead on Halloween and a young British boy shows up and talks with them. They believe that he is a ghost and call for him to go back to where he came. He does–the parking lot, where his parents were anxious to leave. He explains that there are so many interesting people you can meet in the cemetery–like the group of high school students who were killed one Halloween night by a runaway truck.

Two different storytelling techniques, both exceptional in their own way.

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Beekman Avenue Terror

This pumpkin-headed scarecrow is at the top of Beekman Avenue in Sleepy Hollow, standing in front of the clock. I snapped it last Saturday, during the fall festival on the street.

It’s that time of year again.

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Hell Kitty

Halloween Kitty (Resized)Well, not really.

My friend Lucye sent me this photo of her sister’s cat. One of Lucye’s friends took this picture. No red eyes here, just eerie, glowing green eyes!

Just in time for Halloween!


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Decorating the Historical Society for Halloween

(2014-10-11 004)It fell to me to put up most of the Halloween decorations in the Historical Society. Karen, who donated the decorations, was going out of town for a few days, but she dropped off the decorations and said that we could do it. So rather than continuing to unpack the Civil War papers of Charles Rockwell, I spent my volunteer time finding (tasteful) ways to make the first floor of the house festive.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I love decorating for it, too. This year I don’t think I’ll have time to decorate my apartment. (I’ll post why in another entry.) When I was young I used to have a Halloween party, which was basically a bunch of guys getting together and running around in costumes and eating. We originally went trick-or-treating the first and second year, but by high school it just isn’t the same. So we would entertain ourselves acting out Star Wars scenes or scenes from other science fiction movies and shows.

(2014-10-11 001)The first floor of the Historical Society is the museum, where displays are set up every so often for people to visit. There is one large room, and two smaller rooms. The second floor is where the library and the archives are kept; the third floor and basement are used for the storage of materials. The current exhibit is on childhood, so artifacts are on display in the rooms from different periods of childhood. The main room is set up like a classroom with old desks and books. Mannequins of a teacher and student are also there to provide atmosphere.  In another room, a mannequin is dressed as a Boy Scout.

Decorating was fun. If you look at the photos I took a week later, you can see what I did. Sara told me that people had commented on the decorations. I was going for simple yet elegant–as elegant as Halloween decorations can be. I didn’t use all of the decorations that Karen had donated. I figured that everyone else would do follow-up and finish decorating. Apparently what I did was enough because not much of anything had been changed and only one thing was added and that was on the second floor.

So I got my Halloween decorating fix for the year.

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Fall, and Christmas

The above photographs were taken on the train into work one morning. The photos do not capture the vibrant colors of fall. Yesterday I passed by the same coastline. Gone are the colors. There is still some yellow here and there, and an occasional red splotch, but everything else is brown, and dull.

On October 28th, I went into a Stop and Shop grocery store and was stunned to see Christmas decorations covering several shelves. The Halloween decorations were shoved off to one side , and the holiday hadn’t even come yet! I saw Christmas decorations as early as September in some stores.

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This was taken through the Silver Tips Tearoom window on Broadway. Again, the photo doesn’t capture the beauty of the sunlight dancing on the leaves

The day after Halloween, I went to the Westchester Mall, Many places were already selling Christmas decorations, but what really irked me was that the PA system was paying Christmas music.

There seems to be an obsession with the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Retailers make their most sales during this time, and as the United States has become the center of über-capitalism, the time has been expanded. It has been creeping back to Halloween for quite sometime. At the beginning of the second week of November, I found a tree and other Christmas decorations in the Japanese restaurant.

Franklin Roosevelt one year tried to move Thanksgiving back one week to increase the time for shopping during the Depression. Ironically the then-Republican Party, attempting to curry favor with the masses over an unpopular decision, had legislation fixing the holiday on the last Thursday in November. FDR was apparently ahead of his time.

A few weeks ago, I went to Danbury, Connecticut, to meet my friend Lucye. (It was my turn to come up there.) We usually meet in the Christmas Tree Shoppes and then go to lunch, movies, shopping or whatever. This time, though, I couldn’t even find a parking place. The traffic was terrible. We ended up abandoning any attempt to shop in the afternoon. The only time I’d seen traffic like this was during the Christmas shopping season–which has apparently already started.

After ChristmasThen there’s the insanity of the day after Christmas. There’s all this craziness from around Halloween that culminates on Christmas Day, when the after Christmas sales ads appear on television and in print. However, it’s day after Christmas that resembles a quickie Las Vegas wedding where everyone was drunk and happy when the celebrating was going on, but then the next day everyone realizes what a mistake it was and tries to forget the whole thing ever happened. Retailers cannot get rid of the Christmas merchandise quick enough. The shelves are stripped bare and the Christmas junk is shoved together down one aisle, which keeps getting shoved into smaller and smaller piles until it simply vanishes. I’ve always found it amazing how people toss out Christmas trees before New Year’s. For me, the season starts on Thanksgiving and ends on January 7th, Orthodox (or Old) Christmas. It’s after this that I take down my decorations.

I do understand the complaints about the commercialization of the season. It is getting ridiculous. Are we going to start Christmas sales in June?  We already have patio furniture, gardening materials, clothes and other spring and summer merchandise appearing in January to take the place of  Christmas. Winter just started! Who shops for patio furniture when there’s snow outside?

Perhaps this example summarizes the insanity best. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day last year, I found Easter candy in a Stop and Shop store!

Just sayin.’


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Fall and Halloween in the Hollow

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Fall has finally arrived

Okay, the first pic is actually of an area along a highway not too far from the Hollow. I took this in the wee hours of the morning after I had done laundry. I was rewarding myself with breakfast out when I looked up before going into the diner and saw the beautiful trees on the hill opposite the highway. I took a picture. The peak leaf season is quickly approaching the area, if it hasn’t already arrived.

Sleepy Hollow Village Hall (2013-10-16 003)

The Sleepy Hollow Village Hall on Beekman Avenue, decorated for Halloween

Things are moving along here in the Hollow as Halloween approaches. This weekend, the village is having a block party on Beekman, the main drag through town, to celebrate Halloween. It’s to accompany the hayride through a part of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, but the “haunting” is taking place in Douglas Park. Supposedly, the hayride follows Icabod Crane’s ride past the Old Dutch Church and across the bridge and into the Hollow to escape the Headless Horseman. (Notice the mural of the Horseman in the high window in the village hall. That’s not a decoration. The Headless Horseman mural is a permanent fixture.) Every weekend there’s been things going on around here, and tourista have been posing in front of the village hall to take their pictures with the corn stalks and the pumpkins.

Sleepy Hollow Village Hall (2013-10-16 007)

A close-up of the Headless Horseman mural, which is a permanent fixture

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