Tag Archives: pumpkins

Jack-O-Lanterns and a Beautiful Fall Evening in the Cemetery: An Update in 8 Photos

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern for 2014, Big Seance

 

Yesterday I carved my jack-o-lantern for 2014. As usual, I decided to go with a classic look that is very close to last year’s grin. And yes, that’s the Halloween Altar in the background, with the addition of the Beistle reprints that I ordered this year. As usual, I always have difficulty choosing which photos to share with you, so you’re getting several.

 

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern for 2014, Big Seance

 

 

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern for 2014, Big Seance

 

It has been so warm for October lately, and our 80 degree days will kill a jack-o-lantern in no time. I’ve decided that for the next few days we’re bringing them in late at night when we blow them out. That way they’ll be much more comfortable inside and away from the sun and heat during the day.

 

Halloween Polka Dot Disco Jack-O-Lantern 2014, Big Seance

 

As you may know, Joe always has to break the mold with his jack-o-lanterns. Here is this year’s polka-dotted disco ball jack-o-lantern! We like the reflections on the post.

 

Halloween Altar 2014, Big Seance

 

Another look at the Halloween Altar.

 

Fall Leaves in the Cemetery, Big Seance

 

This evening I took a trip to the cemetery to pay my adopted souls a visit for my 2014 grave adoption project. I discovered so many beautiful trees that weren’t in this condition on my last visit. It cooled down quite a bit by the time I got there, and so it was beautiful weather. It’s still weird to be wearing gym shorts and a t-shirt in a cemetery on the week of Halloween.

 

Fall Leaves in a Cemetery, Big Seance

 

 

Fall Leaves in a Cemetery, Big Seance

 

 

Grave Adoptions 2014, Rühenpohl, Big Seance

 

One of my grave adoptions for the year. The small pumpkin is still going strong from 3 weeks ago. All of my small pumpkins that I kept in the comfort of my home rotted long ago, so I’m pretty impressed.

 


Halloween History and a Conversation with the Holiday’s Leading Expert, Lesley Bannatyne – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #18

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Lesley Bannatyne, the nation's leading expert on Halloween, The Big Séance Podcast

 

Halloween is just days away, so what better time to talk about the history of my favorite holiday with the nation’s leading expert on Halloween, Lesley Bannatyne! She’s the author of five books on the topic of Halloween, including Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History, which will celebrate 25 years of being in print in 2015. Click HERE for my review of this book.

 

Get this episode on iTunes!
Direct Download Link

 

Halloween History

Topics discussed in this episode:

Can you guess Lesley’s favorite Halloween candy?

Lesley shares some of her favorite memories from the holiday. 

Where did Halloween come from?

  • Samhain
  • Harvest
  • Darkness and the coming winter
  • Folklore and Superstition
  • “The Other World”
  • All Hallows/All Saints Day
  • All Souls Day
  • Pranks and Mischiefs
  • Guy Fawkes
  • Victorians and Halloween Parties

When did Trick-or-Treating become a part of Halloween? 1940s

  • Kids and mischief around Halloween
  • Adults threw Halloween parties to keep young people from mischief and vandalism. It didn’t work. 
  • Adults learned to offer food and treats (extortion/begging?) in exchange for no mischief or violence on their property. 
  • Trick-or-Treating seen on television for the first time
  • Trick-or-Treat for Unicef (charity)

When did costumes go from being disguises to a way of expression? Costumes then and now. 

Our favorite symbols of Halloween. Where did they come from?

  • The Witch
  • The Black Cat
  • The Bat
  • Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns
  • Are Scarecrows disappearing?

The Victorians and Halloween… how did they celebrate?

  • Parties and Decorations
  • Games
  • “Dumb Supper”
  • Seeing the image of your future love

Lesley shares how she researched and found historic articles and information from Halloweens past from vintage periodicals. 

Urban Myths about Halloween

  • Fear
  • Apples and razor blades
  • Black Cats and Satanic Sacrifice

Church, Religion, and Halloween

How has Halloween changed since Lesley’s book was first released?

What does duct tape have to do with Halloween? (Ha!)

 

For More on Lesley Bannatyne:

www.iskullhalloween.com

Lesley’s Books

For More Halloween History

Why Halloween Matters

The Literature of Old Halloween

Check out Lesley’s appearance on the BBC on Halloween day!

Check out her appearance on the History Channel’s The Real Story of Halloween

 

Thanks, Lesley!

 

Don’t forget!! Are you a regular listener? Please e-mail (or call, or SpeakPipe) with where you’re listening from, and how you’re listening! I’d appreciate it! Patrick@BigSeance.com

 

Sam Haynes, Spine ChillersSpooky Music featured on this episode is from Sam Haynes. You can find more about Sam and his music at http://www.hauntmusic.co.uk/. Thanks, Sam!

 

 

 

The Big Seance Podcast can be found right here, on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn RadioStitcherGoogle Play Music, and iHeart Radio. Please subscribe, submit a rating, or share with a fellow paranerd! Do you have any comments or feedback? Please contact me at Patrick@BigSeance.com. Consider recording your voice feedback directly from your device on my SpeakPipe page! You can also call the show and leave feedback at (775) 583-5563 (or 7755-TELL-ME). I would love to include your voice feedback in a future show. The candles are already lit, so come on in and join the séance!


The Legends, Lore, and Symbols of Halloween, with Special Co-Host Karen A. Dahlman – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #17

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Karen A. Dahlman, The Legends, Lore, and Symbols of Halloween, The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #17

In this episode, I chat with special guest co-host, Karen A. Dahlman! My favorite holiday is just around the corner, and so we reminisce about Halloween memories, the month of October, and some of the legends, lore, and symbols of Halloween! You may remember her from Episode 5, talking about The Spirits of Ouija.

 

Get this episode on iTunes!
Direct Download Link

The Legends, Lore, and Symbols of Halloween!

Topics discussed in this episode:

What’s the Halloween season like in California vs. the Midwest?

We talk about our memories of trick-or-treating, and Karen will surprise you with the tale of her last time partaking in this fun tradition.

With perfect timing, Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, two of my favorite paranormal television shows, finally return. We review the most recent episodes and talk quite a bit about the ghost of the little girl on the Queen Mary.

My visit to A Death in the Family: Death and Mourning in the 19th Century at the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion in St. Louis.

What’s the lore about death and mirrors?

Are we disconnected with death in 2014? Death, the Spiritualist Movement and the 19th Century. Mary Todd Lincoln and séances at the White House.

Karen, a leading expert on the Ouija, tells us about some of the superstitions regarding the talking board.

Will Karen or I hold séances on Halloween?

Is it really true that during this time of year the veil is lifted between the living and the dead? Karen says yes, and she teaches us about The Law of Critical Mass in physics.

Remember the myth of tampered candy and razor blades in apples?

Divination games played on Halloween in the Victorian time period, including waiting for your future love by staring in a mirror (not creepy at all, right?), and the “dumb supper”.

Spirit Communication with candles and flame. 

The number 13 and the story of the 13th floor. Myth?

Some facts and jokes about Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns!

Halloween (The Jack O’Lantern Rag) by Arthur Manlowe (1911)

Karen tells us why she loves Owls, which are viewed as symbols of Halloween.

Bet you didn’t know what the witch’s broom symbolizes.

Avoid having bad luck on Halloween. Be careful! (Actually, these are myths…. supposedly.)

Are there ways to have GOOD luck on Halloween?

Both Karen and I share our favorite Halloween candy!

Have you ever bobbed for Apples?

The top haunted attractions for 2014 in the US!

Karen teaches us how to have fun with panty hose on Halloween! 

 

For More on Karen A. Dahlman:

karenadahlman.com

Karen’s Books on Amazon

Karen’s Facebook Page

Twitter: @KarenADahlman

And check out my review of The Spirits of Ouija.

 

Thanks again, Karen!

Sam Haynes, Spine ChillersSpooky Music featured on this episode is from Sam Haynes. You can find more about Sam and his music at http://www.hauntmusic.co.uk/. Thanks, Sam!

 

The Big Seance Podcast can be found right here, on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn RadioStitcherGoogle Play Music, and iHeart Radio. Please subscribe, submit a rating, or share with a fellow paranerd! Do you have any comments or feedback? Please contact me at Patrick@BigSeance.com. Consider recording your voice feedback directly from your device on my SpeakPipe page! You can also call the show and leave feedback at (775) 583-5563 (or 7755-TELL-ME). I would love to include your voice feedback in a future show. The candles are already lit, so come on in and join the séance!


Pumpkins and the Annual Trip to Rombachs Farm (2014)

White Pumpkins from Rombachs Farm, pumpkin patch, big seance

 

I hope you enjoy some photos from our annual visit to Rombachs Farm for our 2014 family of pumpkins, soon to be jack-o-lanterns (aka “punkinheads”).

 

Rombachs Farm, pumpkin patch, big seance

Rombachs Farm, pumpkin patch, big seance

Rombachs Farm, pumpkin patch, big seance

Rombachs Farm, pumpkin patch, big seance

Rombachs Farm, pumpkin patch, big seance

Rombachs Farm, pumpkin patch, big seance

Rombachs Farm, pumpkin patch, big seance

Rombachs Farm, Punkin Blvd, pumpkin patch, big seance

Family of Pumpkins 2014, Big Seance

And these are the three we adopted. Stay tuned for the jack-o-lantern post coming up, about a week before Halloween! Can’t wait! 

 

 

 


From Pumpkins to Jack-O-Lanterns 2013

My pumpkin before carving. I carved while listening to as many classic Halloween songs as I could find on YouTube. Then I had to clean finger prints off of my phone. It’s funny how I always forget about the smell of a pumpkin. You smell it as soon as you make the first cut. It was instantly nostalgic to me and took me back to a very early memory of probably one of my first jack-o-lanterns at our first house when I was very young. We had an enclosed front porch with an old door with a window , that led to the kitchen. For some reason our jack-o-lantern was inside that front porch, rather than outside. I remember sitting and watching through the window as the jack-o-lantern flickered and glowed.

 

 

 

 

 

This year we broke tradition and I carved Joe’s pumpkin as well. I tried to go for something different… something with a sinister look in the eyes and not quite so chipper. (Ahem… this punkin’ head is not meant to be a representation of Joe.)

 

 

I like how my punkin’ head on the right seems to be eyeballing Joe’s pumpkin. Don’t look too close. The one on the left is being illuminated by a sparkly Christmas candle.

 

Once again, the sparkly Christmas candle seems to be highlighted in the photo.

 

This is usually Meril’s signature jack-o-lantern look. Joe helped him. I think it gets bigger every year.

 

We have a plethora of various pumpkin carving tools from mostly cheap sets by "Pumpkin Masters". We purchased a rather expensive set online last year. I found that this $10 set from Target is just as good or better than any of them. I recommend it!

We have a plethora of various pumpkin carving tools from mostly cheap sets by “Pumpkin Masters”. We purchased a rather expensive set online last year. I found that this $10 set from Target is just as good or better than any of them. I recommend it!

 

You might also like:

Pumpkins and the Annual Trip to Rombach’s Farm (2013) (Big Séance) 

From Pumpkins to Jack-O-Lanterns 2012 (Big Séance) 

2012 Family of Pumpkins (Big Séance)

 

 

 

 


Two More Halloween Books from Lesley Pratt Bannatyne

Last year I read and reviewed an amazing book by a true Halloween expert, Lesley Pratt Bannatyne. The book is titled HALLOWEEN: An American Holiday, an American History. I loved it and learned so much from it that I’ve referenced the book several times here on the blog. I immediately ordered her follow up book, but I saved it for this year’s autumn lineup. So tonight I present to you HALLOWEEN NATION: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night.

If Lesley’s first Halloween book is the history, then HALLOWEEN NATION is a fun and in-depth snapshot of the current reality of the holiday here in the USA, with some history thrown in when it is necessary, of course. The book covers everything from our obsessions with ghosts, witches, zombies, costumes, and pumpkins, to tricks and pranks, and the different ways we choose (as children AND adults) to celebrate the holiday. Also, she discusses many of the horrifying and heart-stopping haunts that we love to put ourselves through for entertainment. And she truly does go behind scenes, tracking down many interesting people, such as event organizers, a witch, artists, people in the haunted attraction industry, and the people who build and create the creatures used in those attractions.  

The book includes a 20-page section of notes that really shouldn’t be skipped. I’m in the process of finishing these now. She also includes a section of helpful resources and a selected bibliography.

HALLOWEEN NATION is full of fascinating photos in full color. Lesley writes in a friendly style and tends to add humor at the very moment you have the urge to turn to your invisible friend to throw in a funny comment. She’s got you covered.   

A few weeks ago I also picked up Lesley’s A Halloween Reader: Poems, Stories, and Plays from Halloweens Past. I grabbed this one in hopes of finding some stories to share with my students at school on Halloween. I always try to do something different, spooky, and fun to celebrate the day. I’ve also just become more and more fascinated and interested in the history of the holiday. If anyone has access to a time machine, let me know please. I haven’t started this book yet, but I believe I’ll start tonight!

For more on Lesley Pratt Bannatyne, visit her site at iskullhalloween.com.

 

You might also like:

Planning a Halloween Party (in 1911) (Big Séance)

Planning a Halloween Party (in 1911) (Big Séance)

A New Spin On Your Halloween Altar and Decorations (Big Séance)

A New Spin On Your Halloween Altar and Decorations (Big Séance)

Classic trick or treat loot: nostalgic candy & prizes from Halloweens past. (Renae Rude - The Paranormalist)

Classic trick or treat loot: nostalgic candy & prizes from Halloweens past. (Renae Rude – The Paranormalist)

The Haunting of Al Capone (News From the Spirit World)

The Haunting of Al Capone (News From the Spirit World)

 

 

 


Pumpkins and the Annual Trip to Rombach’s Farm (2013)

Yesterday Joe and I went with my parents on our annual trip to Rombach’s Farm to choose our family of pumpkins (soon to be jack-o-lanterns, aka “punkin’ heads”) for our front porch. Except for the off and on light rain, it was a perfectly overcast and cool autumn day. It was nice to be able to take my parents. They were here on a rare visit.

Joe took this really awesome picture. I love it because it looks like he would have had to be lying on his belly to get this shot. I don’t think he was, but it would have been a great photo opportunity for me if that was the case.

 

Rombach’s is huge. Though they give you the option of hunting through the actual patch for your pumpkins, we’ve always enjoyed shopping around in the huge rows of pumpkins that have already been picked and separated by size and price. The above photo shows just one of the many seasonal or spooky displays that they set up every year. They also have animals, a maze, a mini haunted house (that you have to be brave enough to walk through to pay for your goodies), and a play area. At the checkout, I usually grab some apple or pumpkin butter, but this year I grabbed five assorted flavored honey sticks and had them consumed by the time we got to dinner.  

 

These are some of the enormous pumpkins from the patch. I’m not sure how one would lug one of these to the checkout counter. We struggle with our normal sized pumpkins as it is. 

 

In choosing our pumpkins, we like to be drawn to the ones that resemble each of us… our pumpkin family, if you will. Joe’s pumpkin is usually skinnier, my pumpkin is usually short and fat, and Meril’s pumpkin (not yet in the wagon in the photo above) is usually smaller and round, just perfect for his paw to be carved into it in a couple of weeks. 

 

So here is our 2013 family of pumpkins on the front porch. Joe and Meril are on the left and I, because of being so enormous, am on the right by myself. We’ll carve them one week before Halloween. I’ll take plenty of photos.

 

Want to see some of our past family of pumpkins photos? (I know you’re excited. Don’t act like you’re not.)

2012

2012

2011

2011

2010

 

You might also like: 

An Update in Four Photos (Big Séance)

2012 Family of Pumpkins (Big Séance)

From Pumpkins to Jack-O-Lanters 2012 (Big Séance)

 

 

 


An Update in Four Photos!

This last weekend I made my third visit to the grave sites of Johnny and Clara. It was a beautiful trip, even with the gloomy skies and rain. Through the drops on the window, you can see Clara’s grave and the whole family plot in the distance at the top of the hill and in the center of the photo. Yeah, I’ve got better shots of this hill… but I thought looking through the drops would be cool.

 

This is the view from behind the first row of Clara’s family plot, looking down the hill at the very modern-day street. Clara’s grave is on the right, along with the fresh flowers that I brought. Such a beautiful place in the middle of all the noise and traffic.

 

Thanks to my father and his garden, we have three early pumpkins on the front porch. In the first week of October we look forward to our traditional trip to Rombach’s Farm for our official family of pumpkins for 2013.

 

With the temperatures finally cooler again, Meril has been excited to start wearing his favorite jacket again! His Daddy likes a different and less hip jacket, but Poppy (me) and Meril totally prefer this one.

 

Last update! The Big Séance is now at Top Paranormal Sites! As a reader, I’d be honored if you took a few seconds to vote/rate my blog by clicking the button below. There’s no login or nonsense. This will be the only time I’ll beg for a vote in a post. 🙂 I’m told that some of you have written reviews, but I’ve yet to see them.  Maybe someone is moderating them. I hope they show up. Thanks again for being such loyal readers and fans of such a nerdly blog! 

We are listed at the www.topparanormalsites.com website. Click here to vote for us.. Thank you :-)
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Some older nerdly updates you may have missed!

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From Pumpkins to Jack-O-Lanterns 2012…

My 2012 punkin’ head… I decided to go with a classic look this year.

 

Punkin’ heads on the porch… Joe’s punkin’ head is on the right. He always has to draw attention with his and be avant garde.

 

Meril’s traditional punkin’ head… He had a bit of help from Joe…

 

I just love capturing the sniff shots…

 

Our whole family of 2012 punkin’ heads…

 

 


2012 Family of Pumpkins…

This year’s trip to the pumpkin patch.

 

Our 2012 family of pumpkins… soon to be a family of “punkin’ heads” (AKA jack-o-lanterns)! I’m not as happy with how they look on our porch this year… not sure why. What I do know is that the size and proportion of my pumpkin (the one on the right) matches me perfectly this year. 🙂 Meril’s pumpkin (which will probably feature a carved out paw print soon) is the smaller one on the step.

 

Meril proudly displaying his pumpkin… (he has been upgraded to a much larger pumpkin this year)

 

Meril proudly sniffing his pumpkin…

 

 


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