Monday, October 28, 2013

A Halloween Potpourri: A Combination of Incongruous Things

Giveaway ~ $25 Amazon Gift Card
The winner is Ash Wolf!
Thanks for your comments, everyone.
If you think Halloween can be scary now, step back in time about 2,500 years when Halloween first
started. People believed things like this:

"Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life ..." -

I'll be right there with a basket of candy for the little princesses and superheroes and preteens with fake knives embedded in their heads when the doorbell rings this coming Thursday night. I swear, one of these years I'm going to give those big groups of teenagers who come around before their parties some dental floss, but it would probably just get my house teepeed.

Relax, I can deal with it.
It's those overlapping boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead that have me worried. With my luck, my house is probably built on a major fault line.

In keeping with the subtitle of this post, A Combination of Incongruous Things, here are some Celts doing something odd with a dead man and a dead pig. Plaid was popular then.

Bloody good!
Vampire Cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
approx 1/2 cup red jam (raspberry/strawberry)

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and extracts.
2. Add flour and salt to the bowl and mix them into the butter-sugar mixture at low speed until dough is just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 325F.
4. Divide dough in half and keep the portion you are not using in the refrigerator.
5. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out 2-inch rounds.
6. Place rounds on a baking sheet, put a teaspoon of jam on each of them and cover with another round of dough. Press edges down lightly, pinching the edges onto the cookie sheet. Use a toothpick and poke two small holes (like a vampire bite) in the top of each cookie.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set.
8. Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Dip a toothpick in some extra red jam and re-insert in the “bite” holes you made before baking to emphasize them, if not already red. Draw a blood trickle down from one of the bites with the jam, if desired.

How about a virtual trip down Amazon's aisles with a $25 gift card clutched in your hand? Just leave a comment below letting me know your favorite paranormal character from a book, movie, TV program, or cartoon (didn't want to exclude Casper the Friendly Ghost). Please make sure I have some way to contact you if your comment is drawn as the random winner. I'll do the drawing on the opening of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Friday, November 1, 2013. Then this lovely card will belong to one of you!

Remember, demons are a ghoul's best friend! (groan ...) 


Everybody knows the lines:
Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Want to know all the icky ingredients in that cauldron? If so, click "more" to read the entire (long) passage from Macbeth.


ACT IV SCENE I A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.
[Thunder. Enter the three Witches]
First WitchThrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Second WitchThrice and once the hedge-pig whined.
Third WitchHarpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.
First WitchRound about the cauldron go;

In the poison'd entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Swelter'd venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.
ALLDouble, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Second WitchFillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake;

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,

Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
ALLDouble, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Third WitchScale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witches' mummy, maw and gulf

Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat, and slips of yew

Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,

Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,

Make the gruel thick and slab:

Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,

For the ingredients of our cauldron.
ALLDouble, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Second WitchCool it with a baboon's blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.
[Enter HECATE to the other three Witches]
HECATEO well done! I commend your pains;

And every one shall share i' the gains;

And now about the cauldron sing,

Live elves and fairies in a ring,

Enchanting all that you put in.
[Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' &c]
[HECATE retires]
Second WitchBy the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

Open, locks,

Whoever knocks!
MACBETHHow now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!

What is't you do?
ALLA deed without a name.
MACBETHI conjure you, by that which you profess,

Howe'er you come to know it, answer me:

Though you untie the winds and let them fight

Against the churches; though the yesty waves

Confound and swallow navigation up;

Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down;

Though castles topple on their warders' heads;

Though palaces and pyramids do slope

Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure

Of nature's germens tumble all together,

Even till destruction sicken; answer me

To what I ask you.
First WitchSpeak.
Second WitchDemand.
Third WitchWe'll answer.
First WitchSay, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,

Or from our masters?
MACBETHCall 'em; let me see 'em.
First WitchPour in sow's blood, that hath eaten

Her nine farrow; grease that's sweaten

From the murderer's gibbet throw

Into the flame.
ALLCome, high or low;

Thyself and office deftly show!
[Thunder. First Apparition: an armed Head]
MACBETHTell me, thou unknown power,--
First WitchHe knows thy thought:

Hear his speech, but say thou nought.
First ApparitionMacbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;

Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.
MACBETHWhate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;

Thou hast harp'd my fear aright: but one

word more,--
First WitchHe will not be commanded: here's another,

More potent than the first.
[Thunder. Second Apparition: A bloody Child]
Second ApparitionMacbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!
MACBETHHad I three ears, I'ld hear thee.
Second ApparitionBe bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn

The power of man, for none of woman born

Shall harm Macbeth.
MACBETHThen live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?

But yet I'll make assurance double sure,

And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;

That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,

And sleep in spite of thunder.
[ Thunder. Third Apparition: a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand ]

What is this

That rises like the issue of a king,

And wears upon his baby-brow the round

And top of sovereignty?
ALLListen, but speak not to't.
Third ApparitionBe lion-mettled, proud; and take no care

Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:

Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until

Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill

Shall come against him.
MACBETHThat will never be

Who can impress the forest, bid the tree

Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good!

Rebellion's head, rise never till the wood

Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth

Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath

To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart

Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art

Can tell so much: shall Banquo's issue ever

Reign in this kingdom?
ALLSeek to know no more.
MACBETHI will be satisfied: deny me this,

And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.

Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this?
First WitchShow!
Second WitchShow!
Third WitchShow!
ALLShow his eyes, and grieve his heart;

Come like shadows, so depart!
[ A show of Eight Kings, the last with a glass in his hand; GHOST OF BANQUO following ]
MACBETHThou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down!

Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair,

Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.

A third is like the former. Filthy hags!

Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!

What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?

Another yet! A seventh! I'll see no more:

And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass

Which shows me many more; and some I see

That two-fold balls and treble scepters carry:

Horrible sight! Now, I see, 'tis true;

For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me,

And points at them for his.
[Apparitions vanish]

What, is this so?
First WitchAy, sir, all this is so: but why

Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?

Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,

And show the best of our delights:

I'll charm the air to give a sound,

While you perform your antic round:

That this great king may kindly say,

Our duties did his welcome pay.
[ Music. The witches dance and then vanish, with HECATE ]
MACBETHWhere are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour

Stand aye accursed in the calendar!

Come in, without there!
[Enter LENNOX]
LENNOXWhat's your grace's will?
MACBETHSaw you the weird sisters?
LENNOXNo, my lord.
MACBETHCame they not by you?
LENNOXNo, indeed, my lord.
MACBETHInfected be the air whereon they ride;

And damn'd all those that trust them! I did hear

The galloping of horse: who was't came by?
LENNOX'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word

Macduff is fled to England.
MACBETHFled to England!
LENNOXAy, my good lord.
MACBETHTime, thou anticipatest my dread exploits:

The flighty purpose never is o'ertook

Unless the deed go with it; from this moment

The very firstlings of my heart shall be

The firstlings of my hand. And even now,

To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:

The castle of Macduff I will surprise;

Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword

His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls

That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;

This deed I'll do before this purpose cool.

But no more sights!--Where are these gentlemen?

Come, bring me where they are.
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. Thomas Marc Parrott. New York: American Book Co., 1904. Shakespeare Online. 27 Oct. 2013. < >.


felinewyvern said...

Nice pot - I actually learnt a thing or two that I didn't know before about Samhain.

As to my favourite paranormal character that changes per each book I read - I'm fickle that way ;)

BTW Thank for the cookie recipe - they look delicious and I will be trying them out at my next bakeathon

Anonymous said...

I loved the werewolf character, Velkan in Van Helsing. Will Kemp was wonderful.
Thanks for the great post and pics.

SandyG265 said...

I have to go with Bram Stoker's Dracula since that was the first paranormal book I read.

sgiden at verizon dot net

Alina P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alina P said...

I love Raphael and Elena from the Guild Hunter series. They are amazing!


CrystalGB said...

I am a big fan of shapeshifters. So, I will say the cat shifter and wolf shifter heroes from Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series.


Melissa (Books and Things) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Love the cookie recipe. :) Too cute.

I do tend to go towards shifters including mermaids. Don't know why. I just like shifting into another form and it sounds interesting. :)


Unknown said...

OK. I know I can do this. The problem is, I love each of my best book friends for different reasons. Just one? Are you sure? I pick... I pick... Anita Blake. Yes, "that" Anita Blake from the Laurell K. Hamilton series of the same name. Her inner dialog and voyage of self-discovery is inspiring. It's saved my sanity more than once. I know that, whenever I pick up an LKH book, I will laugh, cry, and learn something. Don't get mad; get Anita!

Ash Wolf said...

There are three movies that I always watch on Halloween night:
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Garfield's Halloween
The Nightmare Before Christmas (I also watch this movie around Christmas)
My favorite character though would have to be Sally. Though she is a made creature, she seems to be the only sane doll in an insane demension.

Praying that it don't rain Thursday. That's never any fun.

Barbara E. said...

My favorite paranormal character is the quirky vampire Raylene Pendle from Cherie Priest's two Cheshire Red Reports books - Bloodshot and Hellbent.

Bethany C. said...

Pick ONE favorite? Gah! This might be a little left field, but my pick is Duke Crocker from Haven (tv show.)


June M. said...

My favorite paranormal creature is a vampire but I can't really pick just one favorite out of all of them. But I really love all types of paranormal creatures: shifters, demons, angels, etc.
manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

Ash Wolf said...

It's raining. Oh well. Trick-or-Treating might be held off until tomorrow.

You can contact me at

Cylver said...

I'm all about the vamps, but I have way too many favorites to list here. So, I'll just list my favorite TV vamps: Spike (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Henry (from Blood Ties) and Mitchell (from Being Human). Bad boys all, but ya gotta love 'em!