Sunday, 31 October 2021
Well, it is still Halloween for a littlemore than an hour here, so I will spend it reading. But I thought I would share a picture of all our jack o'lanterns, six of them, on display in the night. We live in a remote part of this town, so we don't see many trick or treaters. We had only five tonight: one knight, two skeletons and one vampire with some kid with a cape or an army coat or something. Better than nothing, but I daresay they must have enjoyed our spooky display. And this year, for the very first time I felt like I did it as a family, as Wolfie was very much into it. He did not want to go for trick or treat himself, but he really enjoyed the preparation and waited for our visitors eagerly. And he was so proud of the pumpkins!
Il y a un terme bien québécois pour désigner les enfants qui passent l'Halloween (les adultes aussi, sans doute): Halloweeneux. Ici c'est parfois "trick or treaters". Nous vivons dans une ville où l'Halloween est assez célébrée, ce qui est bien, mais notre maison est dans un coin en retrait de la ville. Ce qui fait que nous avons peu d'Halloweeneux qui y passent chaque année. Je me pose la même question à chaque année: combien en aura-t-il cette année? L'année dernière, avec les restrictions dûes à la pandémie, il n'y en a eu aucun. Cette année, s'il y en a cinq, ce serait pas mal. L'autre question que je me pose, c'est: est-ce que Wolfie passera l'Halloween cette année?
Saturday, 30 October 2021
Friday, 29 October 2021
You know my love and my fascination for All About Ghosts, the book of paranormal that fired up my imagination when I was a child. And made me a very superstitious and gullible child as well. But if I ever write horror stories, this book will be one of my main sources of inspiration. It also has lots of useful tips, such as how to spot a ghost, as you can see above. The last two points are rather obvious, but the first two are rather interesting, for whoever keeps in mind that ghosts are not only wearing white sheets.
Thursday, 28 October 2021
Wednesday, 27 October 2021
For today's countdown to Halloween post, a picture my mother sent me. You see here that she organised the treats for Halloween. My mother is not into macabre and the scary aspects of the holiday, she leaves this aspect for the male members of the family (did I ever tell you that she is completely outnumbered?). But treating people, that she loves and any excuse is good for her. So she made these fancy bags, filled with goodies, mainly chocolate. Generous sizes too. Not many people come on my parents' street for trick or treat, from what I understand, but there are always a few, the children of the neighbours and some friends, and she prepared the orange bags especially for them. I look at this and I think I need to work on my presentation skills.
Tuesday, 26 October 2021
For today's countdown to Halloween post, an old, old, old seasonal tradition, often forgotten, that I have never practiced, until now (sort of). I read before about soul cakes, small round cakes given to children going door to door (in a primitive version of trick or treat) to pray for the dead. And it struck me recently that the pictures I have seen of soul cakes look a fair deal like the family's galettes aux raisins. Which we often bake around this time of year. While we don't add spices and they're not really round, there's still dry fruits in them and it would not take much to make this a proper soul cake. So anyway, I made a batch of galettes aux raisins a few days ago and for all practical purposes they will be this family's soul cakes.
Monday, 25 October 2021
Halloween Season by Lucy A. Snyder. She's a Bram Stoker Award-winning AND Shirley Jackson Award-nominated, so you know you can't go wrong. In any case, it's maybe my favourite horror discovery this year, even though not all the stories are centered around Halloween. There's a lot of direct Lovecraftian influences here, as the Cthulhu Mythos is often explicitly mentioned, or even integral to the plot (in fact I had read the short story Cosmic Cola in this book), but Snyder has a far more optimistic approach. Often evil does not triumph (although it sometimes does) and mankind's struggle against the Forces of Darkness is not ultimately doomed to fail. Or at least, there is some hope that we will overcome. There's often a surprisingly not irritating dose of humour. Also, you will find a few non horror stories and some others that are practically Christmas stories. I could have done without then, but then again I'm a purist. And on a side note: what a cover!
Sunday, 24 October 2021
Saturday, 23 October 2021
Friday, 22 October 2021
Let's have another countdown to Halloween post for tonight shall we? Because Monstrum recently released a video about werewolves (part 1, there will be more) and I really enjoyed it, and we need more gory werewolf fun in our Halloween countdown (and in horror fiction in general, come to think of it). So anyway, it's not too long and tell me what you think in the comments.
Nouvelle météorologique saguenéenne: il a neigé dans le Parc des Laurentides récemment. Et au Mont Valin aussi. C'est une nouvelle, mais pour qui vient de la région ce n'est pas une surprise: c'est ça, le Saguenay. En fait, quand j'ai appris ça, la première chose qui m'est venue à l'esprit c'est: "Si tard?" Espérons que cela annonce un hiver assez précoce. Dans tous les cas, j'aime bien quand les premières neiges sont des neiges automnales.
Thursday, 21 October 2021
Wednesday, 20 October 2021
L'Halloween ne serait pas l'Halloween sans quelques chats noirs. Je partage donc pour aujourd'hui une nouvelle photo prise par mon père: une décoration gonflable représentant un chat noir près à attaquer. Il a l'air malicieux, peut-être même maléfique,juste assez sinistre. En plus, sur un lit de feuilles comme ça, le tableau a l'air parfaitement automnal.
Tuesday, 19 October 2021
My wife went to Sainsbury's yesterday for a quick top up and she bought me this tea mug. This Halloween tea mug. It changes colour when you add tea and it shows more ghosts. I was so happy when I received this. Now I have not one but two Halloween mugs, however one is getting old and the other well... Well the other is fine, but we never, ever have enough Halloween mugs. And this one has ghosts. Halloween and tea go hand in hand in my book (more on that in another post), so I am so very glad to have this new mug. Better still: I'd like to think that my wife is finally, finally, finally getting into the spooky spirit. Well, one can hope. Maybe it is motherhood, but I do think she got more into it this year.
Monday, 18 October 2021
My mother-in-law does crochet and she is very good at it. Yesterday, we went to see Wolfie's grandparents and she had made this for him. When we arrived, it was merely a pumpkin, but at Wolfie's insistance, she turned it into a proper jack o'lantern. I think she used one of my old designs to create the face. Daddad did the cutting of the features. So now we have a new jack o'lantern that will not rot or go bad, it is a permanent one. We cannot put a candle in it, but it's pretty cool all the same, like a new soft toy for Wolfie. He is very happy with it and very proud for taking part in its creation.
Sunday, 17 October 2021
For tonight's third (!) countdown to Halloween post, a bit of a mystery for the classical horror fan that I am. You may know that The Phantom of the Opera is one of my obsessions. The original novel, NOT the musical. Although I do enjoy the various adaptations of the book. I blogged about my discovery of the novel in this post from 2019. Well, I discovered that there was a fairly recent animated adaptation, dating back from, well, err... I don't think it has been released yet, but here is its IMDB entry and here is its webpage. You will find below the trailer, dating back from 2014. It seems fairly faithful to the novel and the animation does not seem half bad. Has anybody seen it? If so, what did you think of it?
Il a fait frais ces temps-ci, enfin assez frais: aux alentours de 15 au plus doux, températures froides le soir et la nuit. Ce n'est pas le mois d'octobre idéal, mais c'est endurable. Cette semaine, les températures devraient monter à presque 20. L'été des Indiens, en somme. Sauf qu'on avait déjà eu un mois de septembre assez chaud, surtout au début, alors je me passerais bien d'un été des Indiens en octobre. Mais bon, je ne devrais pas me plaindre: les températures devraient baisser dramatiquement au milieu de la semaine, alors on aura une continuation d'octobre comme je les aime.
For tonight's countdown to Halloween post, I am blogging again about this book, Charlie Brown's Fourth Super Books of Questions and Answers. Not the book itself, but a specific picture in the book. As I mentioned before, I was obsessed as a child with its section on Halloween. I did not have the book myself, a friend of mine had, and I tried to check it every time I could when I was visiting him. He thought very little of it. And there was a picture in there, not of the Peanuts gang but of two witches around a cauldron, tending it, that both terrified and fascinated me. I think it gave me a few nightmares, yet I still wanted to know more about them. I don't know where they took this picture, but I was shocked to see in a book featuring my beloved comics characters something so lifelike and belonging to a horror story. I look at it today and it still gives me shivers. I know there is a scary story or more to be written about these two obviously evil witches.
Saturday, 16 October 2021
Lors de sa promenade de santé d'hier (enfin je crois que c'était hier, mais il en fait au moins une tous les jours), mon père a pris plusieurs photos des décorations qui commencent vraiment à se montrer à Chicoutimi. Je le dis, le répète, je le maintiens: on fête l'Halloween en grand là d'où je viens. Je ne suis en général pas un grand fan des trucs gonflables, mais ceux-ci sont excellents.
Friday, 15 October 2021
Thursday, 14 October 2021
This is my fourth (fourth!) countdown to Halloween post today, but I am feeling inspired. An there is so little time left until my favourite holiday and so much to read, watch, blog about and overall enjoy. So I wanted to recommend a ghost story for you, which I mentioned before here. If you like classic ghost stories and ghost stories that are perfectly seasonal, I suggest you spend some time tonight to read Kerfol by Edith Wharton. It's set in autumn and it is full of atmosphere. It aslo shows that to create unease and fear, you don't need walking corpses. And you'll see there that ghosts can take many forms, even the most inconspicuous.
Je pose ce soir une question existentielle qui est le pendant de la question 336, datant de 2018:
-À quel âge devrait-on cesser de passer l'Halloween?
Je raconterai peut-être un jour mes deuils quant à cette question.
Je sais que j'ai déjà partagé sur ce blogue et pour l'Halloween l'Air des Bijoux de Faust de Charles Gounod. En 2015, pour être précis. Mais je veux mettre plus de musique pour l'Halloween, d'une aprt, et Faust est un opéra halloweenesque. Et je suis tombé sur cette interprétation de la soprano Elsa Dreisig qui est rien de moins que magnifique. Elle fait une parfaite Marguerite, enfin elle est Marguerite comme je l'imagine. Et pourquoi cet aria pour un billet musical de l'Halloween? Parce que ça a une dimension sinistre. Comme je le disais dans mon billet de 2015: "sachant à quel prix Marguerite paiera les bijoux ultimement, il y a une
dimension particulièrement macabre à un air qui dans un premier abord
semble éclatant et sensuel." J'ajouterais que parfois le Mal et l'horreur se manifestent d'abord dans la lumière.
Wednesday, 13 October 2021
For tonight's countdown to Halloween reading suggestion: Halloween Tricks and Treats by S.A. Alba (no idea who she is, I found this book at random on Amazon because it's scary how much it knows me). Described on he front cover as "A collection of haunting Halloween inquiries and short stories." It's a pretty small book with a few supernatural stories verging on horror, divided by a bit of pondering about the holiday or aspects of it. Nothing outstanding, but a quick and pleasant read, that never gives pure frights but a few pleasant shivers, with a bit of humour here and there and sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered.
Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Monday, 11 October 2021
For today's countdown to Halloween reading suggestion: Dark Halloween. A "holiday flash fiction anthology." There's a lot of stories in it and a lot of good ones. Mostly horror of course. While I usually don't read much flash fiction and I think horror and supernatural need some time to establish settings, atmosphere and the subversion brought by the supernatural, I must say I quite enjoyed thus one. You will find plenty of the iconic critters of Halloween, real and fake: ghosts, vampires, witches, zombies, a few murderous maniacs, animated jack o'lanterns (well of course) and quite a few original ones. Not all of the stories are good, but even the bad ones are somewhat enjoyable. There's also a pretty decent series of fanfic of John Carpenter's original Halloween movie. All in all, a solid seasonal read
Je sais que c'est l'Action de grâce aujourd'hui, enfin la canadienne, pas l'américaine. Que je ne fête pas, étant expatrié. Je ne l'ai jamais beaucoup fêtée anyway, mais j'aimais quand même le congé férié, les petites vacances automnales que cela nous donnait et la symbolique païenne larvée. Je veux dire que l'Action de grâce est une fête des récoltes. Je ne sais pas si je la fêterai encore un jour, mais à tous ceux qui peuvent aujourd'hui: joyeuse Action de grâce.
Sunday, 10 October 2021
As it is a tradition during the Halloween season, I am sharing a version of the Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns. This particular one is a bit truncated unfortunately, but I loved the story and narrative so much that I wanted to share it. It is both sweet and spooky, with a violin playing friendly ghost, a black cat, witches and Satan himself. In a creepy old cemetery. It's just perfect.
Aujourd'hui, c'est la fête de mon frère PJ et, comme c'est la tradition sur Vraie Fiction, je lui présente une bière virtuelle, la Hobgoblin Gold de Wychwood Brewery.Avec leurs bouteilles spéciales de l'Halloween, ça date du temps pas si lointain où leurs bouteilles avaient de la gueule. Il y a plusieurs raisons pour laquelle je lui envoie cette bière-ci comme bière virtuelle: 1)l'Halloween approche à grands pas et la Hobgoblin, c'est LA bière de l'Halloween, 2)j'ai toujours associé son anniversaire à l'Halloween et 3)lors de son séjour en Angleterre en 2017 pour la fête de son neveu, la Hobgoblin Gold est la première bière qu'il avait bue. Alors voilà, à la tienne frérot et bonne fête encore.
Saturday, 9 October 2021
Friday, 8 October 2021
You may remember that last year we went to a "Scarecrow Festival", organised in a nearby village to celebrate, well, the upcoming Halloween, mainly. But to me scarecrows also represent autumn and harvest. The Halloween aspect of them, and of this festival in particular, is in the end a bonus. So this year again, we will have a nice spooky festival, with monstrous scarecrows, a lot of them sporting a jack-o-lantern and a map of the village which we can buy at the village hall (and where I took this picture). I can barely wait. I think now we can safely say that it is a new local tradition. And I'm very grateful for it.