Holly Jolly Halloween

Halloween was never a big deal for me, growing up in South Africa. Of course I knew about it, as a dedicated reader of both Ray Bradbury and Peanuts, but it wasn’t anything we celebrated. Then, around about the time the Girl Child hit her teens it became a Thing for older kids, who would go out all done up in blood spatters and ghoulishness (but still, of course, unnervingly sexy) and hang out at the local malls, and frankly that was a scary evening for parents. Disney princesses and plastic pumpkins full of treats didn’t feature; it was a dark celebration.

So anyway, I have now lived through 16 Smalltown USA Halloweens, and I feel ready to share a relevant personal experience, and since I didn’t have an actual Halloween experience worth sharing, at first I thought I’d write about a Traumatic Childhood Fancy Dress Memory.

First off, it’s important to stress that my parents are, and were, good people who didn’t torment me more than they absolutely had to. But … they were the kind of parents who thought that if your chubby, introverted, bespectacled kid was taking part in a church youth group fancy dress party, it made more sense to dress her up as a literary-minded garden pest (“Ha ha! You’ll be cute – you’ll see; you’ll make people laugh and everyone will think it’s a clever idea!”) than as, say, a princess or Little Bo Peep like the boring other girls. So they rolled me up in a luridly yellow bedspread, tied it on with string, and shoved a book in my hands.

Like this, but more dorky, and involving a fair amount of string.
Like this, but less tailored, more dorky, and involving a fair amount of string. And very, very yellow.

Each kid paraded in turn across the stage while everyone guessed who they were, and there were prizes but I have no idea how they were awarded. I didn’t get one, and I wasn’t paying that much attention because I was too busy Actively Ignoring the giggling princesses and sniggering boys. Suddenly it was my turn to cross the stage. Unfortunately, in the interests of verisimilitude, my parents had tied the string all the way round my body right down to my ankles. Parading was not an option. I hobbled to the stage, someone heaved me up onto it, and I rolled around and tried to breathe until the youth pastor hauled me to my feet. At that point the uppermost string started coming undone, and the costume threatened to collapse around my (string-secured) ankles. (I forgot to mention that my arms were tied inside the yellow bedspread, with only my hands sticking out to hold the book. Because, you know, worms don’t have arms. So holding myself together was a challenge that made any parading across the stage completely out of the question.) Mercifully someone in the audience shouted, “She’s a bookworm!” before I was even fully vertical, and the pastor rolled me to the edge of the stage and they heaved me back down and let me hobble off into the outer darkness.

So that’s my Halloween horror story (even though it didn’t technically happen at Halloween, as far as I know), and I thought it would be the best I could come up with for this post. But then this afternoon I was sitting in the Barnes & Noble coffee shop with a friend, and I got THIS post from Himself:

Supper tonite !!!
Supper tonite !!!

At first I thought one of the hens had kicked the bucket and he was being funny, but no, a cock pheasant had foolishly planted itself in a tree out back and stayed there while Himself scurried off to fetch a shotgun.

Here’s another picture:

Looks almost medieval!
Looks almost medieval!

Is it just me, or is it just a tad gruesome to have a dead bird lying next to the kitchen sink on Halloween? Whatever … we went out for Chinese instead, and tomorrow is the NaNo kick-off party, but I expect we’ll be doing fabulous things involving wine and a crockpot and my first wild pheasant on Sunday.

In the meantime, I couldn’t waste such a fabulous opportunity to dress up. THIS Halloween, I’m Minnehaha.

Fine feathers
Fine feathers

And now it’s your turn! Do you torture your children by using them to demonstrate your creative sense of humor? What kind of text messages do your loved ones usually send you? Do you have any good pheasant recipes? Talk to me!

Author: Belladonna Took

Well into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, perpetually at risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic.

15 thoughts on “Holly Jolly Halloween”

  1. Recipe for Drunken Pheasant

    1 whole pheasant (skinned)
    1 stick of butter
    Seasoning to taste
    1 can of your favorite beer


    Make sure bird has been cleaned and pat dry with a paper towel. Melt the butter and seasoning in sauce pan or over grill. Thoroughly brush bird with melted butter. Drink about 1/2 the beer. Make sure the grill is hot then place bird over beer can (you may need to buy a can grill holder) on grill. Cook for about an hour or until done throughout. The heat and butter mixture actually seals in the flavor from the evaporating beer.


      1. FISANT IN WYN SOUS (veral vir die Soustannie)


        4 eetlepels botter of margarien
        1 fisant
        2 eetlepels meel
        1/2 koppie duidelike voorraad
        1/2 koppie witwyn geurmiddels


        Smelt botter of margarien in ‘n hitte-proof Nederlandse oond.

        Wanneer warm, braai die fazant liggies oor totdat dit goudbruin is.

        Verwyder die voël.

        Voeg die meel, voorraad en wyn meng goed.

        Bring tot kookpunt en voeg geurmiddels.

        Terugkeer voël aan die Nederlandse oond en bedek.

        Cook in voorverhitte oond 350 graad Fahrenheit, draai voël terwyl dit kook vir 35 tot 40 minute, of totdat die voëls sag is.


      2. However, regarding BEER…. That great American Patriot and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, wrote, “Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy”.

        However, to give WINE due credit, he also wrote: “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.”

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Resep vir Dronk Fazant

    1 heel fazant (met die vel verwyder)
    1 stok van botter
    Geurmiddels na smaak
    1 blikkie van jou gunsteling bier


    Maak seker voël is skoongemaak en druk droog met ‘n papierhanddoek. Smelt die botter en geurmiddels in sous pan of oor braai. Deeglik borsel voël met gesmelte botter. Drink oor 1/2 die bier. Maak seker dat die rooster warm en plaas n voël oor bier kan (jy mag nodig het om ‘n blikkie braai houer te koop) op rooster. Kook vir sowat ‘n uur of tot gaar regdeur. Die hitte en botter mengsel seëls eintlik in die smaak van die verdamp bier.


  3. I am so enjoying the image of the little girl version of you hopping around in that bedspread! That is fantastic. I do happen to be the costume designer in my household, but I let my little one choose what she wants to be rather than torturing her with my own ideas. This year she chose to be a pink kitty with a rainbow tail, so that is exactly the costume I put together for her.


  4. Well I do not remember the “bookworm” which would have been very appropriate (the book part, that is), but I do remember a very much smaller child, when asked what we should “do her up as” answered: “A Parcel!” So it was her choice! Legs and arms were free, and the body encased in a nice large box, and a very fine parcel she was, I might add. As for me, also not for Halloween, I chose to be a witch, and won a consolation prize.


    1. They’re all over the place here. I’d feel bad about him killing it except that they’re not a native species – were introduced by hunters; I think they’re originally Chinese. And oh my, seriously yummy! I have requested MORE.

      You want some feathers? I don’t know whether you’re a craftsy type (probably not), or inclined to do interesting things to hats (yes, that seems possible). Send me an address and I’ll mail you some. They’re really pretty…:)


      1. I don’t know, I feel kind of weird about using the feathers? Am I crazy? I eat animals everyday. I just ate a 3-meat pizza that theoretically was made out of animals, but still… I don’t know!


        1. Hello? Of course you’re crazy! As to not wanting to wear bits of dead birds … nah, I don’t know whether that’s a symptom of anything in particular. But they’d make an awesome honeymoon dreamcatcher!

          Liked by 1 person

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