All Hallow’s Read

Posted: 24th October 2011 by affehaus in cultural, design, words
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It appears that Neil Gaiman is proposing a new tradition for Halloween.  He’s calling it, as the post heading would suggest, All Hallow’s Read.
The idea, as I understand it, is that in addition to sweet and treats, we exchange scary stories. Well, his proposal is actually to give out books… but I’m choosing a looser interpretation.
Regardless of the specifics– this is a tradition that I can endorse.

Another blogger (in fact, the blog from which I found out about this…) has actually created her own e-book that one can download and assemble.  It’s called Bedtime Story, and it is very well done.  I liked it so much I downloaded it twice.

But I didn’t make a book.  That’s way too much work.  I just put down words on screen.
So– without further preamble… I present Jaded Monkey’s submission for All Hallow’s Read:

Jackanapes– or, Mischief Amongst the Hedgerow 


Picked up some produce today.  The road-side stand has put up scarecrows for Halloween; they look like they’re guarding the merchandise.  Creepy.
Picked up some ‘maters, parsnip, apples (may make pie; yum!), and a pumpkin.



Carved the pumpkin this evening.  Didn’t go exactly as planned.  I’d had an idea that I’d been toying with… sort of a variation on the traditional theme: not the frightful grin with the angled teeth, but rather, something with a jolly aspect, so as to be inviting to the trick-or-treaters.  I’d thought to make a broad arc for the eyes, giving it an almost inquisitive look… a curious, ‘happy’ jack, as it were.
Funny thing– it looked right when I drew it out; I was really quite pleased, for the design to have come so close to what I’d envisioned.
But when I’d scooped him and made the incisions, I was a bit put-off with the result. The friendly jack I’d drawn had, through the course of carving, transformed into something of a more intimidating shade of the original concept; more ‘wicked’ than ‘friendly’.
I’m not entirely sure how that happened; I suppose I must not have been paying enough attention as I made the cuts.  The smile was, perhaps, a bit too wide, a bit too friendly. I mean, it still had– on the surface– an inviting appearance… but the invitation seemed to be of a questionable nature.  And the eyes, where they had been meant to appear inquisitive?  Perhaps even surprised?  They now seemed to mock.  But I suppose it will do.



Heard noises outside last night.  Was afraid that the neighborhood kids were getting up to mischief; and this on Jack’s first night out.
When I checked on him in the morning, he was still intact… but not where I recall having left him.  Odd.



…curiously, I’ve noticed several tufts of fur about Jack… as if an animal has been rubbing up against him.  In fact, one tuft was lodged in the corner of his mouth.  Curious, indeed.  But if an animal is rubbing against him, that would explain why he’s always getting moved about the doorstep.



Sad thing today; one of the neighborhood children has been reported missing.
Flyers describing the boy went up on every street corner.  I hadn’t noticed ‘til now, but there are a lot of flyers on the telephone poles these days.  Mostly lost cats.  Sure are a lot of them gone missing.



Ok.  Really starting to get fed up.  Another commotion outside last night, and when I came down in the morning?  Jack was sitting by the roadside.  And there was a tie hanging out of his mouth!  Practical jokes are one thing, but this is getting absurd.
Besides– all this handling isn’t good for Jack; it’s causing him to distort.  I swear, he’s actually beginning to look larger… though I’m certain that’s just a matter of him settling.



The weather service is calling for unseasonably cold temperatures for the next couple of days.  I’m afraid that won’t be good for Jack, so I’m bringing him in tonight.  It will be much nicer for him in my bedroom than outside in the freeze.
And, quite frankly, I’ll feel much more secure having him in the house, with all that weirdness occurring in the neighborhood these days.

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