For me, the month of October is a favorite. This time of year, however, is a fave for a lot of people, as social media informs me. Style in the fall becomes fascinating, cozy, and fun. I do love the changing leaves, the windier weather (not to mention, I get to wear cute jackets), and the warmer drinks. More than just my surroundings and the changing aesthetics though, I can also confidently say that I appreciate the feelings of warmth when I get cuddled up with my friends or my special person, playing cards, talking and de-stressing, or discussing where we are and what is happening.
There are a lot of memories built during this time of the year, and I wanted to share some of mine. The cold weather in Alberta, Canada meant that if Kaitlyn and I wanted to do any serious trick-or-treating (and we did), we would have to dress extra warm. Being the fashion-forward children we were, capes became the go-to option for escaping the cold in style. I think that this was also the first year I wore fake nails, so I was *very* stylish at this point.
What is more, October is a beloved month for me because I love to dress up for Halloween. Like a lot of folks, I have been dedicated to the yearly event since I was very, very young (our website has a lot of content that will attest to that…).
This year, I will be dressing up as Sailor Mars in a DIY hand-sewn costume!! My partner will be dressed as Tuxedo Mask. While the relationship between Mask and Sailor Moon is one representative of longevity, the short and steamy affair between Mars and Mask makes for an excellent Halloween duo! Plus, #brunettesforlife—hello! I am excited to see what everyone will be this year and have already been so impressed by the many costumes I've come by.
I'm equally stunned by all of the carved pumpkins I see each year. Especially near the final week of October, the number of spectacular patterns I see increases. If you’re rushing to carve your pumpkins, please don't worry! There are probably thousands like you. Admittedly, I carved some pumpkins in mid-October and will have some more carved in preparation for Halloween night.
Like many other people here, I am no rookie to watching, participating in, or reaping the benefits of pumpkin carving. I’ve always loved the process of picking out a pumpkin, setting everything up, and planning or drawing out what will become the next pumpkin pattern. I don’t enjoy how messy the insides of a pumpkin feel, but I love to eat the seeds with different spices on top, and I like carving.
With the upcoming Hunter’s Moon on October 24th this year, I was (and am) especially inspired to carve a pumpkin that paid homage to the moon. I sketched out a moon drawing, and then drew it digitally in order to turn it into the carving template!
Also!! Did you know that Mars has not one but TWO irregularly-shaped moons? Unlike our Luna, they are not a "perfect" spherical shape; instead, they look more like giant skipping stones orbiting Mars. They are beautiful, named Phobos and Deimos.
Although the photos from the Moon Pumpkin Patterns don’t fully show it, I picked out a teeny-tiny pumpkin to carve my special moon pattern on. My partner and I picked out a large pumpkin and this smaller one at a local pumpkin festival and corn maze. We had lots of fun, and I enjoyed carving the two differently-sized pumpkins!
I would like to say, though, that I often do feel like I am rushing at the last minute to finish things for Halloween most years. Speaking of which, this is officially the first fall I haven't been in school since I was (what?) five years old. I always have loved making traditions inside of traditions; an example being that I faithfully watch Elf each December.
If you're looking for a movie to watch every Halloween, I'm herein proclaiming my love for Coraline! My Pisces Sun babe, Dakota Fanning, does a lot of the voice-work in the film, and I am obsessed. Speaking of which, Uptown Girls!! And on the thread of the child and adult dynamic, I know that some people aren't always into the Halloween vibes. Recently, a friend recommended The Kindergarten Teacher as a film to watch as an alternative to a horror film.
And watch it, I did! The movie is slower and dramatic, but the final scene is brilliant. The plot follows a kindergarten teacher, Lisa Spinelli, who takes poetry classes through continuing education studies at a local University. One day, she happens to overhear one of her kindergarten students, named Jimmy, reciting a poem. From there, we see the main character’s obsession with a student who might be a child prodigy.
Director Sara Colangelo does excellent work ensuring she portrays Lisa's character responsibly. Lisa's inward search to find something about herself, to belong somewhere, takes precedence here. Yet, Colangelo, in remaining faithful to the original screenplay by Navad Lapid, asks the audience to ponder the range of expenses that come with such misplaced investment. I think a general theme here is self-exploration that comes with the forfeiture of aspirations. Lisa becomes increasingly devoted to Jimmy and his poems and documenting his work because she feels something lacking in herself. And the film's delicate portrayal of Jimmy gives us a more nuanced view into definitions of childhood and how they get shaped. Whether or not Jimmy is a child genius or prodigy, as the plot leads us to believe, there is certainly something happening for Jimmy as a person. He is a complex human being full of experience and feeling, just like Lisa. And at some point, we all just want to be heard.
On the topic of hearing and listening to those around us, I want to give some song recos before this post is over. I know I am supported by those around me. Even when I was in school as a kid, I remember really enjoying the space and time I was given to relax my brain, my jaw, my shoulders, my tongue and listen to music.
I am including song recommendations here because October is a month I find I start to turn inwards. I listen to a lot of music in the fall months as a way of de-stressing. Since October can feel kind of cold and lonely, there's nothing I love more than listening to some good songs. Also, uploading music to Instagram stories has become an easy way to share the songs and sounds that I like!
The first song that I will recommend is "I Don't Know You" by The Marías. The song, the song's video, and its message are superb. In the same way, I would describe the song's sound as moody and groovy. The message, bleak but realistic. I think it is almost as if the song invites you into a dream just to leave you in a cold reality, and I appreciate that.
Since I do everything in twos, the second song I recommend you check out is an older pick. "Fistful of Love" by Antony and the Johnsons resonates brightly. Providing visibility, space, and honor for trans and non-binary folx is necessary always.
In the contemporary world that we inhabit, it becomes pressing to voice not only concerns regarding the oppression of trans and nb folx but also an appreciation for and uplifting of the lives lived, the work that gets done, the feelings felt, and the spaces that are being opened and held onto.
I hope you enjoy your trick-or-treating, your general Halloween-ing, and your fall activities! For crafts and activities to go with this post, please see our Halloween Crafts and Activities section!
My name is Tasha Guenther. I currently live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada while I finish my PhD in Cultural Studies with a concentration in digital cultures at McMaster University. I enjoy writing short stories and non-fiction pieces for grade school children.
Alongside my learning, studying, and thinking about digital platforms and critical theory, I really appreciate long conversations with close friends, reading poetry, and taking photos of my cat. Learn more about me here or connect with me on my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.