October 31, 2015

Happiest Halloween Greetings!!!

Yes, that is a triple exclamation mark worthy title, because my excitement levels are pretty much off the charts right now, let me tell you!!! At long, long last the day that I have waited patiently through 364 others for has returned once more and I'm as giddy as hummingbird that got into a Halloween candy factory about it!

Soon costumes will donned, any last minute seasonal decor placed out, candles lit and put inside of jack-o-lanterns, the pitter-patter of equally exuberant children will echo through the bitingly crisp hair and crunchy maple leaf clad streets, and I will transform into my chosen character for the night (which I'll be sharing with you all here next week in a festive Halloween costume outfit post).

{Adorable antique Halloween postcard image via Suzee Que}

I know how busy many of us today and thus this isn't going to be a long post in the slightest. I just wanted to take a moment on my favourite holiday to wish you each, from the very bottom of my hearts, a marvelously merry, safe, fun filled, spooktastically awesome All Hallows Eve!

As you may have noticed being the last day of October and this entry appearing in place of it, I'm forgoing the usual end-of-the-month Vintage Link Love post because I know most us have way too much on the go to read through a bunch of links right now. I'll make sure to find some especially terrific ones next month to make up for skipping this one.

Speaking of skipping, I need to hop merrily along and get on with this thrilling, uber fun filled day, my dear friends. I will be posting again in a couple of days, as usual, and will officially be announcing (and inviting people to take part in) 2015's Vintage Secret Santa gift exchange next week, which I'm immensely excited about as well.

Right now though, it's time to slip into orange and black, whip up some more festive treats, and countdown the nanoseconds until tonight!

Joyfully fantastic Halloween wishes, everyone!!!

October 29, 2015

Vintage lime green for Halloween and a darling new necklace from Gleeful Peacock

Outfit details

Halloween novelty print skinny scarf: Dollar Tree
Brown plastic hair clip: Goody
Orange plastic rose stud earrings: Claire's
Hand painted brass witch's hat charm necklace: c/o Gleeful Peacock
Lime green 1980s does 1950s shirtwaist dress: eBay (I think; had for years)
Orange faux leather skinny belt: eBay
Purple, black and white plastic bangle bracelets: Assorted sources
C. 1950s Saks Fifth Avenue black patent purse: MK Retro
Nude seamed nude stockings: eBay
Black 1940s style round toe faux suede pumps: Wal-Mart
Lip colour: MAC Made With Love
Nail colour: Essie Roarrrrange

Photography by Tony Cangiano

Everything about this shoot - and outfit - was fun! We grabbed these snaps very recently at a small, beautiful little lake about 25 minutes outside of town called Trout Lake (a hot spot with local anglers), which has homes right near the shoreline in various spots. As we were shooting, two young (I'd guess about ages 6 and 9 - 10) and their mom came out on their deck to watch us. We all waved at each other and they seemed like very nice, friendly folks. The two girls were having a blast and kept taking photos (or perhaps even video) of us with their phone and tablet.

I'm used to having people stop and watch us for a little while when we shoot in public, but this was one of the first times in all the years we've been taking snaps for my blog that we'd had an audience for the whole process. It was enjoyable and I kept wondering what the youngsters must have been thinking not only of the strangers in their nature filled backyard taking pictures, but also of the auburn haired lady dressed in vintage styles. I know that I would have been over-the-moon elated to have witnessed something like that when I was little. :)

With Halloween just two days away (*happiness squeal*), I couldn't wait a moment longer to share this charmingly pretty necklace that I recently received as review gift from the wonderful US handmade jewelry company Gleeful Peacock with all of you.

The design team there involved me directly with the production of this fabulous hand painted brass witch's hat and spell book (aka, grimoire), as they approached me to ask if they could make a custom necklace for me which would then be offered in a very limited production run on their website.

I was truly honoured by this beautiful offer and suggested a Halloween piece, given the season. They were on board with that and in matter of weeks, I had this elegant, festive, completely Halloween perfect necklace - which, much to my delight, is nickel-free - dangling from my neck.

I don't own a lot of pendant necklaces (in no small part because of my nickel allergy) and am thrilled to grow my collection with this All Hallows' Eve perfect offering. It's lightweight, very comfortable, and could certainly be worn, if so desired, at other times of the year, especially if one is a witch/Wiccan/Pagan, a fan of Halloween, or into goth styles.

Though Gleeful Peacock's offerings are not full on vintage reproduction pieces, many can easily be integrated into yesteryear looks thanks to their timeless design, hand painted detailing, and soft, often muted colour palettes that have such an appealingly lovely age worn look to them.

I adore this sweet, wonderful necklace and can't thank the company enough both for this gift and for involving me with the design process. It was a splendid experience and a true honour!

What I'm sporting in the photos above is not my Halloween costume (I'll be sharing that here on the blog next week and quite possibly on social media come the big night itself), but there was no way I could let this week go by without sharing one of the many outfits I've been wearing lately that completely channels the spirit of this awesome holiday.

As a general rule, lime and neon green are not shades that are kind to my colouring (they tend to give it an unflattering yellowish cast), but luckily this cute 1980s does 1950s shirtwaist dress is an exception there. I've had it for years, but have not shared it here on my blog yet.

I love weaving hits of green and purple into my Halloween decor and outfits, so I decided to make lime green the star colour of this look and was inspired to do so by the little hits of it in this adorable scarf (worn on my head) that I picked up just a few days ago at our local Dollar Tree store.

From that same scarf, I pulled orange for my earrings and skinny belt, as well as black, white and purple, for my purse, shoes and bangle bracelet choices. I really like how this whole ensemble came together and love that I had the ideal necklace, care of Gleeful Peacock, to partner with such a festive look.

In just two days time, my favourite holiday will be upon us again and I can hardly wait!!! Our costumes are all set, the decor is out in full force, I've started cooking and preparing for the family Halloween party we host at our place each October 31st, and I've been watching my favourite Halloween movies and TV shows like there's no tomorrow. This week (and really, whole month) always puts me in the best mood and this one is no exception.

I hope that you're having a marvelous tail end of October, too, whether you celebrate Halloween or not, and can hardly wait to share my actual costume itself with all of you in just a few days time!

October 27, 2015

Meet Franny, a passionate Halloween loving academic with a fabulous sense of goth style

This month, as All Hallows' Eve draws near, I'm truly honoured to present to you the latest installment in the "Meet a fellow vintage blogger" interview series, starring none other than my dear friend, whip smart lady, goth/gothabilly/psychobilly/punk/vintage adoring, fellow Halloween obsessed friend, Franny from the wonderful blog, The Curious Professor Z.

I've known Franny online for a few years now, as I follow several goth blogs (being, as I've talked about here before, a major goth girl at heart myself) and was especially drawn to hers from the get-go because she enjoys vintage (and the like) styles as well as other alternative looks, with a wardrobe that marries each harmoniously – and inspiringly!

Franny is a very hard working, passionate, open, creative, inspiring woman and I feel blessed to not only have her in my life, but to have this chance to sit down and get to know her better. From blogging to the daily grind, her favourite decades from a style standpoint to what goth means to her, we cover a slew of topics and ensure that Halloween features prominently throughout - tis the season after all! :)

For those who may be new to your blog, could you please tell us a bit about when it began, what inspired you to launch a blog, and some of the topics that you love to cover on your site?

As many of my long-time readers know, “The Curious Professor Z” is not my first blog. Like many people, I started blogging in 2004-2006 with Live Journal. On that platform I maintained a private and very personal blog that had select readers.

In the Summer of 2011, I started a goth-centered fashion blog called “Le Professeur Gothique.” I was inspired by two wonderful bloggers, Trystan from “This is CorpGoth” and Miss Kitty from “Sophistique Noir.” Both of these fashion blogs concentrate on work appropriate outfits that stay true to a gothic sensibility. Miss Kitty also explores mature and sophisticated gothic styles that are age appropriate and that are put together utilizing clothing from “regular” stores.

At the time, I was trying to navigate being a goth in academia, especially being a goth who is an adjunct professor. One would assume that I could get away with a lot more than my CorpGoth counterparts; however, art history can be surprisingly conservative. “Le Professeur Gothique” primarily explored acceptable academic outfits that have a gothic twist.

Eventually, I got bored with just doing fashion and branched out to other things like cooking, art, philosophy, travel, etc. I ended “Le Professeur Gothique” and started a new blog, first “The Dancing Maenad” and then “The Curious Professor Z.” This newest manifestation of my blog is more truth to myself and my interests.

You have a phenomenal sense of style that marries various elements from different subcultures superbly well. What would you say are currently some of the styles (goth, gothabilly, vintage, etc) that you feel most pulled towards?

Questions about style are very difficult for me to answer because I don’t really see myself incorporating a certain fashion style just for the sake of that style. Rather, I’ve been part of the NYC Punk scene since the mid-1980s when I was in high school, Grunge from 90-95, and Goth since 95. I was attracted to Punk and Neo-Punk because I felt very different than my fellow classmates. I was a nerd who liked weird things, and who was very political at a young age.

I wasn’t interested in cheerleading, dating jocks, or “normal things” that “normal people” did. When I was growing up in NYC, my Mom and Grandma would take me to the East Village to do our grocery shopping because that’s where the Polish and Russian shops were. There was a pizza place on the corner of St. Marks and 2nd Avenue that had Punk Rock on the jukebox. This was 1978 and there were plenty of Punk kids and artists in the East Village.

There was one girl I saw every week — she had liberty spikes and her makeup was wild — at the pizza place. She would come in and play all sorts of music on the jukebox. I ADORED HER. I was immediately hooked and told my Mom that I wanted to be “just like her” when I grew up.

My Mom’s answer was, “Just as long as you get good grades and stay out of trouble you can do and be whomever you want.” I took that to heart. There was something about that girl that stayed with me for the rest of my life, and my Mom encouraged me to “do and be” the person I was meant to be.

Punk and Goth are subcultures based in musical genres that have specific aesthetics. There is also a common driving force in those subcultures, that of never fitting in, questioning authority and social standards, cherishing the odd and left of center, finding beauty in collective ugliness. People become part of the subculture (and stay in the subculture) not because of the fashion, but because they find their tribe. They find other people who share in their weirdness. And the music drives and confirms this.

I will never be part of normal society because I can’t understand it and I sincerely don’t want to be a part of it. I see and know too much. I may be forced to play nice once in a while, but I will never be a part of it. So, to answer your question … I’m a Gothic Punk Rocker. I will always be a Gothic Punk even while wearing jeans and penny loafers. I put my own creative spin on what I’m wearing and sometimes I deliberately add something that makes my outfit “not right” aesthetically. Like a thorn in the side.

How have you found that you style has evolved since you've been blogging?

I’ve been more successful at putting together professional looks that also contain a bit of artsiness or spookiness. My style tends to fluctuate when I’m super busy or when I’ve gained or lost weight. When I’m busy I honestly don’t care what’s on my body.

I tend to just wear the uniform — a black skirt, black sweater, tights, and boots. It’s easy, takes little time to put together, and looks professional. Of course when I’m leaner and more physically strong and fit, I tend to gravitate towards more fitted clothing that accentuates my curves.

Otherwise, my style really hasn’t evolved much. One thing that has changed as I’m getting older is that I refuse to wear uncomfortable shoes. Ever. I don’t care how cute a pair of shoes are, if they hurt my feet they either go back to the store or they get donated to charity. That’s why you’ll see me wearing a lot of boots, super squishy flats, and creepers.

Do you incorporate much genuine vintage into your looks? How about vintage reproduction?

I have a hard time with real vintage because my height and athletic body prevents me from wearing a lot of vintage clothing. I always joke around that I wish that Julia Childs’s wardrobe would go on the market! We’re about the same size. HA! I do have a *few* real vintage dresses, but I always struggle with the back sizing and the size of the arm holes. I’m a swimmer so I barely fit into modern sizes! Forget real vintage, especially from the 40s and 50s.

So, I resort to reproductions, home sewing, and clothing that looks vintage but are modern interpretations.

You're a passionate 18th and 19th century art historian, how to do you find that your academic immersion in the past influences the way you dress in the 21st century?

I’ve always been attracted to the Victorian mourning aesthetic and to the PreRaphaelite gothic and medieval romanticism. I have an obsession with hats, gloves, long velvet skirts, 13th century inspired dresses as interpreted by the PreRaphaelite painters, etc. I adore embroidery, lace and other decorative flourishes. Most importantly, I started to collect 18th and 19th century mourning jewelry, some of which are too precious and too sentimental to wear.

Of course, I adore the “whiplash curve” of Art Nouveau and the concentration on the themes of death, the femme fatale, nature, and decadence of the fin de siecle. Finally, my adoration of the graphic nature, warm colors, and boldness of the Arts and Crafts style tends to inform my home decorating and general taste.

Do you have a favourite decade/era from a fashion standpoint? If so, do you incorporate many elements of that time period into your daily attire?

The 20s and 30s tend to be my foundation decades. I dabbled in the styles of the 40s and 50s but I just couldn’t get into them. Well, except the academic styles of young college women and the menswear styling of Kate Hepburn.

My ideas of womanhood and glamour aren’t compatible with the extreme femininity pushed in these eras. Kate Hepburn is my fashion icon of the period simply because she made menswear elegant, yet strong. Not to mention her penchant for sports, smoking, education/intelligence, and not being afraid to express her opinions.

That’s really the reason why I adore the 20s and 30s so much — the liberated freedom that women were demanding. The 20s saw the skirts get shorter, constraining undergarments disappear, hair get shorter, pants, and women smoking, dancing, drinking, voting, going to college, and having sex. The fashion reflects this, while keeping with the elegance of the Edwardian era with the pearls and fine fabrics. Add to it Art Deco styles and BOOM! Sheer perfection. The 30s brings with it smart and sensible suits, easy-to-care for fabrics, and sobriety. It also gave us the delicious decadence of Weimar Germany and gender fluidity.

Now that I think about it, I’m very cerebral when it comes to fashion and style. I’m trying to harness certain things about the socio-cultural and political zeitgeist of the time. I can’t wear something from an era that doesn’t fit my ideology.

What are some of your favourite online sources for goth/gothabilly/psychobilly and similar styles of clothing and accessories?

I really like Cats Like Us — Julie Ann is such a sweet and knowledgeable person. They ship immediately, communicate throughout the entire process, and returns are fair and easy. I also order a lot of Victorian and Edwardian inspired clothing and accessories from Victorian Trading Company. Modcloth has been good to me lately, especially for shoes.

However, I do 85% of all my shopping in local, Mom-and-Pop establishments. Here in NYC my three favorites are Trash and Vaudeville, Gothic Renaissance, and ENZ NYC. In Philadelphia it’s Crash, Bang, Boom. In New Orleans there’s Roadkill on Decatur. In New Hope I go to Teardrop Memories for my mourning jewelry and creepy death-related goodies.

Other than that, I shop at Lord & Taylor, Dress Barn, QVC, and Macy’s for clothing that can either be altered or styled the way I want.

What advice would you give to someone who was looking to start weaving more goth/gothabilly/psychobilly style looks into their wardrobe?

This is a very slippery question to answer because I revile the appropriation of subcultural styles for fashion’s sake. It makes me nuts. Goth and Psychobilly are musical subcultures and, in my opinion, the music — and resulting beliefs — is most important. Like I said, there are certain aesthetics associated with these subcultures that belong squarely to those people who live, breath, and form that subculture. I honestly think that subcultural appropriation is no different than appropriating ethnic signifiers that have deeply embedded meaning within those cultures. For example, I see no difference in a “norm” appropriating safety pins and spikes on a jacket and the appropriation of bindis or Native American headdresses.

With that said, if you’re looking for a more femme fatale, spooky look then look towards vintage fashion. The femme fatale, Vampira, Elivira, and Western mourning fashion hold a wealth of inspiration for the darkly inclined.

Now, if you’re really interested in the subcultures and want to know more, ask those of us in it. Also do your homework: there have been some really good written histories and film documentaries done of Punk and Goth. Learn the foundation bands, ask yourself why you’re attracted to this kind of stuff, go to some nights, and understand that Punk and Goth have been around for over 30 years. We have a history.

You recently chopped numerous inches off your hair (and it looks fantastic!). I know that at times in my life when I've made substantial hair changes, my style has often changed somewhat to "match" my new do, so to speak. Are you finding the same to be true for you this time around?

Thanks! My style hasn’t really changed much at all. I think that I’m more aware of my ears now, and so I’ve started to wear statement earrings. And lipstick! For some reason I’m more aware of my lips and when they need some color.

What are a few of your current favourite accessories (jewelry, scarves, hats, etc)?

I have a HUGE hat collection that sits in hat boxes in my bedroom. I rarely wore my hats because it’s frustrating to dig through every box to see what’s inside. I started to take photos of the hats in the boxes and paste the photo on the outside of the box so that I know what’s inside. This way I can “shop” my hats and wear one that fits my outfit. Because of this, I’ve been wearing more of my hats.

Like myself, you're the kind of person who eats/sleeps/breaths/utterly lives for Halloween/Samhain. Can you share some of the ways that you keep the fires of that passion burning strong in your life all year long?

Oh that’s easy — I never put away my Halloween collectables! I always say that I live in HalloweenTown year round because the Boney Bunch, skulls, vintage Halloween repros, etc. all stay out no matter the season. I’ve also painted my walls a delicious goldenrod yellow because I want to live inside of a pumpkin. My housewares and other home goods are all Halloween based. As we Goths like to say, Halloween isn’t a holiday, it’s a lifestyle.

I always adore your posts about the Halloween shopping that you do each season. What are some of your go-to sources (online or off) for great seasonal decor?

Yankee candle, HomeGoods, Pier One, Crate and Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Joann’s, Michaels, and Victorian Trading Company...sometimes Target.

Any insider tips for buying Halloween decorations (et al)?

BUY QUALITY. Seriously, if it’s made from good quality materials like your normal house decor, then it won’t look cheesy and cheap. There’s a certain elegance to good quality goods mixed in with your everyday decor. It feels purposeful and well-thought out. Also, start shopping for crafting materials in June and Halloween goodies at the end of August. No, I’m not kidding. Shop early and shop often because the good stuff tends to fly off the shelves. Then hit the sales the week of Halloween and the week after Halloween.

What are some of your favourite Halloween foods (candy or otherwise)?

Hmmm … candy corn. It makes me sick to my stomach, but I love it. I also adore pumpkin spiced lattes and pumpkin muffins. Finally, here in the States we have a Pumpkin Pie cream liquor from Fulton’s. It’s so good that it can make Bailey’s Caramel cry from envy.

Your husband (pictured above) shares in your love of this holiday and (if I'm not mistaken) in the goth culture, too. What are some things that you love to do together to celebrate All Hallows' Eve?

Since Ed and I are both Wiccan, Halloween is a sacred day for us, called Samhain (the end of the summer). For us, Samhain is the time when the veils are thinnest between the material and the psychic worlds. It’s a liminal time, one of here and there. Not only are we celebrating the end of the summer and beginning of the winter, but we also honor our ancestors and those who have gone before us. It’s our New Years, a time when we take stock of where we’ve been and what we’ve done that year, and set goals for the coming year.

We don’t go to parties, parades, or other festivities. Instead, we spend our day hiking in the woods. In the evening, I cook a huge feast. We’ll set a Dumb Supper for our ancestors, followed by a ritual in which we will burn away the heartache and hardship of the old year, celebrate our accomplishments, and set our goals for the New Year. Sometimes we’ll do divination — Tarot readings mostly.

How are you planning to celebrate Halloween/Samhain this year?

The weekend before Halloween we’re attending Sleepy Hollow’s reading of Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” at the Old Dutch Church, followed by the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. The next day we’ll be attending a reenactment of the 1865 funeral of Seabury Tredwell at the Merchant House in Manhattan.

We’ll be in Victorian Mourning costume and will get to follow the funeral to the Marble Cemetery, which is very rarely open to the public. The following weekend, we’re going on a ghost tour/hunt at the Merchant House on Friday, spending a quiet Samhain at home, and then on Sunday we’re touring Green-wood cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.

Aside from blogging, work, and all things Halloween related, what are some of the (enjoyable) things that fill your days?

I find my research and writing the most enjoyable things I do. Of course, going to museums, archives, and libraries are a part of this. It’s very rare that folks can say that they do what they love and love what they do. Other than that, I’m also a fine artist and like to draw and paint, mostly botanicals and landscapes.

I like to hike in the woods and snuggle on the couch with Ed. We tend to have our best conversations in the woods or over mugs of coffee! Oh, and cooking. I LOVE to cook for Ed and myself, and I love to entertain. Big dinner parties, holidays, teas, and cocktail parties are some of my favorite things to plan and execute.

Are you a crafter? If so, what are your current crafts of choice?

Yes … sort of. I enjoy knitting but it frustrates the heck out of me. And I also enjoy sewing, but haven’t done much lately because I’ve been so busy with teaching, looking for a full-time, tenured gig, and doing my research. I have a knitting project in the works that I’m hoping to finish before Thanksgiving. The key word here is hope. HA!

Do you currently have any pets? If so, do you try to involve them in your Halloween celebrations, too?

I have a grey tabby cat named Moo, and a shih zhu named Pumpkin. We really don’t involve them in our celebrations, though they do love to be in ritual with us.

What is one of your happiest Halloween memories ever?

Trick or treating with my brother, Robert. My Mom used to take me around the neighborhood during the day after school, but we usually had to be back home around 4:30 so she could cook dinner. Robert is eight years older than I and was allowed to go out of our neighborhood.

We would grab the pillowcases off our beds and go trick or treating after dinner. Good grief! We would be out for hours and hours, and only came home when our pillowcases were dragging on the ground! I had Halloween candy well into the Spring! It was AWESOME!

And last, but certainly not least, if you could spend Halloween night anywhere in the world that you haven't yet done so in, where would you pick and why?

I would really like to spend Halloween in Ireland. Not only is Ireland my mother-in-law’s birthplace and there is still tons of family there, it is also the birthplace of Samhain. From what I understand, there are festivals, parades, ghost tours in old castles, and other events in the larger cities and towns across Ireland. I, of course, would have to go to the Hill of Tara with Ed to "soak it all in."

You can connect with Franny on the following sites:

I wholeheartedly want to thank Franny for her great interview and for sharing in her own unending adoration of October 31st with all of us. I couldn't possibly think of a better suited interviewee for this month's post and love that Franny was keen to take part in this series. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Next up, for the 11th month of the year, we'll be staying put in the good, ol' USA of A when we chat with November's interviewee - an uber talented historical sewer, major mid-century fashion fan, married lady who made her own wedding dress (epic props there!), and passionate vintage loving blogger that I can't wait to put some fun questions to the near future.

*PS* I've decided, for the sake of brevity, to shorten the title of these monthly interview posts from "Meet a fellow vintage blogger" to simply "Meet so-and-so (the person's name)". I just wanted to mention this so that you guys didn't perhaps think I'd dropped this thriving series (as such is definitely not the case and I have many more exciting interviews lined up for the coming months).

October 25, 2015

Halloween 2015 Edition of Flickr Favourites

{Lighting the Jack O' Lantern ~ Paul Malon}

{Burlington Hosiery, September 1959 ~ The Bee's Knees Daily}

{Moon & Ominous Clouds ~ Lost My Headache}

{Halloween decorations ~ Kath in the Cupboard}

{Vintage Halloween Postcard ~ Susan Criser}

{Closed factory chemistry lab detail ~ Pedro Domingos}

{2010 Halloween Honeys ~ Missy}

{Vintage Halloween Parties ~ Old Halloween}


{Halloween kitten ~ Marie's Shots}

{Vintage Halloween Postcard ~ Rip The Skull}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on its title to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

Oohhh, how I've eagerly come to look forward to penning the Halloween edition of Flickr Favourites each year! There are so many marvelously festive images to be had on that huge communal photo (and illustration) sharing site and this year's crop of All Hallows Eve ones is amongst my favourites highlighted in this post to date.

Halloween is always incredibly special to me - and many others the world over, too - but when it falls on Saturday, as it does this year, I can't help but adore it even more, because I'm reminded of the unbridled fun of my youth, when a Saturday Halloween meant that you could spend every moment of the day from dawn to midnight focused on the big day night itself - and without having to think about school the next day to boot!

It's been a long, long time since I was last a student, but I still get every bit as giddy about Halloween. The classroom parties of yore are a distant memory, but not the celebrations I (we) host every October 31st at our house for loved ones.

Costumes, scrumptious foods complete with more sugar than you shake an autumn leaf covered stick at all, handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, watching festive movies (camping, not scary, for me, please and thank you!) very much including my all-time favourite Halloween flick, Disney's Hocus Pocus, and listing to festive music all in a house decorated in no shortage of seasonal accoutrements, are all still the same sorts of things as back when I was little and I know that these treasured elements of Halloween will never change for me.

They are to that day as presents, turkey, and Christmas carols are to December 25th, which - wow - come to think of it, is precisely two months away. Fabulous as that season is unto itself, I'm in no hurry to get there yet. At least not until November 1st, when the Halloween decorations come down the Christmas season plans and decorating start in earnest shortly thereafter.

Nope, right here, right now, it's all about the cobwebs and scarecrows, candy apples and merriment of this fabulously festive autumn celebration. These playfully eerie elements will always, no matter if I live to be a hundred years old, bring out the kid in me and make me delight, in much as the same way as I did when I was knee high to pumpkin, over the spooky fun that All Hallows Eve!

What are you looking forward to this Halloween, my sweet dears?

October 23, 2015

Seven splendily festive vintage Halloween recipes

Well, hello there, my dears, I almost didn't see you over the mountain of pumpkin spice everything and festive treats that I've been whipping up this month! :D

I jest, of course, but only slightly. Between the stellar array of autumn produce that is grown locally in the Okanagan (the succulent, sweet pears alone are enough to make you weep with joy!), Canadian Thanksgiving on the second Monday of the month, numerous family birthdays (including both my little sister's and my maternal grandma's), our wedding anniversary on the 14th, and Halloween, there's usually more fabulous food on hand at our house in October than during December - or at least an equal quantity to that month's!

As much as I adore and love cooking + baking for all of those deeply special days, as you might guess (if you're familiar with my unending passion for October 31st), there's no day of the whole year that I enjoy creating festive food for more than Halloween and with it looming every nearer (just five more days to go - *excited squeal!!!*), I thought it was high time I shared a few new (to this blog, I mean) vintage Halloween posts that I've rounded up over the past year.

Vintage Halloween/strongly autumnal recipes (save for Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie related ones) aren't the easiest thing to come by in general, especially online. The volume that has been kindly shared by folks who upload vintage recipes from cookbooks, cookery booklets, magazines and other sources isn't exactly bursting at the seems, so when I do encounter one in my online travels at any point in the year, I always tuck it away instantly to save for when the tail end of October rolls around again next (you can find all past vintage Halloween recipes that I've shared so far anytime on my Vintage Recipes page).

This year I've been able to find seven marvelously fun Halloween themed or appropriate recipes, each of which can be modified if need, to accommodate a wide range of dietary needs. I hope that you really enjoy any of these that you try out and that you enjoy seeing all of them as much as I loved sourcing them.

Once again Crisco is at the heart of another delicious vintage recipe - this time a festively fun Halloween themed mincemeat cakes recipe from 1936. If shortening isn't your thing, as I always like to mention when it makes an appearance here, by all means feel free to swap it out for butter, margarine, or your favourite suitable cooking fat.

This page contains various other recipes, too, which are not explicitly Halloween-y, but sound like they'd make for good, stick-to-your ribs comfort food for fall and winter all the same. The pumpkin face topped cakes (which are pretty much like a basic cupcake with mincemeat included in the batter) are just adorable and I especially loved that this page dated to the 1930s, as I've not found many Halloween recipes from that decade online over the years.

No photo or date accompanies this recipe mid-century recipes for Halloween Gelatin Salad, but based on the fonts and ingredients used here, as well as the present of an apostrophe in the word "Halloween", I would place it as being from the 1930s or 40s, though it could be a touch newer than that. I've always adored Jell-O salads that included carrots and think that this would be a fun, appealing choice for Halloween, especially if you gave it a spooky festive name like "Hair and Brains Salad”, in reference to the shredded carrots and walnuts.

From the easy to replicate spider web design on the icing that tops it to the very name - Devil's Food Cake - itself, this festive and seriously delicious looking cake is an ideal choice for Halloween. Be it folks aged five to ninety-five, I've rarely encountered anyone who didn't love a slice of luxurious Devil's Food Cake, so it really is an awesome choice for a Halloween get-together (you can easily make it in cupcake form, too, if that serves your needs better - and if you're sending a youngster off to class with a dessert for a school Halloween party, it's certainly a handier and more portable way to serve Devil's Food Cake).

Though the ingredient combination at work in these adorable 1950s Halloween Sandwiches might raise a few 21st century eyebrows, don't let that deter you. Simply copy the concept and instead fill these festive little sandwiches with whatever your heart desires.

Singularly, or any combination of, Nutella, peanut butter or other nut butters, dulce de leche, orange coloured varieties of jam or marmalade, lemon curd, Biscoff spread, and apple butter all make seasonally appropriate sandwich filling sweet choices, if you want to take things in such a direction.

How fabulously cute is this Halloween themed Honey Chocolate Cake from 1942? I just love its colour palette and fun decorative touches, plus I'm sure that the use of honey here gives it a really lovely depth of flavour that suits autumn time especially well - plus, you can never go wrong with marshmallow (aka, seven minute) frosting (if you can't, or opt not to, eat eggs, be sure to check out this St. Patrick's Day recipe post of mine with a great alternative option there for seven minute frosting).

Fall and caramel truly go hand-in-hand, so this sweet tasting, elegantly pretty Burnt Sugar Cake (which is, at its heart, a caramel cake) is an ideal choice for all kinds of Halloween and autumn celebrations in general. I'd be tempted to serve pieces of it with warm cooked spiced apples or pears ladled on top for even more of a seasonal kick.

A bevy of scrumptious sounding recipes for different holidays greet you on festive recipe booklet page, but it is the darling little chocolate Halloween Cat Faces with their charming candy corn eyes that we're most after this month (though any of the others would work splendidly for All Hallows' Eve, too!).

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Even if you usually eat very healthily and/or don't have a huge sweet tooth (two things that apply to me), come Halloween, you simply must indulge, if you celebrate this day. Any or all of the recipes above are terrific way to do just that! T

he caramel cake in particular is calling my name, especially since I know that a gluten-free version will not be hard to whip up, so I might just give that a in the coming week. Which of these seven frighteningly fantastic vintage Halloween recipes appeal to you most of all?

I hope that you're all having a fun filled, terrific week and that you're as excited as I am about Halloween's return! This is such an enjoyable, spirited time of the year and the last great hurrah, in Canada at least, before winter really and truly settles in for another several months - a point that is worth celebrating unto itself!

So go ahead and give yourself permissions to indulge this week - be it with a vintage recipe like the ones here or anything else that your heart desires. Halloween comes but once a year and deserves to be savoured with your favourites candies, treats, and vintage recipes alike!