Letter #10: Spooktober Be A-Comin’ (The Spook Month Pt. 1)
Yes, channeling my inner Over the Garden Wall, because how could I not?
I know it’s September, but that means it’s practically almost le Spook Month. And I. Am. Ready.
In honor of that, here’s some stuff to get in the mood for the season! Once again, according to all the senses! Immerse thyself in the spook!
Side Note: I had to break this into two parts because I wrote too much for the email length! Oops! So, uh, enjoy Part 2 next week! (Even though it will already be October, so we’ll just get to rejoice!)
To Listen (Playlists and Artists):
I made the following playlist of a completely random bunch of songs that make me think of Halloween, so some mildly spooky vibes:
I found this playlist the other day and have listened to it three times a day since (not an exaggeration). Perfectly-mildly spooky feels:
Oh ho ho, I just found this one today and it perfectly blends two of my favorite aesthetics: the whimsical, vintage, cottage-y hobbit vibes of Rachel Maksy (see the “To Watch” section below) and the chill, soft ambiance of DoggieCorgi! It’s actually a podcast, but it listens like a bunch of 3-hour songs!
The Crane Wives, The Civil Wars, and Dirt Poor Robins
Dirt Poor Robins is my husband’s favorite band and the ones who made the song we used for our first dance! (“When All Is Said And Done.” It’s the sweetest! The lyrics are so interesting, as with all of their songs. They’re a husband-wife duo with Neil doing the lyrics and some vocals and Kate doing all the vocals. Love them!)
Their stuff is so varied and absolutely unique. Odd, kinda steampunk, hauntingly beautiful. They harmonize so well it literally sometimes sounds like they’re literally one person. Listen to “Evergreen” if you don’t believe me. It’s insanely amazing. The “Dead Horse, Alaska” album is so heckin’ cool!
Links to each artist below:
To Watch (Movies, Shows, and YouTube):
Over the Garden Wall
This miniseries is a treasure I did not watch until earlier this year. (I know, *gasp*.) The AESTHETIC! The color palette! The phrases! The songs! The more-than-mildly-spooky vibes constantly lurking beneath the surface!
I highly recommend. I mean, just look at this trailer: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3718778/?ref_=vp_back.
I was hooked instantly. I found myself quite confused throughout the miniseries, but things pieced together at the end. Very surreal, haunting, and incredibly charming.
Can’t talk about the mildly spooky without Gravity Falls! I might be just a tad bit obsessed with this show. I’ve watched it in its entirety twice and it never ceases to provide me with hilarious lines I totally missed or forgot. The humor, I swear. The characters! The weirdness!
The Owl House
I got into this one at the beginning of this year or tail-end of last year. (Honestly, things keep blending, so I can’t remember which.) But, oh my word, it’s phenomenal! It has that similar bonkers energy that Gravity Falls does, which makes sense, given Alex Hirsch is a part of it. (He voices our tiny but mighty demon lord, King.) Eda, Luz, everybody in it makes my heart happy.
I will never not talk about Good Omens. It’s in this letter twice, for the show here and the book in the next section. I absolutely adore that Neil Gaiman was a part of the process of making the show. Also, David Tennant and Michael Sheen are amazing, as I gushed in my last letter.
I saw a fan post about Good Omens commenting on the micro-expressions Michael Sheen does and YES! That is the perfect way to describe the way he acts, especially as Aziraphale. You can absolutely tell Aziraphale is (badly) hiding things or not meaning what he says by those little winces and head tilts and barely concealed smiles.
Here’s the link to that full post, but I’ll just share a small chunk of it here in case you don’t want a spoiler for the final episode. So, like, watch the episode and then come back to this link, because the analysis in their whole post is insightful and great.
Photo credit: Post by yeetextract, posted to Pinterest by Tawnie Mische
Like, this version of Aziraphale isn’t exactly what I pictured from my first read of the book, but it is still an absolute dead ringer for the angel. Crowley is, of course, also spot-on. I had them definitely different, appearance-wise, in my head, but now I just have both versions in my brain and they’re both accurate to me.
See 10yrsy art’s amazing work to see the difference. The versions of Crowley and Aziraphale I had in my head was almost exactly like theirs. They also draw Show Crowley and Show Aziraphale so beautifully. I literally can’t say enough good stuff about their art! It’s absolutely adorable and sweet and so expressive, just aaaahhhh :D I mean, look at how cute and snake-y Crow is here!
Check ‘em out here: https://10yrsyart.tumblr.com/tagged/good+omens+book/page/2
That short from Disney that came out this year. It’s quite cute. Reminds me of some of the older Fantasia/Melody Time era segments I enjoyed as a kid, just with crisper animation. It’s also got a super cozy color palette, plus it’s a bunch of underground burrows with animals setting up their adorable homes. Everything I could’ve wanted as a child! What’s not to love there?
You’ve Got Mail
It’s not a fall movie, technically, but I love watching the seasons change throughout the movie. It’s sweet and funny and the scenes of fall are very pretty and so very ‘90s. It happens to be my favorite romantic-comedy of all time. It was also my first rom-com, but literally no other has compared since.
Rachel Maksy (on YouTube)
Okay, I first stumbled upon her channel last year (I think? Maybe this year?) and immediately went, “Okay, found my new favorite YouTube channel.” She makes the coziest, hobbit-est, le-spook-channeling, hilarious content. Just, seriously.
Here are some of my favorites she’s done:
This was the first video of hers I watched and it immediately made me love everything about her work 😊
I love this one, but it is fairly different from her typical content.
I stan Pumpkin Lady and have since her inception, even before the makeover. She’s so cute and weird!
Karolina Zebrowska (on YouTube)
(Please excuse whatever happened with formatting here. I haven’t been able to fix it.)
Again, stumbled upon her channel this year and then watched almost all of her videos because she’s spectacular. Her work is hilarious and so informative! Here are some of my favorites.
This is one of her many hilarious skits I absolutely adore, based on the Tumblr post she includes at the beginning of the video.
Need I say anything?
Bernadette Banner (on YouTube)
I discovered Bernadette Banner’s channel this year after watching plenty of Rachel Maksy and Karolina Zebrowska’s videos and distinctly telling the algorithm, “Heyyy, she’ll probably like this channel too-oo. Ooh-ooh-ooh!” (Spoken in stereotypical ghost voice.)
She is definitely in the same vein as Karolina Zebrowska/Meme Mom (yes, people do call her that and so do I), sharing her humor and historical expertise.
I’ve just started watching her work more recently, so I haven’t seen nearly as many of her videos, but these are some of my favorites so far:
Adding pockets! Pocket history! Embroidered pockets!
Inspirational cozy sewing montage, anyone? Also, her love for tweed might somehow surpass mine.
This was a great look at the how and why people in modern times dress in vintage fashion the way these three women do.
The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton
Yep, ‘twas a book beforehand! I’ve got a 20th anniversary copy from a few years ago. This book (and movie) freaked me out for a while. I still cannot deal with Lock, Shock, and Barrel well, but I can handle Oogie Boogie at least, so that’s progress. Also, “What’s This?” and “Making Christmas” are stellar, just to remind you.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Once again, I will shamelessly talk about this book.
I was going to try to describe it, but the basic plot is kind of… a LOT. A confusing-at-first-but-brilliantly-arranged-and-tied-up-later kind of story with so many storylines that it feels like you’re jumping from train to train on a highspeed chase. (Definitely speeding, much like a certain demon’s car.)
I have never read something with so many characters, all of whom are quite important. We have our two main-main characters, Aziraphale and Crowley, then a bunch of tiers of other secondary-main-ish characters like Adam, the Them (yep, that is correct capitalization), Anathema, Newt, the Four Horsemen, Gabriel, etc.
Very charming and completely odd. These two writers are just a perfect pairing :) And may Sir Terry Pratchett rest in peace! (I have yet to read very much of his work, but I know Death is a popular character of his with some phenomenal quotes.)
I had just found some cool quotes from Death (technically Sir Terry Pratchett, but yeah) on Pinterest and checked in on the wiki for him, so here’s more info if you’re interested in the character: https://discworld.fandom.com/wiki/Death.
Oh, he’s not from Good Omens, by the way! He does very much feel like both a Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman character though, which makes a lot of sense!
Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea and Yana Bogatch
I stumbled upon this at the library and instantly recognized Vera Greentea’s name from the Small Press Expo (SPX), an independent small press comic convention! (It was my first convention and it was so fun.) So, of course, I had to pick it up. Also, the art is gorgeous. Noir, spooky New Orleans feel to it. The story made it a total page-turner!
Photo credit: Goodreads
Check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29225550-grimoire-noir
Miss Suzy by Miriam Young, with pictures by Arnold Lobel
This is the most cherished book of my childhood. I adore everything about it. The art, the story, Miss Suzy and the Toy Soldiers, the way the mice interlopers are drawn. The color palette brings me such joy!
Side Note: Looking at this, no wonder I enjoyed Burrow.
Photo credit: Goodreads
Check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/652386.Miss_Suzy
The Witch in the Cherry Tree, with story by Margaret Mahy and pictures by Jenny Williams
Bro, digging the correct title for this book out of my brain was a bit of struggle. I thought it was “Witch in the [Something].” Apple Tree? Kitchen? I got there after some Googling and minor struggling.
This book was also my childhood. It always made me want to go bake some muffins in the middle of a rainstorm. Maybe that’s part of why I enjoy baking when it’s raining?
Photo credit: Goodreads
Check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1929884.The_Witch_in_the_Cherry_Tree
Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin
So this was the final of my favorite three childhood books to read any time of the year, but especially around the fall and winter. Well, I guess summer too, because why not? Kinda always forgot the plot of this one, but remember absolutely always loving the art. This is where I learned what crosshatching looked like to make shadows!
Photo credit: Goodreads
Check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/585174.Cranberry_Thanksgiving
Oh, oh, fun fact time!
Is it autumn or fall? So, the word “autumn” popped into the English language somewhere in the 1300s (it comes from Latin, autumnus). Until then, people just said “harvest” to denote this period between summer and winter, which was understandably confusing, given how important agriculture was, particularly in this time period. The term “fall” comes from poets describing the falling of leaves at this time of year. It was then clipped to simply “fall” in the 1600s. According to a friend of John Pickering in 1816, “’In North America the season in which this [the fall of the leaf] takes place, derives its name from that circumstance, and instead of autumn is universally called the fall’” (Pickering qtd. in Merriam-Webster).
Alright, I’ll stop there and pick back up with some more stuff (games, baking, activities, and more) to embrace the spook next week!
Until next time, happy reading!
Quote of the Week:
“A fallen leaf is nothing more than summer’s wave goodbye.” -Unknown
Works Cited (MLA 8th Ed.):
Merriam-Webster. “Is It 'Autumn' or 'Fall'?” Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/autumn-vs-fall?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=wotd-wir&utm_content=secondary-right&utm_email=. Accessed 25 Sept. 2021.