Letter #11: The Spook is Here! (The Spook Month Pt. 2)
It's here! (Both the spooky season and part 2)
Hiya, dear readers!
I’ve got some more autumnal things to talk about today, so let’s get crackin’… some eggs because I’ve got baking related tidbits coming right up! (I commit to my puns.)
My grandma has made pumpkin bread since I was in middle school. It’s been a running joke that we can’t pull out of the driveway without me having broken a chunk off. It’s also true :P
I grew up getting to have wassail some Thanksgivings and Christmases, but we made it for Halloween a few years ago. It was a good, good choice.
For those who don’t know, wassail is just spiced apple cider.
Here’s How to Make It: You pour an entire gallon of apple cider into a big pot/Dutch oven on the stove, make a little cheesecloth bag of mulling spices (like cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole nutmeg, whole allspice, and maybe some grated ginger), then just heat it for a while until it’s simmering and heated through. You can also throw in some orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar if you want. Or even vanilla. Recipes vary, but the main ingredients are cider and spices.
It smells delightful. If nectar/ambrosia tastes like blue chocolate chip cookies to Percy Jackson, they’d probably taste like wassail to me.
(Yes, I am avidly following “The Newest Olympian” podcast with Mike Schubert, and yes, you can find it on Spotify and Instagram: @newestolympian. Yes, it does make me so stinkin’ happy!)
Who says you can only eat stuffing at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Why not Halloween? Equal opportunity stuffing eating is all I’m saying.
Thai Tea Boba
I guess this seems more like a summer thing (likely because it’s a cold drink), but the flavor profile feels very fall-like to me. Perhaps just Thai tea, minus the boba pearls and ice? I’ll have to experiment.
To Play (Games):
I know I’ve talked about this one, but it’s got “cozy” in the title. C’mon. It’s just begging to be played year-round, but especially the fall. Cozy and spooky? Perfect for October!
If you don’t know the basic plot of the game, you are a little Spirit Scout sent to an island to prove your merit by helping a ghost or two with their problems. The problem? You’re on the wrong island. You’re on the island of Cozy Grove, an island with waaay more needy ghosts than your scout master intended. Your boat has floated away, and you’re stuck here for the foreseeable future. You must help the charming citizens of this island!
It’s cute and cozy but also keeps giving us peeks into the sad, dark lives and afterlives of these ghost bears. (I just found out two very unsettling things in Octavia’s and Patrice’s lives and need to get to the bottom of it to help them through it. Honestly, the storytelling in this game is the most amazing thing about it. Also, Patrice is Best Bear.)
I absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend it!
Check it out on Steam here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1458100/Cozy_Grove/
Also, seasons change in the game! Late summer-early fall is here in the game, bringing forth new flora and fauna!
Fun Fact: I just noticed today that Clyde the banker/investor bear called his Wolf Coin ‘cryptid currency’ and just found that hilarious.
To Sniff (Candles, Craft Stores, Perfume, Soap, Air Fresheners)
I’ve been sitting with “Autumn Pumpkin” and “Maple Butter” scented ones in the dark, basking in the candle’s glow and nice smell.
Potpouri Mix/Fall Craft Store Smell?
Whatever that fall spice mix/potpourri they pump craft stores full of around this time of year. I’m not sure how they do it, or what it is, but I’m working on it. I think it might honestly be a sachet or packet of spices maybe? I’ve seen envelopes of them this time of year, but it that where the smell is originating? And why is it so strong, like they’re pumping the stores full of it? Could a small envelope do that?
A preliminary search into the mystery has produced nothing helpful, but I’ll be researching further. Detective Ghost is on the case!
Assorted Nice Smells!
I’ve been eyeing several scented things from different Etsy shops, but have yet to try them:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/602156469/rolls-of-parchment-peppercorn-vanilla?ref=user_curated_list-5&frs=1 Oh my gosh, all of her perfumes sound so GOOOD. I’ve never worn perfume before, but her shop is making me consider it! Yes, I would totally like to smell like a library! Embrace the dark academia aesthetic!
https://www.etsy.com/listing/656563441/wassail-11-oz-soy-wax-candle-cotton-wick?ref=user_curated_list-21&frs=1 If you don’t make wassail, maybe you can still smell it! Also, that label is so pretty!
https://www.etsy.com/listing/794356904/reading-at-the-cafebook-lover-candlebook?ref=user_curated_list-5&bes=1 Fall doesn’t only have to be pumpkin and spice scented! What about chocolate pastries in cafes?
https://www.etsy.com/listing/628188237/winter-time-candle-trio-gift-bundle?ref=user_curated_list-9 I like that this showcased different scents of the fall-winter, not just pumpkin spice.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/879164527/witchy-air-fresheners-set-of-three?ref=user_curated_list-13&frs=1 I have been eyeing Em and Sprout’s stuff forever. They are perfectly spooky-cute, it’s beautiful! Okay, they also now have like a million air freshener designs, so definitely pop by their shop to see what other designs they have! (They also make apparel, shoes, the CUTEST hats, jewelry, homewares, and washi tape. I’m in love with their pajama sets and socks!)
https://www.etsy.com/listing/837221988/old-books-candle-book-old-book-library?ref=user_curated_list-10 I imagine pairing this candle with the one above would make a lovely combination! Look at the label on this tin! It’s stunning!
Like the paper snowflakes I grew up making for Christmas, but spookier!
I had some trouble with folding these and ended up with not quite the right shape, but I’m also terrible at paperfolding, so this might just be me. (I used to be somewhat decent at origami as a kid, but my not-even-very-good-skills have declined since even then.)
This one involves some hand sewing, but look how adorable it is! TWEED!
To Do (Random Activities)
I know, yes, very stereotypical fall activity, but it sounds really nice. I’ve talked about going for years, but it’s just never come to fruition. (Heh, fruit-ion? Apples? This one was actually unintentional, I promise.)
But maybe this year will be the year?
This feels surprisingly fall-like. We made bagels from scratch for the first time the other morning and it felt very cozy and fall-ish. I kinda felt like a hobbit, to be honest. Just needed a cute green pinafore dress and a simple apron and would’ve been instantly transported to the Shire!
Go for a Hike and a Paint!
Get outside for a walk or hike in the park or trail! Find a nice spot to sit, bring out a sketchbook, and draw or paint what you see. The landscape. The passerby. The birds, the squirrels, the other wild creatures.
I’ve recently started getting back into watercolors a bit and am thinking I might try to do some painting the next time I go for a hike!
Will it work nearly as well as it seems to in the very lovely artists’ Instagram Reels/Stories I see? Probably not. Will I still try it? Allergies/weather allowing, yes.
Hearty soup or stew making!
I’ve grown up just throwing soup fixings in a pot at random.
Some chicken, a few carrots, some celery stalks. Something from the onion family: an onion/a few shallots/leeks (leeks are the best). Then some chicken stock/broth/bouillion with water, and more water. Maybe some garlic and definitely herbs (always dill and a bay leaf or two, usually thyme, oregano, and rosemary).
Then we’d let that simmer for anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on whether we used a whole chicken that needed to cook down. (And sometimes roast the veggies and chicken in the pan to release more flavor before we added the stock.) Then add noodles or dumplings in the last 10-ish minutes of cooking and add salt to taste at the end. Ta-da! You have soup!
It’s always hearty and warming and rustic. And quite healthy and allergy-friendly, given all those veggies and it being all from scratch! I would highly recommend.
Okay, how are picnics not perfect for fall? Perfect weather, a cute little picnic spot? Right?
As much as I love going for picnics, I’ve found they do rarely go to plan. My last fall picnic took place on an incredibly blustery day, involving Lady Wind trying to steal our blanket, us having made not-so-great chocolate-chip-pumpkin-muffin-cookie things, realizing the only things we’d brought for dinner were entirely sugar, and the mosquitos. (The mosquitos were ravenous!)
Buweather least we had a thermos full of wassail!
We’ll try again. Maybe a day later in the season, when the dreaded mosquitos are gone. Maybe when the wind isn’t quite so active. With a better meal plan. And, of course, more wassail :)
Extra, extra! I have realized I forgot a few things in my last list!
For some more things to listen to: The Hush Sound in general, but their album “Like Vines” especially. “We Intertwined” is my favorite, but the whole album felt like dark cottagecore before I even knew what that aesthetic was.
Well, that’s it for me today. Hope you got some ideas for autumnal things from Parts 1 and 2! I had fun reminiscing about some of my favorite cozy things!
Happy Spooktober! Have a wonderful rest of your day and, as always, happy reading! :)
Quote of the Week:
“As long as autumn lasts, I shall not have hands, canvas, and colors enough to paint the beautiful things I see.” -Vincent van Gogh
I think this quote is my favorite so far. Also, hello from the bottom of the page! It gets lonely down here; check back again next time!