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As is my nature, I spent my October Season wandering the rocky shores of the Lost Coast of Humboldt County, visiting and entertaining my human companions both young and…ummm…not so young. It is the place where I make my home and keep my crypt, after all, and I enjoy spending the season here. (While I am typing these words, a local radio station is playing Oingo Boingo's “Dead Man's Party”, and I smile at the appropriateness of that…)

Which doesn't mean that I don't do my share of traveling, you understand. I am a wandering spectre by nature, and am not truly tied to any one location. In that spirit (sorry about that) I managed to make my way both south and east: to Sonora at the base of the Sierra Foothills for my third visit to the All Hallows Fantasy Faire, and another earlier excursion down to lovely San Leandro to attend the Bal-O-Ween Ballyhoo at the historic Bal Theatre.

 


Who're ya gonna call? The San Leandro chapter of the Ghostbusters
joins us for a Bal-O-Ween spectacular!

I was invited down by Internet and live Horrorhost Lord Blood-Rah, whose program of vintage radio Horror shows can be heard HERE. (You can also find his Youtube entries HERE.) In addition to his duties online, the Lord also hosts special movie nights throughout the year, often with a macabre theme. (This summer he will be hosting, among other things, a tribute to filmmaker Ed Wood, showing the Tim Burton movie of the same name and Mr. Wood's PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and a Godzilla night of two films and live music.)

The Lord extended a gracious invitation to be part of a day-long event that would include the local Ghostbusters league, a live band, some short, spooky films, a costume contest, some stories by Yours Truly, and a double feature consisting of THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. I leapt at the opportunity to take part, and after a very early morning journey, found myself at the beautiful restored Bal Theatre, the only continuing operating theater built since 1946. (You can learn about this wonderful place HERE; in many ways it reminds me of the lovely Arcata Theater Lounge here on the Lost Coast .)


Our evening's HorrorHost with the most:
Lord Blood-Rah introduces THE GHOST
& MR. CHICKEN.

Welcoming a member of the Goth Contingent as young Mr. Jonathan meets the spectre at the door...

 

Of course, nothing planned so extravagantly ever goes smoothly. The hosts discovered that they were unable to obtain permission to show YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, so the audience was enlisted to choose another favorite film. The winner, hands down, was Mr. Romero's classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and everyone had a splendid time. I enjoyed the movies (including some short films I'd not seen before, such as episodes of the television version of the Horror radio series LIGHTS OUT), had a fine time with the dealers at their tables selling their wares, posed for some photos and told some of my favorite tales. Lord Blood Rah was a very amiable host, and I hope that, should the occasion arise, he will consider inviting back again for another event!

 

Two Halloween franchises in one setting: the renowned Lord Blood Rah and Yours Truly.

 


The spectral mist of the October Season surrounds as I tell my tales against a favorite background - not my personal library, but Humboldt County's.

Every year I share some of my favorite Halloween tales with my very young friends at the Eureka Branch of the Humboldt County Library. This year was no exception, and although I thought the turnout was slightly smaller than in years past, the youngsters were quite enthusiastic, and all flocked around me at the end of the show to share their favorite Halloween costumes, treats, movies and scares!

 


The artwork for the poster of my Halloween show "The Midnight Bells Of All Soul's Night"; a crumbling ediface in the haunted land of Ireland.

Because of the passing of Ray Bradbury, the members of the Science Fiction Club of Humboldt thought it most appropriate to have another Halloween reading of the master who made the season so much of himself. We decided to limit ourselves to his Halloween-related stories, particularly those of The Family, that wonderful collection of ghouls, monsters and specters that beautifully reflect humanity's foibles. David, leader of the SFCH read of “Uncle Einar”, while his lovely missus Kay read about Cecy, “The April Witch”. Local radio personality Amy Berkowitz shared her favorite tale, the classic “The Fog Horn”, while John intoned “The Black Ferris”, the short story that was the basis for “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. I read my favorite Family story “Homecoming” and the unforgettable and unforgiving “The October Game”, which seemed to terrify everyone ! (I was delighted.) All in all it was a fitting final tribute to the cartographer of the October Country.


The wonderful cover artwork for an edition of Mr. Bradbury's holiday classic "The Halloween Tree"; sadly, this particular artist is unknown. I find it extremely evocative of the book.

 

Sharing some tales at Old Town Coffee & Chocolates while Mr. Emerson accompanies...

...then it's Mr. Woodland's turn center stage as he spins one of his Halloween shaggy-dog efforts.

The following evening was my own Halloween show, “The Midnight Bells Of All Souls Night”. Once again I was joined by fellow storyteller Paul Woodland and Celtic harpist Howdy Emerson, but this year we were fortunate to have the beautiful April Parrott, singer and instrumentalist. It was an evening of spooky silliness and scary soliloquies, with songs for the Samheim Season. (My alliteration is showing…)

We opened the show with the round “On Halloween”, taught to us by our musical friend (and past performer) Seabury Gould in four voices, which set a perfect tone for the night. Between April's rich vocals, Howdy's gentle and haunting melodies, Paul's exuberant tale-spinning and Yours Truly doing what I do, the standing-room only crowd again seemed to have a terrific time bidding goodbye to October. (Because Halloween was in the middle of the week this past year, we stretched the celebration out an additional few days into the November weekend.

I was also happy to see my fellow performers get into the spirit of the festivities; Paul was dressed as an escaped prisoner of the season, April came as a cloaked, masked sorceress, Howdy was a Celtic Renaissance gentleman. I wasn't able to choose a costume, so I came as I was…


Beauty & The Beast, or at least the beastly; Samheim prisoner Paul with masqued enchantress April.


Ms. April shares one of her Halloween ballads with an appreciative audience.

 


Mr. Emerson entertains on the steel-stringed Celtic harp.

The Rogues Gallery; Howdy Emerson, April Parrot and Paul Woodland with the Lead Rogue.

 

My last stop for the season was a visit to the Ink People's Dia De Los Muertos exhibit. The Ink People Center For The Arts are an organization encouraging excellence in the showing, teaching, and making of art, exploring the boundaries of art and culture, helping develop community-generated arts and cultural programs. They organized an event to celebrate the Mexican Day Of The Dead, complete with food, music, altars to the departed, and a certain wandering spectre that came to see the excitement.

I've always had a special place for this event, and have wanted to take part in more celebrations, particularly since there is a large Hispanic population here in the Lost Coast . The evening was very pleasant, meeting all the artists and enjoying the small but fully-stocked gallery. But what I will treasure most was the reactions of my young friends to my appearance, especially one young lady.

I've written of it elsewhere after the October Season. I'm well aware that my appearance can be considered striking and macabre, and many approach me with caution, particularly little ones. I'm quite happy with that; I prefer to let all my friends make up their own minds.

But with the Dia De Los Muertos culture, my visage is quite common, and the youngsters who encountered me, particularly the one. She was so excited it was as if Santa had entered the room! She danced around, leaned against me, giggled happily, simply couldn't stand still as her father tried to take our picture together. And as I went to leave, she stood on a chair and waved to me across the room, calling out, “Goodbye, Mr. Happy Skeleton!!”

And that's how I left Halloween; a very happy skeleton indeed.

 



© 2013 Patient Creatures Ltd.