Category Archives: Halloween

A Halloween Invitation

Here comes Halloween! It’s a favorite celebration in this house, perhaps emanating from a love of pumpkins and apples and celebrations by dark of night. My interest in Halloween lies in its old traditions. In some places, for instance, it was known as Nutcrack Night, for it was a night for roasting nuts and using them to predict the future. Halloween has long been associated with conjuring and magic, perhaps because of its connexions with things of mystery. Its purpose as All Hallow’s Eve is to usher in the Days of the Dead that follow: All Hallows or All Saints Day on the First of November; All Souls Day on the Second. We keep the dead in mind especially at this time of year, clear through to Martinmas on November 11th.

One of the best things about Halloween, I think, is that everything is turned topsy turvy. The kids are out at night, ringing the doorbells of strangers, begging for treats. We wear costumes and masks so others don’t necessarily know our identities. And we carve lanterns out of pumpkins. How wonderful is that? That’s an old Celtic tradition, though back then and there in Ireland it was turnips that were carved. When the Irish began coming to America, pumpkins presented a great big orange glowing alternative. We’ve not gone back since.

Each year for Halloween for, oh… many many years now, I’ve written a gently ghostly story and sent it out to the world via email. It’s the Convivio Dispatch for Halloween. This year’s Halloween Dispatch will go out tonight to subscribers of the Convivio Dispatch, which is a different animal from this blog. If you’d like to make sure you receive the Halloween Dispatch, please subscribe right here. And if you’d rather get just tonight’s Halloween Dispatch without subscribing, let me know in the comments below. Leave your email address and I’ll send it. Or email me directly at mail@conviviobookworks.com to say you’d like the story. But don’t be afraid to subscribe… those particular emails from me are very few and far between, and you’ll meet an interesting cast of characters from our home town of Lake Worth.

Have a fine Halloween, filled with good spirit.
John

COME SEE US!
We’re popping up at quite a few local South Florida venues in November!

Real Mail Thursdays: Dia de Muertos Social
Thursday November 1 from 2 to 6 PM
Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University’s Wimberly Library
Boca Raton
We’ll have a mini pop-up shop of traditional handmade goods for Day of the Dead made by our artisan friends in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Florida Day of the Dead Celebration
Friday November 2 from 4 to 11 PM
Downtown Fort Lauderdale
We’ll be in the Craft Crypt at Huzienga Park on East Las Olas in our own tent with a pop-up shop of traditional Mexican handicrafts for Dia de los Muertos from 4 to 7:30 PM.

Dia de los Muertos Lake Worth
Saturday November 3 from 3 to 10 PM
Hatch 1121 and Downtown Lake Worth, west of Dixie Highway
Our favorite! Find us in the courtyard at Hatch with a pop-up shop of traditional Mexican handicrafts for Dia de los Muertos, Christmas, and everyday. We’ll be there for the full length of the celebration.

Harvest Makers Marketplace
Sunday November 11 from 10 AM to 4 PM
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton
We’ll be transitioning toward Christmas with a pop-up shop of traditional German advent calendars and advent candles from England, plus handmade Christmas ornaments and decorations from Germany and Mexico and our full line of Shaker herbs & teas and more. Plus there’s live music all day: Rio Peterson from 10 AM to 1 PM, Ella Herrera from 1 to 4 PM. It’s going to be a good one!

 

Image: One of last year’s Jack O’Lanterns, on the front porch. This one is by Seth. It’s got his trademark toothless smile.

 

Oct. 31, 1928, or your October Book of Days

I can’t remember not loving Halloween. The magic of it, the stories and specials on TV, the smell of the cabinet where we stored the hobo hat––all these things I remember from my earliest days and hold dear. And that may be why I look forward to autumn each year: the apples, the pumpkins, the particular slant of light of October. And while I have no idea who the kids are in this photograph, the one on the far right may just as well be me: If I wasn’t dressed as a hobo wearing that hobo hat we kept in the cabinet, most likely I was Charlie Chaplin. There were only a couple of years that I ventured away from those tried and true Halloween costumes.

Whoever these kids are, they are your cover stars this October, welcoming you to your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for the month. The caption on the back of the photo is handwritten Hallowe’en Oct. 31, 1928, using the old spelling, the one with the apostrophe, the one more closely related to Halloween’s true name (All Hallow’s Eve), the one that helps us better remember the connexion of this magical night to the Days of the Dead that it ushers in each year: All Hallows on the First of November, All Souls on the Second, all the way to Martinmas on the 11th. These are the days known as I Morti in Italy, Dias de los Muertos in Mexico… the days when we remember all who have come and gone before us. In so doing, we keep them with us. And that is powerful magic indeed.

WHERE YOU’LL FIND US this MONTH
This time of year, we’re here, there, and everywhere. Come see us at one or more of these events or sign up for one of our book arts workshops!

Real Mail Fridays: Apple Social
Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University’s Wimberly Library
Boca Raton
Friday October 5 from 2 to 6 PM
We’ll have a mini pop-up shop of autumnal goods.

Florida Day of the Dead Celebration Kick Off
Stache Drinking Den & Coffee Bar
Fort Lauderdale
Friday October 5 from 7 to 11 PM
We’ll be there with a mini pop-up shop of traditional handicrafts for Dia de los Muertos from Mexico.

Family Fun Day: Ofrenda Art Exhibition Opening
Fort Lauderdale Historical Society
Fort Lauderdale
Sunday October 7 from 11 AM to 3 PM
We’ll be there with a mini pop-up shop of traditional handicrafts for Dia de los Muertos from Mexico.

Autumn Makers Marketplace
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton
Sunday October 21 from 10 AM to 4 PM
Pop-up shop of traditional Mexican handicrafts for Dia de los Muertos plus our full line of Shaker herbs & teas and more.

Calavera Prints!
Linocut workshop with John Cutrone
Jaffe Center for Book Arts
Thursday evening October 25 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM, preregistration required.

Booook Arts 101: Hist Whist
Workshop with John Cutrone
Jaffe Center for Book Arts
Sunday October 28 from 1 to 5 PM, preregistration required.

Florida Day of the Dead Celebration
Friday November 2 from 4 to 11 PM
Downtown Fort Lauderdale
We’ll be in the Craft Crypt at Huzienga Park on East Las Olas in our own tent with a pop-up shop of traditional Mexican handicrafts for Dia de los Muertos from 4 to 7:30 PM.

Dia de los Muertos Lake Worth
Saturday November 3 from 3 to 10 PM
Hatch 1121 and Downtown Lake Worth, west of Dixie Highway
Our favorite! Find us in the courtyard at Hatch with a pop-up shop of traditional Mexican handicrafts for Dia de los Muertos, Christmas, and everyday. We’ll be there for the full length of the celebration.

 

Here Comes Halloween

Tuesday night brings Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, one of my favorite holidays. Looking back over the years, I find it strange that it is a holiday I’ve written so little about over the course of the history of the Convivio Book of Days, but I think I know why: Each year, I write a ghostly tale for the Convivio Dispatch, which is something much older than this blog. The Convivio Dispatch is an occasional plain text email that goes out to the world, often late at night, and very often it is a story. It has been this way since 1998, when the first Dispatch went out. It was known back then as the Red Wagon Dispatch, a reflection of our former press name, Red Wagon Press. Those were simpler days. I remember being amazed that I could click “Send,” and my words could be delivered to all 35 people on my mailing list.

These days the numbers are higher, for which I am grateful, but the delivery gets muddled in a barrage of media shouting for our attention. And though I have tried once or twice to meld together the Convivio Book of Days blog and the Convivio Dispatch, when it comes right down to it, I find that I rather like having the Dispatch as it is: a story that arrives in your inbox, and that is that. No pictures, no video links, just words that you can read if you want.

And so for weeks now, off and on, I’ve been writing this year’s Halloween Dispatch. This has become a bit of a tradition, this full immersion in writing a story, and I realize this is why I’ve yet to write extensively about Halloween on the blog. Perhaps writing extensively about Halloween will have to wait for the real book version of the Convivio Book of Days. Meanwhile, if you’d like this year’s Halloween Dispatch, which so far seems to be about two of my great-grandmothers, the great jazz-age Florida architect Addison Mizner, and the old Lake Worth pioneers whose graves are beneath a trap door under the stage at the Norton Museum of Art, then please, subscribe to the Convivio Dispatch email list now. And if you’d prefer to just get this one story and no other Dispatches, then just send me an email and I’ll send it to you when it’s finished. You can reach me to ask for the story at mail@conviviobookworks.com (I think you’ll have to copy and paste that into the address field).

Have a fine Halloween.
John

Image: That’s John & Millie, my dad and mom, at a neighborhood Halloween party, sometime in the 1960s.