PodJax II: The Hosts with the Most


A few months ago I regaled you with tales of other people’s tales in my inaugural post of favorite podcasts.

I’ve added quite a few new shows to my iPhone since then, so an audio update is in order. In this edition, the common thread among all of these shows is they have great hosts as well as subject matter. It’s an important note, since podcast hosts are much more than mouthpieces… they’re also the writers, editors, producers, and promoters of their own original content.

That said, here are the four shows currently on the top of my Play Next queue. Let me know what you’re listening to, too.

https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/shrinknp_400_400/p/8/000/299/355/10062a4.jpgCrime Time

A ‘cast after my own true-crime heart, Crime Time covers current events in crime news, analyzes trials, and discusses possible legal scenarios as crimes are investigated and tried. It’s presented in either a panel or one-on-one interview format with host Allison Hope Weiner, who keeps a good pace: reining in her guests in with a polite lasso and always keeping a set of well-prepared questions on hand (she’s a writer, so of course she does). This makes for a meatier podcast than most in this genre…opinions are given and discussed, but the facts serve as a strong scaffold for these often contentious conversations, so they don’t skid off the rails.

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/660065357822980096/mgq-eRU6.jpgAngry Mancave

Focusing on politics, sports, and current events, Angry Mancave also serves up a healthy portion of culture in the form of music, movie, and book reviews, with plenty of nostalgia on the side. This podcast is hosted by two old friends of mine, Scott Eck and Pete Maguire, both of whom work in multimedia trades and also happen to have great radio voices. That sets the ‘Angry Mancavers’ above a lot of other free-form style shows; it’s also polished, planned, and diverse enough in topic for a wide variety of listeners, even Angry Wo-mancavers like myself.

http://www.projectarchivist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/10390140_10152453890886113_241651847947373593_n.jpgSword & Scale

Another true crime podcast that perhaps isn’t for everyone, as it’s graphic as hell. But if deep-dives on crimes of the near and distant past are your bag — and at 10 million downloads, Sword & Scale is apparently a lot of people’s bags — give it a try. It’s professionally researched, written, and narrated by show-runner Mike Boudet, who also uses music by unsigned or free-range artists in each episode, which adds a really nice (and unexpected) layer of depth.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 10.42.56 AM/Filmcast

/Filmcast (‘Slash-Filmcast’) is the official podcast of Slashfilm.com, hosted by film bloggers/reviewers/journos David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Jeff Cannata. While most episodes revolve around the review of a current film, the first half of each show starts with a recap of the hosts’ media consumption from the previous week. That’s downright helpful in a mostly-streaming household, especially on a slow TV night, when it comes to Hulu and Netflix recommendations.


And now, a couple of PodJax updates:


Season Two of Serial is rumored to be dropping in ‘fall 2015…’ it being November 24, this could mean it’s coming tomorrow. Or in three months; who knows. Keep an eye (or ear) out for the next installment, which will be covering the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl story.


It looks as though we’ll have to wait until summer 2016 for new episodes, but reddit is abuzz with news that a third host is being added.

Shine on: The Warm Metallics trend, via Willow House magazine

shutterstock_318742877Interested in what we should all be donning as gay apparel as we head into the holiday months? Check out my latest article, The Element Gold at Willow House magazine! There’s also a companion Pinterest board, Au La La!, that you’re welcome to browse and add to.

Share it:

The Element Gold: Warm Metals for Home and Wardrobe

People are going to think it’s fixed.

It’s not fixed. Blogtoberfest is not fixed, folks … we just have a budding Meryl Streep of blogging on our hands. Maybe more of a Daniel Day Lewis…anyway.

The winner of Blogtoberfest 2015 has been chosen (by you, the readers! Thanks!), and she already holds the title from 2012!

For her Guest Post Taking Candy From Strangers, Sara Wentworth of Secret Society Art has won the very popular and slightly appropriate ‘you stalk too much’ t-shirt from the Jump Shop.

you stalk too much. t-shirts
Take a minute to check out Secret Society Art, too…Sara and her husband Adam are self-taught artists who live and work on Cape Cod. Don’t buy the Aldous Huxley portrait, please. That one’s mine.

Notes from the first Willow House magazine Twitter Chat


Willow House magazine, a lifestyle mag I write for, hosted its first TwitterChat last week (learn more about TwitterChats here in this great post by Kaitlyn of Pierce Social). The inaugural topic was Holiday Health, and a lot of great ideas — and recipes! — were traded. So, if you missed the live tweeting, I compiled some of the highlights below.

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow some of the smarties via their Twitter handles below, or join in the next TwitterChat in about two weeks by following the hashtag #WHMingle. I’ll keep you posted… for now, share some of your ideas and tips for Holiday Health in the comments!

From Zen Travellerin Calgary, Alberta

I love all the chocolates so I try to keep dark chocolate around and make hot cocoa instead of the powdered stuff.

I love this one for the day after one of those huge holiday meals: https://t.co/Drslp4icKO
Kaitlyn Piercein the Berkshires, Massachusetts

I try to indulge OUTSIDE of the house in all of the treats and avoid bringing them to my house!

I love pie! Pumpkin especially. But I did find this great recipe for “skinny” pumpkin pie ;)

Two all-beef patties of cute

Here’s a quick tutorial: The one-time use hamburger costume for toddlers, brought to you by Procrastination Parenting.

It’s two halves of a burger made from poster board (or felt, construction paper, old grocery bags, what-have-you…seriously. Whatever you have) and held together by two straps made of equally immediately available materials.

First, I cut out two circles of ‘bun colored’ paper and two larger circles of black for the patty. I used a file folder for the bun (art by necessity!), so creating two identical circles was simple. For the patty, I just folded the poster board in half.

Then it was on to the fixins… I used red poster board cut into wavy strips for ketchup (it was green on the other side, as seen in the photo above) and yellow triangles for cheese, eyeballing the front every now and then as I glued. Using green tissue paper for lettuce, I ripped each sheet into four squares, did a quick fan-fold, smooshed (very technical) the ends down flat in the middle and glued one on top of the other. I used Elmer’s carpenter glue, which is really thick and held the many smooshed leaves of lettuce together nicely. I imagine liberal amounts of regular Elmer’s would work just fine.

I cut another circle of paper when I was done with the lettuce, so I’d have a smooth surface on which to mount the shoulder straps — made from every procrastinator’s favorite product, duct tape. Ribbon or strips of fabric would probably suffice…it’s about whatever’s lying around the house, after all.

Taping two pieces together to make straps, I laid them out with the two halves of the burger on either end and eyeballed the distance so it would be easily slipped over my toddler’s head and wouldn’t slip off.

Because it was nap-time during this entire endeavor (obvi), I kept the strips of tape holding the straps on to the paper loose in case I had to re-position. When I was sure they were good to go, I glued one more circle of poster board over the tape to clean things up and give it one more layer of substance.

I covered the duct-straps with more tissue paper and flipped over for the finishing touches (sesame seed buns, of course)…

…and made a pickle topper and pinned it to a hat with one of Dada’s tie clips.

By the by, if you’re wondering why we went with ‘hamburger’ for a costume choice, it was to complement the parental ensemble; an homage to Bob and Linda Belcher of Bob’s Burgers, also DIYed:

Our little slider wasn’t bothered by the costume and it also hung well when she was in her stroller, so that was a win overall for a Halloween night that included marching in a parade, trick-or-treating, and visiting with friends.

Whatever works, that’s my motto!

Vote Now for the Blogtoberfest Guest Poster of 2015!

Another Blogtoberfest Guest Post contest has closed, and it’s time to vote for your favorite! Catch up on your reading here and vote below.

Voting will close Thursday, November 5th.

Three Boroughs, Four Bridges, 10 Miles in New York

A Blogtoberfest guest post By Joe Schneiderman, social law attorney

Although I’ve lived in (and currently live in) Connecticut and have adopted Massachusetts, I’m still a New Yorker at heart. And I lived in New York, New York for ten years, seven years of education plus two adopted by a New York City Firehouse plus a cumulative year visiting family in the Bronx. (That’s one way to add up ten years, right?)

Despite my love for New York, I made peace leaving New York-and have no decisional hangover. Sadly, sometimes I find myself asking, “What happened to this beautiful place, and are we approaching another moment akin to “Ford to City: Drop Dead”? (For further consideration, I endorse Ric Burns New York: A Documentary Film, esp. Episode 7.). But there is one thing I really miss: not being per se reliant on a car. And I miss walking everywhere for miles at a time. I am drawn to villages and downtowns, which, for whatever reason, are somewhat absent from my neck of Connecticut. (Curiously enough, the towns along U.S. 20 between Westfield and Becket, Mass. have said downtowns/villages.) And you can walk everywhere with the positive spirit of the city fulfilling you.

And that was what I did on Saturday, October 23, 2010-still in Law School. Having studied and had brunch, I had a beautiful, blue skied fall day outside that I couldn’t let pass by. So, I set out west on 47th Avenue in Queens towards the mighty spire of the Empire State Building. The block quickly changed residences to industry, the Fire Department Shops, and, eventually, at Van Dam Street, a correctional facility and LaGuardia Community College. A right on Van Dam took me to Queens Boulevard and Thomson Avenue, and I continued west on Thomson. Vehicular traffic could head for the upper level of the Queensboro Bridge as the street rose over the Sunnyside Rail Yards. A turquoise high rise soon replaced the Empire State, the CitiBank Building. Yes, Queens has a high-rise.

And, directly underneath is Court Square and the historic Long Island City Courthouse. Once Criminal Court and adjoining the Queens County Jail (now a parking a garage, but the walls foretell its penal past), the Courthouse is home to Civil Term of Queens County Supreme Court-New York’s trial court of general, original jurisdiction.

This is the second Courthouse on the site, the original was built circa 1875 when Long Island City became the seat of Queens County (which then encompassed what is now Nassau County, the latter broke off in 1899.) In 1904, that two story Courthouse burned (curiously enough, it has living near twins in Springfield and Northampton, Mass., but I do not believe they have a common architect.) The current Courthouse was rebuilt by 1908, and, ironically, Peter Coco, the architect, went on trial there!! So too did Ruth Snyde and Willie Sutton. Alfred Hitchcock also employed the Courthouse for “The Wrong Man.” Today, the Court mainly hears civil matters but is home to the largest Courtroom in New York State and is a historic landmark. And there are other criminal throwbacks-adornments for the District Attorney and Sheriff line the sides.

And, during those early law school days, I would walk from my house to Court Square often whenver I needed peace and perspective. The Square was beautiful, with the fountain, the trees, and the benches. The prior spring, I drove out there and sat and watched the block, possibly smoking a cigar (I can’t remember for sure.) But, when seabreeze comes off the East River onto Jackson Avenue, Court Square becomes a wind tunnel. Court Square is a site for all seasons. And Court Square replenished me that day too-the first chance I had had to reconnect with the City after two very hectic months with death, betrayal, and new responsibilities.


Jackson Avenue teases the edge of the Long Island City historic district and the brownstones there as the elvated Number 7 trains ducks underground in a sea of graffiti. The Court Square Diner sits in ecstatic glow under the subway station of the same name. Gentrification is coming. But, at the time, the neighborhood still maintained a healthy balance. The junction of 11th Street, 49th Avenue, and the appropriately named Hunter’s Point Avenue portend the west end of Queens along the Newtown Creek. Not far from here is where the Dutch landed in marshy lowlands some 350 years ago. Further west takes you to the water’s edge at Hunter’s Point. South on 11th Street takes you over the Pualski Bridge to Brooklyn.

That’s where I would go.

Newtown Creek separates Brooklyn from Queens is/was one of the single most heavily trafficked and polluted waterways in the country. The waterway sits in the shadow of Midtown, a rail yard, the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Long Island Expressway viadcuct, and, of course, the Empire State. But, thanks to proud riverkeepers, sailing ships have made a comeback there-and people are living there again.

The Pulaski Bridge is a drawbridge principally for cars carrying six lanes between Brooklyn and its geographically larger (and soon to be more populous) counterpart, but, intrepid pedestrians may certainly cross on the sidewalks under the gatehouses. The bridge is not harrowing, not like the Triborough (why they named the bridge for RFK is beyond me, it should be Captain Brian Hickey or someone else who had true connections to all three boroughs) where ten feet separates you from the traffic on one side and one hundred and fifty feet separates you from Hellgate below. But, for the hipster jerkasses invading the neighborhoods it connects, they’d run in terror-you can feel the bridge and the traffic. Not me. I relish it.

Newtown Creek gives way to McGuiness Boulevard, and industry in upper Greenpoint- where said jerk-asses are invading and gentrifying. But, Greenpoint Avenue announces the neighborhood itself, complete with Engine Company 238 and Ladder Company 106 sitting sentinel on one corner. “Greenpurnt”, as affectionately known to locals, is historically a Polish neighborhood and the northern limit of Brooklyn. The residents once occupied Engine Company 212 during the 70’s to keep it from closing. (sadly, Mayor Bloomberg won that one.) A right on Greenpurnt Avenue takes you to Downtown, and, eventually, the Northside of Williamsburg-where more hipster doofus invader jerkasses can be found. But, the Brooklyn Brewery is also there on North 11th Street-and you can get four delicious beers for 20 bucks. I should know-I proudly took my Dad there for his birthday the year before. And we also walked in-although we took the Greenpurnt Avenue Bridge over Newtown Creek.

That was not my destination that day. I meandered down McGuinness, eventually reaching McCarren Park, a green oasis shared by Williamsburg and Greenpoint and home to many wonderful athletic fields. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway, a traffic nightmare of disappearing lanes, rose high above me. At Leonard and Richardson, I found Firefighter Daniel Pujdak Way-and Engine Company 229 and Ladder Company 146’s quarters. The specifics evade me now, but, I cointuned south along Meekerand the BQE through the edge of Northside to Southside at Marcy Avenue, and at Borinquen Place, I turned west again.


The Southside is what most people know of Williamsburg, lofts, wine bars and restaurants, etc. But, there’s still echoes of diversity-New York’s real strength. Peter Luger’s Steakhouse is at Broadway and South Fifth Street.. And, the Williamsburg Bridge exits Manhattan here at Continental Army Plaza at South 4th and Roebling Streets, opposite a mighty statue of General George Washington.

That was my first destination-after four miles of walking.

The Williamsburg Bridge is the middle child of the three East River Bridges between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The suspension tower design foreshadows its sibling on the Hudson with clean metallic lines. The bridge carries subway lines, cars, and pedestrians and bicycles between the Lower East Side and Williamsburg. I should note, the walking path is centered on the bridge and not a sidewalk-unlike the Pulaski. And the grey sunset over the skyline offers tremendous majestic views of Manhattan Island skyline.


Someone asked me, albeit not verbatim, “Joe, why do you walk these bridges?’ Because they’re there. Walking is a tremendous exercise in urbanism because you never know who you will encounter, what stories you will hear or tell on the street, and people are brought together. I for one despise how the Internet connects and simultaneously isolates us. I was five months Facebook free that day-because I felt Facebook devalued true friendship. Facebook never brought me closer to people. The streets of New York did. Of the people I knew on Facebook, who would go with me to Junior’s for cheesecake? There was some ridiculous group about New York in the fall-and the shitty Richard Gere film. Fall in New York is an ideal time of year-between the foliage, the seabreeze, and the opportunities to soak up hope from the past year and prepare for the holidays.

I digress.


It was my second time on the Williamsburg Bridge. Three weeks returned to New York, I walked from my house to the Brooklyn Brewery for the first time. And, with some beer in me, in sweltering summer heat, I crossed that bridge at dusk. And so too did I cross the Williamsburg at dusk at fall. Subways passed me, bicycles were callous, but I had sunset on my side. And, the towers of the many public housing developments soon began to loom at Corlears Hook. (Why people have stopped using the nautical points of reference I also don’t understand.) But, as one enters Manhattan, one can just pick out yet another firehouse, well, actually, a combined firehouse and police precinct. From the bridge, it appears as something tiny below-but it’s there.

And as easily as you have climbed above the East River, you seamlessly integrate into Delancey Street and the business district there. I stopped for nourishment. One bridge down, two to go. And, at some intervening point, I called my parents, and, as I often did on trips like this, asked, “Guess where I am?”

The Lower East Side was one first immigrant melting pots in New York in the 19th Century. Today, I don’t know what to make of it. I wish I did. I never really went there. There’s all kinds of heritage, ranging from Italians to Jews to Puerto Ricans to punks to everything. Regardless, I continued west on Delancey to Allen Street, passing the tenement museum. I was not sure quite where to head next. But, Allen Street seemed logical enough to head south. The last time, I had headed all the way out to Lafayette Street or so, which, at that point is SoHo and Little Italy.

Allen Street was alive. A main drag into Chinatown, people were on the street as the fall night chilled but held onto vapors of the 65 degree warmth we enjoyed that day. Smells of Chinatown and food , music, Chinese characters greeted me from the storefronts. Tenements and architecture have changed little here over the years, other than changing hands often. As I recall, I greeted people on the street as names of neighborhood legend passed. Broome. Grand. Hester. Canal.

And what have we here? CPC L6? Yes. Engine 9 and Ladder 6, the Chinatown Dragonfighters. A fireman still drives the back of Ladder 6, and Engine 9 takes Satellite 1’s monitor to major fires. And the brothers of Ladder 6 survived in the B Stairwell with Josephine Harris on September 11th. Five minutes later on Canal, I was crossing under another arch onto the Manhattan Bridge as the last gasps of navy faded to dark.

A blue sentinel over a mighty river, the Manhattan Bridge is the youngest East River Crossing and has been under perpetual rehabilitation since 2000. Traffic moves in a canyon while pedestrians get views on thte south side of the East River to the Financial District, Lady Liberty, and the Harbor. The views are tremendous, although, highrises in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, perhaps it should be Dumb Underachieving Myopic Boring Overbearers) are slowly closing Brooklyn and taking up the view. The last time was here, it was my Dad’s birthday, and we were walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan. My Dad had wanted to return to that bridge for many years-and I gave him that opportunity at 58. But this time, it was just me. Subway trains lit up the edge of the bridge, the old BMT line still running to connect people. Behind me, Manhattan had lit up.

By now, my body was informing me in no uncertain terms that I was overtaxed. Sweat had cooled on me and the chill of the sea had entered the air. But I was determined. I would walk all three East River Bridges in a single transaction-and Goddamnit, I would finish! I had simply come o far. (So to did that see me through three days of the Bar Exam in New York and Springfield, there came a moment in the Javits Center where I was cold, sick to my stomach, and my mind had gone blank.)

The last time I had been in DUMBO, it struck me as cold and inhospitable. The factories had not yet been fully renovated. But I was 15 then. I was not yet 24 when I went for this walk. And thoughts of Genesis, Steve Hackett, Nadine Strossen, criminal procedure and reasonable suspicion, were on my mind. But they were tempered by this accomplishment and the ineffable energy of my city.

The bridge gave way to Jay Street-and housing projects. I could not remember how to get to the Brooklyn Bridge-and the streets are a labyrinth. Sure enough, I circled my way to Prospect Street and the stairs to the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ve made that tip at least 25 times over the years in all four seasons. And every time I feel wonderment crossing the old wooden footpath dead center on the bridge. And that night was no different, from the Watchtower, to the Manhattan to my right, the lights of the Financial District, a red Empire State building, the Verizon building…

It’s Saturday Night in New York and I am crossing the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan-Yes, I am Zig-Zagging!

The arc of the bridge eventually brought me over the East River to Manhattan-signs for the FDR, the Woolworth Building, finally, City Hall! I am back on solid ground in Manhattan! I have walked 10 Miles (as I would find out later)-how is that possible? Oh, in New York it’s possible. I am exhausted, my feet could probably fry eggs, but,


There’s only way to celebrate. Dinner at Junior’s.

Joe Schneiderman is an attorney who resides in Connecticut.

Five OG Scream Queens Holding Court

Right now around the water cooler (and on Google), the term ‘Scream Queens’ seems to apply only to the campy comedy-horror smash that emerged this year on Fox, direct from the deranged minds of Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan. But sooner or later, the hit show will assume its place in television history and the phrase will again refer to a broader group of bad-ass broads dominating the horror genre, past and present.

To add to the many lists of Scream Queens out there, I give you my top five and a few reasons why they are detailed here instead of, I don’t know, Heather Langenkamp. Read on and add your favorite Scream Queens to the comments.

First, a Bonus…The Up-and-screamer

http://www.entertainmentwallpaper.com/images/res1920x1080/movie/the-den01.jpgMelanie Papalia

If you’re a horror fan, Melanie Papalia is one of those faces you keep seeing. She is indeed a bona fide Scream Queen with several credits in the independent chiller space including Smiley, The Den, and Extraterrestrial, though she hasn’t quite broken through yet. Melanie’s acting legacy will likely include a nod to horror even if she goes on to win an Oscar.


On film, Sheri Moon has never done anything but horror and she has a Scream Award (Spike TV) and a Chainsaw Award (Fangoria) to her credit. That alone earns her a spot on any Scream Queen list, but she’s also the one actress in the mix who seems to really live the genre; first of all, her last name is Zombie. She’s married to Rob Zombie. As if that didn’t cover enough bases, Sheri also has a clothing line called Total Skull, and has starred in 15 (count ’em) horror-inspired music videos. Her tumblr is a veritable celebration of all things horror and Halloween, set on a cute taupe and pastel background. Oh, Sheri. You kill me.


https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8702/17107831008_e93486a4d8.jpgPJ Soles

She’s often forgotten, but PJ Soles never left the horror genre and actually has one of the longest acting resumes out there. She started in best friend roles in Carrie and Halloween, then reinvented herself again and again as a mom, a wacky next-door neighbor, or a straight-up cameo performer, and kept on appearing in horror flicks from the seventies to today, with the new thriller 13 Girls on tap for 2016. Plus, did you know she was married to Dennis Quaid for five years? Spooky.


https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3903/15150059549_3e18cc8c7a_b.jpgDanielle Harris

Jamie Lee may take the overall cake, but Danielle Harris is a true slice of Halloween. She played not one but two characters: Jamie Lloyd in Halloween IV and V, and Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie’s 2007 reboot. She also starred in 1998’s Urban Legend, though at the time she was understandably overshadowed  by The Noxema Girl, and as the lead in all three movies in the Hatchet trilogy.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/03/Shawnee_Smith_Con_06.JPG/166px-Shawnee_Smith_Con_06.JPGShawnee Smith

While I’d argue some of her work in the Saw series was award-winning (and not just of an Eyegore Award), Smith also executive produced and starred in FearNET’s 30 Days of Night, voiced a character on the game Lollipop Chainsaw, and hosted the 2008 reality show Scream Queens (yes, there was another) in search of the next horror star. Her horror resume even includes a soundtrack credit for an original song (Catacombs), making her the true multi-media maven of the SQ ranks. But really, we’ll always remember her as the girl who was tossed into a vat of dirty syringes.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Jamie_Lee_Curtis_in_2010.jpgJamie Lee Curtis

It’s true that JLC shows up on nearly every Scream Queen list out there, but with good reason. She’s best known for never abandoning the role of Halloween‘s Laurie Strode, no matter how ridiculous things got or how many Golden Globes for television and film she won for other projects in between sequels. But, she’s also starred in lesser known slashers including The Fog, Prom Night, and Terror Train, and has spun her Scream Queen status into a philanthropic effort, serving as the annual host for the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation’s “Dream Halloween” event in Los Angeles every October.

Carving Pumpkins with Abraham Lincoln

3690931259_ac8b895821_zIn search of something to do as a family on Columbus Day, I went to one of my favorite local blogs and found a pumpkin carving activity at Chesterwood, a largely outdoor museum just down the road from us.

The summer home of Daniel Chester French (who’s most famous for sculpting the Lincoln Memorial and the Concord Minuteman) Chesterwood is a sprawling property that has a museum proper, original buildings including an art studio, and a woodland walk peppered with rotating installments of contemporary art that stand in contrast to the historic setting.

This weekend, Chesterwood was also hosting a pumpkin carving activity for kids, with pumpkins donated by Taft Farms of Great Barrington.

We carved Juli’s first Jac-o-lantern, then took a stroll through the woods to look at the grounds and the current art exhibits. 

We were able to buy one adult ticket for the three of us at $17.50 to attend the event, $8.25 a person if you assume a one-year-old gets free admission. Since Juli loved the art as much as the pumpkins and we also got to enjoy peak foliage and being outside as a fam, I thought the price was a good value.

...Casual reclining baby on a slab.
…Casual reclining baby on a slab.
Three boats, ready for the tides to turn
All Smiles.
All Smiles.

Taking Candy From Strangers

 I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s on Cape Cod, and I think back to when I was a kid, and it makes me sad how Halloween has died.

Today, most kids have everything, and a lot of them don’t know they should be appreciative for it. They have time with their parents, and have their focus, clothing, homes, food and access to technology at a pretty early age. There are a lot of kids that lack the ability to play, in fear of getting hurt. They always win and never suffer disappointment.

I know, I should’ve let go when I was too old to go trick-or-treating.

There was all of this fear propaganda in the 80’s about hippies that handed out stickers laced with LSD, they put razor blades and needles in candy bars! (the razor blade and needles thing did actually happen- I looked it up on snopes.com.) Anyway, my family wasn’t really into Halloween. My stepfather’s brother was murdered on Halloween in ’87 in Providence, and the rest of my family didn’t really celebrate it.

http://static.yourtango.com/cdn/farfuture/Peqwht_LR0naWOSonMtFBRw0GY4X1XF4KgjYPzeSvcA/mtime:1378397686/sites/default/files/image_list/clarissa.jpgI always dressed up like a punk every year, or what I thought that was. I was drawn to that type of anti-fashion by eight years old. It was cheap, fun, and colorful, and I thought I was awesome. Come to think of it, the 80’s and 90’s were a mash-up of disgusting patterns, colors and VESTS. Really, everyone was in a costume for two decades.

When I was a teenager, Halloween was a tradition of petty vandalism. We’d get a bunch of plastic utensils and stick them into people’s lawns. In those scary times with the acid hippies, bad hairstyles and baggy

pants, our parents gave us the freedom to go door to door, leave the house, and make mistakes.

My first experience in Salem, Mass., I was 17 and I was with a group of friends and we decided to drop acid. I don’t believe we obtained it from hippies. We started to peak a half hour upon arrival; we were sitting on the corner of this tire place, and I watched as everything was changing, moving, breathing. This guy from Ireland was with us. He was hired to work at a motel in Hyannis that my friend’s dad managed.

We decided to go to a haunted house. I couldn’t stop laughing because everyone was really animated. I was also completely insane, in my own world having my own experience. We turn a corner, and some rubber masked ghoul thing jumps out and grabs at the Irish kid, so the Irish kid reacts by punching him in the stomach, so we were all thrown out.

Hanging figures, Salem Witch Dungeon, Keith TylerThe trip turned bad for me when everyone was scrambling to figure out who would be driving home.
I was laying in the back seat of some girl’s car and just closed my eyes the whole way home. It was my 2nd trip, and honestly- neither were the fun I anticipated.

The next day, the back pain and weirdness settling in- that I didn’t like the intensity of the trip, and I wasn’t the type that can live in that reality/delusion for long periods of time. It wasn’t something I wanted to do again. (even if I did.) I was just a confused kid, just trying to figure things out in the world. Feeling a little out of place in the world, yet I was so curious about the world. So, I’d seek anything I was told was dangerous, because I wanted to know why. (even if I was told.) Those were my choices.

I’ve lived back on the Cape for six years. I have not seen any trick-or-treaters. Simple fun things like that have become so regimented with Nazi-esque curfews and scheduled play dates with other doting helicopter parents.

Perhaps the parents of today were reckless and criminal at their age, like I was, and they don’t want their kid to get the candy bar with the razor blade or the LSD. I know, it’s your job to protect them, but acid hippies aren’t wearing a special costume to let you know, and they probably don’t use social media.

I think about what it must be like to grow up in today’s stifling world. Growing up with technology, a wealth of information and distraction.

With knowledge comes responsibility.

So, the more we read about mass murderers, abductions, rapists, etc. the more fearful and inward we turn. When in reality, all of these things were happening when your grandparents were children.

1794995043_7306b61c4f_zI’m not saying let them drop acid or take candy from the creepy guy in the van. I’m saying stop policing, scheduling, or taking away kids fun over fear campaigns and your own personal attachment to making sure they always make the right choice. Avoiding everything that may hurt is a stagnant life, and a fearful life. How does a person pick themselves up after a fall and shake it off if you’re always there to prevent it, and how does a person truly have fun when everything is about being controlled, repressed and monitored?

Halloween is supposed to be fun for kids. They can be whatever they’d like for a day and get to eat tons of candy and have fun with their friends. I’ve heard some schools don’t even have Halloween parties anymore. Maybe those people are those hippies that put razor blades in candy bars.

I will always take candy from strangers on Halloween. (especially the ones that leave a bowl of it outside.)


Sara Wentworth is an artist based on Cape Cod. She and her husband Adam are the crazed minds behind Secret Society Art.


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