The tastiness and terror of Halloween

The tasty:

Yesterday morning, I went to Momma De’s Mixing Bowl on Whitehaven Road in Grand Island to participate in a cookie decorating class. The cutout cookies had already been baked, and participants in the class had the opportunity to decorate either one or two dozen cookies. There were both adults and children in the cafe, ready and eager to decorate cookies. Outside, the sky was dreary and it had started to rain.

The frosting was in squeeze bags, and we had a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, white, black, gray, green, and purple. We were shown how to outline the cookies. After letting each cookie sit for a short time, we could decorate them.  The colored frosting had become our paint, and the cookies had become our canvas. 

There was no requirement to stick to any particular style of decorating a cookies. The cut out cookies represented a variety of Halloween objects, including pumpkins, ghosts, tombstones, bats, black cats, and candy corn. Everyone in the class had his or her basic style. As I was a total beginner in the art of decorating cookies, it was unlikely that my cookies were going to look like something that came from a bakery. My style included stained glass, abstract expressionism (like Jackson Pollack), watercolor, cartoonish, and others.

I went home without my cookies, which had to stay in Momma De’s for the frosting to set. I will pick them up tomorrow.

The terror:

Alice at the Ghost Walk (photo taken by
Karen Keefe)

In the evening, my friend Karen and I went to Lewiston for the Marble Orchard Ghost Walk. The weather was not ideal for the ghost walk. Rain and wind and cold air were predicted for the event. The winds did not blow hard, nor did the rains fall. The anticipated “dark and stormy night” failed to materialize.

We joined a group carrying flashlights, who walked from building to building. We started at the old Frontier House, which had once been a famous hotel. Such important people as President William McKinley, Henry Clay, New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton, Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain), and Daniel Webster had stayed at the Frontier House. But the Frontier House is haunted by the ghost of a workman who had fallen from the third floor into the basemen when the building was being constructed. His body was hidden in the walls of the building by co-workers, who were trying to cover up the death. Can a red stain be seen on the side of the building?

The re-enactors told us of ghosts that wander Lewiston’s churches. They told us of slave catchers that chased runaway slaves into Lewiston, grabbing them before they could reach the section of the Niagara River where the slaves could cross into the freedom of Canada, called “Freedom Crossing.” They told of a baby who had been left in the house of an abolitionist by runaway slaves who had been grabbed and taken back to slavery. The abolitionist had been called away from his home for weeks, and the baby died. Cries can still be heard in the general vicinity of that house.

One of the re-enactors was a young woman who suffered from a highly contagious disease that caused her to cough uncontrollably. Another re-enactor kept calling for his true love, Jenny, who had disappeared without a trace. He called and called and became so discouraged by his lack of success that he turned to alcohol for comfort. As his cries for Jenny became more and more drunken, he was ushered away. Just before we entered the graveyard, we learned that public hangings were held there to save the expense of transporting the deceased to the graveyard.

There was a potters’ field at the graveyard, too. It was where the victims of epidemics were buried, in unmarked graves. Jenny’s abandoned lover had the unenviable job of transporting the deceased to the graveyard. He drove a cart around Lewiston, looking for sheets in front of homes. Those were the houses where a resident had succumbed to the epidemic. The driver had to go into the home and wrap the deceased in the sheet and take him to the graveyard, where he was buried in a mass grave in potters’ field. They lie there, forgotten in the mists of time. No one knows their names, except for a witch, who screams, cackles, and claws at the unsuspecting living people who enter the graveyard at night. She sang of the dead in a song that sounded ominous by its odd intervals. The re-enactors, plus one audience member, joined hands and sang “Ring Around the Rosie” in a menacing minor key, next to the graves illuminated by flashlights.

Will the ghosts emerge from the graves to accuse the living, like they did in the 1919 French movie, “J’Accuse,” and its 1938 remake of the same title, directed by Abel Gance?

Be afraid. Be very afraid. And go to the Marble Orchard Ghost Walk next year, on Saturdays during September and October. Fear can be fun.

13 thoughts on “The tastiness and terror of Halloween”

  1. I am a big chicken so would never go on a ghost walk or anything like that, unfortunately. But I love cookies!! πŸ™‚

  2. Halloween is just beginning to catch up in India. My teenaged son had a Halloween party recently and my younger son is also aware of the same. In a decade, this will be a very different scene I think. Loved reading this as it sounds like fun.

  3. That cookie decoration might be interesting. I want to attend ghost walks too atleast once but not possible with young kids.

  4. I am scared of the dark,so no halloween for me. I loved the idea of decorating the cookies. The pre baking cookies is a great move as it lets the non bakers to also enjoy the activity of decorating them.

  5. Can't imagine how terror can be fun. I'm scared of the dark let alone the spooks and would never go on a trip like this. You are brave to venture out on a dark and stormy ( albeit only predicted) night. I would have loved the cookies though.

  6. Are all these stories real, Alice? Oh god! I was sweating even as I read those ghastly tales..Haunted places and graveyards and all….I don't have the nerves to read about it, at all! I won't be able to sleep a wink if I do! πŸ˜›
    Very interesting post, Alice!

  7. So interesting! Like you already know, Halloween isn’t celebrated in India. But now with US companies around and many expats who live in India, we have started getting a taste of the fun. I would like to try cookie decoration. πŸ™‚

  8. Loved the spooky Halloween cookies, Alice. Those stories are scary. I am too scared to go for a ghost walk. Glad to know that you had fun. πŸ˜€

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