Dead Highlanders, Family Traditions, and the Perfect Playlist

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
~A Scottish Prayer

One of the reasons why fall is my favorite season is because of the family traditions associated with Halloween. I look forward to harvesting pumpkins from the garden, the pleasant feeling of purchasing a plant that will die from cold weather and not from my lack of gardening skills (hardy mums), the creative costumes, and my two personal favorites, the unique music and decorating.
The decoration that holds the most significance for me is my grim reaper decanter and skull shot glasses, which belonged to Grandad (George Roche Jr.). Learning the history of the piece gave it even more significance, upon discovery that the set originated from pre-militarized Japan. While I don’t particularly enjoy drinking shots, many friends and family love to stop by on Halloween and drink a toast from the set.

I also love to dress up and watch my family embrace their creativity (or lack thereof). My favorites are the homemade varieties. As a preteen, I remember my father coming down the front staircase at Broadlawn in an outfit that was thrown together in less than ten minutes, a bathrobe, wild white wig, and beard and voila, insta-Gandalf. Though I have to admit as a preteen, the first word that came to mind was YUCK!
Another fond memory occurred ten years ago at our family Halloween with my sister and her husband, Muriel and Jeromey. Jer built a pirate ship in the yard for people to sit on while handing out candy. The entire family dressed up with a nautical theme. Muriel pulled off the perfect mermaid and sat patiently on the homemade ship for the entire evening handing out candy (since she was unable to walk in her costume). My frugal hubby packed up all his fly-fishing equipment and painted his face white with blood red streaks, going as a dead fisherman.


Looking forward to this year’s celebration, we host an annual open house for friends and family out trick-or-treating. Chad makes a batch of homemade sauerkraut to accompany hot dogs, cider, and any treats our friends and family bring (usually some of the tastiest homemade fare 🙂 This year’s costumes are no exception! I bought the boys and Chad kilts this summer, so George is dressing as a dead highlander and his good friend, who recently returned from a year with family in Germany, is wearing lederhosen and dressing as a dead German. Chad even wired speakers on the porch, so we can enjoy our unique playlists of the evening.

The special playlists of the holiday are favorites. I have both a classical and rock and roll Halloween mix.

Fright Night Classical Playlist (There are several Halloween themed CDs with many of these songs.):

Danse Macabre
A Night on the Bare Mountain
In the Hall of the Mountain King
Marche Funebre
Scherzo (from the Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
O Fortuna (from Carmina Burana)
The Ride of the Valkyries
The Old Castle

Rock-n-Roll Playlist:

I Put a Spell on You (CCR)
Werewolves of London (Zevon)
Welcome to my Nightmare (Cooper)
Ghostbusters (Parker)
Thriller (Jackson)
Black Magic Woman (Santana)
Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)
I Want Candy (Bow Wow Wow)
Desperation Samba (Buffett)
People are Strange (Doors)
Addams Groove (MC Hammer)
Bye & Bye/Saints (Stafford and White)

The last song is not really part of the rock-n-roll genre, but it should be included in the Halloween repertoire. “Bye & Bye/Saints” is a piece that includes a personal favorite of mine, “When the Saints go Marching in.” While there are aspects of Halloween that I do not enjoy, the larger part of the holiday is time with family and time for family traditions. It’s a time for children to use their creativity and create a costume. It’s a time to have fun being something or someone else. We make lasting memories with these holidays. We praise the Lord for the blessings of the harvest, the crisp weather, the comfort food shared with family and friends. In my own church, Halloween represents All Hallows Eve, to be followed by All Saints Day, and then All Souls Day. I like to take this time to remember those who have gone before us in the past year, remember the memories we shared, and drink a toast in their honor.

I’m trying to find time to blog every month about three important things in my life: Clan, Music, and Writing. If you would like to read each post, you can follow my blog and receive an e-mail with each new post. I also appreciate comments and constructive criticism as I am always looking to improve. Thanks!

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