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Adele Elliott: Horrors!


Adele Elliott



Every season has its charm. I love to bundle up in the bulky sweaters and furry scarves of winter. I adore those endless evenings of summertime's daylight saving hours, the dusk pierced by fireflies' sparks. 


Nevertheless, I am always pleased to see the end of deep cold and early darkness. And would be delighted if summer's sweltering heat lasted only about a week or two. 


However, I never tire of autumn. October is truly the best month. Now, we finally experience some relief from sauna-like temps and get to wear clothes that we haven't seen since before Spring Pilgrimage. 


There is a mystery about this month. Shadows cloak us and puddle under bushes. Wisps of smoke from burning leaves coil around tree trunks, weaving around knotty, finger-like branches. Some mornings, an otherworldly mist hovers close to roadsides and fields. Fallen leaves scurry along the sidewalks and streets. Their desiccated edges graze the ground, producing whispery sounds. 


And, more that anything else about this month, I looove Halloween. This is the greatest (in my opinion) holiday of the year. You don't have to shop for the perfect gift for an endless list of people. Overindulging in candy corn and tiny chocolate bars is easily overlooked. And everyone, even adults, is allowed to don a costume. Blame it on my New Orleans origins, so deeply rooted in the tradition of masking at Mardi Gras. I never pass up an opportunity to dress in costume. Anyone who has seen me this week knows that I start costuming days before All Hallows Eve. 


Tomorrow afternoon I will be reading from my novel "Friendship Cemetery" at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. I plan to wear my "Spider Queen" guise for that. Attendees are invited to costume as well. 


I haven't decided on my costume for the big night. I lean toward themes with a bit of glamour, like a dead movie star. 


My husband, Chris, comes up with the most imaginative costumes. One year, he was a very believable zombie. He walked stiffly; arms stretched awkwardly in front of him, and carried a huge cow bone. So scary! 


Last Halloween he was a "cereal" killer. We glued tiny boxes of corn flakes and Cocoa Puffs all over a raggedy shirt. Toy knives and cleavers pierced the boxes, all dripping with theatrical blood. 


This week promises to be a lot of fun. I plan to carve a pumpkin or two and stuff my face with candy. Chris and I will probably spend some time on the porch with our neighbors and our furry children, enjoying the autumn weather. 


In pagan times, autumn was recognized as the end of summer and the beginning of winter -- a time to harvest and prepare for the long, cold months ahead. It was associated with human death as well. The belief was that now, more than any other time, ghosts roamed among us. A scary thought! 


Of course, there are some things that frighten me. No, not ghosts. Most of them are harmless. You may not be able to imagine how creepy it is to receive hate mail from total strangers. They hide behind the masks of pseudonyms and cartoon images. While my photo and real name are published weekly. 


Oh well, I am a big proponent of first amendment rights, especially free speech. Say what you will, you have that right. 


I send everyone a big, friendly "boo," and my hope for lots of candy and creative costumes. But, please, try to be kind to sensitive souls.


Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.


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