Have a Full Witch Weekend: All Hallow’s Eve Edition

Have a Full Witch Weekend: All Hallow's Eve Edition, at Whisper & Howl #halloween #fullwitch #weekend

Happy Halloweeeeeeeeen!

I’ve always loved Halloween. I sported some fantastic homemade costumes as a kid: Statue of Liberty, gypsy, prairie girl (complete with bonnets). As a young adult, my hits included Velma from Scooby Doo (a group effort), an excellent (if I do say so myself) babydoll, and a very conceptual tornado. As I’ve gotten older, though, the holiday has lost some of its buzz for me. I don’t love binge-drinking. I don’t have a gang to do group costumes with. I try to avoid sugar. I hate the traffic to and from parties and the clusterfuckery of bars on Halloween. I want something better, something more…wholesome?

I’ve seen Hocus Pocus at least 23 times. I have always wanted that New England Halloween thing where all the houses are decked out and there are local tales of evil witches and the cemetary has a crypt. Now that I’m older, I want that party where all the adults wear elaborate costumes and dance (all night, because they are cursed, of course) and there’s an awesome bluesy band and presumably good booze.

I also want to do all the kid stuff. I can’t do that, of course, but I want to borrow a kid for the season at least. I want to go to pumpkin patches and costume parades and trick-or-treating and school Fall Festivals and all the family-friendly events that you really can’t do if you don’t have a kid.

Anyway. I want something new for Halloween. I don’t know exactly what that is, but this year it involves the road trip I advocated last weekend. I’m heading to Asheville to have a spook out with my witchy friend Kara. Plans include a burlesque, a Sleepy Hollow puppet show, and possible a seance. Here are some suggestions for things to bring some witch to your weekend:

Honor Your Ancestors

This is really pertinent to me right now, since I lost my Dad to cancer a little over a month ago. I want to emphasize that I am neither Pagan nor Catholic and do not want to diminish the religious holidays of Samhain, Dio de los Muertos, or All Saint’s Day. I do really love the idea, though, of taking time out to honor those who have passed with celebration and remembrance. I am also interested in experiencing a Samhain ritual as part of my full witch explorations. Here are some suggestions of simple activities you can do this weekend to honor those who have gone before us (borrowed from the lovely website Circle Sanctuary):

  • Ancestors Altar. Gather photographs, heirlooms, and other mementos of deceased family, friends, and companion creatures. Arrange them on a table, dresser, or other surface, along with several votive candles. Kindle the candles in their memory as you call out their names and express well wishes. Thank them for being part of your life. Sit quietly and pay attention to what you experience. Note any messages you receive in your journal. (Read Creating an Altar for more ideas.)
  • Feast of the Dead. Prepare a Samhain dinner. Include a place setting at your table or at a nearby altar for the Dead. Add an offering of a bit of each beverage being consumed to the cup at that place setting, and to the plate, add a bit of each food served. Invite your ancestors and other deceased loved ones to come and dine with you. To have this as a Samhain Dumb Supper experience, dine in silence. After the feast, place the contents of the plate and cup for the Dead outdoors in a natural location as an offering for the Dead.
  • Ancestor Stories. Learn about family history. Contact one or more older relatives and ask them to share memories of family members now dead. Record them in some way and later write accounts of what they share. Give thanks. Share what you learned and have written with another family member or friend. Add names of those you learned about and wish to honor to your Ancestors Altar.
  • Cemetery Visit. Visit and tend the gravesite of a loved one at a cemetery. Call to mind memories and consider ways the loved one continues to live on within you. Place an offering there such as fresh flowers, dried herbs, or a libation of water.

 

Walk in the Woods | Have a Full Witch Halloween Weekend with Whisper & Howl #fullwitch #weekend #halloween

Walk in the Woods

This weekend marks the end of summer (that’s what the word “samhain” means) and the beginning of the colder weather. Make a point to spend some time in the great outdoors this weekend and enjoy the harvest season. Throw on some plaid flannel, wooly socks, boots and a knit cap. Recreate all those wonderful photos of hip young adults in sweaters, walking through the woods. Take a hike. Sit on your porch with a pumpkin chai. Rake leaves, or gather them to make a wreath. Build a bonfire. Celebrate the season and connect with nature.

Go outside and stay there.

 

Listen to Halloween Music

Like, nonstop. You’ve got like 48 hours so make it count!  I’ve had Werewolf Bar Mitzvah stuck in my head for months and now I can play it on repeat without feeling unseasonable.

Here’s a Spotify playlist I made last year for my occasional radio show, The Friday Night Mixtape on WCOM FM. There are a lot of spooky instrumental songs mixed in there to add a really creepy ambiance to your car or home. Honestly, I’ve been listening to this since September.

 

Do you have any Halloween traditions or rituals of your own?

Have a Full Witch Weekend: 3 Things To Try

What makes a full witch weekend? How about a seasonal adventure, making glorious noise, and embracing your own natural beauty? Here are 3 suggestions to add some witch to your weekend.
Take a Mini Road Trip | Have a Full Witch Weekend: 3 Things to Try, from Whisper & Howl

take a Mini road trip

When I lived in Indiana, my friend and I decided to take a little seasonal drive out into the country. We found a small town that was having their annual autumnal Apple Butter Festival and headed off. The festival was really just some arts-and-crafts tents set up around the courthouse and a few trucks selling funnel cakes and soda, but it looked like the whole town was out there enjoying the warmish Fall day. We sampled a lot of apple butter, then stopped by the tiny historical museum in the old Carnegie library, grabbed free coffee in styrofoam cups and looked at old photos of local life.

On our drive home, we passed another festival and decided to stop. This one was in the evening, more of a county fair with the same low-end crafts and fried food, with the addition of a hot air balloon and some high school dudes playing covers of old rock songs. It was a little slice of Indiana life.

Every year, when I see signs popping up to advertise Fall Festivals and county fairs, I ache to get in the car and see what’s happening in all the little towns. This is a great time of year for mini road trips. Every corner of every county seems to have some type of local celebration. This weekend, do a little research, grab a friend and set off on a tiny adventure to see the leaves and ingest some local flavor. Chances are good that you’ll find an apple cider donut or two on your travels, and that makes everything worthwhile.

 

Lift Up Your Voice

Choose howl over whisper this weekend! Head into the woods and raise a ruckus with your instrument! Scream in the car, sing in the shower! Make some noise!

Sound is powerful. Feel your power.

Want to share your voice with others? There are so many ways to sing in a group. Check out a kirtan at your local yoga school or ashram, or gather friends for chanting. Go to church and hear your collective voices echoing through the nave. Check out a pop-up chorus. Have some friends over and jam. Visit an Irish pub and join in on the chorus.

 

Treat Your Skin

It’s hard work being a face. You get smothered with makeup, scrubbed with drying soaps, touched with greasy fingers and subjected to all of the many toxins of our modern world. This weekend, give your face a break! Try going make-up free for a few days and let your skin breathe. Give yourself a DIY Steam Facial or try double-cleansing. Brew up some tea, slather on a mask and stick some cucumber slices on your eyes. Be the decadent human you know you can be–all in the name of healthy, beautiful skin. Trust me, your face will thank you.

 

I hope you have a wonderfully witchy weekend!

Already have plans? Let me know what they are and perhaps I’ll include them on another full witch weekend!

 

Autumn Capsule Wardrobe: Making Ethical Choices

Considering the true cost of fashion in planning my Autumn Capsule Wardrobe at Whisper & Howl #capsule #wardrobearchitect #fashion #project333 #whisperandhowl #wardrobe #truecost

Friends, it has been a very long and trying month. The intensity of the past weeks has kept me from updating this little blog, but I did manage to pull together an Autumn Capsule Wardrobe, which I switched to on the first day of Fall. I don’t have any photos but I’d like to describe the process I used, because this time things were a little different.

Before I developed my Autumn capsule, I watched The True Cost, a documentary about Fast Fashion and the deeply negative impacts that our culture of consumer-capitalist culture has on the environment and our collective and individual psyches. Needless to say, I loved it. I thought the film was very informative and provocative, illuminating the unethical practices of fast fashion brands without disparaging the idea of fashion.  Fashion is beautiful, a form of wearable art that lets us express our individuality, culture, and creativity. Fast fashion takes clothing and turns it into a cheap commodity, something to be purchased without consideration and discarded when something new catches our fancy.  I won’t give facts and figures here, but if this is interesting to you then I encourage you to watch the film (you can stream it on Netflix).

Watching this movie reminded me of my morals and that I have a choice to make when I purchase clothing. I can choose to research brands and manufacturers and select fair-trade, organic, ethical…or I can go for cheap, disposable, trendy.

I don’t have a lot of money, but I want to make the right choices. I decided to really limit my purchases this season and to make as many pieces as possible. There are only 4 brand-new pieces in my wardrobe: a pair of Lotta from Stockholm clogs, a giant blanket-sweater and 2 pairs of high-waisted leggings. I admit that I do not know much about the brands I chose; the price for these items was higher than what I usually pay, which makes me think they are more ethically produced, but that absolutely may not be true.  I also obtained a shirt from my mom.

As I was developing my list of pieces that I have and that I want, I also thought about what I could sew in these few months. I have already made a lion-print wrap skirt and am working on a scuba knit, emerald green simple shift dress. I have a white sweatshirt and a plaid flannel shirt on my list. I average one new garment per month.

I hope to have some pictures for you soon.  I’d like to continue to explain my capsule wardrobe process as I hone it myself. I’m developing it into a service I can use with clients, so that I can help others achieve the ease, comfort and contentedness that I find in having a simple, curated wardrobe.

What role, if any, do ethics play in your clothing choices?