Autumn has arrived and I love it! I love the colors, the smells, the crisp cool air and the falling leaves. Time for hot drinks and Halloween decorations, cozy blankets and good novels.
After a long day at work or school I love to come home and enjoy the quiet; just me, my books, a few snacks… it’s so fun incorporating something you love into a relaxing night in! Spooky readings, hot potions (kidding, it’s just hot chocolate!) and a fuzzy blanket make what I like to call “my BOO Kit“. Etsy, Amazon and Society6 are my “place to go” whenever I want to spoil myself with something that is original, better yet if handmade.
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Now, let’s get into the Fall / Halloween spirit with these goodies; here is a little guide on How To Make your Unique BOO-Kit!
1. Spooky Readings
First and foremost, a good novel… My reading taste changes with the season. During the fall, thrillers and horror novels find their place on my night stand ready to be read: I got some classics like Dracula by Bram Stoker and some modern horror like IT, by Stephen King.
There is a book for everyone! CLASSIC HORROR, MODERN MONSTERS or DARK FANTASY… which one are you?
The Horror genre is older than you might think. As Leslie S. Klinger writes in his introduction to In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816–1914, the origin of the “tale of terror” should not be found in Poe — as is often claimed — but in Homer.
In the Odyssey -literature’s grandest evocation of an everyman’s journey through life- Odysseus confronts with divine and natural forces, including several witches (Circe).
Witches, spirits and other ethereal entities found place in The Bible as well (Samuel 28, 3-25) and the writings of the Greeks contain several accounts of ancient vampires -called lamiæ or empusæ.
The Roman raconteur Lucius Apuleius, in The Golden Ass (translated into English in 1566), reports numerous meetings with witches and sorcerers, as well as a vampiric creature.
Chaucer and Shakespeare both writings include numerous tales of ghosts and witches, not to mention the Renaissance polymath Niccolò Machiavelli, who wrote a novel-length story about an archdemon called “Belphagor”.
However, as you read in Klinger‘s essay, the true “flowering” of stories of horror began in the late 18th century. In Castle of Otranto (1764), Horace Walpole invented the genre that became known as the Gothic horror or Gothic romance, simply combining medieval ideas about the supernatural with the realism of the modern novel. Above all, he sought to create an atmosphere of terror, a world in which anything could happen and often did. The immense success of Walpole’s novel lead to others exploring the genre; Anne Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho,) was perhaps the most successful exponent of combining the supernatural and the modern, but also Matthew Gregory Lewis (The Monk, 1796), Sir Walter Scott (Wandering Willie’s Tale, 1907) and Washington Irving (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1900).
The early stages of the Romantic movement produces what Klinger calls “twin icons of horror“: the “scientific monster” and the vampire. Curiously, both emerged from a single night devoted to the telling of stories of horror.
In 1816, Dr. John William Polidori accompanied his patient Lord Byron on a trip to Italy and Switzerland where they were visited by poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his soon-to-be-wife, Mary. When incessant rain kept them indoors, they began reading aloud a book of ghost tales and -according to Mary Shelley– Byron suggested that they each write a ghost story to rival those in the book. Mary Shelley’s effort became Frankenstein and Polidori’s became The Vampyre, the first popular account of vampirism published in England, in April 1819.
The tales of Edgar Allan Poe (The Portable Edgar Allan Poe, 2006, Penguin Classics) were mid-century milestones on the trail of the horror story, beginning in 1835 with “Berenice” – a dark tale of a man who becomes obsessed by his lover’s teeth. Poe’s stories perfectly covered the gamut of science fiction, mystery, and horror all at once.
The late 19th century produced a number of what Klinger calls “writers fascinated by horror“: Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Guy de Maupassant, Henry James, and Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1886) but it was Bram Stoker with Dracula (1897) to set the standard for every subsequent story of creatures of the night.
Although vampires had been in the public eye for hundreds of years, it was Count Dracula who really caught the imagination of the world.
Then, in 1919, a giant emerged in the horror genre: Howard Phillips Lovecraft. At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels, Dagon and Other Macabre Tales and The Dreams in the Witch House: And Other Weird Stories are a must read.
Klinger writes: “We are fortunate to live in a time when the garden of the supernatural tale has grown so luxuriantly” and I couldn’t agree more. Stephen King, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Robert Bloch (Psycho, 1959) and Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House, 1959) are modern masters of a genre that knows no frontiers, nor crisis.
Stephen King is one of my all time favorite; IT and Salem’s Lot my two Halloween must read! but the list goes on, with more that fifty books (all of them worldwide bestsellers): The Shining, Carrie, Doctor Sleep, Mr Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch, just to name a few.
Horror doesn’t just exist in the world of literature; Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, 1967), William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist, 1971), Jay Anson (The Amityville Horror, 1977), Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs, 1988), Bret Easton Ellis (American Pshyco, 1991), Koji Suzuki (Ring, 1991) and of course, Stephen King inspired some of the scariest movies ever.
Movie night, anyone?
Monsters, zombies, vampires, witches and werewolves… your choice to make.
The list of the most popular dark fantasy / horror books is infinite and it’s almost impossible to give it justice: Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box, 2007), Neil Gaiman (The Gaveyard book, 2008), Rick Yancey (The Monstrumologist, 2009), Jonh A. Lindqvist (Handling the undead, 2010), Manuel Loureiro (Apocalipse Z: The Beginnig of the End, 2012) are my favorites.
2. Comfy Banket
Got your book? Good, now you are ready to cozy up! These blankets might be the softest on the planet!
I fell for Nature Magick‘s designs: Fall Acorns + Leaves, Fall Pumpkins, Pumpkin Patch are just some of the prints made by Autumn Kalquist -science fiction author, singer, talented artist, photographer and owner of Nature Magick on Society6.com, a huge platform that is home to hundreds of thousands of artists from around the globe.
You’ll have plenty to choose; delicate, fall inspired prints like those designed by Caley Hickes from There Will Be Cute, or if you’re looking for some more “hardcore” designs check out The Monster Store by Scott Lowell Jackson, best known for cover art of the contraversial Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics series, Scott Jackson’s artwork has been featured by Kiss, Megadeth, Pink Floyd, Electric Hellfire Club and many others.
Instagram: @ NatureMagickDesign
Twitter: @ nature_magick
Society6.com: Nature Magick
3. Glowing Flames
Candles bring warmth to your home like no other home decor can do. Certain scents have the power to evoke different feelings; aromas can stimulate, brighten, comfort and calm.
Made with soy wax and pure fragrance oils, these book-inspired candles are even more perfect for the Fall and Halloween season. If you’re a lit-lover yourself searching for the perfect scent to pair with your TBR pile, Keely MaHaffey -owner of GetFictional on Etsy– has what you are looking for.
My favorites? you can find them in the Halloween Collection: like The Black Flame Candle, Made from the Fat of a hanged Man (just kidding, it smells like cinnamon – orange zest – berry and cedar wood), or Poison Apple (tart apples – warm spices – lemon).
Instagram: @ GetFictional
Etsy Store: GetFictional
4. Hot Potion
Just like Amanda -owner of ALittleTinsel on Etsy– says: “Even witches need their caffeine!“… so, why not to drink your hot potion in a fancy mug.
Instagram: @ ALittleTinsel
Etsy Store: ALittleTinsel
5. Sweets & Treats
What goes best with a spooky novel? A box full spooky treats, of course! Natalie Puikkonen -owner of SweetShopNatalie on Etsy– makes handcrafted, delicious soft sugar cookies that are perfect for every occasion…Halloween included!
Vanilla bean cookies with a hint of lemon, hand cut and baked to perfection… decorated with colorful royal icing, nicely packaged and delivered right to your door.
My favourites? The Halloween Cookie – Tic Tac Toe: five pumpkin tic Tac Toe grid cookie with skeleton candy pieces to play the game!
* Note that all cookies are made to order. Halloween order will only be accepted through 10/16… so hurry up and grab a box of these delicious treats for you to enjoy.
Facebook: @ SweetShopNatalie
Etsy Store: SweetShopNatalie
6. Bath Bombs.. to die for!
TheMADbombers = I LOVE YOU GUYS! and I am pretty sure you’re gonna love these products too! Jean Poli -owner of TheMADbombers on Etsy, makes the best divine-smelling bath products I’ve ever tried. Not for the faint of heart!
My heart almost skipped a bit when I tried the Bless Your Heart Bath Bomb, an anatomically correct large heart that smells like black cherries! Simply divine! MEAT The Family Leather & Flowers Scented Texas Massacre Bath Bomb! (pictures below).. sounds intimidating, I know! but this one too smells amazing!
Less hardcore.. but still creepy: Holy Water White Skull Frankincense & Myrrh Shimmer Bath Bomb, SALEM the Caramel Apple Scented Cat Bath Bomb, Blood Sucker Black & Red “Bite Me” Scented Bath Bomb just to name a few.
TheMADbombers absolutely deserve a visit.. you won’t regret it!
Instagram: @ TheMadbombers
Facebook: @ TheMADbombers
Etsy Store: TheMADbombers
7. Scented Soaps
These goodies from OoohLaLa The Soap Bar come in a beautiful box, all wrapped up and delivered right to your door.
I adore the Edgar Allan Poe Basket, which contains:
- 3 Oooh-La-La The soap bar bars (Lavender&Sandalwood, Dragon’s Breath, Patchouli Lemon Grass),
- 1 hand poured Oooh-La-La Candle in a gorgeous glass red votive (Verbena – Berry or Applesauce Cupcake),
- 1 frog toy,
- and a collectable pocket size book of selected works by Edgar Allan Poe.
Beautiful and with a gothic vibe, these baskets are perfect for your Boo Kit! Don’t forget to go check the OoohLaLa TheSoapBar store on Etsy!
Etsy Store: OoohLaLa TheSoapBar
This is my unique BOO Kit, and now I want to know about you? What puts you in that pumpkin spicy mood? Spooky movies, creepy stories? I’d love to know..
Happy Fall everyone!
This is not a sponsored post. Links provided are for your convenience only! All the products mentioned have been religiously tried by The Serial Reader herself.. that’s why I am happy to share these treasures with all of you!
*Ebates and Amazon are referral links.
** Pictures courtesy of: Nature Magick, GetFictional, SweetShopNatalie, TheMADbombers, OoohLaLa TheSoapBar.