Is Halloween more magical than Christmas? Does that sentence offend you? If you're like my Great Aunt Lorraine who's house looks like Santa diarrheaed Christmas cheer everywhere, then you might be. One year she took my mum and I to a Christmas liquidation sale in a large medically lit warehouse to get deals on Christmas items leftover from the previous year. Four hours in a sea of red, gold and green but lacking it's luster from the industrial setting among mentally ill hoarders. This was my Aunt Lorraine's heaven. Bless her, she's sweet lady.
For me, Christmas is very magical. But Halloween is my jam. Like my deep dark soul jam. As a child, I felt like I was a magical being in a human's body. But not the sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice kind of magical. I believed myself to be mostly good, but with a mysteriousness, a mischievousness, an untamed wildness that could not be exorcised. I felt eventually the universe would reveal my powers and I could fully come into who I am– a lady warlock!
In my early twenties I was very unhappy. I had panic attacks and severe anxiety that debilitated me from living a normal day-to-day life. I had lost myself somewhere growing up. It felt like everyone else was deciding how I should act, who I should be and what I should be doing with my life. Let's not should ourselves, okay? It seemed my vision of who I really was and the world I wanted to live in was fading, and fast, into a dismal abyss of monotonous cubicle jobs, illness, and financial stress. A few people in my life helped remind me those things weren't real, if I didn't want them to be. The more I focused on feeling good, the more I could hear my true self and the magic returned bit by bit. Magic comes in many forms and shows up differently for everyone. Maybe this is why Halloween speaks to me– it reminds us of the beauty and mystery in life but on a wide spectrum of dark and light. Darkness is important as it gives contrast to light. I like to imagine the darker you go on one end of the spectrum allows you to go equally as far on the light side. The wider your feeling range has grown, the more expansive you become. I think the intense fearful and depressing feelings allowed for profoundly joyful ones because it's all intensity, just in different forms. And you can feel extreme gratitude and joy from the contrast of knowing how bad the other end of the spectrum feels.
We can't rid ourselves or this world of darkness, so why not embrace it? Say, “I see you there. You are valued." Without darkness, wouldn't life be boring? What makes a great story? It's almost always the contrast between good and evil. Of course we always hope good will prevail, but without evil there would be no fuel for bravery, curiosity, mystery, or adventure! And without those, life doesn't really sound all that great.
You cannot deny the macabre is thrilling. It's so human from the fear and uneasiness it brings but it's simultaneously otherworldly in nature. I like to fall in love with that darkness. Many of my favourite places are shrouded in creepiness and shadows; New Orleans with it's deep mystical roots, Prague's gothic and baroque architecture, and Mexico with the Day Of The Dead– a celebration commemorating the deceased and reminding you death is a part of life.
And with that, I made a zombie pie. An all butter crust with a deep cherry red filling that gives us some good looking blood and clots. I used this pie crust recipe and method from Pastry Affair because it works every single time. For last year's Halloween post click here for this decadent Chocolate + Salted Dulce De Leche with Meringue bones. It's shamelessly rich with distinct notes of good and evil.
Halloween Candy + Types of People
Packs of Candy (starburst, skittles, fuzzy peaches etc.) – You are a considerate, good person who remembers what it's like to be a kid. You never leave the breakroom messy and you buy friends/coworkers coffees without a second thought. Dogs like you and cats think you're okay.
Tootsierolls – Wow, really?! Do you hate children or something? You're not fooling anyone with your passive aggressive candy choice. Flush those down the toilet like the rabbit poops they really are.
Tootsieroll lollipops – You're not a bad person like original-tootsieroll-guy (see above) but you are confused what qualifies as good candy nowadays. The outer lollipop part of this candy is okay (especially the cherry) so you get a pass. You also fill stockings with oranges at Christmas. We don't dislike these choices, but there are better ones. Light a candle tonight and look within yourself for more insight on making good choices.
Candy Corn – You like seeing the faces of disappointed children. You get off on it. You loudly rustle popcorn bags at the movie theatre while shovelling your buttery hands into your mouth then laugh so loudly the popcorn flies right back out. You attached a pair of fake balls to your truck and have a terrible bumper sticker that offends people and that's the way you like it. You think Donald Trump is “doing his best". Please seek therapy asap.
Toothbrushes – You are a dentist or dental hygenist. It's good to have one in each neighbourhood, but no more than that. You care about health and we need people like you so our teeth don't fall out of our faces like in the dark ages.
Mini bags of chips – People love you! You're a great neighbour and always let your kids have sleepovers and let them watch scary movies. You also enjoy gardening and have some lovely petunias come summertime.
Homemade cookies in saran wrap – You are 90 years old. Your name is something like Ethel or Beatrice. You have mildly good intentions but you're losing it. Sometimes you say inappropriate remarks like “coloured people" or “chinamen" but you're so old that people sigh defeatedly and say, “well... she'll be dead soon."
Homemade cookies with surprise razor blade center – You are psychologically unwell but it's the 90s so we don't take mental illness seriously yet. Your favourite past time is leering at children in the playground and wearing your mother's rouge lipstick in a wide ring around your lips.
Mini chocolate bars – You're an angel. You see the brighter side of life and say things like, “I love to cozy up with a good book in the rain". You've travelled the world and have photos in your house of the time you bathed in the Ganges with the locals and travelled camelback across the Sarahan Dunes in Morocco. You always bake cupcakes for birthdays and write heartfelt notes that make people tear up and remember how beautiful life is. Thanks for being you.
Raisins – Why?! Did you pull those from the back of your pantry where they've been sitting for the last three years? You keep trying to convince everyone they're “earth's natural candy" but raisins are just dusty old dried up grapes. You know what's better? Regular grapes. Or anything else ever.
Happy Halloween Lovely Humans!!!
Creep it real. xx
ZOMBIE CHERRY PIE
the feels: buttery, flakey, sweet, slightly tart
eat with: tea, coffee, whipped cream/coconut cream, pouring cream, vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, champagne/ sparkling wine, red wine (merlot, pinot noir, syrah/shiraz)
might like if you're into: The Shining, the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe, eating flesh, sucking blood, Dexter, The Witch (a really good scary movie).
makes one 9 inch pie
- one double pie crust (see below for link)
- 5 cups pitted cherries (fresh or frozen, I used frozen)
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)
- pie tin or dish
- In a large bowl mix the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, almond extract and cornstarch until evenly combined. Put in the fridge to let filling settle.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Place half of pie crust in pie tin. Push down gently to secure to base. Trim edges and keep the scraps. Pour in cherry filling. Dot the filling with the small cubes of butter (Make a triangle with the scrap pie dough for the shape of the nose. Feel free to make it as big as you like. place in the middle of the pie on top of the filling wherever you want your nose to be.
- Place second pie crust on top. Push gently over the nose to form. Rip edges of top pie crust so the zombie face outline is messy looking. With a sharp knife cut out eyes and mouth. Add cuts for scars/stitches. With a chopstick or pen, push gently into the bottom of the nose to create nostrils.
- Brush with the egg wash and place the pie on a large baking sheet to catch any overflow. Place into oven for 20 minutes. Remove pie and cover the edges with a pie crust shield (I make one by gently forming aluminum foil around the edges in pieces. This prevents the edges from becoming too dark. Turn oven down to 375ºF and put pie back into oven. Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, I base it on the colour being nice and golden.
- Let pie cool. Scoop out eyes for a more hollow soul look and poke the chopstick back into the nostrils so filling can seep through. Serve on it's own or with some sort of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- Cover tightly. This pie can be stored on the counter at room temperature for 2 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze this pie if making in advance, in which case freeze the pie uncovered until frozen solid, then wrap in plastic wrap or foil and freeze for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature for an hour then reheat at 375ºF until warm (around 30 minutes).