Happy National Vampire Day!

Yes, today is the day we celebrate those blood-sucking, garlic-hatting, undead, fiends.

There are many good vampire stories and books, but Mark of the Vampire (1935) is not one of them. Of course, Bela Lugosi is wonderful in the few scenes in which he appears. But the movie plot is not wonderful and Lionel Barrymore drains the life out of every scene in which he appears more effectively than any vampire could. It’s rare that watching a movie actually makes me mad, but this one did. I guess I feel pretty strongly about my vampire movies!

But there are the redeeming scenes where vampires play…and this is one of the most memorable. One, it features a female vampire. Two, it features a vampire in flight. It is worth the price of admission for the entire movie, but thanks to YouTube, you can watch this clip by itself without suffering through the entire movie.

There, now. wasn’t that splendid? I just thought this little jewel of a scene should be celebrated, just like we are celebrating vampires today.

(By the way, Vampire Awareness Day (October 30) is a separate observance day that was promoted by Best Buy to raise awareness about eletricity-draining home electronics and has nothing to do with vampires at all).

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Happy Halloween!

Best witches…er, wishes! for an enchanting Halloween night and a spellbinding Samhain.

After you pack away your costumes and blow out your Jack o’lanterns, please join me at Cool Yule to celebrate the fun and wonder the winter holidays have to offer.

Happy Halloween!

Love,  Mary

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Creature Double Feature: Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein

It’s almost Halloween! This October, PeacockTV.com has made a number of classic Universal horror movies available to watch, for free, online.  Today’s double feature:


The 1935 sequel, Bride of Frankenstein (thought by some to be superior to the original Frankenstein movie and achieving a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), stars Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester. According to Wikipedia, to achieve the iconic hairstyle of the Bride of Frankenstein, a wire form was put in place. Her hair style was inspired by Nefertiti. Elsa Lanchester’s hissing was inspired by the defensive hissing of swans. The director decided to have Ms. Lanchester play both Mary Shelley and the Bride to show how the horror story sprang from the teen author’s dark imagination. There is a lot of compelling imagery, including religious imagery, in this movie, some of which was removed by censors. Even in its altered state, it was banned in several countries. But it has been listed by the Library of Congress as a film of cultural significance and makes many top 100 film lists.

Son of Frankenstein was released in 1939 and starred the dashingly handsome Basil Rathbone in the titular role, as well Boris Karloff as the Creature and Bela Lugosi as Ygor. Bela Lugosi was permitted to use his full imagination and acting prowess in the role and stole the spotlight from his rival, Boris Karloff. (This film has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

The movie was such a commercial success, Universal Studios decided to create more sequels to 1930s horror classics, including The Invisible Man Returns and The Mummy’s Hand (which is really more of a remake).


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Happy Chocolate Day!

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

It’s almost Halloween and I have a question for you: have you polished off the candy you bought to hand out to trick or treaters yet? Be honest! 🙂

Hey, no judgment here! Just asking…since it is Chocolate Day, and all.

In a 2019 poll, chocolate candies were rated as the top favorite Halloween treats.

  1. Reese’s Peanut Butter cups
  2. Snicker’s
  3. M&Ms
  4. Hershey bars

Which is your fave?

Although chocolate in all its forms is wonderful, consider the choice of dark chocolate, which is a superfood because it is rich in antixoidants.

I also find it is more satisfying than the popular brands of chocolate candy so I eat less of it. Here are some health benefits of dark chocolate with 70% or more cacao content….

  • May reduce heart disease.
  • May reduce risk of stroke.
  • May help reduce your “bad” cholesterol.
  • May stabilize blood sugar.
  • May help you lose weight.
  • May reduce your stress level.
  • May improve your focus.
  • May improve your memory.

Some actors eat a bit of chocolate to prevent stage fright!

Remember that milk chocolate doesn’t offer the same benefits as dark chocolate and you should keep your portions to 1 oz (about a 1/4 of  a Lindt bar) for best health results.

But hey, it is Chocolate Day. If you want to enjoy some milk chocolate or white chocolate, you have my blessing.

Happy Chocolate Day!

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Happy National Wicked Witch Day!

Photo by Tom Leishman on Pexels.com

Today is the day we celebrate wicked witches (not that all witches are wicked!)

What would we do without our wicked witches? Do we not need villains to test our goodness and to help us face our fears?  Of course, we do!

Today is a good day to watch a witch movie. Although plenty of witches are wicked, just as many are owning their power  and creativity while rejecting victimhood and roles that just don’t fit their goals. 

Who is your favorite wicked witch?

  • Endora (Bewitched)
  • Zelda Spellman (Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch)
  • Jennifer (I Married a Witch)
  • The Wicked Witch of the West (Wizard of Oz)
  • Eva Ernst, the Grand High Witch (Witches)
  • The Evil Queen (Snow White)
  • Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
  • Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter)
  • Winifred Sanderson (Hocus Pocus)
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Happy Pumpkin Day, Charlie Brown

Happy Pumpkin Day!

In celebration of the day, may I suggest you take a trip down memory lane and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown ? I watch this classic every October. Best enjoyed with a slice of pumpkin pie!

Candy manufacturers must be eternally grateful that this animated movie was made in 1966, because it practically ressurected the tradition of trick or treating in the United States.

Here you go! Enjoy! 


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Create a “Drip Art” Pumpkin

Since today is National Art Day, I thought it would be cool to create a drip-art pumpkin. I have never seen one, but the Crayola instructions make it look easy. You can even buy paint just for pumpkins in Halloween colors from Crayola, but any acrylic craft paint should work. You’ll need a pumpkin, paint, paint cups, water, stickers or duct tape, and stirrers and papers to cover your work surface. I can’t wait to try it! Here’s how to…

What colors would you pick for your drip art pumpkin?

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Spooky Word of the Week: Sepulchral

It’s almost Halloween! Today’s word is sepulchral. It is an adjective that is derived from the word sepulchre — a word that means tomb. It comes from the Latin word for grave (sepulchrum).

Sepulchral means something that is gloomy (dark and quiet in a spooky way) or something that is associated with a grave or tomb. Of course, a tomb would be sepulchral in nature. 

Here is an unforgettably spooky film for you that is selpulchral in nature: Premature Burial (1962) starring Ray Milland. Enjoy!


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Creature Double Feature: Werewolf of London and Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman

As a special treat, Peacock.com is making a selection of classic Universal horror movies free to view online in the Halloween month of October. I thought I would feature two a week, just as I used to watch them in second-run movie theaters as a young girl.

Our double feature tonight includes two werewolf movies!

According to Wikipedia, Bela Lugosi was originally considered to star in Werewolf of London but he was already involved in Mark of the Vampire. I think the humorous scenes between the two old ladies in Werewolf of London are worth the price of admission. The motif of the antidote is original to this movie.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1944) stars Lon Chaney, Jr., Bela Lugosi and Maria Ouspenskaya, who had appeared in The Wolfman (1941) with Chaney, along with Claude Rains (The Invisible Man, Casablanca, Notorious). It was the first of many “monster rallies” pitting two or more monsters against each other (or as allies) in horror films. Lugosi’s physical representation of the monster became iconic and widely imitated in subsequent portrayals, just as he had done for the character of Dracula. He wore 35 pounds of makeup for the role of the Frankenstein monster and collapsed on set and had to go home once from the sheer exhaustion of acting wth that much makeup on.


The links to the free movies are in the titles of the movies above. Enjoy!

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Pamper with a pumpkin spa night

Autumn in Virginia tip: if you do this pumpkin spa night, the meditation, light the candle and the pumpkin smoothie, you can check off 4 self-care activities on the October Self-Care Challenge!

With a little advance preparation, you can have an at-home spa night that is just right for October relaxation and self-care.

Gather your pampering supplies:

  • Herbal tea, mineral water or “spa” water (chill water with cucumber or lemon slices). Or enjoy a pumpkin smoothie.
  • Fragranced bath products. Bath and Body Works has lots of seasonal fragranced products if you like fragrant bubbles.
  • Epsom salts for healing and calming magnesium. Add some honey to your bath, if you like.
  • Some water-safe crystals to set around your bath, such as autumn-colored carnelian, citrine and Tiger Eye, as well as good ol’ quartz.
  • Six drops each of red and yellow food coloring turns the bathwater pumpkin orange!
  • A pumpkin-scented candle (like the Pumpkin Chai candle, $1, Dollar Tree).
  • Music, ambient sounds or a seasonal guided meditation.
  • One of these homemade pumpkin mask or scrub recipes. I’m using a home-made mixture of 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 1 Tbsp. each of honey and olive oil and 1 tsp. each of cinnamon and nutmeg to leave on my face for 15 minutes.
  • Your favorite seasonal hue of polish for your toenails.

Light the candle, draw a bath and soak for 20 minutes (play the guided meditation if you have trouble relaxing completely).  Don’t forget to bring an unbreakable drink container so you can hydrate while in the bath.

Afterwards, continue your evening of relaxation by moisturizing your skin with a delicious lotion, donning spa socks and cuddling up with an intriguing seasonal story, such as The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo.

Take a light dinner early in the evening and turn in early for a good night’s sleep.

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