Happy Halloween, Wild Riders. Let the Wild Rumpus Begin…

Happy Halloween, Wild Riders! Let the Wild Rumpus begin. This is one of my favorite holidays. As I write this, I’m watching The Prophecy with Christopher Walken. So creepy! I love it.

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I had to came up with a costume for a Halloween Party. I’ll dress tonight as Morticia Addams, but I wanted to be someone or something different. I laughed when I thought of this. I had to be one of the Wild Things from Maurice Sendak’s popular book Where the Wild Things AreDoing the makeup was the best part.

Wild Thing costume

This has been a fun month of Halloween posts starting with 31 Days. To get in Halloween mood click for all kinds of spookiness including a Wild Blog Party. It’s never too late to drop a link and meet my friends!

What are you doing for Halloween? Are you dressing up?

Welcome to the Wild Halloween Bloggers Bash

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It’s time.

Welcome to the Breathless Halloween Blog Bash. I’ve been expecting you. The brew bubbling at the bar is filled with an extra punch to get your creative juices flowing… on the stone floor. Finger sandwiches were flown in fresh from the morgue and the delightful music playing is Victor Van Byteurnek’s Rhapsody in Blood. 

Let’s play a little game, shall we?

1. Drop a link to your blog in the comments and leave an enticing hook that penetrates the victim’s soul, if they have one. Watch for unsuspecting prey back at your lair and then feast on their comments on your site.

2. Then come back to play again, only this time you get hooked and click to other baleful blogs.

Here’s Cheat Code just for you: Tell them, “Susie sent me,” and they should click back to your graveyard digs.

Hopefully, you will become tangled in a web of new blogging fiends, I mean followers.

Only leave ONE link per comment or you will plunge into the depths of spam. Its gruesomeness knows no bounds and your comment will be banned forever more…. ever more….ever more….

Use Twitter and Facebook to invite your friends. The more the SCARIER… The party will rage until the bell tolls on All Saints Day, then I’ll retire to my crypt.

Stay hydrated fiends and don’t forget to DANCE!

Need more Halloween fun? How about a true tale of ghostly terror or story about a real Halloween circus to get your heart pumping….

Your Soul has been Summoned…

It’s Halloween weekend. Celebrants will attend festivities for the dead until All Hallows’ Eve. Not to be outdone, the Wild Ride will host a party to haunt you for days to come.

At the break of dawn on Saturday morning, it will begin.

Come, if you dare, and leave a link to your blog. Lure others to your den. Plied with concoctions of witches brew, you will mesmerize the victims with your tales. They won’t notice the sticky web keeping them glued until they subscribe to your blog. Muahahahahaha!

See you Saturday, fiends.

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Are you feeling brave enough for some Halloween fun?

Click here to enter the Halloween Party!

Please, Don’t Send Clowns to My House on Halloween Night

Clowns on parade. Don't come to my house Halloween nightOur local newspaper is holding an outdoor Halloween decoration contest. I had a photo ready to post on their Facebook page even though my dead guys and pumpkins weren’t displayed that early in October. In a month’s time in Colorado, decorations could blow to Kansas. I figured the dramatic lighting would make up for some of the missing details. I had the photo teed up and ready to upload when I hesitated. They required an address. It would post on their page so others could vote. Did I really want my house advertised this year? I would be opening up my door to a lot of strangers. Have you heard about evil clowns?

I always think of Judy Collins’ rendition of Send in the Clowns. She asked for them. But don’t send clowns to my house, please.

Clowns have never scared me, but I’ve never liked them either. Ridiculous in their little funny cars chasing each other and honking horns – as if they needed any more attention – they circuitously made their way down the street in parades. I remember cringing. Even as a kid I knew they were grown men. I wondered why they chose to dress up and wear face paint. Too gaudy and with predictably silly behavior, I would yawn and look forward to the next group to march down the street.

clownsIs it the garish face paint, the oversized and bright-colored costume, their humongous feet, or the crazed hair? Maybe our wee brains went into sensory overload as children. Maybe I could see the smile painted on some, which didn’t match up with their glum expression underneath or vice versa when a frown decorated their face. I just know that they creeped me out.

According to Wikipedia, the clown’s exaggerated appearance is for viewing from a distance. That explains some of the revulsion, but not all of it. Remember when circus clowns would fight each other and kick with oversized shoes? Sometimes one of them would squirt water from a flower into another’s eye. I never liked that either. Maybe I’m a sensitive soul.

I remember a new kid in my class who bragged about being a guest on The Bozo the Clown Show. Bozo asked him his name and the new kid supposedly said, “Cram it, clown.” The rumor spread like a grassfire. I stayed away from that kid. It seemed pretty aggressive for a third-grader. Now some of the clowns have become the aggressors.

When Stephen King’s book IT came out in 1986, I was super stoked. After the first few chapters, I set it down. I couldn’t sleep with those frightening images in my head. A maniacal clown, so evil and nasty, who stalks and kills little children? Ughh. After that, clowns really repelled me.it_1990_promotional_poster

For one of my daughter’s birthdays, I made the mistake of hiring a clown. I thought it was just me who wasn’t enthralled. In the video, one of the little girls cried while the rest of the kids squirmed and fidgeted. “That was a bust,” Danny said after watching it recently. We shared a giggle. I guess, I wasn’t alone.

I love dressing up and have a room full of costumes bought at garage sales along with my own castoffs from trends that never set. I’ve also made some for my kids. But I don’t own one clown costume. The thought of being a clown for Halloween never crossed my mind.

Although the clown originated from the “rustic fool” in ancient Greek and Roman Theater, it’s the modern circus clown developed in the 19th century that captures our nightmarish imagination. We can thank the traveling circus for each and every one of them.

With news of the worldwide clown attack epidemic, I wondered how much of IT had to do with the evil clown persona. So did Stephen King.

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Local law enforcement agencies in more than twenty states are prohibiting clown costumes this year. Some clowns, like the one we hired for Courtney’s birthday, may be out of a job, at least until this quiets down.

super creepy clownAll I know is on All Hallow’s Eve, Danny will be up at 0’dark thirty and will be yawning when the last of the trick-or-treaters ring our bell. I usually keep the lights on for high school kids and answer the door for the last of them, alone. Our neighborhood has aged out and the amount of kids who call is waaaay down. But I’m relieved I didn’t enter the contest. I won’t run out of candy at 7:00 nor will people come from miles around to see my house and ring my bell. Most of all, I won’t be a beacon for some crazy clown who comes to call on Halloween night.

But there’s no guarantee.

IT may find our house anyway…

 

You may have missed this ironic photo essay about the Halloween Circus we found. It was a super cool and entertaining party. Don’t worry. Not one clown attended.

What would you do if a clown knocked on your front door Halloween night?

If you enjoyed this, click for more Wild Adventures!

I Survived the Halloween Circus

When I read about Apex Movement’s SpookArray: A Halloween Circus Night, in the newspaper under adult themed Halloween activities, I had no idea what kind of entertainment they would provide. Hosted by the Fractal Tribe, they advertised movement play in an interactive gym. I wasn’t sure what the heck that was, but they had a haunted house and suggested wearing a costume. It sounded like my kind of party.

Deciding to go at the last-minute my husband, Danny, and I reached for the easiest of costumes: Morticia and Gomez. We have getting into character down to five minutes, tops.

We arrived at a Boulder warehouse and walked up to the entry with several other costumed partygoers to the bouncer dressed as a butler outside the door. He held a sign-in sheet of some kind. Maybe we were supposed to call for a reservation.

Nope.

It was a waiver. The butler explained they didn’t want to be held accountable for any accidents while inside the gym.

What????

Of course we signed our lives away and stepped inside. A very fit and gorgeous woman DJ sat behind a booth, rocking a ten-inch mini skirt and bra top. She swayed in rhythmic motion like a belly dancer with her rock hard abs. I would rock my bare midriff too if mine looked like hers. We paid a zombie with a black hat $25 each and stepped inside.

We met very charming Jessica, AKA, Wednesday Addams, at the party.

Halloween Circus with the Addams Family

Jugglers performed in greeting as I scanned the strange interior. It was a parkour gym complete with an interior building-like structure on one side of the room and monkey-bars throughout. I imagined someone leaping from one raised structure to the railings, then landing on the soft cushioned ground below. Zombies stood on top and performed with glowing hula-hoops. While we made our way to the back of the room, we passed a table full of drinks and snacks. Several people stretched out in the lounge on sumptuous chairs and couches. Another area was set up for a band.

A view from the top.

A view of the Halloween Circus

The haunted house opened and we stood in line. Nervous with tentacles around my feet and a partial knee replacement, I climbed to the top of the structure and then stepped down the ladder to the foggy darkness below. After being frightened by ghouls and zombies and creeping through a maze of small rooms, I came upon two dead ballerinas.

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Too much fun!

Every twenty minutes throughout the night, the emcee interrupted the music with an announcement for a performance. One of the first was an acrobatic couple’s dance smoothly executed by a muscular bare-chested fox and a young maiden. Their intricate and gravity-defying fluid motion made Dancing with the Stars look like the Hokey Pokey.

A couple practiced acroyoga inside a spiderweb.

halloween-circus-acroyoga

Acrobatics flowed to music in a new kind of dance. In solos and duets, performers used ropes, silks, and trapeze demonstrating incredible feats. Danny and I had a front row seat, except for one. The DJ played keyboard and a violinist accompanied her in the theme from Game of Thrones for a floor dance of some kind. Did I mention there were a ton of tall guys in attendance?

I was in the front row for Thriller.

thriller

Performances moved to the back of the room where acroyoga was performed in fluid display of body stacking and core strength. Yep. I’m a rank beginner. By then there were a couple hundred people and this was my view.

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All of the acts were brilliantly executed. I didn’t notice any slip ups and most performed above the ground. Whoa. I think twice before climbing my apple trees.

My favorite?

A woman in army fatigues ran onto the stage screaming, “Help! Help me! Don’t take me, please!” She stepped inside silks draped from a circular trapeze. Wrapped up inside, she twisted and writhed to the top of the mother ship. She crawled and struggled against the invisible aliens and at one point fell halfway down the silks then clawed her way back up. In the end, she stopped fighting and slid back down inside the silks to the ground. She emerged in a skin-colored bodysuit and stared with blank dull eyes. She had transformed into an alien. Cool or what?

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Everyone was super friendly and approachable. Most knew each other from classes. Many of them practiced with instructors during the party. I was tempted to try acroyoga, but at the risk of ripping a tentacle, I watched instead. Most everyone was in costume and no one was drunk or out of control. This event resembled a recital without the stuffy formality. There was no sense of competition, instead everyone cheered for their friends.

One tall Elvis impersonator told us he had worked at Apex for two years, but had never attended a performance. He couldn’t believe the level of talent. Neither could we.

What are we doing next weekend?

It’s a toss-up. Halloweird is a costumed dance party at the Dairy Center of the Arts. It starts with a showing of John Carpenter’s film Halloween for $5.oo. Or we can learn to tango at the UMC Glen Miller Ballroom at their Masquerade Ball. Comfortable costumes are recommended and it’s free. Saturday night there are too many choices including a Halloween Masquerade Party at the Stanley Hotel at a steep $110 each.

All I know is I have a basement full of costumes with somewhere to go.

Apex Movement has performances every few months. Next time, I’ll leave my tentacles at home. Maybe I’ll join the Circus…

 

Do you like dressing up in costume?

Being Haunted… A True Story in Time for Halloween

Being Haunted

Most think being haunted requires a creaky old house where a person died unexpectedly. The shock of a fall, suicide, or murder traps them between our world and the next. They believe these lost souls spend their days shackled to a place and a moment in time.

That’s not always how it happens.

My house wasn’t haunted. I was.

A while ago, a high school friend recounted her experience with shadowy ghosts in their turn-of-the-century home. I envied her. I thought it would be cool to see something so extraordinary. I wondered if I would scream and lay awake night after night knowing I was watched by sleepless souls.

Be careful what you wish for.

My own experiences started with a trip to Wisconsin around 2002. Since the drive back to Colorado would take eighteen hours or more, we planned to get an early start. My husband, Danny, set the alarm for 4:30 AM and we went to sleep in the twin beds in my parents’ Victorian home built in 1901. I woke up around 4:10. Since I had to get up in twenty minutes, I decided to stay awake. A thunderstorm brewed outside and lightning flickered. Then one of our kids opened the door to the bedroom. A dark silhouette of a child could clearly be seen against the hall light. Whoever it was walked into the room and between the beds. Something was very peculiar about this shadow. I tried to focus on a face, but couldn’t see one.

I sat up. “Who’s there?” I asked, “Kelly or Courtney?” As I reached out, the shadow disappeared. I looked at the space between the bed. Not even a child could fit between. I lay back down. My heart remained steady as I recounted what had happened. It didn’t make any sense. Someone was there and then disappeared. I hadn’t imagined it. I was wide awake when I sat up. I looked at the clock again. 4:20.

“Danny. Are you awake?”

“Yes.”

“I think I just saw a ghost.”

“I think you did too,” he said.

“Why? What did you see?” I turned toward him, fully awake now.

“When you asked if it was Kelly or Courtney, I saw light fly toward the window.”

Excited, my heart really pounded. Was it a ghost? What else could it be? I dressed and walked across the hall.

“I saw the door to your bedroom open and thought you were getting up,” said Courtney.

Crazy or what?

The other bed was empty. “Where’s Kelly?” My heart skipped a beat. I had seen enough horror movies to know what happens next.

Steps fell on the stairs behind me. My shoulders relaxed as Kelly joined us in the hallway.

“I couldn’t sleep, so I went downstairs,” he said. “I saw a light streak up the steps.”

We all experienced something strange that night. My brain couldn’t comprehend what I saw, so I wasn’t frightened. That would come later.

I assumed that would be the end of it until the next time we visited Wisconsin. My parents’ house had to be haunted. Not so.

Months later back in Boulder, I heard a shuffling in my bedroom and woke up. A woman dressed in black lace with a veil on her head stood on the other side of the bed and locked eyes with me. Her pale face wore a severe and angry expression. I sat up and yelled, “Danny! Look!” but she faded away.

A few nights later the same sound woke me up. I opened my eyes and gazed up at that woman’s scowling face looming above me. She stood right next to my bed. I could hear the crinoline shift underneath her skirt as she bent down toward me. I gasped and covered my head with the blanket.

These unexplainable occurrences always happened upon waking in the night because of a noise they made. Afterward, I would stare at the ceiling and wonder why me? My house couldn’t be haunted. We built it in 2000. We didn’t excavate an ancient Native American burial ground nor was a graveyard nearby.

Sightings would come in waves of three or four then there would be no activity for months up to a year. Then it would start up again. Doors would bang. Twice I saw bright orbs of light on the wall where none could reflect. A plant hanging from a hook would swing.

I continued to question what I was seeing until my night at The Stanley Hotel.

When my sister, Patty, her friends from Wisconsin, and I spent a night there on Friday the 13th, I told them nothing would happen. For one thing the date was so cliché. Come on. Friday the 13th! In the years I’d experienced ghosts, I could never summon them like they do on TV. When they wanted to be seen, they would wake me up. There was no way they would appear. Ironically, I was the only one who had seen them and the skeptic of the bunch.

There was a group from a ghost-busting TV show who also stayed at The Stanley that night. When I asked them what I was seeing if they weren’t ghosts, one of the hosts told me I was experiencing sleep paralysis. But I was neither asleep, nor paralyzed. A woman overheard us talking. After they left, she told me I was seeing ghosts and explained they are most often seen right after waking before we are fully conscious. I wasn’t sure what to think.

Everything that could happen in that haunted hotel did happen. Looking back, people probably held séances to summon the dead. It wasn’t sleep paralysis that pulled my coat down to the end of the closet or that banged overhead all night. It was unexplainable. Paranormal. Ghosts.

Days after my Stanley experience, someone pinched me when I lay down to go to sleep. It happened for the next three nights. I figured it was one of the ghostly children who ran the halls that night. In a photograph taken at the time, a huge orb appeared next to me. I’m still not sure how I feel about orbs in photos, but it’s there nonetheless.

At one point someone told me I should take classes to amp up my ability. What??? I was intrigued, but didn’t want to become obsessed. Nor did I want the responsibility of a medium. That was a life for someone else.

It was the banger who finally ended my interest in ghosts.

It, (I sensed it was a man) would bang on the dresser, the TV, then the ceiling. It had a peculiar sound to it. More like a snap than a tap. Danny said if he went to bed first it wouldn’t start until I came into the room. Yes. He heard it too. It would end after 11:00 then start up around 4:00 AM. I tried talking and then shouted at it to leave us alone and then gave up. This went on for almost three years. I even have a recording of the taps and knocks.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I really needed my sleep. I remembered something about salt. Armed with crystal bowls and a container of Morton’s, I placed several filled dishes around the bedroom. In two weeks the banger stopped. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?

At the Colorado Gold Writers Conference, I met someone who worked at a psychic center. I told him my book, The Foreboding, was based on some of my own paranormal experiences. He said I was in a minority of people sensitive to ghosts. Once I signaled my fascination and started to see them, I became a beacon to other entities. That explained why I’d several different ghosts over the years. Once I shut the door with the last ghost, they left me alone.

It has been almost three years since I’ve witnessed any paranormal activity. It occurred to me it should be considered normal. I didn’t hallucinate them, nor do I have sleep paralysis. Energy can’t be destroyed so where does it go when we die? I would say with some conviction sometimes it sticks around. We call them ghosts.

But remember what I learned. Trapped souls hunt those who can see them in the middle of the night.

Would you like to have a paranormal experience someday?

Be careful what you wish.

Have you ever seen or sensed a ghost?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance – Author or Blogger?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance - Author or Blogger?Five years ago someone asked me, “Do you want to be an author or a blogger?”

I scratched my head and wondered why I couldn’t be both.

Balance is something I struggle for all the time. I take a few steps on the slackline and feel in control just to plummet face first in the grass. “I can’t do it all.” I said that to my husband, Danny, a few weeks ago and he laughed. He knows how hard I work. Blogging while writing books and screenplays, promoting through social media, pitching, and querying, are all a struggle of priorities. I just love to write.

With requests made for my book, I set aside my new manuscript to polish the old. I wanted The Foreboding to shine brighter before sending it out on a wing and many prayers with hope that an agent or editor would see value in my work and want to represent it. But ideas for my new one have cried out from recesses of my tiny cranium and I had to work on it too. Blogging became a low priority. It threw me off balance.

I can’t imagine life without my blog. I already write in a vacuum alone with my thoughts most of the time. Blogging is where I practice. It’s where I get instant gratification in views and comments and feedback. It’s where I “see” and meet up with my writing friends. It’s my hollow in the woods where I let crazy ideas flow and I share my life adventures.

Therein lies the conundrum, the paradox, the tangled cat’s cradle that trips me up and tosses me off balance.

If blog posts are like paper to the flame, books are the mighty oak. I’m still waiting for the gratification of feeling the weight of my first novel in my hands. It will happen. In the meantime, I stoke the fire with kindling and fan the flames, and breathe life into my words until they crackle and burn. I watch the word count rise up until…. Sorry. I got carried away….

Any writing is like breathing. It’s all good practice and something I have to do.

Last weekend I met someone online who gets thousands of views a day on her blog through social media. Seduced by the thought of going viral, I downloaded her tips and tricks. I assumed she held back. She didn’t, but the list was dang long. It would take a huge time commitment promoting, editing photos, and writing generic or shocking posts to get views and shares. And there is still a ton of luck involved. That’s when I hit a wall.

Slacklining Susie“Nope. Not doing it. It’s not my goal to be a professional blogger.” Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get thousands of views here every day. Most writers want to be read. “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s what we do when sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. If I didn’t want people to read my work, I’d write in Dear Diary.

But spending even more time blogging is not why I started writing. I have much longer stories to tell. They require many hours and self-discipline.

And so I’ll continue to seek balance on this unstable line between blogger and author, even though it’s an ephemeral, momentary mirage. It will never be perfect. I’ll rise up to the line and I’ll flail. I’ll fail. I’ll fall. I’ll face plant and it will hurt. But I’ll brush myself off. I’ll take a deep breath.

I’ll rise up to the line to try again.

Do you find it hard to balance your time with blogging? Where are you seeking balance?

Click for more of my life adventures!