Friday, October 28, 2005

Haunted House

About 10 years or so ago, when I came back to the States after having spent several years abroad, I saw the movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas." At the time I thought it totally bizarre, and not in the hey-I-wish-I'd-thought-of-that way...more like the I-hope-whoever-came-up-with-this-is-being-kept-far-away-from-children-and-small-animals way. I've since reconsidered, and I truly appreciate the story of poor Jack Skellington whose fondest wish is to bring joy to children everywhere via some very ghoulish Christmas gifts.

I'm reminded of all this because tomorrow I face a somewhat daunting task: making a Halloween gingerbread house, replete with candy ghosts, jelly bats, and oodles of black icing.

Whoever thought of taking the traditional gingerbread house of Christmas and turning it into an edible bit of Halloween decor? That person must certainly have taken inspiration from Jack Skellington's crew.

Fortunately for me, the gingerbread comes pre-baked, meaning all I have to do is assemble the house and decorate it. Unfortunately for me (and everyone else at the pumpkin-carving party I'll be attending, house in hand), decorating is my weak suit.

Were this a knitted house of wool things might be different. As it is, I have no confidence in my ability to pipe icing windows and line up candy roofing tiles. The kit gives me three "spook-tacular" designs to choose from, and I'm certain I can reproduce none of them. My saving grace is that haunted houses are by design supposed to be crooked, awkward-looking structures; tilting windows and leaning fenceposts can be passed off as deliberate artistic interpretation.

I suppose that if our biggest problem of tomorrow is an imperfect gingerbread house we can call the party a success; will be sure to report on the outcome of mixing beer with carving knives in a later post.

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