I love this time of year! Even though I’m not a kid anymore, there is something very alluring about the idea of playing dress-up for Halloween. I love to stride through the streets of London, kicking over leaves and looking at all the lovely pumpkins glowing in the dark. If there is the scent of chestnuts roasting on the fire somewhere, then even better.
Here is a list of my essentials for a great witching hour this Halloween.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgarov
This is one of my winter favorites! Master and the Margarita is a thinly-veiled satire of life in Communist Russia where artists and writers regularly suffered great censure and persecution. It is scathing, clever, and very dark. There is a great scene on a train that even mentions perfume. Here is the passage in question:
“In a sweet though slightly hoarse voice the girl made an announcement which sounded rather cryptic but which, judging from the faces of the women in the stalls, was very enticing: “Guerlain, Chanel, Mitsouko, Narcisse Noir, Chanel No. 5, evening dresses, cocktail dresses…”
Smoky Black Tea
I love the smoky scent that rolls in off a cup of freshly brewed Lapsang Souchong tea, although regular black Chinese tea will do in a pinch too. I find the smoke and tar undertones of this type of tea very comforting when the cold of autumn starts to come in. There is nothing better than sitting at a fire drinking hot smoky black tea while reading a good book, preferably something equally somber like the Master and Margarita!
I adore marrons glacés, those candied chestnuts in rich syrup that they sell in tiny tins all over France. They start to appear at this time of year, because they are simply too rich and sweet to eat when the temperature is over 10 degrees Celsius. I allow myself one a night in very cold weather, moaning softly as I bite into its mealy-sweet flesh, syrup running down my chin and onto my lap. A little piece of heaven.
Excentrique Moi is a perfect “witching hour” fragrance for Halloween because it is partly smoky black tea, partly rich, red dried fruits, and partly the evil green fairy of absinthe! Its texture is rich in playoffs between sweet and bitter, herbal and earthy, dark and light. Plummy, wine-like dried fruits sweeten the tannic sharpness of black tea leaves, and the upturned-earth darkness of patchouli is illuminated by a shaft of sunshine from lemon.
But then the bitter green excitement of wormwood emerges, infusing the scent with the eerie, chartreuse glow of an illicit glass of absinthe. Inhale deeply enough and the Green Fairy might just sweep you away to a table in Les Deux Magots with Degas and Gauguin, grumbling at the heavy rain clouds gathering above.
Full of twists and turns, Excentrique Moi shifts restlessly from fruit to forest to smoke like storm clouds seen racing across the reflection in a glass of absinthe. Wearing it is like holding up a mirror to one’s own emotions and moods. You can buy this little marvel right here.
Long Chestnut Boots
Essential for kicking over piles of leaves, in my opinion. When the nights grow dark but the air is still cold and clear, there is nothing like striding through city streets in a pair of the most buttery, gorgeous leather boots you can afford. The most chic right now is chestnut.
I normally favor a low-key, natural look, but at Halloween, I like to mix it up with a sexy, smoky eye. I use dark green forest colors like this smudgy green to give my eyes that haunted, gothic look that looks so right for this time of year. With my cape, boots, and smoky eye, I think I kind of look like little Red Riding Hood. Now where is my big bad wolf?
Little Red Riding Hood needs a cape, and a black one that flutters around my body as I walk is my choice for the season. A cape is a great way to add drama and a gothic feel to any outfit, and works even if you are wearing slim blue jeans, a skirt, whatever.
What about you? What are your style and life essentials for Halloween? I want to know!