A Halloween Well Spent

Halloween is my favorite holiday of all, and I have been preparing all month for it. From the treats and movies to the pumpkin patches and ghost tours, and carving pumpkins I have been trying to soak in all that this spooky month has to offer.

I have my traditions that I do every Halloween, and this Halloween I have also had a couple of new experiences. Every October I make my way through my core list of non-negotiable movies: “Halloweentown”, “Hocus Pocus”, “Practical Magic”, the “Halloween” movies, “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” “Halloweentown” can be found on Amazon, “Hocus Pocus” plays just about every night on Freeform, “Practical Magic” is on HBO GO, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is constantly being shown on Freeform also. AMC plays repeats of Halloween, “Jeepers Creepers”, and “Nightmare on Elm Street” as well. “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” is shown sparingly on local channels, but I also found it on YouTube.

This year, I have seen all of my non-negotiable movies (a couple of times each), and I was also able to go see the new “Halloween” movie that was recently released. This year is the 40th anniversary of the original “Halloween” movie, and I thought the new one was very well done. It even had some funny quirks relating it to the original. I have also been watching “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” on Netflix. This is a sort of remake of everyone’s favorite witch show, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” There are a lot of similarities to Sabrina, but the new adaptation is much darker and not as generally happy as the older show. The new one is scarier and more violent, and the premise of the show is completely different. The new Sabrina does look strikingly like Melissa Joan Hart though.

Not only is this the 40th anniversary of “Halloween”, it is also the 25th anniversary of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Hocus Pocus”! 1978 and 1993 were very good years for Halloween movies. Hopefully, if you’re like me and these are three of your favorite movies, you’ve had time to watch them this month.

We also went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this year! It was absolutely adorable, and I loved getting to go through Magic Kingdom dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. The decorations were obviously incredible and we left with a ridiculous amount of candy.

I am currently baking my favorite cookies (Halloween Pillsbury Holiday Cookies), with a fall candle going, while continuing to watch “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” I just so happen to be planning to dress up as a witch tomorrow.

Tomorrow night we are planning a movie fest, and hopefully some Trick or Treaters will stop by. I hope everyone has a great day tomorrow and of course, Happy Halloween!

 

 

A Monday Two Octobers Ago

I write a lot of stories involving scary things on here, and especially since it is October people are watching and reading scary stories. Two Octobers ago though, I met the subject of many nightmares I’d have for the two years since then.

In October of 2016, a man followed me into an elevator at my law school and assaulted me. Today, I felt like writing it all down. It was mid morning, sunny and in the middle of a school building- not exactly a time where I felt like I needed to put my keys through my knuckles like a weapon. The man was arrested, but only after a camera got a view of him assaulting another woman a block away a couple of hours later. I remain very thankful that the City of Charleston’s officers worked quickly and that he was arrested the same night of the incident.

When he was sentenced, I learned that Bob Drayton, Jr. was a schizophrenic, homeless man who had suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. Every time I think of this happening, I try to remind myself of those facts about him so that I am slow to anger. I try instead to think about if he had not been born into the conditions he was clearly born in, that maybe he would have had a chance to turn out differently. It’s not an excuse for him, but rather an attempt at understanding how a human being could be formed into what I can only describe as hollow.

Without going through every movement and every detail of the assault itself, the best way I can describe this was that it was mind altering. I grew up in a small town where I knew everyone and everyone knew me. I was never in a situation that I was worried for my safety, and I never wondered if I would be harmed or overpowered by a man. I understand how rare that feeling is, and how lucky I am to have lived in that bubble for so long.

Physically, I was fine after this. I was shaken, but as far as physical injuries go, there weren’t any thankfully. Mentally though, since that day I have not been the same person. I am a skeptical person now. I do not see the best in people initially like I once did, and I frankly don’t like being around new people who I don’t know in settings without other people around. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable, and I feel like I constantly have to keep my guard up. He shattered my trusting nature that had always come so naturally to me.

I do not go on elevators with men I do not know anymore. If someone isn’t with me that I know, I will wait until the next elevator comes or I will take the stairs. I’m not sure that this is something I will ever stop doing at this point.

For a long time I was angry at myself that I did not hit him or kick him or do something to stop him, so that at least he wouldn’t have done it to the next girl. I always thought that if I was ever in a situation like that, I would fight hard and that I would be able to defend myself. In actuality I froze, and I was unable to protect myself. My first instinct was flight, and as soon as the elevator doors opened, I ran. He got away because of me, or at least that’s what I told myself in the months following it. You truly don’t know what you’ll do in a situation like that. After learning about all of his mental illnesses, I started to forgive myself slowly, realizing that had I attacked him it was not out of the question he could have had a knife or any other weapon on him that he could have pulled on me.

My anger shifted more into just being thankful that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. The anger came back when he was sentenced. I wasn’t angry at the judge, or really even him- I was angry at the laws we have in place in South Carolina.

Ultimately, he was sentenced to three years in state prison, with credit for time served. When he was sentenced, he had been in custody for almost a year. When I spoke at his sentencing, where he plead guilty, I told the judge what happened and I asked that he be sentenced to the maximum amount he could be. The judge did sentence him to the maximum of three years, but first he expressed his annoyance that there was only a three-year maximum for this offense, when minor drug offenses carried much harsher minimum sentences. He implored me to try to make a change one day after I became a lawyer.

I have subsequently been pissed off since then at the lack of common sense sentencing guidelines. It is a slap in the face knowing that someone can steal your peace of mind and alter your view of the world you thought you lived in, and only have to serve two years of his three-year sentence. Our state needs to fix not only its mental health system, but many outdated laws and sentencing guidelines in our prison system.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to change the laws to make a physical/sexual assault worth more jail time. It seems like common sense to me, but quite frankly this isn’t an issue that men are prioritizing, because for them it doesn’t have to be a priority.

He is out roaming the streets of Charleston again now, because there is nothing to stop him from doing so. Since he had a record that was pages long before my incident, I assume there is no one helping him try to get his life in order by giving him the medicine he needs or keeping him out of trouble. He recently entered a store downtown that someone I know owns, and even though he isn’t allowed near the school again, I have no doubt that he frequents the bus stop right beside it. I also have no doubt that he will do this again to someone else.

Maybe one day I will get on an elevator again without immediately side-eyeing the person next to me, and maybe one day criminals in our state will at least serve their full sentence out, even if the sentence isn’t what it should be.

 

Finally October

I live in the South where the first day of October does not mean cold weather and beautiful rust and yellow leaves falling. It is normally not chilly even at night. If I were to cuddle in a blanket on my porch right now, I would be sweating and uncomfortable.

But October is still my favorite month for many reasons. I can still dream of the leaves changing colors and the colder weather, even if that won’t happen for at least another month. October 1st is my amazing mom’s birthday, and it has always been fitting to me that my favorite person was born the first day of my favorite month. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I can now have my Halloween decorations out without being completely judged.

October has always signified the start of something for me instead of the end of summer. It’s the start of the season of celebration, holidays that revolve around family (yes, even Halloween) and a time to lose yourself in the distraction of it all. I love decorating and embracing the new colors of each season.

Fall and Halloween is also the only time of year that buying a vegetable puts me in a good mood. Pumpkins are to me what roses are to other women. They brighten up a room and a doorway in my eyes.

Clemson football being in full gear, Halloween movies, fall spices, baking, and candles are just a few of my favorite things about this month, and I spend the rest of my year trying to recreate the feeling these different activities give me.

I know this month won’t last long (it never does), but I plan to enjoy it to the fullest.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

BOOK LOVERS DAY!

Happy Book Lovers Day!

If you follow my blog, I assume you love books and reading as much as I do. It has always been a huge part of my life, and I would not be the same person I am if it had not been for many different novels growing up. I figured I would update everyone on some books I have recently finished reading to celebrate the day; along with what I am currently reading!

 

Five Books I Have Recently Finished Reading

  1. Death Overdue is part of the “A Haunted Library Mystery” series by Allison Brook. This book follows a girl named Carrie who works in a library in a Clover Ridge, Connecticut. The book is set during Halloween (my favorite) and involves a ghost who resides in the library, and a couple of murders both in and out of the library. It’s an amateur sleuth type of mystery, and I enjoyed the character development for Carrie throughout the book. I will definitely pick up a few more books from this series in the future.
  2. Pet Sematary almost seems like a silly book to write a review on. Honestly, everyone is familiar with this book by Stephen King. I had seen the movie years ago, but after seeing they were making a new one I wanted to read the book. I was absolutely terrified, but it was an amazing book. Again, I really feel like it would be ridiculous to explain to you how good of an author Stephen King is.
  3. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Loveit by Chelsea Sedoti has got to be one of the strangest books I have ever read but I definitely found myself really invested in it. It is a story of a teenage girl who leads an incredibly normal life, and then she inserts herself into a completely insane scenario for no good reason other than because she wants to. Throughout the book she navigates life, death, and love and it ends in a perfectly normal way but the journey through the book is full of twists. I would not recommend it for anyone younger than sixteen, but I am glad I read it.
  4. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis hit me right in my feelings. I have long been obsessed with the Chronicles of Narnia movies, but as a kid I never read the books. I figured I may as well start now, and I am so glad I did. Reading this made everything in the movies start to make sense. I am a sucker for fantasy type books for kids. Every single kid should read this book.
  5. In Conclusion Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham was so good. I actually did this in audiobook form, because I had heard that she narrates it. Lauren is Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, and that has been and will always be one of my favorite shows. I was very interested in this book for that reason, but I ended up really enjoying the content. It’s not long at all (probably an hour) but she lets us in on a glimpse of her past and how she got to the point in her career that she is at. It was very uplifting and motivating.

 

My current read: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. My younger cousin Will, who is wise beyond his eighteen years, recommended this book to me. It is absolutely wonderful so far. I love historical fiction, and I think this book will end up being a favorite of mine.

 

A little fact about me: My favorite book growing up (and to this day remains the book that helped me fall in love with reading) was: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews. It is a book that my future children will read, and hopefully the generations beyond it. Whenever I feel discouraged or in a rut reading, I pull it out and remember the things that book did for my imagination.

 

Happy Book Lovers Day everyone! Enjoy celebrating!

 

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Today is Harry Potter’s 38th birthday, so I felt like a post was necessary!

As a kid I was not interested in reading Harry Potter. I remember checking it out of the library, and then never finishing the first book. I saw the movies right when they came out, and I still watch all of them about once a year. When I was younger, Harry Potter didn’t fit into my genre of books I liked reading.

I visited Harry Potter World with my boyfriend a year ago though, and it was so amazing! From the Butterbeer to the Hogwarts Express, no detail got left out of this amazing park. I think I could go back once a week and still find something new to look at each time.

Since then I have read the first four books, and I plan to read the last three soon. J.K. Rowling is an absolute genius, and her writing is unparalleled.

Harry Potter’s influence on my generation, as well as younger and older generations, should always be celebrated.

(I’m a Ravenclaw, by the way.)

Ghosted

Monica was so excited she could barely sit still while Meghan was curling her hair. Meghan had been her best friend for over a decade, and today she had surprised Monica with tickets to a ghost tour while on their vacation in New Orleans. AND today just so happened to be Friday the 13th.

Monica had been a fan of all things supernatural her whole life. If it was weird or spooky, she was going to watch it. She was starting college in the fall, and she wanted to study Criminology. If it had to do with murders or mysteries, she wanted to know about it.

The girls had decided to venture to New Orleans for their first solo “adult” trip. The fun nightlife, the history, and the good food had landed them in New Orleans. The first two days had been fun, but with this surprise Monica had no doubt she would have the most fun tonight.

Monica knew Meghan didn’t believe in ghosts, but she loved her friend for being willing to sit through this for her. They finished getting ready, and went outside. Their hotel was right off of Bourbon Street, so they didn’t have far to walk to get to the carriage ride.

Five minutes later they were hopping up onto the carriage and listening to the tour guide’s instructions.

“When we get off at a stop for a guided walk through, please remember not to stray. These are old buildings and not all of the floors are stable. Not only that, but you may encounter a couple of spirits that aren’t happy you’ve disturbed them,” said the guide with a wink.

Monica’s eyes lit up, and Meghan shot her a glance. Monica knew Meghan would complain, but she couldn’t promise she wouldn’t explore the parts of the tour that were “off-limits”.

“Don’t look at me like that Meghan,” smiled Monica. “I won’t get us into any real danger. It’s just made up right?”

“I’m more worried about falling through an old floor board than a ghost,” said Meghan.

A few minutes later they were in the carriage slowly moving along. The guide went over the usual historical talking points, pointing out which buildings people claimed to see or hear things in. The carriage came to a stop outside of a dark alley beside a large, industrial type building.

“Okay, everyone off. This is our first leg of the walking tour; follow me!” said the guide.

Everyone filed along behind the guide through the alley and into a side door of the building.

“I wonder what this building was for,” mused Meghan.

The tour guide heard her question. “This was once a canning factory. It closed about thirty years ago though.”

“Why did it close?” Monica asked.

“Over the course of a year, six people were murdered here,” the tour guide said in a creepy voice that made their skin crawl.

“Did they find who did it?” another tourist asked.

“No,” said the guide. “The legends say that the murderer still comes back here occasionally. There have been a few unexplained disappearances in recent years near here, but the police have never been able to link them. Rumor has it, the murderer comes back every Friday the 13th and waits on someone to find him.”

Meghan shifted uncomfortably beside Monica, but Monica was too interested to notice.

“Oh, oh will we get to see where they were killed?” asked Monica.

“We’ll walk above the area on a raised level, but do not stray off of the path,” warned the guide.

“We’re definitely going to look around,” whispered Monica to Meghan. “What could actually happen to us?”

They walked along until they were raised above the area the guide had told them about. Monica looked around and there was an entry to a staircase to her right. She grabbed Meghan by the shoulder and pulled her into the staircase.

“Monica I’m scared, I don’t think we should do this,” whimpered Meghan.

“Don’t be a baby. We’re just going to look around and then we’ll go right back before they even know we’re missing,” said Monica.

Reluctantly, Meghan followed Monica down the stairs into a large room full of machinery. They were about to turn around a go back to the group when Monica saw a hat near one of the machines. It looked fairly new, so she wanted to check it out, thinking it may belong to one of those missing people the guide mentioned.

They creeped along and Monica reached for the hat. It was Pelicans cap, and she had been right- it wasn’t old at all. Monica looked up and as she did, a shadow ran along the back wall.

“Meghan,” hissed Monica. “Someone just ran by.”

“I’m sure you’re just seeing things Monica, but I’m really creeped out. Can we please go?”

Even Meghan had to agree that she was feeling uneasy and wanted to get back to the group. They turned to go back towards the staircase when they heard a thud.

“Don’t look back just run!” screamed Monica.

The girls ran as fast as they could, but when Monica reached the door to the stairs and threw the door open, she saw that Meghan wasn’t with her anymore.

“Meghan! Someone please help! She screamed.” Meghan ran up the stairs to find the tour guide and the group for help, but she couldn’t find them.

They were gone and no one heard her scream.

Outside, one of the tourists remarked that the girls were gone.

“They probably just took off for Bourbon Street,” said the guide. “Happens all the time.”

“Told them not to wander off,” the guide muttered under her breath, as she steered the carriage forward.

 

 

Happy Friday the 13th friends!

Out of my Comfort Zone Book Reviews

Happy Monday!

I have two new book reviews for y’all. I don’t read many books outside of mystery/crime fiction BUT these two books were so good. I’m glad I stepped away from my “norm” for a little while.

Dorothy Benton Frank is from Charleston and is one of my favorite authors. She had a book signing a few weeks ago, but I was sick and couldn’t make it. When I was in Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago and was checking out, there were signed copies of her new book at the register. Obviously I bought it, and I am thrilled I did.

By Invitation Only is the perfect summer read.  The book centers around Diane Stiftel and her family as they prepare for her only son to marry into a wealthy family from Chicago. The book gives us her point of view, her future daughter in law’s point of view, and the mother of the bride’s point of view. There are so many issues at play in the book, and the author does an amazing job of bringing it all together. The book has everything you could want in a story: love, heartache, surprise, and surprisingly a little bit of crime. I highly recommend checking this book out, as well as her other ones, especially if you are from Charleston.

The next book is an audiobook titled, A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline. It’s an emotional book told from the perspective of Christina Olson, a disabled farm girl. She is destined to live her life on her family’s farm, partly from her disability but also because of her pull to stay true to her family’s legacy. While her world is small, she does end up having an influence on the outside world. She becomes the muse for Andrew Wyeth as she hosts him for over twenty years at the family farm. She is the subject of one of the most well known American paintings of the twentieth century. The author blends fiction and fact incredibly well, and tells a story that will make you cry for the character one minute and be angry at her the next. This book is not one I would have normally chosen, but I am glad it was available through Overdrive for me to check out and listen to!

piece of the world