Autumn has been official as of September 22, and I feel this would be a good time to share. 🙂 This particular short story’s scribblings started in late summer.
This is a partial working piece from my imagination, inspired by the upcoming autumn. There will be more parts.
A large, contemporary, colonial style house was in process of being set up for harvest time and Halloween festivities. The house was situated in a high-end neighborhood with generous space and still semi-wooded, partly for privacy purposes. Of the eclectic architectural style homes around them, this one was one of the more modest examples.
The house was composed of two full levels, a finished partial basement, and an attic renovated to be habitable. A portion of attic had been converted to a work area, the rest was tidied up storage space. Some solar panels had been cleverly and tastefully incorporated into the roof. All of this was about 6,000 square feet of floor space (without the basement and before the attic renovation).
The main driveway was wide and on the left of the house on approach from the side road. Yards away from the house, it curved and split into a section that led to the four car garage off to the side. On the right, the semi-circular drive paused gracefully at the front door, then led back to the side road. The front of the house had solar-powered garden lights tracing the edges of the driveway. Two suv’s were parked off to the side where the four-car garage was.
In mid August, the hostess of this particular harvest time party had thought about having the event at a local banquet hall until the hostess’ sister called just a day before the final decision was made. The party was for celebrating the autumn season and it’s costumed holiday. Pictures would be taken and added onto the hostess’ blog and site for sharing event planning/decorating ideas, etc.
The guest list was input from each of the group members. It was not necessary to have everyone know each other. There was a saying about six degrees of separation-that everyone knows of someone by distant association from a friend of a friend, etc. Everyone listed off potentially interested attendees as faces to mix and mingle. The potential guests were also informed they would be in some way part of the season’s focus on a business site as well (in case they were camera shy).
The hostess had been uncertain at first, but with thorough discussion of all involved via a video/audio call, details were worked out. The lady of the house wanted a reliable house sitter (with the option of staying in the house while they were away); house sitter guests were welcomed. The husband’s siblings were not able house sit that year.
Roughly every year, the parents made a point of taking their children out and about to have a look around the states. They were keeping it within the continent until the kids were older. The family was going to be out-of-state for about three weeks, but would be back in time for the children to wind down and to have their kids’ Halloween on the day of the holiday.
One of the little kids was heard in the background about wanting to see auntie, another piped up about having auntie have a party would be fun and how her cat friends would love a visit from other people. Yet another child’s little face peeked into the screen from sneaking up from under the table and smiled, then disappeared from the screen view.
There were a few key points the two sisters went over:
If there was going to be a celebration, please keep it relatively quiet.
No guests in the children’s bedrooms and master bedrooms, please.
Of course, clean up after…
Both sisters had the number to the same cleaning service as a just-in-case.
“We’ll trade pictures,” the hostess said with a laugh.
“Pictures!” Three little voices chanted excitedly. The hostess signed off to squeals as the children’s mother half shepherded them, half chased after them to tuck them in. The youngest, a boy, waved to the screen as he was lifted up by his father before they disconnected.
The invitations had been sent out in late August for the mid-October party date on scroll design stationery.
Come celebrate the autumn season and upcoming Halloween in costume; dress up in anything from classy to sassy; myth, sci-fi or fantasy cute or spooky; glamorous or tastefully sexy. Please bring a dish to share; think local or global. (The hostess and company have a house menu to share as well) Join us solo or bring a guest or two. Save room for the s'mores making outside by the fire later in a mellow, night-time atmosphere.
There was RSVP information as well as a map and other tidbits towards the bottom of the invite. It was signed off with a glittery black skull and cross-bones stamping, folded up and sealed with purple wax.
A large, shiny, mylar helium balloon with a happy jack-o-lantern face hovered over the mailbox post by way of a bright red ribbon.
Fallen leaves had been raked into piles to be set around tree trunks like moats, on either side of the front lawn. Pumpkins had been set near the base of the trees. Some trunks were wrapped in metallic ribbon while others had spiralling lights wound around them.
On the wide steps tapering up to the front door, a motley collection of jack-o-lanterns were either smiling or scowling out at the side street from each end of a step.
As one approached the dark green front door, more autumn colors greeted them. The wooden pillar on the left was twined with wide, metallic copper ribbon with stems of sunflowers, vibrant silk Japanese red maple stems, pale yellow silk lantern flowers and sunset hued silk leaves (some with glitter) tucked randomly into the ribbon. As for the pillar on the right, light sensor activated purple lights and green lights spiralled in criss cross overlap down the post with festive, Halloween inspired ornaments dangled from various places on clear hooks.
A cat made of black wicker netting and black glitter sat neatly near the doorway, to the right of where the door knob was. LED light eyes would flicker on when it’s motion sensors were activated. The porch lights would be kept on as opposed to being on its usual motion sensor mode.
A sign by the wicker cat stated: Enter this abode, to share in the season’s revelry, come play a while and stay a while for food and festivities. On silent feet guardians creep, as this house is their home. If you feel a chill or get goose pimples, be polite and say hello.
A split-rail fence of warm toned wood provided property separation between the sides of the lots, but stopped at the edge of the woods. All along the perimeter of where the back lawn and woodlands met, the owners of the house had staked widely spaced garden lights; some went into the wooded area and curved slightly to the left which led to a stream idly trickling by. A gentle downward slope with smoothed, half-buried, wooden plank steps led down to the moving water.
Assorted colored glow sticks in glass jars hung from above on semi-bare tree limbs, colorfully accentuating the trail to the creek. The glow stick lanterns had been set earlier in the day, but breaking and shaking the sticks would be up to others as it came closer to sunset. The jar hanging had been a three-person job as none of them were six feet tall and required added help from a short ladder. The current (and anticipated) effect was well worth the effort.
Several yards back from the stream, a set of small metal wind chimes had been left outside on an overhanging branch where the trail deviated to two paths. Which path to take? Go towards gurgling water or deeper into the woods? The faceted crystal feather/wind catcher dangling lowest from the chimes sparked off light from the late afternoon sunshine.
All around were colorful leaves; partly on branches, partly on the ground. A filled bird feeder hung on a branch nearby on the woodland trail side. Various birds flitted back and forth from branches to the feeder.
The smell of lit cinnamon incense wafted into the chilly sky from little sand filled jars along the mouth of the trail, where trimmed lawn and leaf strewn forest ground met.
In a part of the back yard was a raised brick and stone fire pit at the center of the patio, not yet lit. The length of the patio was of equal length to the great room within. Windows framed either side of the patio doors, the sliding patio doors were reminiscent of French doors. Off to one side of the flagstone set patio was a picnic table with a pergola overhead twined with blinking lights in green, purple, warm white and orange. Paper lantern bats and pumpkins dangled from the center of the pergola in a whimsical Halloween themed chandelier. The picnic table could be partly seen from the kitchen.
One large pumpkin carved with a crescent moon and and pinhole constellations faced the left corner garden. To the far right of it, at one of the other corners, was a large hurricane style candle holder, frosted with leaf outlines and speckled with gold paint, held a lit pillar candle. A pair of small white pumpkins sat next to it making silly, painted-on, glow in the dark faces. Lantern style glass candle holders with skeletal leaf tracings completed the four points of the patio. Bracketing either corner of the property were raised bed gardens; one had cold weather vegetables in bloom and the other had tall sunflowers nodding over the still-abundant herbs. Cleverly tucked away were the compost bins.
A figure in an indigo coat, with springy, glittery, butterfly antenna peeking out from her slouchy hat, looked at her handiwork on the patio. She smiled, turned and tucked her lighter wand into a belt loop. The chill was just cold enough for gloves – even gloves with nipped fingertips to show off glittery blue nails. The incense was an offering, the Jack o’lantern and other lights were for ambiance and human eyes.
A chilly wind whispered by, coaxing a song from the wind chimes. A crow called from the woods, then turned its dark head to look at the setting below. His brethren called back from a street light pole in front of the house.
…End part 1…
©Inspired by…/Celebrating Autumn Part 1/September 2016