FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: What Message Would You Like to Receive From the Beyond?

feature images via TV Movie, Geek and Sundry, and The Gay Times.

Hello my sweet fun-sized candy bars! Welcome to the Friday Open Thread, where we all talk to each other about everything and nothing, our weeks and our theme, which is, of course, on this particular week, Halloween. Now I know what you’re thinking—we don’t need yet another place to post our Halloween costumes! Vanessa already did that gallery (and I highly recommend you go take a look at all these queer babes). No, this is about all the other ways we went full Halloween this week. As a person who doesn’t really do parties, I am most concerned with the ways we embody Halloween that don’t involve going out. But talk about your spooky week however you like! Live your ghastly and ghostly truths!

I hit the Netflix really hard in service of my fave holiday this year. The first thing I did was watch The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I am of so many minds about Sabrina—like how much queer bashing do we really have to watch, you know? But I am OBSESSED with Susie even as I am screaming at the computer screen SAY THE WORD TRANS YOU COWARDS. I want to shake Lachlan Watson’s hand (they’re the nonbinary actor who portrays Susie) for handling the sometimes-frustrating, sometimes-very-cool role with aplomb. And at 17 too! Gosh, I was a hot mess of a monster at 17! Mostly watching this series for me meant the repetitive thought, okay, okay, all fine well and good, but can we please get back to Susie’s storyline? And then checking in with my trans friends who were watching, too, because occasionally we had FEELINGS about HIGH SCHOOL and how violent and terrible that time was and can be.

After I’d got through the whole first season of Sabrina, my thirst for Halloween television content was not sated. I turned my attention to The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, a show I sent to all of my friends with strict instructions to watch and report back so I could make sure I wasn’t hallucinating its existence. It’s sort of a Martha Stewart show, except spooky…and with puppets? And a storyline? And murder? And a ball gag? McConnell is Instagram-famous for her crazy creations, things like a full Halloween house, cookies with eyes on them and realistic edible spiders. This show is…I can’t even describe it, has anyone else seen this?

McConnell is relatively short, so I hunted down the first three episodes of the Charmed reboot. Hearing Twitter abuzz with it, I expected to hate it. But our own Jeanna Kadlec convinced me that I should give it a try. And y’all, I was…charmed…by it. Most of the critiques I’ve heard of it aren’t taking into account the feel of the first one. It’s supposed to be so bad it laps itself and becomes good again, you know? It’s a romp. It’s not, like, serious television. As soon as the attic was almost exactly the same as the first, I was hooked. Plus, you know, queers. Real cute queers. And witches. I can’t wait for the next episode!

I also did other Halloweeny things that didn’t involve sitting in front of my computer consuming content. I signed my apartment up with the building to hand out candy to any trick or treaters—alas, I only got one young witch who came to the door. I miss children for reals trick or treating. I haven’t been able to give kids the good candy (I only get the good candy) in YEARS and it’s killing me. But now I do have a whole trifle bowl filled with Hello Panda and Milky Way bars to eat, so I guess it’s fine? I did get into my sailor costume, recycled from A-Camp, to hand out this actual candy to these theoretical children, so here is the one costume related thing in this whole post.

I carved a tarot pumpkin (all the tarot suits, not posting a picture because I messed up the Cups) and roasted the pumpkin seeds (not pictured because we ate them before we could photograph them) and asked my new oracle deck if there were any messages I needed to pick up from the beyond. I pulled this card.

Makes me wonder if I have some transcestors giving me hugs from beyond the veil.


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A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

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74 Comments

  1. I spent Halloween afternoon taking my oral exam and defending my dissertation prospectus, and I passed with honors! To celebrate, I drove back to San Francisco, turned off my brain with some lovely smoke, and caught up on Black Lightening, Supergirl, and Charmed. The stress is just now leaving my body.

  2. I listened to SO much Halloween music this week, it is truly the best holiday music and I can never get enough! Some current faves: Funkenstein by Katie Webster, Haunted House Blues by Helen Gross, and The Wobblin Goblin by Rosemary Clooney.
    I also prepped some pizza dough for making pizza tonight with my very very best friend! I’m going to visit her for the weekend but I don’t think she knows that it is the 20 year anniversary of meeting each other! So I have a few really cute surprises for her, like our favorite childhood movies Mulan and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of The Were-Rabbit! So excited!!! :D
    ps. transcestors is such a great word! I’m nearly certain I have one, because every story about them is just so incredibly obviously trans or queer to me.

      • So my great grandmother was at the time (1930s?) the youngest woman (at 18 I believe) in Tennessee to get her pilots license. For years she flew mail carrying planes between Memphis and St.Louis. I have a few picture but from my grandma’s descriptions I guess she normally wore things like cowboy boots, pants, more masculine blouses, and she stood out like a sore thumb among other southern women but didn’t care. She also apparently often said “I wish I were born a man” and was not happy doing feminine things/typical housewife expectations. There is one story that on one of her flights it was too stormy to return to Memphis so she and her older co-pilot, also a woman, had to stay the night. My grandma tells the story as my great-grandma asking the older woman to share a hotel room to save money (I question this) but the older woman’s response was “There are two things I don’t do, I don’t sleep with dead men or live women”. Which seems like a hostile response if there wasn’t some perceived queerness present in my great-grandmother. So I can’t be entirely sure if she maybe would have identified as gay or trans, but I sure do feel a strong transcestor vibe from her story and pictures. (Also some serious mental illness connections) Seriously wish I knew more

    • – Why is it “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” instead of “THE Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”?
      – I like that they went full on with them Satanists instead of doing it in some sort of apologetic half-assed way.
      – The thing that I really disliked about the show was that it seemed like Sabrina’s main motivation for just about everything is Harvey. Her entire universe revolves around him.
      – Who are Ambrose’s parents? How are they related to Zelda and Hilda? He calls them auntie, but they never talk about having a fourth sibling who would be his parent.

      • I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but I have the same concerns about Harvey and Ambrose’s parents. I want to keep watching, but the color and focus treatment is very tiring for my eyes, it makes me dizzy and pulls me out of the narrative.

      • Totally agree about the name but i suppose they had to stick with the comic book. I love that Harvey is just as dopey as the Melissa Joan Hart era Sabrina. All in all I think Sabrina is way too smug about everything witch related. Like she hasn’t even been to Hogwarts—err the Academy of Unseen Arts— and she still thinks she knows it all and that her own moral compass trumps everything else. She’s too much Harry and not enough Hermione. By the end of part 1 of the series I was actively rooting against her.

        I read way too many wikipedia articles trying to find out about the origins of Cousin Ambrose and according to the Melissa Joan Hart era Sabrina show Zelda and Hilda had 3 other siblings (but no mention of Ambrose). For that series Salem was a warlock imprisoned as a cat instead of a familiar. Maybe “cousin” is just a term of endearment.

      • -Re. Not using “The”: The acronym for the name as it stands is CAOS
        -It actually bothered me at first that they were equating witchery with Satanism, but then they turned it on its head and made Satanism a metaphor for the patriarchy, which is awesome and also the point at which I became invested in the show
        -100% agree about the Harvey thing ugh
        -My question is why does Zelda have an American accent while her sister (and nephew) have a British one?

  3. October was a super intense month and I’m glad it’s over, as much fun as it was. I spent the week with a cold, but the highlight was Tuesday, when I went to a couple art museums with my teen sister.

    I hadn’t seen her in over a year since I have a bad relationship with our dad, but I was able to pick her up from school and had a lovely time. I came out to her, which was more of a formality I guess, since she follows me on social media. She was supportive but in a very low-key-whatever-teenager way.

    Our dad, whom I’ve seen at most 15 times in my whole life, picked us up and I had no choice but to reconnect with him a bit. I still think he’s a sad excuse for a man, but it was worth it just to spend time with my sister and get closer to her.

    I hope you have a great weekend!

  4. I handed out candy to Trick’r’Treaters, possibly for the first time, since my new place has a porch. I crafted together an autumnal witch costume, which I felt was approachable for kids. Not a bad turnout, but really only 6 or 7 groups of kids came by, so our big plastic cauldron is now in the foyer of our apartment complex, pleading our neighbors to take some candy.

    We then went out to our favorite low-key gay space for dinner in costume, came home, and my partner fell asleep on me while I completed my holiday ritual of watching Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.

    I’m reading a book on witchcraft and tarot, hoping I can consult my new deck for some answers in this time, too. This election cycle has been rough on me, working in politics and being trans. I would appreciate a spirit with some comforting news.

    • I imagined that low-key gay space as you floating around in zero-G, casually catching liquid bubbles of your favorite drink as they came out of mini-cauldron cups….and with the ghost of elections yet to come unveiling wonders. She turns her face, and it’s Janelle. Of course.

      May small and greater comforts find you, today and in days to come.

    • I cannot imagine working in politics rn as trans. I can barely read a newspaper as trans. I’m sending you strength pretty hard; grabbing out that strength card when you need it and lighting a candle in front of it probs won’t go amiss.

      Tell me about the new deck?? What’d you get?

  5. I didn’t really do anything Halloween related. In fact was at home, partially because I didn’t want to deal with the crowds at the WeHo Halloween Celebration(news has been saying for the past 5 years it’s the biggest Halloween Celebration in world). Last time I went there was a lot of male-female couple(can’t assume straight or btq) with kids(like 5 year old) close to midnight. Plus, there was a Laker game on and I am not a fair-weather fan, like someone in my family who’s title rhymes with pad.

    How is everyone’s week going? Mines has been fairly good. Drove a bit more than I expected, which my wallet didn’t like(why isn’t gas getting cheaper?).I didn’t really do anything Halloween related. In fact was at home, partially because I didn’t want to deal with the crowds at the WeHo Halloween Celebration(news has been saying for the past 5 years it’s the biggest Halloween Celebration in world). Last time I went there was a lot of male-female couple(can’t assume straight or btq) with kids(like 5 year old) close to midnight. Plus, there was a Laker game on and I am not a fair-weather fan, like someone in my family who’s title rhymes with pad.

    How is everyone’s week going? Mines has been fairly good. Drove a bit more than I expected, which my wallet didn’t like(why isn’t gas getting cheaper?). I went to a Queer Enough event Tuesday with friends and it was pretty neat as there was free candy. Plus, thanks to the app hooch I was able to get a complimentary glass of Royal French 75, which substitutes the gin for cognac. Prefer gin over cognac, but it was fairly good drink as the orange and champagne masked the cognac flavor.

    Then last night at dinner with my bff we came with the idea of starting a queer Jewish food blog and/or youtube channel together. She’s the Jew who eats pork who is a writer, and I’m the vegan Jew who is a hobbyist photographer. Even came up with relevant alias names for ourselves! A quick search today didn’t show me many queer & Jewish or trans & Jewish run food blogs. If there is any, most of them are run by Ashkenazi Jews(Eastern European) & not Mizrahi (Middle East/West Asia/North Africa) like me, & Mizrahi Jews are under-represented in (western)media. Have to see if that pans out or not; but, I hope it does as more media from trans & queer Jews from different backgrounds is something that is needed imho.

    I went hiking Sunday on a trail where there was many people with dogs, next to a ranch that has horses. It was needed.

    Thank you for viewing & reading my post. Have a positive & safe weekend!

        • Still sounds good to me, white Anglo America is “discovering” MENA cuisines and you’ve likely seen how cringe worthy that can get. I wish much like green pea “guac” I could forget green pea “hummus” was a thought someone had, executed and was published.

          I’m of Cajun descent, it’s important to see food from the view of the people connected to it rather than some random chef’s or foodie interpretation or exotification of it.

          There are links to West Asia and North Africa in southern European food, some of because of it, Moorish conquest, Ottoman Empire and some of it goes all the way back to Carthage which is amazing and wonderful to me as adult as it was when I was a child.
          I have a lot of food history feelings. >_>

          But back to restaurants thing ever hear of Alon Shaya?

          • I’ll be honest I’ve had carrot and beet hummus and thought it was fairly good as was avocado hummus(which my parents just mixed their homemade hummus with avocados). I am fine with experimentation as long as the base ingredient is there, which in the case of hummus would be tehina. Then again I can’t really speak on this as hummus is Lebanese(not Greek as some would have you believe) and I’m not.

            There are also some links to Persian food and the food from the Indian subcontinent as that area was once part of the Persian Empire, but also because some of our spices come from there(and it’s even in the name of the spice or food item like cashews are called Hindu nuts). I had to look up Alon Shaya, but not familiar with this chef.

        • The base ingredient wasn’t there at all unless one would count some sesame seeds sprinkled on top pureed pea for garnish as inclusion. It was pretty much homemade baby food being passed of as a dip with the name hummus slapped on to make it trendy.

          Not Lebanese either don’t get to say what counts either, but I still wanted brain bleach and it’s the most egregious example I could think of without needing long explanation that I’d likely botch of something that’s more destruction,for lack of a better word, than experimentation.

          Long story short he was the creator of Shaya, a James Beard Award winning restaurant that has a blend of Mizrahi, Maghrebi and some of Ashkenazi (like chicken schnitzel in a sandwich but with harissa and aioli). The majority share holder person turned out to be a terrible human being and refused to let Mr.Shaya buy out the restaurant from BRG.

          So uh he quit started his own restaurant group and the flagship is Saba and it’s more Mizrahi and Maghrebi than Shaya’s was. There’s some Bulgarian Ashkenazi elements, but it’s like Shaya’s was proof of concept how far he could go off the beat path of the “American palate” and restaurant traditions and so he went there.

          The American restaurant tradition I mean is the shared bread product, maybe shared appetizers, a salad and everybody gets a giant entree that will have enough leftovers for a second meal thing.

          Instead it’s multiple (small to American tradition) plates of food intended to be shared by the table. Shaya’s had some large entree-like things but Saba’s does not.

          His body of work might be an interesting thing to look at is what I thought, he’s a CIA grad but after trying to start a Jewish food club in school felt a need to get in better touch with his roots. The food his grandparents cooked.

          Oh that’s cool. I remember the Achaemenid Empire made it to the Indus Valley, but I have no idea of how long Persia was there or made they way back. Clearly long enough for India to have an impact on cuisine.

          @needlesandpin

  6. The message I am open to receive is the reminder that I’m not alone. That none of us is. That we are connected, all of us, in more ways than we realize.

    This Hallowe’en/ Samhain/ La Toussaint crossover period I took a step. Wednesday I told work I needed to leave for the day and went to my doctor, who prescribed me antidepressants.

    I’ve thought I should be able to manage by myself. I was afraid that not managing meant that I was broken, like my ex told me. I was afraid that letting anyone know would mean I was weak, and that I would be pitied, at best.

    Why do we think things of ourselves we would not think of others?

    I don’t know. But I reached out, and am finding that it’s not the way we stand apart that makes us strong, it’s the way we stand together.

    Here’s to all of you, to all of us, wherever we’re at. We’re stronger together, we’re stronger.

    Let’s reach out to each other.

  7. I couldn’t get tickets for Samhain this year which really sucked but my girlfriend and our only friends who aren’t Samhain performers all came around. We ended up drinking amaretto and yelling about politics – which if you’ve never drunkenly shouted about liberalism at a six foot something drag queen dressed as Elsa I can definitely recommend it. Also my girlfriend did tarot readings that were spookily accurate and made people drunkenly confess their feelings which I feel is spooky queer culture.

  8. This Halloween, I was not feeling going out, so I stayed in, ordered pizza, and marathoned all the Brooklyn Nine-Nine Halloween Heist episodes. It was a great choice.

    Throughout the month of November, I’m doing a creative project that’s somewhat inspired by NaNoWriMo. Every day, I’m creating SOMETHING and posting it at unblocktheartist.blogspot.com. It’s scary to commit to creating every single day, and also very scary to be putting work out into the world! But also exciting.

  9. Mixed week – funeral for an aunt on Monday. Other aunt & uncle picked me up and brought me back. I got upset mainly because I was having flashbacks to my dad’s funeral nearly 6 years ago. Tuesday, I had a GP appointment where I had to explain my anxiety prevented me from going to have a medical procedure – she was way more accepting than I expected, which was a relief. I had a trick-or-treat visit even though I had nothing out to indicate I was interested in such, so had to turn the kid away. I just wondered how the hell she even got into my block of flats, as she wasn’t a neighbour.

    Today was the best day – I had a half day at work and went to see the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, as I love Queen. The music was brilliant as was their recreation of Live Aid, but I found it quite sad and just cried a lot at the end – even though it finished with Live Aid, because that was a bittersweet high.

  10. I went to a low key queer Halloween pajama party on Weds and it was da bomb! My best friend and I put on our jammies, walked to the bar and drank cider and made origami pumpkins.

    Today is my birthday. So far I’ve celebrated with a nap and tamales for lunch. Life is good.

  11. I was extremely disappointed by Chillingly Adventures Of Sabrina. It was slow and boring. I kept waiting for something magical to happen (spells, flying, potions) and nothing did. I gave up after five episodes.

    I’ve been reading my Wicca/witchcraft book and loving it! It’s like a homecoming back to magic. I’ve also been reading up on the deities and I feel very drawn to Aphrodite. My current living situation is not ideal for setting up an altar and doing magickal practices but when I’m able to move, that will be a top priority.

  12. We love Halloween over here so last weekend we had my gf’s sister up and had her help us decorate (spooky posters and pumpkin lights!) and we carved a pumpkin and roasted seeds. We’ve also been watching Sabrina and the Purge and feeling all sorts of spooked. Wednesday we actually went out! Praise the something or other or my body cooperating! We dressed up and went to trivia at a cool bar and ate tater tots and hotdogs and people watched and played arcade games. It was a good time. The rest of my week was nice and scary because it was packed with stress! Spoooky. I’ve been planning my library’s first ever volunteer recognition event with lots of pressure from my boss with very little support and even less money and it was today and…the volunteers came and ate and were so appreciative and I’m just so so happy. My boss actually thanked me and said goodbye which she never does. I’m still on cloud 9. Oh and Tuesday instead of tutoring my students they aren’t in class so we’re all going on a trip somewhere I’m pumped! Happy Friday!

  13. I spent this Hallowe’en working, and sent my kids off in costume with their friends to trick-or-treat without me. They had a blast. I’m kind of bummed about missing the holiday but…I’m a grown-up. So, I’m pretending not to be disappointed about missing out on my opportunity to dress up as Jareth the goblin king. It would have been great.

    I’m so grateful for work right now. After so many years of “putting in time”, I feel I’ve finally found my place (professionally), and I’m doing meaningful things that make me feel like I’m on the right path.

    But also…With kids and work and fitting in fitness at the corners of the day, every minute of my life is double-booked right now. It’s rewarding and exhausting. For the past few years I’ve been doing this solo, focusing on career and family (and not dating), and that’s been great, but now I’m feeling tired of being on this journey alone. So maybe the universe could take note and cause my path to intersect with another awesome human soon, so we can journey on together for a while.

  14. Spend Halloween at straight bar’s Halloween party and wore drag with adhered facial hair, made some ladies question how they feel. Thoughtfully stroked it and laughed manically at the poor disturbed straight men, giving zero fucks if any of them might get too disturbed and lash out.
    Did my Beetlejuice tribute and the whole bar sang along.

    While removing said facial hair I had nice chocolates and a satsuma, showered then did my grandfather ritual. This year I colored my tribute drawings with crayons and can’t take a picture of them because my phone has decided to go bonkers or is just fed up with how much I already have stored(HOARDED)on my phone.

    A roadrunner in turquoise’n’ orange and an anchor with Filipino flag inspired details.

    Yesterday I made pumpkin spice snickerdoodles because after Halloween I’m full of FUCK YOU IT’S STILL FALL energies that I emit thru baking/making fall things.
    I don’t hate Christmas I just have this very petulant childish streak about the proper time for things that I’m never ever growing out of.
    They are very fluffy for cookies and soft, not a good tea biscuit but bite sized melt in the mouth sweets.

      • Even my fuck up with the correct tenses of words in English the only language I can claim fluency over?
        Also I forget parts speech like definite articles all the time and when I re-read what I wrote it my internal voice sounds like annoyed Russian lady because that’s what it looks like.
        Only in English does this happen to me, Spanish I might have wrong gender of article but at least there’s an article and things are spelled correctly.

        • I have an accent in both my languages, so yes. I’m more casually fluent in English but dream in French, and really my native tongue is franglais. Or possibly frogleg. Or Fraggle rock.

          Creative languaging for the win.

          • Creative languaging haaaa.

            There was a point where any time I’d try to sing Ave Maria(the prayer not the German operetta song) it would come out in Spanglatish, Latin and Spanish.

            xD

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