We’ve had a very prolonged summer in New York. (Er, I mean, the Ballroom.) At long last, the nip is back in the air, the leaves are beginning to turn, and we can finally get on with all the things that make autumn my favorite season:
– Pumpkin spice lattes. Let’s just get that out there. With or without whip, they’re the apex of the Starbucks latte pyramid.
– Cooking with pumpkin. Once the afternoons begin to go gray and the winds whips the fallen leaves on the pavement, out come the cans of pumpkin puree. I recommend this pumpkin muffin recipe from our very own Miss MacLean or my new favorite pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
– Plaid. There’s nothing like a plaid kilt, a cashmere sweater, and some tall boots to say “autumn”.
– Twilight. I know the early dark gets to some people, but for me, there’s always been something warm and cozy and just a little pleasantly atmospheric about that early dusk. It creates a perfect in between time to turn on the lamps and snuggle in with a cup of tea and a novel.
– Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday, and not just for the candy. Who doesn’t love an occasion where you get to pretend to be anyone you like and where all the world is going masked. It’s a giant bal masque. Not to mention the wonderfully creepy crawly ghost stories.
Which brings me to another favorite:
– Ghost stories. Bring on your deserted mansions, your ghost hunters, your creaking floorboards and things that bump in the night. I adore a good ghost story (even if I have been known to freak myself out just a little reading them late at night). Favorites include Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, the ghost stories of E.F. Benson and Edith Wharton, Barbara Michaels’s The Crying Child and Ammie Come Home, and, more recently, Simone St. James’s wonderful 1920s-set ghost stories.
I’m finally writing an autumn-set novel, The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, and although Halloween as we know wasn’t a Regency festivity– and pumpkin spice lattes are a long way from being invented in 1806– I’m doing my best to imbue the book with a sense of the season, that wonderful mix of crisp air and falling leaves and just the slightest tinge of the eerie.
What are your favorite things about fall?