My Life With Gracie…The Scariest Halloween Costume Contest

Scariest Halloween Costume Contest

Before I left for work this morning, my chickens showed me how they looked in their Halloween costumes. The neighborhood songbirds had gotten it right when they told them what to do to make the scariest costumes…for chickens.

Even though my chickens did not understand exactly why their costumes were scary, they simply assumed they were the scariest ever, and that was all that mattered to them. There are certain words which I hope they never learn like “nuggets” and “extra crispy,” if you know what I mean. I want them to remain naive and adorably cute for as long as possible.

They also explained all that we will be doing this evening. They have everything planned out for maximum trick-or-treating time.

As soon as I get home this evening, we will announce the winner of our costume contest. (Be sure to vote below.) Then before it gets too late, we will get set up to go trick-or-treating.

I will bring out my gardening wheelbarrow and add some straw in the bottom along with the big pumpkin we have already carved into a Jack-O-Lantern. This will be so Pearl can come along too hidden inside. Don’t worry. She will still be able to look out through the eyes and nose. Because she is molting, she won’t be comfortable wearing a costume, and there is less chance of her getting carried away inside the pumpkin. Pearl can get very carried away when she becomes excited.

Gracie and Emily will hop in with their “Eat Mor Chikin” costume. With Gracie standing on Emily’s back under the ghost shaped sheet, they should sort of look like they really could be a child dressed up for trick-or-treating. Bessie and Amelia will hop in after them with their “Finger Lickin’ Ghoul” costume.

We will add one very large paper bag labeled “Trick Or Treat” for all to share, and then we will be ready to go wheelbarrowing around the neighborhood.

The chickens have been practicing the things they will be saying in English. They want to make sure they sound like little children, not like chickens pretending to be little children. They think this will be the biggest Halloween “trick” of all.

Gracie has warned everyone to stay with the script. No variations allowed. And Pearl has been strictly forbidden from popping out of the pumpkin to say “Trick Or Treat! Smell My Feet.” (If you know Pearl, you know how very likely this is!)

Here is a list of what they have been practicing very carefully to say.

“TRICK OR TREAT!”

“Just corn, please.”

“We are allergic to chocolate.* Worms if you have them, please.”

“No, ma’am, we aren’t in Jennifer’s class. We are homeschooled.”

If they should come to a house that feels particularly welcoming, they are planning to add, “Extra bugs and spiders, if you would be so kind, please.”

If Pearl gets a little restless, they know to say, “Yes, it is strange that there would be feathers sticking out from inside our pumpkin. Thank you for noticing.”

If anyone appears to be fainting because their costumes are so scary, they will be prepared to say, “Would someone please call 911?”

And of course, “BOO!” and “Thank you!”

As you might imagine, I can hardly wait to get home this evening. It should likely be the most memorable trick-or-treating I have ever experienced.

Please  use this poll to vote for a winner of our “Scariest Halloween Costume Contest.” You can vote more than once.

If you don’t see the poll to vote, try this link https://poll.fm/10446166

And as a huge Halloween “Thank You” for humoring an old man and his chickens, here are some free Halloween cards you can download and print out! (Each PDF has two cards. Just print, cut on the solid line, and fold.)

Antique Brown Halloween Cards

Full Color Halloween Cards

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated.

*Chocolate really can be fatal to chickens, and some other animals too. Watch out for your children and your pets this time of year!

My Life With Gracie…When Chickens Learn About Halloween

When Chickens Learn About Christmas

My chickens had been listening to The Big Boy At The End Of The Street. He had been explaining Halloween to The Little Boy At The End Of The Street.

Gracie and the others had heard all about having the scariest costumes. They had heard all about saying, “Trick Or Treat!” They had especially heard all about getting their Halloween bags filled with treats.

And they decided it would be a fine thing for chickens to participate in Halloween as well. They may not have understood everything they had heard, but they definitely understood the part about getting treats. And if they needed to have scary costumes to get treats, well then, that was a fine thing too.

“Are you sure you want to have scary costumes?” I asked. “Why don’t you just dress up as sweet and pretty ballerinas and princesses for Halloween?”

“We can do that any day. Halloween is special. The Big Boy told The Little Boy Halloween costumes are supposed to be scary.”

I began to suspect I would be fighting a losing battle if I tried to change their minds about anything they had heard. It felt strange they would listen to what someone else said rather than me. They never even asked me about Halloween.

It really was mostly about the treats and what they needed to do to get the extra treats. Nothing was going to stand in their way. Chickens love treats.

As if my treats aren’t good enough for you! I thought it but would not say it aloud. After all, I’m not the only person who ever thought someone else had things better off than me when actually they didn’t.

“We are going to have a Scariest Halloween Costume Contest too,” added Pearl.

“You mean you are going to dress up like stray cats, foxes, and opossums?” I asked.

“Scarier than any of those. The neighborhood songbirds told us all about what is really scary for chickens,” said Bessie. She had already defended everyone from a stray cat, and so surely she knew about scary.

“So you are going to listen to what songbirds say about what is really scary for chickens? And you’re not going to tell me?”

“They have seen more of the world than we have. You are the judge,” said Gracie.

“So you can’t know ahead of time,” added Amelia.

“Then after the contest, you get to take us trick-or-treating with the other kids,” said Emily. “That part will be the most fun for you.”

My chickens had everything all planned out. They were going to make their own scary costumes. Gracie and Emily would be one team. Bessie and Amelia would be another team. And I was going to have the time of my life “getting” to take them trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with “the other kids.”

Pearl would help both teams as a “creative consultant” because she was a collector of scraps and treasures that could be used for making costumes. Pearl had experience since she had put on several comedy shows for us right in our own backyard. (She has also been molting, and even though her feathers were beginning to grow back, she was still too sensitive to wear a costume.)

So that was that. We would have a contest, a real contest, and there would be voting for the winner. Then they would go trick-or-treating with the kids on our block. My chickens should fit right in. No one would know they were really chickens under their costumes. It would be their one night out of the whole year to discover how people lived outside of their own backyard.

I sensed disaster in the making.

Would I get arrested for trying to pass off chickens as children just to collect candy from my neighbors? Would my picture be on the front page of the next morning’s newspaper? I could already imagine the headline: “Candy Thief Uses Chickens Posing As Costumed Children To Steal Halloween From Unsuspecting Neighbors.”

But my chickens had decided all of this before any of them even told me the least little peep about it. I had a suspicious feeling Pearl was the mastermind behind all of this. But who was I to crush their creativity or destroy their dreams of bags overflowing with treats?

I would soon learn “scariest” for chickens is very different than “scariest” for people!

Tomorrow: The Scariest Halloween Costume Contest. (And you, our readers, get to vote! As a bonus, there will be some Halloween cards to print and share!)

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

Gracie’s Special Reading List…“The Railway Carriage Child” by Wendy Fletcher

The Railroad Carriage Child

“Gracie’s Special Reading List” is for self-published or independently published books, often by authors who have sites here at WordPress. (This particular book is more for adult readers, but my chickens did enjoy the parts which I shared with them.)

Trains are like chickens. They both bring up memories of bygone days. When I meet someone and they find out I have chickens in my backyard, so often they will tell me about their own connection to chickens. Either they or a relative had backyard chickens when they were growing up. Just as many people have “a chicken story” to tell, many also have “a train story” to tell.

When I was growing up, the grandfather of a classmate owned a restaurant named The Virginia Diner. It started as a discarded railroad car and was added on to over the years. To eat at a table in the actual original car is still considered something special.

“Something special” also describes this book by Wendy Fletcher who grew up in a house made from two discarded Victorian railway carriages. Her unique voice as an author comes through beautifully on each page, and while reading, it is often easy to be carried away to a different time and place.

Although describes as a memoir, this book feels most like a conversation you might have with someone while rocking on their front porch. You hardly notice you have been transported to the past in Oxfordshire, England. Specific details are woven in when needed, and I never felt like I had received a huge “data dump” before the real story began. Instead, I was quickly immersed in a fascinating life with details added when helpful. I was always eager to read more, and yet I did not want the story to end.

“What is not to like about this book? There are chickens on the second page! You don’t get that with every book. Even the dedication page was interesting. Part of it read, ‘To Ian Bridge who met the ghost of Granny.’ That caught my attention. Especially since it is getting close to Halloween and we are having a ‘Scariest Halloween Costume Contest’ this year.” – Gracie

“I thought it was fascinating how they turned railroad cars into a house for people to live in. I wonder if anyone ever thought of doing that for chickens. It might not be a bad idea. Chickens like having fun houses too, you know!” – Bessie

“My favorite part was when Wendy’s mother would dress Wendy all in white, just like my feathers, and then Wendy and her father would go for a walk. Wendy loved to explore everywhere, and that was just like me! And sometimes when I go exploring, my white feathers get messy too. Like just this past Sunday when I got out and had fun being chased around the back yard. Nobody realized I knew exactly what I was doing. But I was grateful for being rescued, just like Wendy. – Pearl

“The wonderful photographs, particularly the one on the cover, were my favorite part. They really helped me imagine the story much better. I also liked the glossary at the end of the book. It explained words that were unique to the part of England where Wendy lives. Someone should maybe put a glossary of words in Chicken and English in our next book. (Hint. Hint.)” – Emily

“Wendy is a wonderful writer. It’s not easy for me to imagine what a person’s life is like, mostly because I am a chicken. So I only really know what a chicken’s life is like. But Wendy did a very nice job of making me feel like I was right there in her neighborhood with her.” – Amelia

“The Railway Carriage Child” is available through Amazon in the UK for roughly $20.00 U.S. This includes the cost of the book and shipping across the Atlantic. (Amazon Prime in the U.S. does not apply.) After the first few chapters, I felt I already had my money’s worth. This book is that good.

Wendy is one of several writers in the same writing group named The Whittlesey Wordsmiths, and many have websites. You can find Wendy at “Wendy Wordsmith” and her writing friends Cathy at “Writing Wrinkles” and Phil at “Fenland Phil’s Blog”. Take some time to visit their writing websites because I think you will enjoy them.

The Whittlesey Wordsmiths have also published an anthology of short stories and poems titled “Where The Wild Winds Blow.”

Cathy Cade, who first introduced me to these other authors through her “Writing Wrinkles” blog, has her own book titled “A Year Before Christmas” which just may be the next book on “Gracie’s Special Reading List”!

Just so you know, “My Life With Gracie” isn’t getting anything from sharing any of these books with you. We don’t collect anything if you click the Amazon UK links here. Some websites work that way, but for us, it’s about supporting independent writers even when it’s not what we write! Best wishes to all of the Whittlesey Wordsmiths!