There’s a poem by Aileen Fisher about Halloween in my 1997 book, You and Me: Poems of Friendship (see on my books page).
We mask our faces/and wear strange hats/and moan like witches/and screech like cats/and jump like goblins/and thump like elves/and almost manage to scare ourselves.
The book is long out of print, but used copies can be found on the internet. For the On Halloween illustration, I made a double page spread with children in costumes, holding trick or treating bags.
It’s pretty shocking to see the difference between the book’s printed illustration and the original 4×5 transparency below. The night sky is dyed velveteen, with the moon remaining white with the aid of painted hot wax. The poem’s title is hand embroidered in white on the dark blue velveteen. I don’t know why the brilliant blue didn’t reproduce on the printed page, or why I didn’t kick and scream about it. At the time, I wasn’t even disappointed and recognized the limitations of translating my artwork into a printed book. Maybe it’s because of experiences like this, that I can appreciate how well the photos appear in my new book, Pocketful of Posies. The production team at Houghton Mifflin really did an excellent job!
This sketch shows how different the final piece turned out. Originally, I had a Dad with a large group of costumed children approaching a porch.
I simplified the scene by taking out the Dad and reducing the number of trick or treaters.
An owl was added and the house was put in the distance with a lit window. The pumpkin is made of felt, with embroidered features in yellow.
I stitched a bark texture of embroidered dots and dashes to the silk tree trunk. All of the branches are made from thread wrapped wire. The background fabric is dyed with a spray bottle. See other fabric dyed this way in a blog post about my Noah’s Ark piece. I hope you all have a fun Halloween!