For the second installment of the countdown, here is a tiny story.

Five plain white plates, the top plate askew.

“Didn’t we used to have five of these plates?” She asked.

“Which ones?” He joined her in the kitchen, kissing her lightly on the temple.

“The white ones that don’t get too hot in the microwave.”

“Do we need to secure the silver?” He chuckled, moving past her to the refrigerator. She glared without heat.

“It’ll turn up.”

I’d have to be more careful. This was the first thing I’d taken that they’d noticed. The plates are so square and white and uniform, I should have known better. Once I set my sights on taking a thing, it is hard to turn aside.

In May, I took a pen. Not one they used. One of 17 pens languishing in the junk drawer. It didn’t have any ink. In June, I hit the junk drawer again, and took a menu for a Chinese place they used to call five years ago when they lived in another state. They never noticed. In July, I snagged an old issue of Current Archeology. They love that magazine, so that was a little brave. Still, they didn’t miss it.

But now, I was caught—a little—on a plate.

I watched them from my secret places whenever I got a chance. They were my family. They just didn’t know it. I took things because I loved them so much. I wanted to be close to them. I didn’t want to hurt them. I would have to be more careful.

At night, as they slept, I would creep out of my hide, and walk the house freely. I touched the chairs, the counters, the decorative ceramics they collected. Very lightly. I never moved anything. People notice when you move things.

Often, they had insomnia. He would come down and snack, then go back to bed. Her sleeplessness was more intractable. She would sit on the couch and watch true crime shows with headphones for hours. They made me hide quick, but I was good at it. Resenting my lost house time, I would retreat to my own space. Once, she came down to watch shows, and I just couldn’t stand it. I didn’t want to go back! Brazenly, I curled into a corner in the office, right next to the living room. I stayed there until dawn, watching the flickering light of the television shine under the door.


“I know I had a pair of pink socks,” hands on hips, staring at her third dresser drawer.

“Maybe the dryer ate them,” he said, dressing on the other side of the room. “Dryer’s gotta eat.”

She rolled her eyes. “The whole pair at once? Matched?” He shrugged.

“They’ll turn up.” It was becoming a familiar refrain.

I knew it was stupid to take the socks. Yes, she had three pairs of pink socks, but I knew she’d miss them. I sat, listening through the walls, examining my motives. I realized I liked it when they noticed. When they saw something was missing, it was like they saw me. I couldn’t let them see me, not ever. But I wanted to, so much.

In October, I watched them answer the door for costumed ghouls. She loved Halloween. He loved her, so he bought plenty of candy. I pilfered a little. I was behaving.

In November, they put up their little white tree and covered it with blue baubles. They were just plastic, but they were so pretty! I took one from the back. They never mentioned it.

The bauble was the best thing. I cradled it close.

I didn’t take anything in December, just watched them give one another small, thoughtful gifts. She liked to craft, so there was always a wonderful handmade gift for him. I would never, ever take those. Though I did once steal a pot of glitter.

For a moment, I thought about returning everything I’d taken, as a gift to them. My heart cried out at the very thought! I couldn’t. It was all I had of my family. Little pieces of their ordinary lives. My family meant everything to me. I shuddered and banished the thought. When they slept, I decided to return to my place, without wandering the house on my own.

I snuggled with her socks, and stroked the smooth surface of the plain white plate. I kept everything in a well beneath the house, long capped and cemented over. They’d never find any of it. These little things would be here forever, with me.

Artisans Coop is an online marketplace for ONLY for handmade items, run by its member artists and supporters. I’m a founding member and volunteer, so I get to see the workings. It really is what it says on the package. No outside investors we’re beholden to, no megalomaniac billionaires at the helm. Just us. Just artists and people who love them.

And yep, I have a shop there. With permission from the Countdown, I’ll be featuring shop items on the blog during October. And after October.

I’ve even added a shop page here, so you can look things over in Spooky Moon style.

Right now, it’s all brooches, so today’s item is my Red Skull Brooch (no, not that Red Skull. It’s just a red skull).

Brooch with with a ceramic skull sporting red swirls, including rusty and dangly bits.

Tell everyone! Tell your dog! Tell your gecko! You could tell your cat, but they probably won’t care.

Closeup of four beaded halloween bracelets.

I love these bracelets so much! Every time I look at them, I want to make a dozen more. Except one more bead wide, because even-count peyote is easier. I don’t know that I’ll ever sell them. For one, I love them. For two, peyote stitch is slow work, and I’d have to charge $$.

Also, happy Countdown to Halloween! Always a good way to kick off my birthday month. The Spousal Unit insists I don’t have a whole month, but c’mon, my birthday is at the beginning, and my favorite holiday is at the end. And let’s face it, I’m gonna be buying myself gifts all month.

Four beaded Halloween bracelets on a spooky skeleton paper.

I watch a lot of YouTube. I have a wide range of interests, and I dig watching people do their thing. NightMind, by Nick Nocturne, is one of a handful of creators I love so much I support them on Patreon. He covers Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and Unfiction, two of my favorite things in the world. He’s thorough, interesting, and fun. I have sat through 4-hour streams for this guy. So, naturally, I had to get a plushie. I mean, that’s what you do, right? I also got a pin, which I proceeded to put on the plushie.

Adorable four-eyed demon plushie.

Nick has two channels, his main channel, Nightmind, is for meticulously researched scripted explorations of cool stuff. Nick Nocturne [Astraline], is where he posts his Twitch streams of Unfiction and ARG. They’re long, but so much fun because you are looking at new things with him. Astraline is its own world of characters, of which Nick is one, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

I have a lot of Halloween stuff. Bins and bins. Most of it is mass produced, from places like Home Goods or Michael’s. This year, doing my usual Halloween hunt at those places just didn’t appeal. I wanted something original, made by human hands.

So for 2023, I am buying original Halloween art. If you are an artist, or know of something good, hit me up in the comments.

Anything I buy will be featured here on Spooky Moon in October, when there’s more traffic. Sales and publicity–what could be better?

I am super pleased with this box. It’s two separate molds. The base box took quite a bit of resin, but is smooth and beautiful and full of possibilities. The frog was half-poured, and by the time I remembered I needed to finish him, I didn’t remember what I’d used originally. So I used leftover resin…which just happened to be from the box. I think he looks pretty great.

Orange resin box with a frog on top.
Orange resin box with frog on top.
Skeleton with a jack-o-lantern head, fall leaves, and "Countdown to Halloween."

I have skipped the past few years of the Countdown, though I love it so. I just haven’t been up to it.

But this year, I’ll have a new shop on Artisans Coop, so it’s in my best interests to get off my spooky butt and join again!

If you have a spooky blog, they’d love to have you. Just sign up, and post every day (or, you know, mostly) during October. One of the best aspects is going through the list of other blogs–and there are many!–and checking them out and saying hello.

Now I just have to figure out what to post besides spamming my blog with shop updates.