Blessed Samhain and Happy Halloween my dear Rioters! Today I will be spending time with friends and watching my favorite witchy movies! As is tradition here at Inciting A Riot, I've prepared a very special Halloween episode, filled with stories and music to get you in the Halloween mood. There are even a few original contributions by me!
I've included my new original short story, The Apprentice's First Spell, below for your reading pleasure. But, there are a few interesting witchy things from around the internet I thought you'd love.
Spell Block Tango
The Spell Block Tango is a perfectly-time Halloween offering with all your favorite Disney villains from creator Todrick Hall.
Halloween Special on Etsy
And, what would the Riot be without a little self-promotion. Right now at my Etsy shop - TorchAndPaintbrush.Etsy.com - you can get 20% off everything with coupon code HALLOWS. I've created some fun Halloween inspired offerings ranging from $3-$30 (or $2.40-$24 with the coupon). A few items to consider:
Inciting A Hallowed Riot
Here's the list of every song and story you'll find in this year's Halloween Special:
Have You Seen the Ghost of John - folk song
The Raven - Omnia
Ancient Ones - Kellianna
La Llorona - adapted by Joe Hayes
Goodnight Moon - Shivaree
A Man Who Lived in Leeds - folk tale
Witch - The Bird and The Bee
Jack - O - Lantern - folk tale retold by S. E. Schlosser
Enchantress - Jenna Greene
Defying Gravity - from the musical 'Wicked' sung by the cast of Glee
Room on the Broom - Julia Donaldson
The Apprentice's First Spell - Fire Lyte
I Put A Spell On You - Winifred Sanderson & Fire Lyte
The Apprentice's First Spell
When the sky turns twilight and you hear the sounds of the first night bird, walk to the very end of your street, hold your breath, and turn left. If you are very lucky, and magic is in your heart, you’ll see a path leading you to the gates of Cauldron City.
It was the day before Halloween in Cauldron City and all the residents were making their preparations. The town mayor, Old Wizard Mingus, was very excited for this year’s festivities, because his nephew would be joining him for the first time. His nephew was seven, which is the age all young wizards begin their training, and Halloween is always the first day of a wizard’s training.
It was a big job, though, for if an apprentice wizard could not master his first spell by the end of that first Halloween he would lose his powers forever. The Old Wizard Mingus had no fear at all, for he had trained many a young witch and wizard and not one of them had ever lost their powers.
At precisely mid-day, Old Wizard Mingus made himself ready to receive the young boy. He’d laid out what he thought would be a feast of Cauldron City’s finest snack foods. There were candy corns fresh from a Hag Witch’s foot, as well as all the usual favorites of bat wing chips, lizard eyes, and chocolate balls filled with ghost cream. (If we are being honest, there is no such thing as ghost cream. At least, that’s what most of the residents of Cauldron City believe, because the only thing anyone ever found from biting into a chocolate ball filled with ghost cream was an empty cavity where cream should be. But everyone went along with the ruse, describing how it tasted like vanilla or raspberry or rotten toadstool, which everyone agreed was the most delectable.)
Mingus was delighted when out from the horizon flew a small chariot. It had no flying horses carrying it or gryphons or eagles or even mighty hummingbirds. Instead, it had brooms attached to the underbelly. The small vessel came to rest a few inches above the ground, and a mouse-haired boy hopped down into the old wizard’s back yard.
“Hello there, Uncle Mingus,” said Jeremy, the Old Wizard’s Nephew.
Mingus’ wizard’s cap nearly fell off as he rushed over to scoop his nephew up into a big hug.
“Greetings my boy!” cried Mingus. “How was your trip?”
Jeremy regaled the wizard of his flight over the lands and waters in his family’s magical chariot. How he’d flown over the Faery Garden and could have sworn he got a glimpse of the queen who he firmly believed waved and winked at him. He talked about soaring next to chimeras and how he’d gotten a little too close to Draco Mountain for his liking.
The Old Wizard Mingus listened attentively and then said, “I’m so glad you’re here! Let’s go inside and get started on your training. Halloween is tomorrow, and we need to get you ready for your first spell!”
“Sure thing, uncle!” Jeremy said joyously. “But, I’m starved after that trip. Do you think we’ll have time for a snack first?”
Mingus laughed at himself, realizing he was so eager to start the boy’s training that he’d completely forgotten about basic necessities.
“Of course, Jeremy,” replied Mingus. “Let’s go into the kitchen first. I’ve got ghost creams!”
“Oh boy! Ghost creams!” exclaimed Jeremy. “I hope you have rotten toadstool!”
Wizard and nephew sat in the kitchen, munching on ghost creams and drinking hot witch’s brew from cast iron cauldron mugs. Since the wizard’s family lived in a land far away, there was much to catch up on.
They swapped stories and told jokes until finally the young boy said, “Uncle, the sun is going down. I think I should go to bed.”
The wizard replied, “Goodness me! The time has utterly gotten away from me. Really, though, we should practice your first spell at least once before bed.”
“Do we have to, uncle?” whined the boy. “I’m so tired, and I know that you’ll teach me my first spell in no time tomorrow.”
The wizard was quite confident in his skills as a magic teacher, and he knew the boy was tired, so he snapped his fingers and whisked them both into the guest bedroom on a gust of magical wind. Mingus tucked the lad under a quilt of stars and moons and told him a bed time story about a little witch and a faery who learned that not all spells have to rhyme.
“Witches are funny,” said Jeremy as he drifted off.
“Yes they are,” replied the Old Wizard with a smile.
He patted the boy’s head and went off to his own bedroom on the top floor. He felt nearly like a child himself, as this was the first of his nieces and nephews he was going to train. Being the mayor of Cauldron City had kept the wizard so busy he’d never had children of his own, but Jeremy would continue the family line of magic. Now, all he had to do was select a spell to teach before the stroke of midnight on Halloween.
The cry of the banshee signaled sunrise in Cauldron City, and everyone woke with excitement at the thought of a fresh, new Halloween celebration before them. Mingus had woken early to go down to the kitchen and prepare breakfast for his nephew. Preparing breakfast was a relatively easy task for the wizard. All he had to do was open a recipe book and point at a picture of food and the dishes would do the rest. He was a bit overzealous in his pointing that morning, because before he knew it the kitchen was overflowing with biscuits and gravy and pancakes and bacon and fried eggs and scrambled eggs and deviled eggs - with demons trapped inside. The wizard was pouring a glass of freshly squeezed dragon fruit juice when Jeremy bounded down his staircase.
“Oh boy! This spread looks amazing!” he said.
“Eat up!” cried the wizard. “We have a full day ahead. Lots of work to do to prepare you for your first spell casting!”
“That sounds like fun, uncle, but let’s finish this breakfast first.”
“Naturally,” replied the wizard. “We wouldn’t want to leave this delicious feast I cooked uneaten.”
“Cooked, uncle? My mom says you just point at stuff.”
“Well, cooked might be an overstatement, but I prepared the food!”
“Okay, fine, I summoned breakfast.”
“Can you actually cook, uncle?” asked Jeremy.
“Make food from ingredients using your hands and no magic.”
The little boy laughed and laughed and the wizard joined him. When they’d eaten the last of the bacon and no eggs of any kind were left on the platters, Jeremy insisted that they wash the dishes.
Mingus said, “Oh, Jeremy, you can just wave your hand over the dishes and they’ll clean themselves. Here, watch—“
“Wait, uncle!” exclaimed Jeremy. “I know you don’t cook, but don’t you know how to clean dishes?”
“Well…” the old wizard fumbled around for something to say.
“You don’t even wash your dishes?”
“Of course not, and neither will you once you’ve mastered all your spells and charms!”
“That’s just silly,” said Jeremy who dragged a stool over to the sink and turned on the water. He grabbed the soap and started on the first plate.
Tossing a towel to the baffled wizard, the young boy said, “Here, uncle. You dry.”
The rest of the mid-morning was spent washing, drying, and putting away the dishes. Then the precocious boy decided they would do the rest of the morning chores themselves. Dusting happened without a Dust Bunnies Spell and the floors were mopped without a Clean and Shiny Charm and they even managed to water the garden without a Quick Rain Incantation.
“That was hard work,” wheezed the weary wizard.
“Come on, uncle,” said the boy, “that wasn’t so hard! My mom says it’s good to get your hands dirty every now and then.”
“Don’t you all use your magic where you live?”
“There’s magic, sure, but we still get our chores done ourselves.”
“Well, I’m glad you’ve made it to Cauldron City. I’ll show you how to make your chores get done in a snap! But first…how about some lunch? I’m famished.”
The wizard and his apprentice made their way back into the kitchen where Jeremy began rummaging through the cupboard for some bread and cheese.
“What are you doing?” asked the wizard.
“Making lunch!” said the boy whose head was stuck deep in a shelf pulling out strawberry preserves.
“Don’t you just want to look through the food pictures and choose one?” asked Mingus in all seriousness.
“That’s no fun. Then you can’t lick your fingers after you’ve spread the jam!”
“Really, Jeremy, you’ve got to do a little magic at some point today or you’ll never be able to use magic again!”
Coming out from the cupboard with his arms full of bread, cheese, preserves, a few pieces of fruit, and some dried meat, the apprentice wizard sat their lunch down on the counter and got to work making a sandwich.
Jeremy replied, “There’s still plenty of time for magic, uncle, but right now let’s eat.”
The Old Wizard Mingus arched his right eyebrow at his nephew and began to nibble on a piece of fruit, getting worried for the first time that the day was going to run out before his nephew cast any magic at all. But, he swallowed his worries with his fruit. After all, he was a wizard of great skill who had taught many an apprentice witch and wizard. He had nothing to fear.
When lunch was through and they’d washed the dishes - Mingus put up less of a fight this time around - the two made their way outside. The wizard had decided to teach Jeremy some weather magic for his first spell.
“Okay Jeremy. Now,” said the wizard, putting his Serious Wizard face on, “watch this.”
The wizard stretched his hands up high, wiggled his fingers, and said “Lluvia!”
At his command, a medium-sized gray cloud formed in the sky and began to lightly pour rain.
“Your turn,” said the wizard. “Remember to keep your mind clear and think of water.”
When the wizard turned around to examine the boy’s technique, he saw that the young boy had found an umbrella and was standing underneath it.
“What on earth are you doing?” asked the wizard.
“Trying to stay dry. Mother says that I might catch cold if I let my clothes get soaked when it’s raining,” replied the wizard’s apprentice.
Waving his wizard hand at the cloud, it disappeared as though it had never been there and the yard was instantly dry.
“Would you rather start on magic inside where you won’t get wet?” asked Mingus.
“Yes, please,” said Jeremy.
They walked inside and into the wizard’s workshop. It was a large room with a table in the center filled with tools and bottles with labels like “Henbane” and “Mugwort” and “Ogre Baby Teeth”.
“What do you use the teeth for?” asked Jeremy, wearing a disgusted look on his face.
“When you chew them, you smell like an ogre,” replied the wizard.
“Gross! When do you ever use those?”
“I haven’t yet, but the magic is there if I ever need it.”
The wizard determined Jeremy could easily learn the Find My Book Charm, which instantly levitated whatever book you were looking for right into your lap. He described the process to Jeremy and then sat in a chair to demonstrate.
“All you do,” said the wizard, “is concentrate on the book you want and speak its title in a firm, clear voice. Like this: Memoirs of a Mermaid!”
No sooner had the wizard said the words, than a blue book floated from a shelf high up near the ceiling down into the wizard’s lap. It even opened to the page that held a bookmark.
“Guess I’ve been meaning to finish this one,” said Mingus to Jeremy with a sheepish grin, realizing that out of 480 pages, he’d made it to page 27.
But, Jeremy was off flipping through the pages of Djinn and Where to Find Them.
“Jeremy,” started the wizard. “Why don’t you come sit down and try this spell?”
“I will in a minute, uncle,” Jeremy retorted. “but I found the most marvelous book! There are all these stories in here I’ve never heard of! May I read this one for a little while?”
“How about after our lesson? It won’t do to procrastinate on your magic, especially not on this very important day. Let me help.”
The wizard waved his hand and, in a puff of golden smoke, a plush little chair appeared, perfectly sized for his young nephew. The boy took the chair and stuck his nose firmly in the book.
“Can I read for just a little while?” asked the boy. “I promise we’ll do magic later.”
Arching his eyebrow and cocking his head, the wizard gave a nervous, sidelong glance at his apprentice. Would this be the year someone under his tutelage lost their magic all because they refused to practice spells?
“All right,” resigned Mingus. “You can read the book, but only for a little while. It’s important for you to do magic, Jeremy, because it’s up to you to continue the family line!”
“Thanks, uncle!” cheered the boy, who immediately propped his knees up and slouched into the perfect reading position.
Old Wizard Mingus decided he would busy himself in his conservatory. He’d just received a very rare and beautiful flower that was said to turn your hair any color you wanted. Since he had been a mixture of snowy white and cloudy gray for a number of years, he was eager to see if that legend was true. There was a new teacher at the witch school who he wanted to impress, and he felt he would be most impressive if his hair were a nice golden brown. If you were to ask the wizard, this was business and had absolutely nothing to do with how pretty the new teacher was.
Nothing at all.
The wizard had been toiling away, working with the flower, turning his hair this shade and that when a little voice startled him from the doorway.
“Dinner’s ready!” called Jeremy.
“Jumping Djinnjerbread Men!” cried the surprised wizard, who ended up fumbling his hand position and ended up turning his hair a particularly bright shade of blue. His nephew laughed.
“Is that what you’ve been doing in here, Uncle Mingus? I could’ve turned your hair blue with some crushed berries. Is it part of a Halloween costume?”
“Um…. No. This is for serious wizard business. I’m learning a new spell. See, even I never stop learning.”
“Did you mean to turn your hair blue?”
“Is it dinner time already?” side-stepped the blue-haired wizard. “But you still haven’t cast your first spell, and time is running out!”
“There will be plenty of time after dinner. Now, come on. I made a Halloween feast!”
The boy led the wizard down the stairs, through the wizard’s ever-twisting hallways, past the library and around the corner from the broom closet and into the wizard’s dining room. He had been using it to hold extra cloaks and other miscellany, as nobody came for formal dinner anymore, and it had grown dusty and stale with lack of use. But the hard-working young boy had chased away the cobwebs and oiled up the wooden table, and the whole room was now fit for a proper Halloween feast. What a feast it was, too! There was roast pumpkin and potato stew with homemade butter crescent moon rolls and cups of apple cider with little cakes and treats strewn about in the shape of witch hats and stars and cats. Halloween fit for a king, and most definitely perfect for a wizard mayor and his apprentice nephew.
“When did you have time to do all this?” asked Mingus, who just now realized how hungry he was after an afternoon turning his hair anything but shades of gray.
“I read for a little while,” Jeremy replied. “But, then I saw it was going to be dinner soon, and when I went to check in on you, you seemed so busy. I thought I’d surprise you. You have a lot of food in your cupboards! I only cleaned up and got everything ready like my mom taught me.”
“You mean you did all this without magic?”
The boy laughed. “Of course, uncle! You don’t have to use magic for everything. You should be able to make your own food without wiggling your fingers.”
“What’s the fun in that? That’s what magic is for?”
“I guess my mom always taught me to use magic when I truly needed something, and not just for brushing my teeth or sweeping the floor.”
“But I love my magical toothbrush!”
“Oh, uncle! You’re sillier than a pig-goose! Tell you what. Let’s eat up, and then I’ll do my first spell. Will that be okay?”
The wizard accepted those terms, as long as the boy promised there would be no more distractions after dinner. They ate heartily and told stories and sang all their favorite Halloween songs. When their bellies were full and the table held only crumbs and lingering aromas, the boy picked up his plate and began carrying it to the kitchen to wash up.
“Come on, uncle,” called Jeremy. “It’s time for my first spell!”
With a magical twinkle in the wizard’s eye, he eagerly followed the young apprentice into the kitchen, quite curious as to what the boy had in store for him.
“Will you clean the dishes with a Clean Up Spell or do you want to try the weather magic again?” asked the wizard.
“No,” replied the boy. “something better.”
With that, he set the plate in the sink, pointed his finger at the faucet, and cried out “Lluvia!”. Magically, the faucet began to pour water, and the boy stood on his stool and began washing his dishes.
“Now bring me the rest of them, so we can clean up before we go Trick-or-Treating!” said Jeremy with a grin. The wizard brought the dishes, while the boy washed them.
As the wizard was drying off the final plate he mused, “You know, Jeremy. I think I learned something from you today. Perhaps I used magic a bit too often. It’s been fun getting my hands dirty.”
“See, uncle,” replied the apprentice. “Magic is great and all, but when you use it for everything, sometimes you turn your hair blue.”
The two laughed. Then they gathered a few sacks, went outside, hopped on the wizard’s broomstick, and flew off into the Halloween sky. It was time for trick-or-treat, and all witches and wizards and monsters and ghosts would be stuffing their faces with candy. For that is how you celebrate Halloween properly in the magical town of Cauldron City.
Love and Lyte,