Halloween… I’m having so much fun, it’s scary!

A Man Goes Riding By

Who needs kids around them in order to have fun at Halloween?

Certainly not me. Despite my two children being grown up and no longer needing to be entertained in spooky fashion, I still like to make an effort… just for me!

I’ve already bought my pumpkin, which sits proud on the kitchen worktop, waiting to be carved. The story goes that we Scots make our lanterns out of turnips. Hah! Don’t you believe it. Have you ever tried to scoop the brick-hard centre out of a turnip? No, nor have I. So I’ll stick to carving a hollow pumpkin, with the added bonus of snacking on the roasted seeds afterwards.

With only a week to go, I decided to get myself into a Halloween mood by creating a piece of calligraphic artwork (see image above or on Flickr) to celebrate the imminent arrival of “All Hallows’ Eve.”

Some of the original lettering that I incorporated into the artwork.

This is some of my original lettering which I split into separate short lines within Photoshop.

Rather than go down the typical haunted house and witches on broomsticks route, I wanted the artwork to be more moody than spooky. That’s why I used the poem, Windy Nights, by Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s not strictly a Halloween-type poem, so doesn’t mention ghouls and ghosts and things that go bump in the night, but I felt the words would lend themselves to a dark and atmospheric treatment.

As with most of my artwork, I created the background in Adobe Photoshop by stacking a number of variously textured layers. The moon started off as a simple small white circle to which I applied a blur filter and a very large outer glow. I used Photoshop’s lasso tool to cut the horse and rider out of a colour photograph, then darkened it to create a silhouette. I wrote all the calligraphic lettering using black ink. After scanning the lettering into Photoshop, I split, coloured, resized and repositioned it until I was happy with the overall composition.

I didn’t use the second verse of Stevenson’s poem, so for anyone who is interested, here is the poem in its entirety…

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.


Whatever you decide to do on Halloween, I hope you have fun.

Me? I’ll be carving my pumpkin, dookin’ for apples (another old Scottish tradition), then settling down in front of the telly with lots of candy to watch Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.

I might even do all of the above while dressed as Batman.

As I said, who needs kids around them to have fun at Halloween?


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