Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017

I coined a new phrase tonight. Or at least, I connected two ordinary words together and gave them a new meaning. A synchronicity string is when a series of synchronicities with similarities are strung together, leading toward a particular outcome. Being familiar with this phenomenon, and having experienced it many times, the concept lent itself to my new term: creative string. 

By my own definition, a creative string is a series of inspirational and/or imaginative events, with a common thread, strung together and leading to a particular outcome. 

I am currently experiencing a creative string. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017
In my family, we have a big party every October, hosted by my sister Debbie, niece Ashley and her husband Jon. The Halloween Party is a big deal. Jon and Ashley’s house is transformed, supporting the year’s theme. Debbie, Ashley and Jon spend months creating the props and decorations. Last year’s theme was Tim Burton Films, and we all arrived dressed as characters from his movies. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017
I was Mrs Lovett, from Sweeney Todd. Because of the amount of thought and preparation that goes into this annual event, March is not too early to be thinking about the Halloween Party, and making plans. In fact, the next year’s theme is always announced at the end of the party. 

For 2017 the party theme is Insane Asylum. Each participant will come in costume, as a historical or fictional insane person. Many family members came up with ideas right away. I’ve been thinking about it, and was having a hard time coming up with a character. And then into my mind popped the old black and white film from 1944, Arsenic and Old Lace. At the heart of this comedic romp are two spinster sisters, Abby and Martha Brewster. 

They are sweet, gracious, thoughtful ladies, and they are wonderfully insane. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017

I shared this idea with my sister Debbie. We could attend the party as the Brewster sisters. Costumes would be easy…old fashioned clothes, a pair of wire rimmed spectacles for Martha, aprons, and a bottle of “elderberry” wine and a couple of wine glasses. 

She loved the idea. And thus the creative string began. In the library last week, checking to see if they had any of the Best Picture nominated films available on DVD, I came across the Arsenic and Old Lace movie. Perfect! I brought it home and watched it tonight. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017
I loved this movie as a child. Starring Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, and Josephine Hull and Jean Adair as his charmingly wacky aunts, this is a fun comedy. After watching the movie this evening, I can’t figure out why I watched it so many times. It is funny, in an over-the-top kind of way, with many sight gags and exaggerated facial expressions. I giggled through it. But it’s definitely not your typical kid’s film. 

I can only believe that my quirkiness must have been drawn to it and engaged. The film seems to be a forerunner of a later series about an unusual family, the Addams. I laughed aloud over Mortimer’s apologetic line to his new bride, “Look I probably should have told you this before but you see… well… insanity runs in my family… It practically gallops.”  Isn’t there a touch of insanity in everybody’s family? 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017
I won’t share anything more about the movie, because the next knot in the creative string arrives at the end of the month. I discovered that the Joplin Little Theater is performing the play, Arsenic and Old Lace, March 29 – April 2. These kinds of things don’t even surprise me anymore. They just bring confirmation that all details in life are important, even the fun ones and the seemingly unimportant ones. 

Debbie is going with me to the play. Perhaps we should take notes, as we look toward Halloween 2017, and stepping into the roles of Abby and Martha Brewster. 

I know the string of creative “coincidences” is just beginning. I look forward to seeing what pops up next on this journey. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey to Halloween 2017

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