Spooky and so very “in”

It’s Halloween time once again!

I, for one, am wicked excited! As I’ve talked about in previous blog posts (click here and here) I seriously love Halloween! This past weekend we decorated our house for the holiday with lots of things given to me by family and friends back in the USA. This includes having Halloween themed bowls with some fun candy.

Halloween candy in our apartment

So, we made our apartment all ready for Halloween, complete with the smell of a freshly baked pumpkin pie (the 1st one I’ve ever made … it turned out ok, nothing spectacular). However I felt that I, myself, wasn’t quite ready for the holiday. This has been kind of a hectic and busy month for me and I didn’t really get the chance to enjoy October as much as I’d usually like to. I feel as if I didn’t do enough “autumny/Halloweeny” things.

Well, a little pumpkin bracelet has made me feel better and has put me a heck of a lot more “in the Halloween spirit”.

Italian brand Cruciani has these colorful bracelets that are EVERYWHERE in Italy now and were extremely “in” this summer. It’s impossible to go anywhere without seeing somebody sporting one.  The original form is that of a four-leaf-clover, but various other shapes (hearts, butterflies, lock and key) have come out since then. Now, just for Halloween, they made a pumpkin version, available in orange or black. As soon as I saw them I decided “you shall be mine, pumpkin-shaped bracelet!”, so I ran out and picked one up this weekend.

The window display at the Cruciani store in Milan

These bracelets are so very me! I mean, they really scream Garrett! I’m wearing mine right now as I type this and it serves as a sort of Halloween reminder, right on my wrist! It may seem silly to some of you, but this little piece of Italian fashion has made me feel better about how my October has gone and makes me all “Halloween Happy“.

This last picture I’m leaving for you guys is what I’m rocking on my wrist right now. You’ll note the orange Cruciani pumpkin bracelet and traditional green four-leaf-clover one. In the middle I’ve got a knock-of version that I got in edicola that I thought was cool because it’s got a skull and crossbones. I know this picture looks like something from Teen Beat magazine for young girls thanks to all the added images, but I couldn’t help but play around with all my photo editing apps on my iPhone! 🙂 Happy Halloween!

Halloween Fashion!



Little Mouse

I am a huge Mickey Mouse fan! Have been ever since I was a boy!

I love Mickey so much that when I was little I dressed up as the famous Disney mouse for numerous consecutive Halloweens. My Mom gave up on trying to persuade me to change costumes by saying “Why don’t you try being a cute lil’ Dracula” or “Don’t you want to be a Ninja Turtle this year? Cowabunga!” and just accepted the fact that she was going to have to dust off and slightly alter the old Mickey costume once more, for the 4th year in a row.

Me as Mickey Mouse for Halloween in the 80’s! How cute am I?!!?

One year Mom was able to convince me to be a cowboy … but I still had to have some Mickey Mouse involved!

You may even say that I was possessed by Mickey Mouse. In fact, my parents have video evidence of me being silly (what else is new?) and talking in a high-pitched voice saying “Hi! I’m Mickey Mouse!”. When my parents kindly ask “Garrett, use your normal voice.”, I creepily respond by shrieking “Garrett isn’t here right now, but you can talk to me, Mickey, if you want!” The video is an old 1980’s VHS home movie, and I have absolutely no idea how I’d go about transferring and uploading it to YouTube so I can’t show it to you, but I think just writing about it is embarrassing enough for me!

Now, you might be asking yourself “What’s this got to do with Italy?”. I’m getting there, don’t worry!

Mickey Mouse is known around the world either by the original American name that Walt Disney gave him or by a country’s local version (ie. Mickey Maus, Miki Miška, Ratón Mickey, Mikki Mús…).

Italy is an exception to this rule. In Italia, Mickey Mouse is known as Topolino (which translates to Little Mouse) and there’s an interesting historical reason behind this name change.

The cover of the first issue of the famous Topolino magazine in Italy … still read by children (and adults) even today!

During the period of fascism in Italy, Benito Mussolini outlawed the publication of foreign comic strips, especially American ones. The only one American comic that was “allowed” was Mickey Mouse, apparently because Mussolini’s children loved the character so much. The way to get away with publishing it anyways was to get rid of Mickey’s filthy American name and give him a new Italian one that was more in line with the ideals of strong Italian nationalism and pride. Fascism in Italy may have died off but the name stuck, and to this day Italians refer to the Disney star as Topolino.

Call him whatever you want, all I know is that Mickey Mouse continues to have a special place in my heart!

I think it’s quite clear which Disney character is my favorite. What’s yours? Leave a comment below! 🙂


* (that means “October” in Italian)

It’s my absolute favorite month for many reasons! Here are the top ones:

  • Halloween
  • my birthday
  • cold “snuggle” weather that’s not quite as bone-chilling as winter

Luckily, I can enjoy these three things living in Italy just as much as I did when I lived in America. There are, however, some things that I really do miss about being in America, especially in New England, during the month of October.

This year in Italy we had the warmest September in the last 150 years. It’s true! If you don’t believe me check out the story from the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. It’s in Italian though, so if you don’t speak Italian, you’re just going to have to go ahead and trust me on this one. Anyways, it was crazily warm here! I was going around in shorts and sleeping with the windows open until about two weeks ago. Even though this year was warmer than usual, autumn in general is less chilly than in Boston. I’m not sure if it’s because of the warmer temperature or different types of trees between The USA and Italy or even a combo of the both, but leaves here don’t put on that same spectacular show of changing into beautiful shades of red, yellow, and orange like they do in Massachusetts. The leaves in Italy seem to go from green to brown overnight and then just drop to the ground without any fanfare. The leaves changing color is something that I really miss! Not only because it’s always cool to see, but because it was also a sort of “signal” for me that October was here and that my two favorite holidays are coming up. (Yes, I consider my birthday a private holiday).

Another thing that I really miss is cinnamon flavored Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, candy apples, and pumpkin spice anything (latte, cookie, pancakes …). I love all autumny-spiced foods!  Every time I see an American friend’s Facebook status say something like “Having a hot pumpkin chai! Yum!” or see a picture they posted of them and their boyfriend/girlfriend making candy apples from the apples that they went and picked that weekend, I always think “That must be fun … insensitive jerk!”.

That said, there are some things that Italian October offers that American October doesn’t. One main thing, as I talked about in last year’s Halloween blog post, is the fact that the day after Halloween is a national holiday here, so you always have the day afterwards to rest up after your crazy Halloween party. Another thing is that you can find pumpkin ravioli and fried pumpkin flowers, which are both really delicious. Also, many small mountain towns in Italy have festivals in October where you can spend the day in the mountains wine-tasting and eating warm polenta. In fact, this year I went with my boyfriend and a couple of our friends to Morbegno for a fun wine-tasting where you get to go right into the cellars and sample the local wine accompanied by some brown breads and cheeses.

fried pumpkin flowers

So, it’s not a complete loss. There are plenty of ways to celebrate October right here in Italy, and fried pumpkin flowers are almost good enough to forget about the leaves not changing colors!

I can be Lady Gaga if I want to


Halloween is my favorite holiday! Anybody who knows me well knows that I go bonkers for Halloween. I love Jack-o-Lanterns and Draculas and Ghosts and Witches and all that spooky Halloween stuff.

I’ve always loved decorating the house for Halloween. I remember placing graveyard decals on the front windows of our house, hanging the Witchinas in front of the fire-place, and placing the ceramic ghost family figurines that my Mom painted all along the mantle. Luckily for me my family and friends send me packages in Italy with Halloween prizies and candy (thanks guys!) so I can keep my little apartment in the “spirit” of the holiday (pun definitely intended).

Also luckily for me, Halloween is catching on more and more each year in Italy. It’s sort of a newish holiday here but it works out perfectly because November 1st is a holiday here (Tutti Santi) so you get the day after Halloween off work to recover from all the witches’ brew you had the night before.

It can be difficult trying to convince Italians that they can dress up as anything they want for Halloween, like a super hero or Lady Gaga, and not just your classic Zombie or Slutty Black Cat (I don’t know why, but girls ALWAYS have to be the sexy version of whatever their costume is… even if it’s something really innocent like a nun). Italians believe that Halloween costumes must adhere to the classic monster-type ones. This is because Italians already have another dress up holiday called Carnevale where they dress up as Clowns, Darth Vader, or Slutty Cleopatra (some things don’t change between America and Italy). So for them, Halloween costumes should be “monstery” in nature.

Try as I may, I can not seem to convince my Italian friends that dressing up as Mario of the Super Mario Bros. is not against the Halloween rules (and I’ve persuaded/forced my boyfriend to be Luigi… I know, I know, how f-ing cute right?!!??!).

I think I may need to put a “GAME OVER” sign on the overalls of my Mario costume, put some black circles under my eyes, and add a trickle of blood running from my mouth in order to convince my Italian friends to be seen with me on Halloween. I mean, Dead Mario is hardly as classic as Frankenstein’s Monster, but its closer right?