I have a Halloween feature in the October issue of Family Circle. I worked on this story almost a year ago and it's nice to finally see the end result, especially after how chaotic I remember feeling at the time.
It started in New Orleans, where I began designing the craft projects and creating them for the shoot. Most of it was uneventful - I was able to find the Halloween supplies I needed (unlike the difficulties I face when crafting Christmas in July or Easter in January), it was coming together. But then there were the pumpkins to deal with, and let me tell you something about pumpkins - as Halloween nears, pumpkin season is basically over. The few remaining pumpkins sit, quickly rotting in far-flung fields. It's a race against time.
I was flying to New York to complete the story and style the pumpkins, but first they had to be purchased. My intrepid (and pregnant) friend in New York (and her friend) set out on a journey to gather 300 lbs. of pumpkins from various farms, picking through fields, searching for the best they could find. (Thank you Kendra and Jean!) She came back with a carload of pumpkins that were unloaded and stored in the back of her apartment building (Thank you doormen of West End Ave!), awaiting my arrival. It looked like a pumpkin patch in the back of her building, but if you're wise, you always buy more than you think you'll need.
Somehow the crafting dragged on (you always make more stuff than you'll ever shoot and I also had to deal with my personal Halloween) and I raced to get everything shipped out before my departure (Thank you Fedex men!), my suitcase packed not with clothing but additional craft supplies I needed to complete my assignment (Thank you Jet Blue for not losing my luggage!). I arrived early the morning after Halloween, no sleep, and went straight to the New York Marathon to cheer one of my friends on. That night, it was back to crafting.
There were the inevitable pumpkin losses, as they succumbed to the elements, and 300 lbs. of pumpkins began to dwindle to a usable few. I spray painted in the cold, behind my friend's apartment, ducking into the basement every few minutes to escape the fumes (the problem with spray painting in New York is that there's nowhere for the paint fumes to go - very few open fields in Manhattan.) It was a long couple of days (and nights, still crafting at the kitchen table). My friend's husband just kept handing me cappuccinos (Thank you Mr. Paul!) and was kind enough not to remark on the mess.
Finally, the messenger arrived to take the pumpkins away and it was all out of my hands (Thank you messenger service for getting them there safely!), given over to a prop stylist who could see it with a fresh eye and a new perspective (Thank you Christina Lane - and Tina Anderson for hiring her!). Of course the greatest styling in the world won't make up for bad photographs, so it's always a blessing to have a good photographer (Thank you Hallie Burton!). Then the art department at the magazine takes over, the copy is written (Thank you Karmen, Judy, and Kate!) and it shows up in the reader's mailbox.
It takes a village to create a feature from concept to printed page and there are moments when you're dead tired and can't see the big picture - those are the moments when you wonder why you didn't choose something more traditional to do with your life. But then you see the end result and you realize that you really don't want to do something more traditional, after all.