Happy spooky season! I somehow had never read “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving and now seemed like the right time to rectify that. Before reading the story I think I could have told you that it included “Ichabod Crane” and a “Headless Horseman” but I think that’s all I knew about it. Turns out, the story is more funny than scary, but it does have a lush autumn mood, with plenty of Hudson Valley scenery and a detailed description of “the ample charms of a genuine Dutch country tea-table” covered in cakes, pies, and more. So, right: Ichabod Crane (originally from Connecticut) is a schoolmaster in Sleepy Hollow in the Hudson Valley, near Tarrytown. He doesn’t earn a lot of money, but he gets fed and housed by the families of the kids he teaches, so it’s not too bad a gig. But he thinks he could do better. Specifically, he thinks if he marries one Katrina Van Tassel, whose father has a very productive farm, he’d be much better off. So Crane courts Katrina, but so do various other people, including a prankster known as Brom Bones. In addition to his fondness for good food (which Katrina’s father’s farm would surely provide), Crane has a fondness for Cotton Mather’s book about witchcraft in New England, and for scary stories in general, which makes Sleepy Hollow an interesting place for him to be, since the town is said to be haunted by multiple ghosts, the most famous of which is a headless horseman said to be a Hessian soldier who lost his head in battle. These various elements of the story converge in a pretty great way, and I’m glad I finally read it. I especially liked the moments of wry humor, like when the narrator speculates that maybe old Dutch settlements in New York are the most haunted because people stay put there, as opposed to other places, where the ghosts find that when they “turn out at night to walk their rounds, they have no acquaintance left to call upon.”

Meanwhile: today we walked to Economy Candy on Rivington Street, and I’m very pleased with our haul:

(That’s a five-pound chocolate mix, gummy bears, imported Haribo cherry cola bottles, chocolate covered raisins, a Lion bar, a Lion coconut bar, a Double Decker bar, and sour mango straws.)

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