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lullaby https://www.youtube.com/playlist? list=PLbUtKw8ctCaUuxw2_Lsq-py7CLxSwUjHn “just like heaven” by the cure “there’s a honey” by pale waves “friday i’m in love” by the cure “disintegration” by the cure “enjoy the silence” by depeche mode “spellbound” by siouxsie and the banshees “vampires cry” by nosferatu “lullaby” by the cure “karma chameleon” by culture club “get some” by ghosted “lucretia my reflection” by the sisters of mercy “new flood” by little nemo “blue lips” by regina spektor “somebody that i used to know” by gotye “settle down” by kimbra “bang bang you’re dead” by dirty pretty things “got to go” by alice in videoland

Horror Game Dad Kayla Bashe I want a dad like in horror games. I don’t care about the stubble but I want a dad who would drill through walls to reach me, so that I could wrap my hand around one of his fingers. He’d walk slowly enough for me to follow, even as the world folded to shards of mutations and glass if I needed him through virtual barbed wire he’d entomb himself in cryogenic chemicals to find the highway; chainsaw through obstacles and carry me home. He’d be my lighthouse in every dimension. I could call him my best friend, my sidekick-in- survival, catch each thought I threw him, walk through hordes of the shambling, through clockwork and fire. I mean I don’t need a dad who would kill for me but damn, I’ like a father who answers his phone.


Looks Enjoyable: Disgust towards the Sexualizing of Girls in Game Narratives & Halloween Costumes this October1 by Liz Tetu

So the 31st of October is coming up very soon, a day that coincides in the states with flamboyant costumes, somber rituals, apple cider, the end of the harvest season, classic horror movies showing up in theaters for a limited time, copious amounts of candy, the most times a person’s doorbell will ring an entire year, PBS specials, the thinning of the incorporeal veil, and excessive parties. To commemorate the holiday a little early, I thought I’d just profile the game I’ve been playing this October, one with a pop Norse theme and a high potential to inspire some cool outfits—that is, until I realized that the costumes are where the game definitely starts to go downhill. I’m beginning this post with the game, moving into my criticism of the costumes for and general infantile depictions of the female characters, and linking it all to childhood memories of Samhain/ Halloween to point out long overdue changes needed in products for/about/ presenting girls.

Separate (Odin) Spheres The aesthetic and mechanics of Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir2 combine to make a gorgeous game. From the title screen, players encounter the game’s enchanting soundtrack, both adorable and haunting, cuteness more stressed during gameplay and especially by diegetic noises like the clanging of a bell or the uprooting of herbs. The charm comes through in the hand-drawn art animated in a light and bouncy way (apparent at least on the PS4 version) but also in mechanics like the growing of crops such as fruit, herbs, and um, sheep as well as the eating of wellprepared meals; in the early game, growing and eating your own fruits is the best way to level up and continues to reward the player with experience points the entire game. Planting requires paying “Phozons” which are also part of an intricate 1

This article was originally posted on October 22, 2017, at “Installation Wizard” (paganbloggers.com/ installationwizard), a blog that deconstructs video games for a Pagan and Witch audience for use in rituals, worship, and secular magic. 2

The site linked is atlus.com/osl, a visuals/graphics-based promotion of the game by company Atlus that is not readable for text-to-speech devices.

skills system that I would totally develop and showcase some spells around if the game had maintained this level of ingenuity and pleasant surprise. This cute fairytale world is also populated with some fearsome and familiar faces. A character who shows up in many of the storylines is Demon King Odin, voiced in a sorrowful cadence, visually portrayed as unfathomably strong, wise, and huge (the proportions of Odin Sphere are absolutely ridiculous), and personified as strategic to the point of being cold or even impersonal. Straight up, he’s probably the most appealing character in the game. Another Norse deity makes Her way into a couple of boss fights: Hela. Unlike Odin, however, the representation of Hela in this game is more contestable. Her large and foreboding appearance, a black, ivory, and blue color palette adorning a bones-emerging-from-flesh look, is marred with needlessly huge breasts actually spilling out of a miniscule bodice that had their own animated bounce for every miniscule movement and attacks that involved lifting the skirt rather high. And, no, my distaste does not even begin with the sexualizing of a skeleton. The troubles have both aesthetic and narrative elements. It took a combination of me being able to decode runes, my limited German, and playing through two of the seven storylines to realize that the game was a romance game (leife, of subtitle Leifthrasir, means “love”). There is nothing wrong with a romance game in principle, even though the products of the romance genre have led to some really problematic (read, dangerous) perceptions of sexuality and sexual assault. What I have a problem with is romance games centered around children. While age is never explicitly stated, all women except for Hela and the mother of character Mercedes (mentioned further in) are drawn as pre-pubescent girls and played with babyish and high-pitched voices. Take for example the first playable character, Gwendolyn. She is a Valkyrie but also the daughter of Odin, their father-daughter relationship painted in a creepy way, like at one point where she expresses her love for her father as similar to her romance interest’s love for her. And yes, she has a romance interest, drawn as a barely-pubescent boy but acted with a rather grown-up voice. Their romance is less distressing than the use of her as a pawn to all of these kingdoms for potential merges . . . and marriages. The lewd comments directed towards her by potential husbands, all portrayed through visuals and audio as grown men, makes my skin crawl thinking back to it. Added to her childish body type dressed in a rather high skirt and very low bodice, the first storyline became a struggle to finish. It took me until the beginning of the third storyline to turn off the system and return the game to the library indefinitely. That storyline followed ten-year-old

(unstated) -looking and -sounding Mercedes, the new queen of the fairies (the Norse theme all but dropped at some point in the middle of the second story), dressed in a skin-color skin-tight basically swimsuit and a mini mini leaf skirt. And then came along a frog (with an adult man voice) who continuously asked for her, kisses and cuddling and other physical intimacy. As she deliberated her obligation to this creepy ass character, I was done with this narrative. Forcing children into sexuality? For my supposed entertainment, fueling the myth of destiny over sexual agency? Not on my PS4. Unfortunately, this isn’t exclusive to Odin Sphere or even Atlus.

Samhain the Seeds of Dis-Content Beneath my horrible puns (and terrible pronunciation of “Samhain,” as “sowing” over “sah-ween”) lodged into the title of this section, there exists some memories about a society that doesn’t clearly disapprove of this portrayal of girls, all recollections involving the upcoming holiday. The first memory is very stark: an encounter with a Tumblr post about “tween” girl Halloween costumes3, made earlier this month. While it’s worth checking out the link to get the full story/discourse, what many recognized in the comparison of same-themed costumes for girls 5-8 to those for girls 9-12 was the unrepentant sexualizing of these costumes in a way already contested for costumes for adult women—except this is also happening at the pre-pubescent to barely-pubescent stage. It’s so gross. This isn’t even new; I’ve seen the sexualizing of girls’ costumes in my own life. When I think back to Samhain, I experience stronger feelings remembering the costumes and parties than memories of asking my dad to let me stay up until “midnight” (ten at night) so I (little dream mage I was) would have a better chance of contacting spirits and thanking them before I fell asleep. To be fair, I didn’t stop trick-or-treating myself until 2014; I just take people on rounds around the neighborhood now. But it’s always the costumes that stick with me, mostly because 3

This is a link to a Tumblr post reblogged by Feminism And Media (feminismandmedia.tumblr.com/ post/166216575029/principleeleven-toopunktogiveafuck) where the main topic of the post regards a picture comparing costumes for girls five to eight years old to that of girls nine to twelve where the costumes are meant to be the same type. This post is originally inspired by a Huffington Post article entitled “Here’s Proof That Tween Girl Halloween Costumes Are Way Too SexedUp” (huffingtonpost.com/lindsay-ferrier/heres-proof-that-tween-girl-halloween-costumes-are-way-toosexed-up_b_6062460.html) by Lindsey Ferrier from October 29, 2014.

during elementary and middle school, people chose to wear them all day. In my history of dressing up as a gentleman in white gloves, as an activist for women’s voting rights in the 1920s, like a Western European knight, in my brief nonHalloween drag queen ensemble, as Rafael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and as stock car racer Jeff Gordon, two costumes haunt me to this day: a racist “Japanese geisha” costume and a “medieval wench” get-up (which doubled as my Renaissance outfit) that I wore at ages 9 and 10. I remember the deep cleavage and the downright lecherous comments I got as a fat boy who filled out these costumes. Especially with the racist costume where I went to a party with a bunch of white girls also dressed in costumes fetishizing East Asian cultures and women, we incurred lots of comments as we went around that Halloween, and I’m pretty sure that I recall very few of them. As for the other, I saw an adult woman wearing the same “wench” costume this year at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, as well as a girl around ten years old. This, this is so distressing. It’s continuing to happen in games, in holidays, in fashion, in hobbies, and even in Pagan and Witch communities. When I visited my local magic-user shop late September, I grimaced as I looked at the picture on the front of a greeting card. The portrait was of a fairy clad in tight, mostly ripped up/ sheer clothing displaying a large-chested thick-thighed pale-skinned blonde-haired woman with the distinct face of a young girl. I can only make exasperated noises. There are ethics about presenting girls as sexually provocative and ready for it, a condemning sexual violence against children, right? How can we (in the states specifically) have a society ready to crack down sexual criminals (interpreting them all as pedophiles, which has its own issues) but not cultural artifacts putting children, especially girls, especially girls of color and the fetishizing of their race(s) and racial cultures that will continue into adulthood, in danger?! I’m done with this damage to girls and women, but unlike Odin Sphere, I can’t turn this machine of social norms off and step back. For their sake and my own, I better not. This Samhain and Halloween, even if you don’t trick-or-treat or party, if you just do rituals or watch TV, be responsible, okay? (1) Don’t heckle/put in danger the girls and women in vexing sexualized costumes. Reach out to the girl or woman beneath. It’s the expectation that they’ll live out their objectivizing outfit that’s supported when it comes to calling them out. Especially for a raciosexual (in this case, racist and sexist) costume, don’t attack!, describe how it’s harmful at the personal level, damaging to a people. Don’t play

along with a narrative setting up girls and women as irresponsible (“worthy of punishment”) physiological seductors. (2) Do spirit work with care. I know it’s less related to the rest of this article, but I hope some others on this site are making posts about safety in a spirit-saturated space. Have a spotter or corporeal way to bring you back, like an alarm clock, and follow your own guidelines strictly! Whether sensitive around Samhain or not so much, do what you can on this side to stay safe.

dis.so.ci.a.tion https://open.spotify.com/user/ theburpingkittykatofdoom-us/playlist/ 7nP76vgEP0oC9BtmV7jE66 lovely you / orchids / el retorno / tropical showers / frontier psychiatrist / since i left you / my time / miss you / lone digger / every day / frankie sinatra / star scat / jolie coquine / oooh / suzy / je m’amuse / l’envol / sofa / 12 juin 3049 / newbop / glory of nelly /dramophone / cotton heads / forget /medicine

Halloween Party

It Comes at Night It Comes at Night is a film that combines mystery and suspense in a way that manages to keep you guessing throughout its entirety. You are put into the shoes of a family in the midst of an apocalypse and only know as much as they do about the situation, which is next to nothing. If you enjoyed films like Night of the Living Dead or 10 Cloverfield Lane, you will be pleased with the direction of this film, as it deals with similar themes of mistrust, disease, and seclusion. This film will make you think, and by the end it will leave you with one question: “Who can you really trust?”.

Fido Fido offers a lighter, more comedic take on zombies, that could be loosely comparable to Shaun of the Dead or Warm Bodies, but set in an idyllic, American town in the 1950’s. This film touches on topics related to family relationships, forbidden love, and what it really means to be alive. If you’ve ever wanted to find out if you’re capable of rooting for a zombie, then this film will definitely fulfill your curiosity, and keep you entertained from start to finish.

You’re Next


Slasher fans beware, You’re Next will raise your expectations for any modern slasher films you see in the future. It’s smart in its approach to a genre that is flooded with poorly written and executed films that are trying and failing to be the next Halloween. Watching this film for the first time is like watching Scream for the first time, “Everybody’s a suspect.”, and no one is safe.

It is a well-executed interpretation of the book of the same name by Stephen King. This film juxtaposes a harsh, horrific storyline about a demonic clown that terrorizes children, with witty and charming interactions and dialogue among the main characters, making it extremely fun to watch and hard to forget. It is a thrilling ride from start to finish, and will have you coming back to watch it, again, and again, and again.

Trick ‘r Treat Trick ‘r Treat is a true diamond in the rough when it comes to horror anthology films. With characters like: Sam the trick or treating demon, and Steven the serial killer principle, it outshines other films that just reuse the same old horror movie tropes. The overall variety and depth in this film make it a definite treat for any horror fan.

Jeepers Creepers What has two arms, two legs, wings, and comes out every 23 years for 23 days to eat people? Watch Jeepers Creepers if you want to find out. This film is packed with nerve wracking moments that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. It will send a shiver down your spine with every scare, and make you think twice about taking the long way home.

“These pieces are a bit heavy-handed and definitely less polished than my usual but I’ve been having a hard time as of late feeling like every day I’m learning about another loved one who’s been raped. I want to make more and better pieces that talk about this feeling, about how much I worry for all of the small sweet faced kids that I see knowing that statistically their voice will also tell this story, that there’s so many voices and we could do so much if we could figure out how to focus our anger, but these are my first attempts. The last one is called Letters to the Kids.”

-Thomas Turner

Mortuary Feminism Lennon H. Imagine if you will, a mortician, an undertaker. The last person to care for you before you are Forever Entombed or scattered to the winds Most would imagine a tall, skinny man Old probably, with withered hands Wearing a dark three piece suit Working in a dark basement Day in and day out But imagine now, if you will,
 Younger hands Not so gnarled, not so knobbly Wearing gloves and perhaps scrubs Carefully cleansing Making up Caring for The dearly departed on their table You might still be imagining A male figure of some kind But listen to this 60% of mortuary science graduates Have been women since 2010 More and more women have been entering The still almost-taboo field Of mortuary science and funeral service As well as those individuals Who identify on the non-binary spectrum

I wonder perhaps If this image soothes you Bringing some sort of piece To your death-terrified mind Removing the scary crypt-keeper In favor of a warm human Ensuring that you look your best For the final grandest adventure I hope it does, dear reader, Just as i hope that as women Smart, fearless women morticians Are paid the same as their male counterparts For their careful work in preserving And sometimes restoring your body Because when it comes to the grave We are all equal Men, women, non-binary alike So shouldn’t there be equality Among those who've heard the call And made it their duty To care for the dead?

I'm gay Im grey And i'm ok But i used to think i was broken Because it was never spoken That it would be ok If i turned out gay

untitled And I love you And you love me But sometimes i still wish You hadn't said that

I never even knew it existed Until i realised all my life i missed it And when i first spoke the words it felt so right I was overjoyed the entire night

You weren't perfect, or prepared And i wasn't either So it's ok And i'm still gay And you love me anyway

And the more poeple who knew The more i felt i was being true But mom, when i came to you You told me not to tell anyone

But that hurt hasn't gone away I wish more parents knew what to say If they found out their child was gay

I couldn't take it back It couldn't go away I was trying so hard to be proud of myself To like myself And at that age I couldn't like myself if no one else could And if i had to lie about myself How could anyone love the real me I was nervous to tell you But I thought you would still love me And you do, and did But something stung then I was a shameful secret I wasn't ready to tell dad I didn't plan on telling my step-dad yet Just you And it hurt because I still had to learn to accept it And me And it felt like you didn't or couldn't And now it's ok for me to say I'm gay And you're ok If i say i'm gay

WEREWOLF “The funny part,” says Hanzo, not quite laughing, if only out of respect for Jesse, but most definitely on the verge of it, if not outright crying—“the funny part is, you look the same.” Before Jesse can think of something witty with which to retort back, Hanzo drops his headphones around the man’s neck, ever hesitant to touch him, but especially now, saying, “Here; I made you a playlist.” Jesse stops, drops whatever he was going to snap back and smiles, touched. He’s always been a romantic. “Man” is a bad choice of word, when Hanzo thinks about it, tilting his head, considering it while Jesse pulls the headphones up and over his pointed ears. But it applies, for the most part—Hanzo is an old pro at this by now; the two of them are married a thousand times over in every sense but on paper. He’s got one of Jesse’s shit reality television shows quietly, colorfully flickering in the background, the playlist, a pile of expendable pillows that’ll hopefully take the brunt of the damage if his partner gets to wanting to rip something up. He leans his head on Jesse’s shoulder, and the man—the man, his partner, whichever is more applicable—huffs, amused as always at Hanzo’s catlike idiosyncrasies, how the man can curl up like a kitten in one comfortable moment and be bristling in the next one. Jesse puts an arm around him, pulling him closer. It rips a hole in Hanzo’s sleeve. Hanzo looks at him from this new vantage point, already knowing what’s going to be there—the sharpened teeth, the yellowed eyes, the pointy ears. His boyfriend’s even furrier than usual, now that the moon’s up for the night. Hanzo is amazed as ever, noticing every little change in Jesse, eyes alight; what is it about Jesse’s werewolf form that makes him seem so cuddly? He’s torn another damn hole in Hanzo’s shirt in his efforts at returning his partner’s affection. He’ll pay it back later, Hanzo decides, in dishes sitting now in the sink, in smiles and winks. For now, he reaches a hand out and runs it down the side of Jesse’s face, feeling his hair. He kisses the corner of

Jesse’s mouth. He swings a leg over this great beast that is his boyfriend and straddles him; he is fascinated, endlessly, by the man. It’s all about distraction, or sensation, or balance, or something. Jesse is being kissed, watching on the TV a couple consider buying a tiny house, trying to concentrate on the bass beats of the song playing. He’s got one hand splayed out across Hanzo’s back while the other digs into one of the pillows with sharpened nails. He’s trying to exert every ounce of violent thought he’s tempted to expend into picking at the cotton, putting as little pressure as he can on the man on his lap. He tries to breath. He tries to concentrate on the song. Hanzo is having fun, and Jesse almost laughs, except it hurts; his teeth ache and his nails are sore; his beard is itchy and part of him just wants to pick Hanzo up and throw him down and take him on the floor, safety be damned. But this is nice, too—better, much better—he’s happy that someone is happy about his condition, happy to see Hanzo looking so curious and fascinated, as if he, Jesse McCree, was the eighth wonder of the world, and a damned pretty one, at that. Hanzo always gets into it—kisses him differently, has a little excitement in his eyes, and Jesse wants to grin. He pulls at the ponytail of his partner’s hair and the hair ribbon holding it up ends up tangled in his calloused fingers. He plays with it while Hanzo kisses his neck, and breathes—Hanzo is careful as ever, always stealing the briefest of moments to decide where, specifically, he wants to go next, but damned if he doesn’t commit once the decision has been made. The hickeys fade almost immediately, something about the moon and the light and his skin; Jesse doesn’t know shit aside from what’s most clearly discernable from past experience. He’s winging it. He loves Hanzo. Winging it—he’s a damned werewolf, ever since Gabriel bit him. That’s it. They’re a bit of a pack, he and Gabe and Genji—although they don’t stick together much anymore—although he has Genji’s brother; Genji has

Zenyatta; Gabe has Jack. They’re all a little different—he’s pretty sure Genji’s too ace for what he and Hanzo do, is probably sitting out on some roof with Zen and smoking a joint while the two of them talk philosophy together, something like that. Jack and Gabe go out and drive to the middle of nowhere and the latter wolfs out under the stars. Coping methods differ. Jesse’s a simple person, or maybe just a stereotypical American—he has the TV, the playlist, a muscled archer in his lap. He just needs a little affection to make it through. It’s a process. It gets to be too much, and he rips off the headphones, accidentally tearing the cord, and Hanzo frowns, and makes some tired-butnot-tired joke about needing to take Jesse out, as if he were a dog. And Jesse rolls his eyes, but he feels bad about the headphones, promises to buy an even nicer pair. Hanzo rolls his eyes. He’s used to it. It happens. Jesse pauses. “Do I really look the same?” he asks, with effort, and Hanzo sighs. He falls back onto the couch next to the man. Or. His partner. He falls back onto the couch, next to Jesse. Their ankles are still touching. “You look fine, darling,” he says. “You always look fine.” X

college It feels a little lackluster. Anticlimactic, is a better word for it, probably. She looks the same—black skin maybe a little more translucent somehow, teeth a tad sharper, whiter—but nothing’s really changed; she still failed this morning’s English exam and has no ostensible thigh gap, still looks the kind of fine that other people will compliment but she can’t get herself to see in the bathroom mirror. She drank a boy’s blood last night, but that doesn’t make her grades look any better. She still doesn’t know where she’s going after college. He was a cute boy. She feels conflicted about his cuteness, uncertain if she’d been truly attracted to him or just liked the curl of his bangs. She has to flip another page in her journal over to continue writing all of this while she sits curled up in bed—she feels conflicted, stuck in the limbo between asexuality and pansexuality that she’s always hated. She drank a boy’s blood last night, and she’s not sure if she really liked him or if it’s her roommate that she’s into. R has these beautiful thick braids and she thinks she likes the idea of softly asking the girl’s permission to touch before sweeping them over her shoulder and biting shallow into her neck. Is that what being human is? And if so, what does that make her? She’s still kind of constantly anxious. Sometimes it’s the helpful kind, and it nudges her towards writing a paper; it’s terrible, the other times. She’s not sure what she’s doing here at college and doesn’t know if she deserves other people’s kindness—and she’s a damned vampire, which is really just another thing to worry about. She forgets to eat lunch and then dinner when she falls into her projects, always is putting off washing her dishes until

they’ve started to smell, doesn’t do her laundry until she’s two days out of underwear. Things are hard as always. The vampirism doesn’t help. — The next day: her old diary entries always look painted over with melodrama. She’s not sure what she’s doing, of course, but she does has ideas—a teacher, she could be a teacher; a man on the bus had told her something about them needing more English teachers, although she’s not so sure he was right. But it gives her a little hope. She’s not really living, but there are benefits to her new state. She remembers her classes better. Still is moderately dyslexic, but, if only due to some placebo effect produced by her undead condition, she feels like it’s a little easier to read through things. And her legs, those damnably chubby things—they feel a fraction more powerful now, like she could run a mile or two if she tried. She’s probably not going to try. But the potential is there, in her arms, too, and she likes it. She still feels ugly. It’s a subjective thing and she knows it, because she doesn’t feel nearly as critical of her old selfies from freshman year as she does of the current ones. It was hardwired into her skin at one point or another, around twelve or thirteen, that she was not supposed to love herself despite the objective fact of her beauty. She hesitates to even write the last two words in her journal. But she’s not bad-looking, she’s really not—she’s never really thought of anyone as ugly, not in appearance. Just in the twist of their tongues.

She’s experimenting with dressing differently, in things that, if she doesn’t find beautiful slipped over her body, she finds humorous in light of recent events: black shirts, metal jewelry, red lipstick. She is vampiric and gothic—a disciple of Mary Shelley and The Cure, of the afro goth subculture, according to Google, and if she isn’t truly a goth at heart, she finds happiness in making believe. It’s a short-term fix and not a lasting one—she’s still not sure what happens after college, if not her falling into some endlessly deep void of what her mother would call “the real world.” But it makes her smile, sometimes. And R interrupts her writing all this to say, “You look cute when you smile, S.” And she hesitates because she’s not sure, has never been sure—straight? Pansexual? Asexual? Girl? But she stares at R’s braids. She’s not sure how much love she ought to inject into her response. “Thanks,” she says, slowly, nervous, but excited. She lets the tone of the word fall where it does. And H seems to completely understand. fin



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Burgundy J.

Kaley Bales



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Constance B.


Danie/Whatevr4ever Art



Gwen D.


Hannah Earley




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Kayla Bashe



Lennon H.


Liz Tetu


Thomas Turner



Xan H.


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When I am dead, my dearest  

Queer/feminist-themed collaborative Halloween zine!

When I am dead, my dearest  

Queer/feminist-themed collaborative Halloween zine!

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