It’s The Great Fall Care Package Charlie Brown!

12 Oct

It’s officially autumn and we Midwesterners love our autumn. More than that, we love getting cozy. Digging out our jackets (and maybe finding a $5 bill or that lost glove in the pocket), snuggling under quilts, and sipping that first cup of warm apple cider. The beauty of the season and the general comfiness of it all, the scarves and the scent of dead leaves and the thick socks, is our consolation prize for the very long and windy winter we’ll have to endure.

This makes for a perfect opportunity to make a cozy fall care package for someone you love. If you’ve got someone in your life who, say, waited all night in a pumpkin patch with you and was subsequently cheated out of her tricks or treats or who came and got you out of that pumpkin patch in the middle of the night and tucked you into your nice warm bed, you probably owe them a little thank you gift. Here are some ideas to help you make one without shelling out too much of that money you found in last year’s autumn jacket:

Grab some sort of container to nestle your care package in. A cardboard box with leaves Mod-Podged to it; one of those paper bags you buy the apples in at markets with the pictures of the apples on it; whatever is around. I used a tiny drawer from a set of drawers I had for presentation and then took the drawer back after my pals unloaded their goodies. This might sound tacky but, really, who needs an extra gift basket (or drawer) lying around their place? If it’s not disposable or reusable, might as well get it out of their hair.

If you don’t have enough to fill your container, cut an old newspaper into long thin strips and make a cushion for the bounty. Now comes the fun part–uh, the bounty.

Photo 34I made some paper flowers for decoration. I purchased a kit from Paper Source but as long as you have pretty paper and something to serve as a stem, you can do it on your own. No one really needs a template to figure out what a flower petal looks like. I then made a yarn pumpkin by rolling some beautimous orange yarn into a pumpkin like shape and then covering a pencil in green yarn and hot-glued leaves and shovin’ it in there for the pumpkin stem. It serves as a fall decoration that my friend can unravel if she likes and make a fall scarf for herself. Plus, free pencil!

Photo 29I also bought a “spooky” novel by Megan Abbott at a used bookstore for my friend to read on these dark and stormy October nights. Abbott’s books read like a black and white film noir and I would recommend them, especially for this time of year. Because she is a modern author, her books may be harder to find and a bit more expensive at used bookstores. But if you’re strapped for cash there are plenty of mysterious and ridiculous paperbacks for a dollar or two. I picked up an Agatha Christie novel and a really funny looking book called The Beauty Queen Killer for $1.50 a piece. Can’t beat the price and they’ll fit perfectly in my purse for bus rides and waiting rooms. The birdie in the picture is a template of a raven from Martha Stewart’s website. That woman loves Halloween and all her templates are free so print them out for window decoration, like I did, or for pumpkin carving stencils. You can’t see in the picture I took but I cut this raven out with this really velvety maroon paper. It’s going to look very Poe posh in my friend’s 3rd story window. I also made a little envelope for them out of wax paper.

Photo 37Other things I added that you can’t see because I broke my camera and I’m taking crappy pictures with PhotoBooth on my Mac, are yummy butterscotch cookies, a Knifty Knitted Neck Collar, some spice-scented lip balm I tucked inside a little extra-buttons envelope, and neat-o Edward Gorey (real creepy illustrations) postcards with handwritten notes. I think notes in care package type gifts are very important. Folks need to know if you appreciate them and that yarn pumpkin isn’t gonna say it for you.

Other things you can add to your own fall care package depend on what fall means to you and your pals and what you can afford. Mine cost 20-some bucks including new yarn and cookie fixins. More suggestions:

-candy corn

-a football

-mixed CD with cozy indoor music (think Harry Connick Jr., Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack) or a vinyl album if they have a record player

-a pumpkin or pumpkin seeds…or pumpkin pie

-apples, caramel if you’ve got the goods

-knit gloves


-a homemade halloween mask or festive fall paper garland

-chapstick for those blustery days

-cough drops

-spices to make mulled cider or wine (cloves, cinnamon sticks and brown sugar)

The Gilmore Girls on DVD, makes for great fall tv-watching but if you don’t have the bucks, direct them to the smorgasbord of Jess tributes on YouTube

-a list of great books to read in the fall (Wuthering Heights! Wuthering Heights!)


-a scary story you wrote yourself or a spooky drawing

-a beautiful fall poem like the one I will leave you with:

Soaking Up Sun by Tom Hennen

Today there is a kind of sunshine old men love, the kind of day when my grandfather would sit on the south side of the wooden corncrib where the sunlight warmed slowly all through the day like a wood stove. One after another dry leaves fell. No painful memories came. Everything was lit by a halo of light. The cornstalks glinted bright as pieces of glass. From the fields and cottonwood grove came the damp smell of mushrooms, of things going back to earth. I sat with my grandfather then. Sheep came up to us as we sat there, their oily wool so warm to my fingers, like a strange and magic snow. My grandfather whittled sweet smelling apple sticks just to get the scent. His thumb had a permanent groove in it where the back of the knife blade rested. He let me listen to the wind, the wild geese, the soft dialect of sheep, while his own silence taught me every secret thing he knew.


“Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see. “–Linus, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown


One Response to “It’s The Great Fall Care Package Charlie Brown!”

  1. kelsy October 12, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    I have been watching Gilmore Girls season 2 and reading Wuthering Heights this weekend! I’m so ready for fall.

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