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A new dark mystery-drama set in the Amazon called “The River” premieres tonight on ABC.  I will probably watch it standing up with a blanket over my head, asking the dog, “Is she going to die?” or yelling, “Watch out for the snake!”  Since I live in the woods, and it’s very quiet, shows like this put me on the edge of my seat.  

The River looks eerie and suspenseful, and from what I’ve seen of the trailer, it reminds me of Peter Benchley’s 1999-2000 mini-series, “Amazon,” which beat the show “Lost” to the punch! Benchley’s story took place in a remote part of the Amazon rainforest, where a community of people were so isolated, they still spoke Elizabethan English and didn’t have modern conveniences—until a plane crashed, making for an intense, weird drama. (I liked it a lot, but then I am a big fan of all of Benchley’s stories. Just to get you hooked, watch Part 1 here.) As a loyal fan of Benchley’s stories, I will be a pretty tough judge of ABC’s “The River,” but it does look like intriguing…possibly addictive like HBO’s True Blood. I blogged about that and other wetland-themed TV shows at my Strange Wetlands blog.

Several articles out there on ‘how to host a “True Blood” Halloween party leave out all of the foods from the HBO show and Charlaine Harris’s books, the Sookie Stackhouse series. I’ve read all 9 books (and hope for a 10th) and have some suggestions for party hosts out there who want to be legit:

1.  Serve Cajun fare – rice & beans, Cajun chicken dishes, gumbo, cornbread (any food that’s associated with Louisiana)
2. Gran’s apple pie for dessert (if you want to be authentic, have everyone eat it out of the pie plate)
3. Chicken fried steak (Jason’s favorite)
4. LaFayette’s burgers from the bar
5. Tuna casseroles (Gran’s funeral fare)
6. Merlot (the wine, for Merlotte’s, and what LaFayette drinks at his lover’s house)
7. Coffee (Sam & Sookie’s first date at Crawdad’s Restaurant, which also serves fresh fish fillets, btw)
8. Pizza (what Sookie serves Arlene’s kids)
9. Put “True Blood Type 0 Negative” labels on beer bottles, or make a blood beer using V8.
10. Cold cuts sandwiches, which the Stackhouse family eats on hot nights.

For fun, blood marys, sparkling blood orange soda. (The HBO’s “True Blood” beverage is actually blood orange soda but Hannaford makes a good one, too.) No one eats red velvet cake or black popcorn balls in the True Blood show or the Sookie Stackhouse books.

 For decor, I suggest putting some “Fellowship of the Light” brochures or posters in a bathroom or hallway. Print off labels of “True Blood” beer labels to paste onto your favorite red beverages, e.g. Mike’s Hard Berry and Geary’s Autumn Ale. Make “True Blood” coasters or “Merlotte’s” bar coasters to place on tables around the house. As host, wear a white tee shirt with the green Merlotte’s logo on the shoulder. Cue up an episode of the show on DVD for some of your guests to watch – if they have never seen it.
For background music, I played both of the “True Blood” soundtracks, which are great, along with other swamp music. CCR, Eric Green and the Frozen Swamp Choppers are two of my favorite swamp rock bands. For other swamp rock groups, check out my Strange Wetlands blog on swamp rock here: 
Finally, for authentic activities, if you’ve got a nearby swamp or some woods in your backyard, set up some faux cemetary stones. Add one with the name, “William Compton” on it and give a prize to the first person to find Bill’s stone like Sookie does in the show & books. Fake cemetary stones can be found at the dollar store or made out of cardboard. Give your party guests flashlights or glow sticks if you’re sending them into the woods or swamp after dark. Be safe!


Poet. Artist. Ecoheroine. Human ecologist. Spiritual mermaid and Mystic. I write about literary ecology, wetlands, water, Romantic ecology, and quirky adventures with my dog.

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