It’s October. The start of the holiday season and the traditions that come with them. In my house October is a big deal. My husband and I had a pumpkin-filled wedding four days before Halloween, and our anniversary month isn’t complete without a slow perusal of Target’s Halloween aisles, a strand of flickery orange bulbs my husband and I call the “spooky lights”, carving a pumpkin on the 31st, and Ichabod. This is the first film on my Disney movie list that I’ve already seen over and over.
I’ve loved Disney’s Ichabod since the year I met my husband, obviously not knowing at the time I would start a Disney blog. How perfect that the next film on my list would be Ichabod, our favorite Halloween movie, in the month of October! The year we met my husband came home from work and told me that one of the teachers he works with was playing Disney’s ‘Headless Horseman movie’ for her class and that we had to find it and watch it together. If you know me you know that as far as Halloween plans go, frankly, this is my speed. So we tried to find it, to no avail. It wasn’t on demand. It wasn’t on YouTube. We ended up watching it from a pirated link which, again, if you know me, was a fairly scandalous decision on my part! (HA!) But we finally got to watch it together and my husband was right, it was every bit as spooky and dreamy as he said and it was completely worth the hunt to watch it. Every year since we have made sure we had access to Ichabod. Last October, though we were weeks away from Disney+ dropping, I just couldn’t wait so I ordered it on DVD. This year Disney+ made things much easier, and thank goodness because it just wouldn’t be October without Ichabod. And here is why.
Disney’s take on Sleepy Hollow is a Halloween treasure. Ichy himself? I read another blog that claimed Ichabod is not, and should never be considered a hero. I completely stand by that claim! He’s an opportunist, a glutton, a coward. BUT. He’s laughable. Which is necessary and provides a sense of relief in a story aimed for kids that may otherwise be too chilling for children. Just everything about this cartoon…Bing Crosby’s crooning drawl? The autumn scenery? Katrina’s curves? Up against the ferocity of a silhouetted man on horseback carrying his own pumpkin head?! If Halloween were ever this dreamy, it’s because Bing Crosby and Disney made it so.
There is a whole other half of this film that I’ve hardly mentioned, but not for lack of interest. (It’s just, how can I resist diving into Ichabod in October?) Disney’s rendition of The Wind in the Willows follows Mr. Toad through wild folly. He’s gone mad! Automobile mania they call it. His plight is 25 minutes of whimsical delight. And he’s adorable in drag– I MEAN– disguise. I take a picture with his bust in the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride queue in Disneyland every time I go!
This year when I sat down to watch the film it carried a new weight because I knew I got to write about it, adding a little extra sparkle to my October tradition of just watching it with my husband. I posted on Instagram when I began watching it, (another layer of this whole blogging journey) and got a response from a local artist I have been following. We sent a few messages back and forth, and he, like me, was inspired by quarantine to get creative. He does sidewalk chalk art, a lot of it Disney inspired, and he is SO GOOD! When he found out Ichabod was next on my list he offered to come draw the legendary (but not heroic) Ichabod Crane on MY driveway! WITH the headless horseman on his tail!
He looks fantastic. He looks real! I’m obsessed with him! I have sprayed him with half a can of hairspray and I’m prepared to lay in front of it when the neighborhood kids come out to play. Watching Phillip draw him was incredibly cool. The ability of this franchise to bring people together, even in a time when social interaction feels inherently unsafe, is not at all lost on me! The whole experience is just so serendipitous. Though I won’t be posing with Mr. Toad this fall in Disneyland, or admiring the Headless Horseman in DCA, I did get a special dose of Disney Magic. Just like Ichabod, the Headless Horseman followed me home, now let me go eat a whole pie.
The talented and charming Phillip Azevedo is available for commissions in the Central Valley! Check out his work on Instagram @getyourphil89.