IMAG0927The joy of Halloween for my family is decorating. Over the years we have built up quite a collection of tombstones, coffins and props. Each year offers up a different feature that captures the attention of the guests. I’ll never forget the first year we set up the tombstones. They consisted of five slabs of plywood painted white with names. As one family came down the street, their children spotted our decorations.

An excited cry burst out from their little boy, “I want to go to that house over there!” He gestured to our display.

His parents were a little hesitant. “Why don’t we go down this street first and come around on the way back?”

The boy was not to be deterred. “No. No!” he cried and raced across the street. My parents and I were on the porch the whole time and laughed as the children ran up. I handed out the candy and waved him off.

IMAG0934(1)One year featured a flock of ravens; another a bloodbath with floating eyeballs. All the older children and teens would pause and poke the floating orbs, horrified fascination clear on their faces.

This year the theme was spiders. We dangled giant, hairy tarantulas from strings. All those tall enough would run into the spiders, startle and jump back. That was their punishment for rushing up and not taking the time to enjoy our decorations.



We had about 150 visitors, which is pretty good for our neighborhood. Per capita, this city is one of the oldest in the nation and the houses are pretty spread out. That’s why we see a fair amount of cars on the road on Halloween. We were a little worried for our neighborhood cats in fact. Our own were meowing at the door wanting to go out and we feared they would be run over with all the traffic.

Our neighbor who has recently moved in and started decorating asked us how many visitors to expect. Upon hearing the answer he yelps, “Oh #&$%*! I need more candy.” He promptly hops in his car and drives off to the store.

IMAG0923My little brother finally decided to go trick-or-treating for the first time in his life. He’s rather shy with adult strangers and has always shaken his head furiously when asked to participate. Usually he likes to see all the kids in their costumes and hand out candy. Though he did that too later on… introducing himself loudly to the bemusement of those on the doorstep.

Some of the costumes were quite interesting. Two young girls ran up in beautifully embroidered Persian dresses and capes. When asked where they got their costumes, they replied that their mother had sewn it for them. Another group, a teenager with his younger brothers, was poor and they all couldn’t afford costumes from the store so they improvised. The teen dressed up as a terrorist with clothes from his wardrobe. That one was in fact rather scary in spite of its mundane origins.

IMAG0929Our household is determined to provide for every child who comes to our door. In the event of a candy shortage, we would resort to my brother’s gummy treats. One group rang at about 9:15 at night. Three children from the same family who’d gotten a late start. Luckily there was just enough candy to give each child about three pieces and then the bucket was empty. However, no more arrived that night.