Saturday, November 01, 2014

Happy Hallowe'en 2014!

Happy Hallowe'en, everyone!

I hope the spooky season has been good to all of you, and that you've either netted a huge haul of candy from trick-or-treating, or that you've got a ton of candy left over that the kids who came to your door didn't get to (because one of the best parts of being an adult at Hallowe'en is eating the leftover candy).

This year's holiday was pretty fun in our neck of the woods. I put the lights and other decorations up last week (have to keep up with the neighbours — around here, Hallowe'en decorations go up right after Thanksgiving!), so we've had a while to enjoy them. Meanwhile, for the past week or so, we've started re-watching favourite seasonal films, like Ghostbusters, Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Sixth Sense, Monster House, and Monsters vs. Aliens.

We hit the pumpkin patch last weekend, coming back covered in sticky mud, but with some suitable jack'o'lantern fodder. I started working on mine yesterday, so that my wife would be able to do hers today, and that seemed to help get things done in time without us getting in each other's way. From top to bottom, here are: the Frankenpumpkin, done by my wife; the TARDIS/Police Call Pumpkin, also done by the wife; a generic happy/dopey pumpkin I threw together to keep the little kids happy; a Hallowe'en cat that I carved; and my masterpiece this year, the Awful Head-Chewing Monster Punkin. I have to admit, I was a little concerned that AHCMP might have been a little too over-the-top, especially for the really little kids, but all of the families who came around tonight — especially the ones with the tiny tots — loved it, so, I guess it was just on the right side of the line of fun scary versus sick and unsettlingly creepy.

With the jack'o'lanterns ready and a couple of hours until the trick-or-treating would start, I checked-off the next part of our holiday tradition by jumping in the car and jogging up the highway to the neighbouring city of Richmond to hit up our favourite fried-chicken joint and bring supper home (this goes way back to when I was a kid, and my folks would frequently pick up KFC for supper on Hallowe'en because it was quick and easy and they wouldn't have to do any cooking themselves while getting us ready to go out and answering the door for early trick-or-treaters; for me, it just became a part of the holiday, so my wife and I keep doing it, though we now get the food from a little mom-and-pop joint, rather than the Colonel). The hour-round-trip drive (very light traffic, all things considered) was perfect because that gave me time to re-listen to the old 1939 recording of Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre radio production of War of the Worlds, which is a hell of an entertaining show and an example of radio at its finest.

By the time I came home, my brother had come over to spend the evening with us, so we dug into the fried feast with some tasty beverages, watched some old Hallowe'en TV favourites (It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Disney's Lonesome Ghosts, Trick or Treat, and Ichabod Crane, and Bradbury's masterpiece The Hallowe'en Tree), watched the fireworks coming up over the treeline from a nearby neighbourhood, nerded-out on talk of upcoming superhero movies, comics, and Babylon 5 versus Star Trek Deep Space Nine, and relayed back and forth to the front door to deal with the onslaught of trick-or-treaters. And we didn't have to wait long for the kids — we had pretty solid waves of them coming in from about 6:15 through 9:15, mostly families with younger kids (no mooching uncostumed teens, which was good). By the end of the night, we had probably been visited by 157 trick-or-treaters, which was pretty good. Not as good as last year, when we were up around 220, but still a very good turnout. Always interesting to see what the costume fads are from year to year; this time around, ninjas seemed to be popular with the boys, while girls tended towards princesses, though there were a few superheroes, and one kid steadfastly rocked what must have been his parents' Ghost Face costume from Scream.

Of course, the two best parts of Hallowe'en these days, are when we get to see the kids' faces light up when they realize we've just given them full-sized chocolate bars (we don't mess around with those weeny little snack sized ripoffs in our household), and, almost as good, when the trick-or-treating's over at the end of the night, and we tally-up how many chocolate bars we have left over for ourselves. To quote Garfield: "Candy, candycandycandy!"

And now, to bed and a little Edgar Allan Poe before sleep.

Ray Bradbury was right: "... the greatest night of the year. Better than Easter. Better than Christmas. Hallowe'en."

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