If this day doesn’t shake a post out of Mrs. Babette, nothing will. You might be thinking pure sugar high, but, in actual fact this is another one of those times when several holidays cluster together and it’s not just coincidence, ya know. Tomorrow and Friday are the celebration of one of my favorites: El Dea de los Muertos. More on that tomorrow. As Bonnie will tell you, this is also a high holy day for hard core Lutherans, as in Martin Luther, author of the Reformation which is celebrated today. There’s a real trick and treat for you.
Here in St. Petersburg, while I mutter and curse over tangled Christmas tree lights, the place is done to the hilt for Halloween. This is the BIG holiday around here and most folks have decorated like there’s no tomorrow. Wende, you would be in some sort of non-reformation heaven here.
Last night the entire neighborhood lit up the lights for the annual “best Halloween decorations” contest and better than a dozen of us from the aforementioned neighborhood association drove around, note pads and cameras in hand. We were each assigned an area and then we met back at the local neighborhood tavern to eat and drink and over scream each other on our favorites. Back out for a second round, the finalists were selected and signs plonked on their lawns in time for tonight’s parade of costumed goblins and ghosts.
I lobbied hard for the homemade decorations, especially since I am thoroughly disenchanted with Walmart lights and things that inflate. The best theme winner was Scary Potter Comes to the Old Northeast, complete with a classroom of witches taking flying lessons and learning spells. That one included a giant 30 foot serpent that appeared to be going in and out of the house by way of the windows. Another winner, far less flashy but more labor intensive and artistic was the family who had a “body workshop” set up in the front yard with chicken wire, plaster and latex models of body systems- bones, organs, skin, etc. That one was great and the kids, who had done all of the work with only minor guidance from dad, were out waiting for us. The flashiest winner was a complete Halloween cemetery scene with tall wrought iron fence, opening graves, skeletons, spooks and spirits all climbing the wall to escape. Bats, rats, cats, dry ice smoke and shooting flames were everywhere. That was a near-professional production. And, of course, there were a fair number of “garden” variety yards, decorated with great good taste, lovely to look at but not the least bit spooky. My least favorite was the political statement yard, themed “Voting Day” with several dozen life size skeletons in military outfits casting ballots. The message- okay- but not suitable for this children’s day of fun.
In all, we saw almost two hundred houses in a neighborhood of about a 1000 homes decorated to the nines and it all brought back great memories of a time in my life when Halloween was the best holiday of the year. My dad made dozens of caramel candy popcorn balls and red cinnamon candied apples, all done from scratch and all wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbon. We worked on our costumes for weeks and the excitement was electric.