By Martha Reed
I can’t say there’s a nip in the air – the temperature registered 76 degrees yesterday and I’m still sleeping with my window open – but we are cruising toward my absolutely favorite holiday of the year – Halloween.
Oh sure, Christmas is great with all the presents, but really, who needs a set of monogrammed pillowcases that will only end up on the church bazaar linen table anyway? Give me Halloween, when I can eat Baby Ruth candy bars guiltlessly and watch my male friends parade around wearing wigs, dressed in their wives’ clothing. The shyest of kids reveals their true inner nature when he quietly states that he wants to be dread Lord Vader this year and tom-boy decides – for the first time ever – that she wants to be a fairy-tale princess.
In Aspinwall, PA, Halloween is a big to-do. Eleven years ago, when I bought my house, the owners warned me about the landscaper at the end of my street – each year Mr. Halloween buys a great pumpkin that draws every trick-or-treater in a four township radius. I go through 260 pieces of candy annually, no lie. Last weekend, I stopped by to check on things and Mr. H was staying true to form: this year’s specimen weighs in at 672 pounds and he needed a forklift to lift the pumpkin up onto his front porch.
However, the in-town competition is heating up. This past summer we welcomed a new neighbor, a transplanted Frenchman who is embracing this most American of holidays (come on, be honest, does anyone really like Thanksgiving?) We’ve been hearing a lot of hammering coming from Monsieur’s garage lately, and last Sunday he unveiled his masterpiece by transforming his porch into a fully-fledged pirate ship complete with ghostly crew and a working gangplank. The poor headless skeleton I hung in my dogwood is looking a little beat by comparison. I may have to break down this year and buy that fog machine.
The best part of Halloween, of course, is the kids. I am not kidding when I say that on October 31st, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM my street looks like Mardi Gras. I’ve got hordes of shrieking Ninja turtles and gangly, teenage Goth monsters who I’ve know since the day they were born. Some of them may be a little old for Trick or Treat, but what the heck, if you play, I'll pay.