Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Who's Your Monster?

By Martha Reed

I live in Aspinwall, a very compressed neighborhood. Our houses are bumped up right next to each other. Because of that, we get a lot of Trick or Treaters, and I do mean a lot. We attract kids from four boroughs. Its no exaggeration to say that on Halloween my street looks like Mardi Gras out there. The kids have figured it out. They know they can haul out about fifteen pounds worth of candy apiece in under two hours. You have to give the little monsters credit, they did the math.

When I bought my house, my neighbors warned me about the situation. They advised me to buy 250 pieces of candy. That first year I didn’t believe them, and I had to SOS my sister up the street to send some candy down while I frantically dug through the bottom of my purse looking for pennies to hold the sugar zombies off until the backup arrived.

Another reason we attract so much attention is that my neighbor, Joel Keiffer, is Mr. Pumpkin. You may have heard of him, he’s getting famous for buying a 1,000 pound pumpkin and displaying it on his porch. This effort costs him money as well as time; his porch collapsed a couple of years ago but he keeps at it. This year, though, he’s outdone himself with a pumpkin carved like the Cheshire cat. (See below). I have to say it is pretty awesome.

The trick is that this year Joel’s decided to take donations for charity. That attracted media attention, and WTAE ran a feature on Joel and his pumpkin and gave out his address in Aspinwall. Ruh-roh. You know Pittsburghers; they’re a generous bunch. Forget Mardi Gras. This year I'm expecting to see people from four counties. Just to be safe, I’d better go buy some extra candy, and I'll post the results here. Wish me luck!


Martha Reed said...

Good morning! Here's an update. Joel raised $1,400 for Project Bundle Up and we survived the devouring hordes. Happy Halloween!

Joyce said...


I didn't count how many kids we got, but I only went through a bag and a half of 3 Musketeers. I left the remaining half bag on the kitchen counter and it's mysteriously missing this morning. Since there are only two of us here, I don't think this case is going to be very hard to solve.

Annette said...

I had an easy time counting our trick-or-treaters. Zero.

That's what happens when you live in the middle of nowhere.

Jenna said...

Martha, we have a couple of streets like that near our kids' schools, where we go every year to trick or treat. Last night it seemed quieter than usual. Turned out some of the houses had run out of candy early and had closed up shop. I swear, there are thousands of kids from all over the city. The parents truck them in. The police have to set up roadblocks, etc, because there are too many for them to be able to stay on the sidewalks; they take over the streets. Halfway through the night, we were inside someone's house, and they'd gone through seven 2 lbs bags of candy so far. There were at least six or seven grocery sacks full of bagged candy beside the door. It's a ton of fun, but I imagine it can get costly for those who do it. We don't have much activity in our own neighborhood, though.

Patg said...

Well, I'm in Annette's boat (pun intended) as no kids come down to the moorage. I guess gated community has something to do with it. I have to admit to missing it though.
Martha, glad Joel did so well. Things like this are a lot of fun. We have a Christmas neighborhood here in PDX that has the same mod scene with police every year. Fortunately, now, no cars allowed. All walkers.

C.L. Phillips said...

Wow. What a story. Love the pumpkin and Joel. He did an outstanding job on the carving. My pumpkins always look like a three year old did the carving.