There is magic in the night when pumpkins glow so orange and bright...
Halloween season stood out this year for Bryn, Joe and me. She’d sniff her way up and down our street until her startled ‘pause-n-freeze’ pose would alert us to another neighbor’s newly installed lawn additions- such as skeletons sprawled on porch chairs or oozing out of graves, and witches that clung to overhanging tree branches, their capes twitching in the light breeze. Distorted, bone-thin men in rags- what Science Fiction writer Ray Bradbury might call ‘bump-in-the-night bogies,’ were animated by their owners from after dusk until well into late evenings so people driving past could enjoy the scenes.
Humongous spiders waited on giant webs or swarmed over houses, climbing nearly to their roofs...
One home advertised itself as a “Dead and Breakfast” establishment, causing lots of their front yard skeletons to climb out of their graves to snare a room with a decent bed. “Bein’ dead must be boring,” mused one child to his dad on Halloween. “That’s why they come up to the party out here...”
My unsettled doggie preferred to trot on the street side of the wide sidewalks. (Too many bones without an ounce of meat on them?)
One early evening a week before the big evening we strolled by a smallish yard that happened to light up just as we passed. Alarmed, she leaped straight up into the air, landing stiff-legged, ears quivering and nostrils flared. What was this??
Four big wagons, one hitched to a skeleton-horse, had been set out. Skeletons manned the driver’s seats while their skinless friends lounged in the cargo beds. Ghosts, leering pumpkins, long deceased doggies, tombs and all manner of creepy stuff filled the lawn. The amazing scene attracted crowds of people holding their phones high to take pictures. It stopped cars dead: drivers and passengers were blown away by the awesome spectacle.
Just before ‘The Event,’ even more homeowner marvels popped up. One really sweet one, an inflatable, full-size Cinderella-like carriage, pulled by two pretty gray horses, appeared on a front lawn three homes away from ours. Its generator purred almost inaudibly, keeping the airflow even.
Wow! It was possible to peek into the carriage’s lit up interior. “Maybe Cinderella’s in there,” shouted one tiny child dressed as a ballerina. A six-year-old boy jumped up and down to sneak a peek. “No,” he pronounced. “No - ‘cause it’s not at her house yet- ‘member- she lives in the country!”
The perfect answer!
Everyone admired its charm.
(Today, reading what I was about to submit, Joe chuckled. “Dee, that carriage was a hearse, not a princess’s carriage.” I was taken aback, then thoughtful. Ah...that was why those horses were dark gray, not white. Silly me. But hey, the little dancer had thought the same thing...)
Down the street a single skeleton horse was hitched to a wagon, accompanied by a Boston terrier-sized ‘bone’ dog; Bryn skidded to a stop to stare, baffled.
It was an inspired, very effective tableau!
Sixth Street had been truly transformed!
Later, we decided 2018 had offered the best displays yet. So many well-lit exhibits had certainly thrilled loads of visitors.
Joe and I arrived back in town only 40 minutes before ‘Trick-or-Treat’ was scheduled to begin. We tore inside, dressed up in the witch and warlock costumes I’d laid out days ago, dumped tons of candy into huge bowls and sat out on the front porch in hastily set up folding chairs to join in the fun. Near the end, Joe carried on distributing treats at a furious pace while I walked three blocks in my costume to see for myself what was happening.
What a huge turnout- but fewer children had shown up compared to last year (when nearly 1,350 kids had trudged up our stairs). Just over 1200 children trick-or-treated this time, and received our tribute. Almost every child thanked us.
The morning after, I fretted about taking Bryn for her walk; she always sniffs diligently around trees, along sidewalks and into bushes for interesting news, and I’ve caught her many times trying to sample someone’s discarded summer hamburger bits or discarded pizza. But she has a serious medical problem, reacting violently to anything other than her special diet. Even a tiny bit of the wrong food could send her straight to the hospital. Halloween candy bits are routinely dropped or discarded, making the next day unnerving for us. I’d tried a muzzle one year, but my normally silent dog actually cried until I removed it. So now, extra vigilance was necessary.
Even though we walked well away from the most visited areas, and most lawns had been raked, making discarded candies easier to discern, she’d still managed to scarf down a 4-inch square, thin hunk of veggie pizza without our noticing until too late. Brightly wrapped candy always stands out, but this partial snack had blended too well into the leaf-mottled, curbside landscape.
Horrified, all Joe and I could do was wait.
We were incredibly lucky.
Just an hour later up it came, having been inspected by her stomach and then summarily rejected. She deposited it on the carpet still in perfect condition, still with the various veggies arranged nicely across the thin dough. It was WEIRD.
To say we were amazed is to severely understate our reactions.
Bryn, chagrined, left the room embarrassed and upset, though I’ve never scolded her for vomiting. That misery means ‘sick.’ ‘Sick’ means not her fault. Nevertheless, she wanted only to distance herself from this baffling barf. She couldn’t look us in the eye.
We simply picked it up, scrubbed away the coffee can-sized stain and breathed a deep sigh of relief.
No emergency room.
No life-and-death situation.
The invader was happily trashed.
It was, if you will, as though lingering Halloween ghouls had seduced Bryn into gobbling down a potentially lethal Treat, but had then relented and taken it back again- call it their unlikely, gross, reverse Trick- for reasons we’ll never fathom.
But who cares? Bryn had coughed up The Scary Thing. That’s what mattered.
Life is good!