Monday, November 2, 2009

Tired of the mire of unaccomplished things, I was going to make a TO DO list for November. I keep putting it off. I begin, but I pause, and consider the things this month that will get in the way of the list: Christmas decorations, Thanksgiving, unexpected burst water mains and wrecked or broken transport vehicles. The calendar already shows every weekend filled, and I don't know how it happened. I mean, who's skipping ahead and writing stuff in? I should just write the list anyway, and title it "TO DO: FAIL" Because then I'll at least have done something.

It's November 2nd, already, and, if you needed someone to sledgehammer it home, we've got Daylight Savings Time for you. It's so friendly-sounding: "daylight savings!" like an open-door, summer sale at JC Penny's, but I don't know what we're saving. By the sound of it, you'd think by now we'd have scores of daylight that we could just cash in on one glum, dim day when we needed a vacation, but, no, it just feels like another government tax. Whether springing forward or falling back, somehow we all lose sleep over it. Especially if you have kids.

Halloween was a spooktacular fun-fest of paranormal proportions in our cul-de-sac, even moreso than last year. 2009 will be the year that the Little Ditchman "got it", since she was saying "trick-or-treat" and "thank you" and rehearsing the cute routine for weeks in advance. (She got it last year, to be sure, but we had to walk her to the doors mostly, with the prompting of her lines, and then, after a few houses of receiving treats, the look on her face was -Hey! Free candy! This is easy!) We waited for some of the neighbor kids to arrive, and joined up with them on our doorstep.

And then we were off! The hoppy dads hung in back, strutting up and down the block with treats of their own.

(Missing, is Rod, who was an uncanny Praying Mantis. Wish I had him in the shot.)

We strolled the length of the street, saying hi to all the neighbors and pausing at the bottom of the block for cupcakes. It should be noted that the cupcakes were in the shape of werewolves, which is a feat I would not have believed if it was told to me. They actually were in the shape of werewolves. My camera went bad just as I tried to take a pic of them, so it was a bummer, but I did get a shot of the person who baked them, dressed as a Land Shark.

One suspects that she did not bake the werewolf cupcakes dressed as a Land Shark, but with Kendra, you never know.

Then, after much discussion, we all got in minivans to drive across the intersection to the main artery of our tract, a block away, where untold horrors awaited: people caravaning in from miles around to join our neighborhood in The Event of the season. Evidently this has been going on for years, but since we live in the appendix of the tract, separated from all mainstream suburban happenings by a busy multi-lane boulevard, we are sheltered from our own magnetizing celebrity.

There were throngs. So many people, that it appeared that years ago the whole, knock-on-the-door-and-trick-or-treat thing was abandoned for lawn chairs in the yard next to tubs of candy, just to accommodate the crowds. Residents had transformed their properties into cemeteries and haunted houses. And by "haunted houses" I mean a few folks actually constructed legitimate haunted houses, complete with twisting, turning dark tunnels, mirrors and mayhem, and creatures of the underworld peering from the shadows. Really something. One garage was all light and smoke effects, with spooky footage projected into the ether with all the detailed flair of a Disneyland parade. One neighbor had crafted a ten-foot-tall homunculus, operated by a man in back, who moved balanced 2x4s and pulleys to manipulate the eerie arms and head. Amazing.

It was a nice night. Everyone was cheerful, happy, enjoying the scene. I can't abide the ultra-religious who abhor the holiday, as there was nothing evil about any of it. Halloween is an easy, sugary American tradition, and what are we celebrating? Dressing up. Being silly. Acting out, and seeking out the awe and wonder of childhood, whilst diminishing the fears of life and death in this world, and especially that greatest fear of all: the fear of growing up.