Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallow's Eve

Man – didn’t you just LOVE Halloween as a kid? I did. It was an opportunity for a mad dash into the middle of that dark October night and scamper through your own and even distant neighborhoods in search of free stuff.

Of course that’s what it felt like when you were 12. And that’s what it felt like 30 years ago before razors in apples et al. Well I got lots of early Halloween stories but that’s for another time.

For the past eight years I’ve been trying to figure out how to do Halloween in LA. When I was in Houston I lived in a old part of town that had bungalow by bungalows neatly nestled along tree lined streets that were ripe for caravans of treat-seeking kids – and their SUV driving parents – I mean I just had buses pull up in front of my house and let the kids out. So I always put a blacklight bulb in the overhead porch light and played SoundGarten rather loud through the bowels of the house and had fun with all the kids coming by. My neighbor was equally as active with tombstones in his front yard and coming to the door with a giant Jack-in-the Box head on. Kids loved it – and it was good.

Moving to LA however squelched this long held love for Hallow’s Eve. For the first four years I rented houses in Jewish enclaves in the West LA area and well, they just don’t do the Trick and Treat deal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But there was no reason to hang around the house so one year Deborah and I did the infamous Santa Monica Boulevard street party hitting the streets in garb inspired by Tom Cruise’s “Eyes Wide Shut” movie – you know – duster overcoats with Mardi Gras masks. They have about 8 blocks of the street near West Hollywood blocked off for a massive party. We go there early and had a band of Japanese tourists wanting to take our picture – actually this happened several times. Later, as the party really got going, a TV film crew were on us in a close up while we were dancing and I mean all over us – but somehow we never made it to air.

Later, I found out the party was really the largest gay Halloween bash in the country. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

By moving to San Pedro we were raring to go to have a great Halloween at home in our new house that was almost built for the holiday – with our long stairway up to a castle type facade that, if properly lit, would thrill any 8-year old. However, that first year – no kids. We found ourselves not on the best street and the volume of activity paled in comparison to my Houston Heights bungalow days.

For some reason Halloween is Deborah’s favorite holiday –so if Halloween wasn’t coming to us we would go to it. For the next few years we kept the house dark and went down to the Queen Mary and went through their haunted house (nothing more than something built in a parking lot) or had drinks in their old lounge on the ship. While this sounded great it was a little less spectacular than we thought it should be.

Last year I was actually in Houston working on a proposal, so as this year rolled around we had no general plans. Deborah was at a quandary as to what to do – it looked like it would just pass us by in the typical old LA way.

However, I got home early this year – and with no other option, and the air so crisp it just begged for action, I was going to prepare as if Halloween would come to our house hell or high water. As always, I have pumpkins bought and perched on the stairsteps outside. In about a half an hour all are carved and converted into simple but cartoonish Jack’o’Lanterns. I pulled out my spotlights that I used for Christmas and arranged them to give the house a little bit of a dramatic look. There - we are all set. And I remembered to buy a bag of candy last week at Costco. It was six o’clock. Deborah wouldn’t be home until after 7 but I was ready.

Wait – I needed spooky rock music. I couldn’t find the SoundGarten but I could find some Coldplay – I thought that would probably sound scary to five-year-olds.

With the house all lit up – and probably attracted by the Coldplay - the kids did trickle in – I guess the deal out here is that it starts real early. I probably had 40 kids come by in total – which was huge by our history out here. I would actually see people stop and make there way to our house because of the lights – this was so different than in past years.

By the time Deborah got home she was thrilled – she was so depressed that the holiday had passed us by – only to come home to blazing Jack-o-Lanterns and a strangely lit house – and the now historically bizzare sight of kids (including the shortest Spiderman and Superman combo ever seen in public - but so darn cute) asking for candy. And Coldplay. We sipped beers on the porch the next hour before turning the lights off. We now can look forward to next year.

Happy Halloween y’all.


Tink said...

You're such a good hubby. I love that you decorated anyway, and that kids showed up because of it! Halloween is my favorite holiday too. It makes the rest of my holidays blue if I don't get into SOMETHING: dressing up, haunted houses, pumpkin carving, hay rides, and hot cider walks. *Happy Sigh*

wordgirl said...

Maybe you've sort of become the "midwife" for the Halloween tradition in your neighborhood. Maybe from now on more and more people will participate because you cared enough to go the extra mile. And...it made Deborah happy in the process. Good on you, Rock!