Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Halloween Decorations

One of the first things Dustin noticed about the historic areas around Munger Place and Junius Heights and Peak's Suburban Addition is this: the fancy houses are on Swiss Avenue, and they are locally famous for their Halloween. It is, one must note, an enviably rare combination: old-fashioned mansions look all the spookier in the dark, and if they are not so run down as to look haunted, they are at least close enough together to guarantee a good haul. I haven't been trick-or-treating in twenty years, and I still know a good full-size-candy-bar house when I see one. But even if all they hand out are toothbrushes and pennies, it would be a good neighborhood for Halloween. The houses off Swiss are more likely to be genuinely run-down, but they are just as good about putting pumpkins on their steps and giant bats hanging from the eaves. There are no shortage of peaked roofs and devils and skeletons and witches looking out from them. There are fake cobwebs wrapping the shrubbery and fake ghosts swaying from porches. There is a front door re-skinned as a vampire face on an otherwise unadorned house. It's the minimalists that get me. I appreciate enormous furry spiders and walkways liked in glowing plastic skulls, but the white house with green shutters that has only changed out the white lightbulb over the entry for an orange one and then taped a little paper skeleton to the door: this is the house that draws me inexplicably nearer, even as it manages to repulse me away.

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