October is calm before holidays

October is calm before holidays

By Jan Dona

The Write Team

CARLINIVLLE (Oct. 12, 2017) – October has always been my favorite month. I suppose that notion began as a child since I have an October birthday and I knew with the changing of the calendar, presents would be on the way. There must be more to it than that because I still love October, but, these days, my birthday simply means I’m getting older.

I like it when the weather becomes blustery and the leaves begin to turn. While I find trees to be beautiful with all their leaves in bloom, the colors that follow the weather’s break are awe-inspiring. There are some places in the county where one can be overwhelmed with the vivid colors of fall. Granted, some years bring more vibrant colors than others, but I find beauty in the transition, regardless.

October is the time of year for long drives, hearty food and antique shopping. The weather isn’t too hot and it isn’t too cold. Those of us who take a lot of photos already know there is no better natural light than what can occur in the late afternoon during the fall. In much the same way people tend to look good in candlelight, fall light washes us with a warm glow that looks good on anyone.

While there are people who take great pride in decorating their home’s exterior for various holidays, those who go all out for Halloween are a breed all their own. They don’t do it because they want their property to appear attractive; they do it because they want to creep you out. They appreciate the ghoulish, the macabre and the downright ugly. There are people out there who turn their homes into an outright attraction during Halloween, complete with costumed characters and displays designed to mock death.

Unlike Christmas, when homeowners hose down the house in Christmas cheer, putting it up a month or more before the holiday and leaving it up well into January, Halloween decorators know they’re working in a short window. Those tree-hung ghosts and giant spiders just don’t work more than a day or two into November. Halloween decorators are in it for the shock value, not longevity.

Back in the 60s-70s when I was a kid, some of the fear surrounding Halloween involved the constant concern of tainted candy. There were always urban legends floating around about razor blades being shoved into candy bars and popcorn balls being laced with some kind of poisonous terror. It wasn’t uncommon to hear of hospitals offering to X-ray candy in an effort to locate sharp metal objects so they could be removed from the treats before lacerating the throat of an innocent child.

In fact, I remember one year I was trick-or-treating with my friends when a young couple in a car drove up. They explained they had just moved into their home and were afraid they wouldn’t have any trick-or-treaters so they were driving around handing out bags of candy. Even though I was just on the end of the block by my house, I remember my stranger-danger radar going off. Although I took the candy (I am me, after all), when I got home, I threw that little bag of candy away. I was young, but enough fear had been instilled in me to recognize the situation as sketchy.  Not to dismiss the chance there are some scary people out there who wish to harm children, I have to say, the threat of actual danger significantly upped the fright factor  back then.

October just seems to be the lull before the storm that comes with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. There isn’t the pressure to please the relatives, only the hope to scare the crap out of any that might stop by. Good fun.