Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Spidery Zeitgeist

Turns out that my meditation on the joys of The Devil Bat was my 66th post on the local newspaper's blog site. Only 600 to go!

My household has, of course, been enjoying the dank and gloomy autumn weather we've had lately, and gone for several walks after dark, checking out the Halloween decorations and the general seasonal ambience. A few things we've noticed:

A lot of the displays seemed lower-tech than in recent years. There were fewer purple fiber-optic shapes glowing in people's windows, or elaborate light displays. I assume that's a response to worries about the electric bill, but it still seems to suit the season better. Some years, we've seen displays with so many strings of lights that they've ended up with an inappropriately Christmasy feel.

As a corollary to that, there seemed to be more real pumpkins: actual vegetables, and not the carvable foam ones. (No judgment is implied: we have both on our porch, with more of the "Funkins" than the real ones, because they're just easier to deal with. I totally understand why people use them). Still, it's nice to see real, hand-carved jack-o-lanterns, especially on the yards where they've been paired with honest-to-God shocks of corn.

We also saw a lot of hands reaching up out of lawns (plus one soft arm hanging out of the trunk of a car -- excellent!) and old-fashioned hanging ghosts, many the classic Kleenex-n-lollipop-sized, some larger, swaying in the damp wind.

And spiders, spiders, spiders everywhere! Cobwebbing is, of course, a staple of Halloween decorating, but the spider theme seemed more dominant than usual. There were large spiders in windows, hovering over porches, planted in the middle of front yards. I'm not sure why people should suddenly think to themselves, "That's it, spiders!" But whatever the reason, it warms my heart.

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