One thing I like about my neighborhood is it gets a lot of trick or treaters. Which is interesting, because it’s a fairly old neighborhood of middle-middle class dwellings, which means it could easily be a trick or treating dead zone. I remember growing up in an extremely similar neighborhood (pretty close by, in fact), and as my friends and I outgrew trick or treating, so did the neighborhood. I still remember lamenting at age 17 that the act of trick or treating may be going extinct, when in fact, the truth was far less depressing – young parents starting families were all going North, to the newer, nicer suburbs of the city. In those places, trick or treating is alive and well. They close off entire streets for it.
In my last neighborhood, we got very few trick or treaters on Halloween, but I made lemonade from that situation by becoming “that house” that gives out full-size candy bars. It was my way of trying to compensate for the disappointing trick or treating environment those kids had to suffer.
Now, we’re back to the Costco bags. It’s always hard to gauge the amount of candy needed for Halloween in a busy neighborhood, and we’ve run through three giant Costco bags of fun size candy before. As happy as that made me, I was left a little wanting in that candy-dispensing obligations meant I never got to just stroll through the streets on Halloween, taking in the atmosphere.
Until one year, when the wife and I assigned some ringers to candy duty and set off down the road on foot. That’s when I discovered that a mere two blocks South of our house – a stone’s throw by any definition – there is a street that is well and truly BRINGING it on Halloween.
7 or 8 homes by my count just go utterly balls to the wall with their yard decorations, and just for Halloween specifically (I don’t believe they do anything like this for Christmas). Plastic jack o’ lanterns galore; orange, purple and green lights dot the edges of roofs; bones lie strewn about; there are inflatable thingamajigs – everything you picture when you think of Halloween is on display up and down this one street.
One house in particular goes the extra mile. They actually take the time to construct an entire false facade for the front of their house, and it’s different every damn year. One year it was a medieval castle theme, another it was a gypsy carnival, and this year, well…
That’s right – fucking Beetlejuice. If you look closely at those images above, particularly the one taken during the day, you can see a shocking number of things straight from the movie. Beetlejuice’s grave (with fake turf and shovel), graves bearing the names of other characters, one of Delia’s sculptures, the front of the little strip club Beetlejuice hangs out at, the SANDWORM….
And that’s only the obvious stuff. They made characters from the lobby of the afterlife, including the shrunken head safari guy and the girl cut in half. There’s even a Handbook for the Recently Deceased knocking about somewhere. It’s insane.
To put a nice button on the street of awesome, one house near the Beetlejuice one has their entire front yard enclosed in black tarp, with an entryway flanked by cheeky warning signs. I peeked over the wall and it looks to be a graveyard attraction. I didn’t get any good pictures of it, because there’s not much to see. Needless to say, they came close to stepping on my haunted house toes here. Of course, I wouldn’t have minded the competition.
All this led me to remark that fate must be bad at giving directions. I should be on this street. How did I end up so close and yet, not there? Friends of mine have countered that if I were on this street I’d have to up my game even more just to be noticed. It’s a great point, but I think I’d be up to it. No one else is doing a garage haunted house.