I went a little overboard for Halloween this year. The week before, Tony and I had been talking about great ways to decorate for Halloween and Tony was all psyched up about it ~and he got me psyched up about it too. He helped me put orange lights on the wisteria vine on the corner of the porch, and the two of us stretched a wire from the porch roof out to the maple tree in front of the house so that we could rig up my battery-powered flying bat so that it would fly in circles over the front walk. Tony even talked me into getting a couple of blocks of dry ice to turn my cauldron* into a spooky candy dispenser in the front hallway. He was excited about carving a pumpkin and dressing in a costume to hand out candy at my front door. But, on Halloween day, he got a call from friends and decided to go to their party instead.
So now I was stuck with 10 pounds of dry ice (2 rectangular chunks the size of large bricks), 3 uncarved pumpkins, and no help getting anything set up. It felt a bit pathetic to be doing so much to set up decorations for a kids' holiday when I don't have any kids of my own, but I let my inner child take over and went through with it anyway. I carved two of the three pumpkins and set them on the porch, lit by candles. Set up the bat to fly over the walkway, and rigged up the cauldron with water and dry ice.
The weather was pleasant and relatively warm, so there were plenty of kids out trick-or-treating. 77 kids came to my door this year.
Here is the count of Halloween Trick-or-treaters for the past 14 years:
[ I found some of the statistics from earlier years and added them to this list.]
The bat has wings that flap and eyes that glow red. It flew in a 4 foot circle over the walkway until the batteries got too weak (about 7 PM).
The cauldron was set up in the doorway between the hall and living room. I broke the dry ice into pieces and placed it in a pot of hot water in the bottom of the cauldron. I put blocks of wood across the top of the dry ice pot and placed a pizza pan on it with a small set of purple LED lights, and then a large bowl in the middle filled with candy. The dry ice produced a nice eerie fog, filling the cauldron, with the bowl full of candy rising out of the middle. The LED lights tinted the fog a creepy purple color. The hot water and dry ice had to be changed often. The effect only lasted for about 20 minutes at a time, as the CO2 boiled off and the fog dissipated.
The candy this year: Reese's, Kit Kat, Mr. Goodbar, Skittles, 100 Grand, Almond Joy, Heath, and Whoppers. Enough to satisfy a small army of kids.
The front porch with flash.
The front porch as it looked in the dark.
One of the pumpkins.
*Yes, I have a cauldron, doesn't everyone?
Back during the Depression, my grandparents (mother's parents), who lived in Queens, liked to spend the weekends driving through the countryside north of New York City in their 1927 Nash. Times were tough, and many of the small farms in that area were abandoned. On one of their drives my grandmother saw a large, old, cast iron cauldron out in the overgrown yard next to one of the abandoned farm houses. She told my grandfather to stop and get it for her, which he did. As a kid, I remember the cauldron sitting next to my grandparents' fireplace as a decoration, often filled with dried flower arrangements. Except for this Halloween, it now sits next to my fireplace.