Dec. 8th, 2016 02:00 am
restoman: (Frankenstein)
[personal profile] restoman
Yeah, I know this post is more than a month late, but I wanted to get it done before it is time for a Christmas post.

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:

1992: 132
1998: 77
2001: 53
2003: 33
2004: 57
2005: 69
2006: 64
2007: 53
2008: 26
2009: 43
2010: 42
2011: 55
2012: 42
2013: 64
2014: 63
2015: 60
2016: 77
[ 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.

Date: 2016-12-08 07:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stormdog.livejournal.com
You owning a cauldron makes me think of me owning an anvil and smithing tools. I love when there are interesting, unusual things around. They make me think the owner is unusually interesting, which you are. *grins* I love thinking about what the original owners and users would have thought of where their things ended up....

The story of where it came from is sad though. Makes me think of listening to Woody Guthrie (though he was singing about different places) and the many, many farms, like the one my grandparents used to have, that no longer exist.

I'm sorry Tony flaked on the Halloween setup. That sounds fantastic! I love your bat! Our housemate has a little rubber bat that was (ok, still is) living in our dining room, hanging from a hook on the ceiling. But it certainly doesn't move on its own.

Wish I could come visit for a few hugs, and possibly to help relieve you of leftover candy.

Date: 2016-12-10 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] restoman.livejournal.com
Sorry, Chris, the leftover candy is long gone ~my crew saw to that. However, there are plenty of hugs still available. ;-)

Thanks for saying that I am an interesting person! I have an anvil and smithing tools too. I never use mine, I think I would be a more interesting person if I had some blacksmithing skills to go with the tools ~or at least the arm muscles!


Date: 2016-12-08 11:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] basefinder.livejournal.com
Nice decorations. I've had zero trick or treaters in this apartment complex. Homeowners at work talk about having fewer and fewer each year, but still enough that most put on a good effort. Mostly they complain that so many older kids (like driving age) do it.

Date: 2016-12-13 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] restoman.livejournal.com
Yeah, Scott, I have noticed that there have been more older kids and even adults trick-or-treating in recent years. I find it a little intimidating, but go along with it. Often the older ones seem to have the best costumes.
Even in my area, I think that the apartment complexes have few if any trick-or-treaters. I would hate to see this very old tradition die out.

Date: 2016-12-08 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thespian15.livejournal.com
You can never have too much Halloween decorations. :)
I LOVE your cauldron. :)

77 kids? I am sooooooooo jealous. We had a whopping 26. UGH...

LOVE the pumpkins. :)
Hugs, Jon

Date: 2016-12-13 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] restoman.livejournal.com
Thanks, Jon!

I was surprised by how many kids there were this year. We haven't had that many in a long time.
26 kids may not be a lot, but in many places the tradition seems to be dying out completely. I would hate to see that happen.


Date: 2016-12-13 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thespian15.livejournal.com
We must save Halloween. :o

Date: 2016-12-08 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rockingthemike.livejournal.com
you legit always go all out for Halloween; love it!

Date: 2016-12-13 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] restoman.livejournal.com
Thanks, Mike!
The inner child in me is alive and well.

Date: 2016-12-09 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maxauburn.livejournal.com
Those decorations are very cool!

I like how you keep track of trick or treaters each year.

I like to keep track of things, too. :)

Date: 2016-12-13 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] restoman.livejournal.com
Thank you, Jerry!

I seem to have a mild form of OCD, so counting and documenting everything is just part of my life.

Date: 2016-12-14 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kishenehn.livejournal.com
I'm impressed! It would be very cool to do that, but I'd never have the energy ... and I'd never have the willpower to save the candy for Halloween night. (Especially if it was Reeses!)

I haven't even passed out Halloween candy in years -- neither Charlie or Miles would have appreciated that.

Date: 2016-12-14 07:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] restoman.livejournal.com

and I'd never have the willpower to save the candy for Halloween night.

You give me too much credit, Mark! ...2 or 3 bags of candy were gone before Halloween arrived. ;-)

Lily was surprisingly cooperative for the event. I kept her in her kennel, (which is in the dining room), for the evening, and she only barked a few times.
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