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Don't Be A Halloweenie

"I bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween." - Unknown

Halloween is right around the corner and I can't wait!

Not just because I LOVE eating frozen snack-sized Snicker's with my morning cup o'Joe. It's because Halloween evening is the time when googly-eyed little kids come running up and down the streets of Alameda singing, "trick or treat!" in hopes of bagging huge handfuls of candy. And we give it to them! And parents let them have it! Willingly! Sigh — it's a thing of beauty.

But Halloween is not just about the candy. No, no, no! Halloween is all about the ambiance. Without the ambiance, we might as well call it Easter. Yes, Halloween would be nothing without the spook.

Like huge, spooky house spiders, random spooky skeletons and haystacks and scarecrows and pumpkins. OK, maybe not so spooky with the haystacks. But let's stop with the pumpkins for a minute.

Pumpkins themselves are not particularly bone chilling, I concur. However, with a few tools, a candle (or other luminescent glow tool) and a little imagination, one can turn any pumpkin, big or small, into a work of art. Spooky or not — it’s you're choice. And there are plenty of stencils online to get your creative juices flowing.

Right about now I'm pretty sure I know what you're thinking and I can hardly blame you. So yes, Alameda, you can use the black and white Patch picture of me as a stencil. Go right ahead.

But do NOT be a fun-sucker and tell me, "carving a pumpkin is too expensive, too hard, or too time consuming." Puh-lease! If you decide to go to a pumpkin patch and take pony rides or shoot pumpkins out of a cannon, then sure, that could cost you a pretty penny. But an average-size pumpkin can be had for under $5 at Nob Hill, Safeway or Trader Joe's.

Balancing the fiscal budget is hard and time consuming, not carving out a Jack o' lanturn. It's so simple, even kids can do it — literally! The thing is, since knives and other sharp tools are used, children need adult supervision. That's the best part!

I think of it like this: When my kids have to do school projects, sometimes they ask me for help. A little guidance, if you will. But before I know it, I'm wishing I could push them out of the way so I could complete the entire thing myself!

Well, it's just like that but this time, I can go to town with no reservations! Jack o' lanterns are more fun when the whole family gets involved and with this project, no teacher is going to send me a nasty note home.

Even if you don't have kids, it's a great way to be creative without having to be too committal. Why? Because you can't mess up! If your Jack o' lantern has one eye bigger than the other, no worries. It’s Halloween! The crazier, the better! 

So don't be a Halloweenie, be a Hallowinner! Earn that fun-sized Snicker's and carve up a creative, spooktacular Jack o' lantern. Then, take a picture of it and send it to me. That way I can post them on Patch for next year. Be sure to take a look at the attached photos from last year because those Jacks are nothing short of ah-mazing! 

Ken Harrison October 27, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Halloween is fine for Alameda kiddies, but I am put off by the teenage element coming from nearby cities, most of whom make no effort to follow the traditions of costuming, appearing simply to expect that we will honor their mere presence by our gifts. I will not contribute any further to this charade.
Jennifer McGaffey October 27, 2012 at 05:08 AM
My brother-in-law posts a sign by his door - "If you're not in costume, be prepared to sing". Anyone (the vast majority teens) who shows up not in costume doesn't get anything unless they sing him a song - and frequently they seem to enjoy the singing! Win-win.

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