Through the Looking Glass: Halloween happenings

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October is definitely the craziest month of the year here on Grand Avenue. We rest for what seems like a minute when Maple Leaf is over, then we blink and it’s Halloween!

Halloween brings its own parade of sorts. There are no marching bands, floats, horses, or street sweepers, but there are adorable children of all ages parading up and down the sidewalks pretending to be everything from Baby Donald Trump to Captain Underpants, with several different princesses and pirates thrown into the mix.

This year’s Halloween preparations started with a trip to the store to buy 2,000 pieces of candy while it was on sale a few weeks back.

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Since moving onto Grand we have seen the numbers for Halloween steadily grow from around 1,000 to right at 2,000 trick-or-treaters.

If you want to know the yearly count, just ask Annette Jones across the street. She has kept the yearly tally since 1998! In years past, we have grossly underestimated the amount of candy needed and have made flying trips to the store, so now we just buy for 2,000 and hope that is enough.

The rain definitely had an impact on Halloween this year. When I got home there were already many families making the rounds, hoping to beat the rain, and the police were at the corner starting to barricade the street.

Our church was setting up in the driveway. Volunteers were getting nine fire pits ready to go, and had hundreds of packages of s’mores ingredients individually wrapped and waiting on the kids.

Halloween happens whether it rains or not, so we put a canopy over the front steps to try to stay dry, brought out the first batch of candy, and were ready to go.

With so many visitors, the tradition of ringing the doorbells is pointless, so all the neighbors sit outside and pass out candy in front of their homes.

It was a crazy, busy, fun night! We were able to pass out candy to 1,325 trick-or-treaters!

This was a lower number than the last several years, but it was cold and rainy so I can’t blame anyone who chose to stay home and bribed their kids with boxes of candy from the Dollar Tree to skip out on this year.

Many people warmed up around the fire pits, and several friends and family members enjoyed the heated blanket I had running on the front porch. I spent most of the night restocking the candy that Dad was passing out and visiting with friends and family that stopped by.

I’m really not sure how Grand Avenue became the go-to place for Halloween. It was that way when I was a kid and it continues to be that way now.

I’m glad that the police department made the choice to block off the street several years back. It makes the evening so much more enjoyable when we don’t have to worry about kids getting hit crossing back and forth across the street, and it provides more room for people to get up and down the street or just congregate and chat.

Most people think this is something that our neighborhood plans and organizes each year, but it’s really something that has just evolved over time.

What started out as a safe neighborhood to trick-or-treat has turned into a block party of sorts with people outside of our neighborhood coming over to help or just join in on the fun. There really is no rhyme or reason to what we do each year, but it’s Halloween, and if you have candy, they will come!

Brandi Ensor is a lifelong Carthage resident. She is adamantly single, spoils her nieces and nephews as much as possible, and loves camping and boating with her 16-year-old son, Johnathan.   

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