Halloween is being celebrated tonight in Sewickley and some adjoining communities from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A parade will be held in the village on Saturday morning.
Why my adopted home town isn't having the whole celebration on Saturday, which is the actual date, I haven't figured out. Whatever the official explanation may be - too much traffic in the village perhaps? - I just don't believe it. I think the ancient undead of Sewickley simply do not want to disturb the Saturday evening cocktail hour with kids coming to the door. Here! Here! Somebody has got to uphold community standards.
Of all the American holidays, Halloween is the most puzzling to me. It is not celebrated in Australia, where I grew up. I never encountered it when I lived in England, although All Saints Day is a cultural memory. The Mexicans have their Day of the Dead, which is their version of the Halloween, but I can't think of another culture that does anything similar.
Not that I have any objections to this. I am for fun in many forms, especially if it involves candy.
Up the road from me, at the corner of Beaver and Academy avenues, is the spooky house to end all spooky houses. The private family that lives there have an industrial strength Halloween every year, so much so that one of their cars has "Boo Crew" as its vanity licence plate.
A week ago, I saw the man of the house busy in the yard planting corpses and grave markers. The whole house is decked top to bottom with faux ghoulish effects - cobwebs, chains, zombies etc. Tonight, eerie organ music will come from the house as will the sound of clanking chains. Fog will envelop the steps. Hundreds of kids, drawn from miles around, will descend on the house for treats and terror.
I know the occupants of the house - well, the living ones, anyway - and they are exceptionally nice people (so much so, that I do not feel comfortable using their names in this blog without their permission). This is their hobby, their annual extravaganza. Some people collect stamps, others terrify children at Halloween.
And I think this is a wonderful thing - as long as it doesn't disturb the cocktail hour. After all, some things are sacred.