Sunday, November 9, 2008

Spreading Spirit

When my husband and I moved here just a little over a year ago, the neighborhood was getting ready for Halloween. We parked in our driveway for the first time on September 30, 2007, escaping at last from Los Angeles. As the month of October passed and we slowly unpacked and got settled, I had my husband leave our tote of Halloween stuff down. "If I have time, I'll decorate," I told him.

As I looked around the neighborhood, I realized not many people decorated for Halloween. It became a priority to do at least a minimal amount of decorating, and at the very least, shake the dust out of my tiny fog machine (now sold on eBay and replaced by two 1700 watt machines)and get it set up for Halloween night. When the big night came, we had a very small turnout of TOTs (I'm told that a small turnout is normal), and my house was getting a huge , "Wow!" response from the few who came. That was when my dream was born: Make our house the go-to place for Halloween in our town.

As I got to know my neighbors this past year, they discovered my enthusiasm for anything Halloween. My neighbors across the street from us and a friend of theirs (and subsequently their children and their children's friends) would drop by from time to time over the summer, to poke their noses into "The Garage of Doom" (also known as "The Woman Cave") to check Stewie's progress. As the holiday drew nearer and the Halloween tote came out of storage, they sought my advice on costumes and decorations. Katlyn, the young girl who lives across the street, seemed taken by the idea of carving her own JOL, and asked if she could borrow a book.
Above is Katlyn's creation. She pulled it out of Extreme Pumpkins 2, Take Back Halloween and Freak Out a Few More Neighbors, by Tom Nardone. She did all the carving herself and borrowed the diaper from a neighbor. I'm proud of her and especially her folks, who didn't try to discourage her from doing something creative that maybe isn't so mainstream.

I love this guy. I discovered him last year on Yahoo's People of the Web series here. He was the antidote to cutesy, safe Halloween JOLs. I think what I really admire about Tom, besides manic use of power tools, is that he just did what he loved, and people noticed. People got interested in what he did and the first book was born. Good for you,Tom! You're the poster boy for the rest of us enthusiasts who would like a larger audience for our horrors.

We had planned to do more of a theme for our yard display this year. "Things Eating Other Things," inspired by Tom's first book, Extreme Pumpkins.

Sadly, we ran out of time and only Peter and Brian were our JOLs for this year, mixed in with all the pumpkins we had bought for our JOL display. I hope to have my act together better next year. I really want to make the "Property Defender" pumpkin from book 1.

In the meantime, pumpkin pie, anyone?


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