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Yep. Happened again this year. Halloween. Got home in time to get the lights set and the fog machines rolling and the spooky sounds playing and the blacklit ghosties spinning to the creepy organ music wafting out of the library. Then there were the last minute touches like putting the sugar skulls into the pumpkins and adding a lantern to the gnarled stick the big ghoul was holding. Everything looked great.

And just as happened last year for an hour or so I fretted that Susan and I might be the only ones to enjoy it — and Joe, our tenant upstairs. He got home while I was waiting on the porch and admired the set up.

“But where’re all the kids?” he asked.

Good question. 6:30 p.m. came. Then 7:00. Then 7:30. Nothing. Had all our work to celebrate this favorite night of the year been for naught? Would this be the year that we pay the price for being one of only several houses on our block that does the evening up right and tries to make the hood seem less a dead zone.

No, it wouldn’t. Eventually they came. Just like last year. And the year before. Whew. Probably had a good 80 or 90 or so Spidermen, and nurses, and goblins, and bunnies, and Hulks and such that made it up the stairs to get their treats by the time we shut things down around 9 p.m. Some were just there for the candy. Others stopped to smell the doom and decay.

“Oooo look at the leg!” “This is the scariest house I’ve been to!” “See all the bones!?” “Check out the pumpkins!” “Whoa, the ghosts inside are cool! “The smoke is great!” “This house wins the award!”

Some of our neighbors who batten down the hatches for the night and darken their porches and homes probably roll their eyes and consider us childish what with the theatrics we present. They might scoff at it as a waste of time — so many hours work for so little reward.

But like Linus in his eternal quest for the Great Pumpkin, we’ll do it again next year. Bigger and better than the last. And again I’ll stand out on the porch as darkness falls and wonder if anyone will come share it with me.

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Flickr photoset here.