CLIFF’S EDGE: Halloween around our house…


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Halloween comes and goes in a reasonably consistent way around our house.

A day or so before the annual evening of tricks (I recall those when I was a kid, but see little evidence of them now – with no regrets) or treats (those, too, have diminished with age), we prepare, sort of.

First, we check a final time on the weather forecast.

If it looks like it did this past Tuesday (clear, dry, chilly), we anticipate a moderately interesting evening of costumed young people at our door, hands extended.

Given that expectation, we support the candy industry by buying more bags of stuff I can’t eat than we’ve purchased in the past year.

Next, we look at the television schedule to estimate the degree of frustration we’ll experience with each interruption at the door. (Key unknown factor: Will I or my wife be answering the door?)

Then, we informally estimate how many princesses, action heroes, costumed animals, witches and ghosts will show up. (The total varies greatly from year to year as the t-or-t-traffic on the street is influenced by activities at schools, churches and other gathering places.)

We check the positions and conditions of decorations and lights at our door (we marvel each year at the imaginative displays we see as we pass through our neighborhood and others throughout Burien, but we yield to the pacesetters. ) This year only our lighted pumpkins fail us. The orange and black cloth spider above the door does us proud.)

Final report, in order of preparation:

Weather held. Visitors to the door were appropriately garbed for the most part. The parents, whether hovering close at hand or observing from the top of the driveway, seemed comfortable.

We handed out our first miniature candy bars (two to a customer) at about 6 p.m., the last about 9 and had one remaining when we knew we’d seen the last visitor.

I was rooting for Houston in Game 6 and was able to keep up with the twists and turns of yet another excellent world series game, even while tending the door. The final score was a trick in my book, but overall, this series had been a treat.

We had near 30 really delightful young people stop in, a live-action portrait of an emerging portion of our community, rich in racial and ethnic diversity, uniform in vigor and friendliness. A couple of them I recognized, or they recognized me. Thank-yous were common from the young people and their parents.

I don’t remember this from the past, but this Halloween, I had the opportunity to say “thank you” in return, to the kids for being there, to the parents for taking the time and effort to provide them that opportunity.

All in all, it was a good celebration of all about us that is weird and unusual.

Turning from the abnormal among us to our ongoing community quest for normality, be sure you have your ballot in by Nov. 7

I see tricksters among us as the election campaign winds down, but there’s ample opportunity for treats for this community — this entire community – post-election, if we’re willing to work for them.

And, finally, as one B-Town Blogger to another – I know that many of us have Cassidy Huff in our hearts and on our minds as she undergoes and recovers from more surgery this week. Best wishes, Cassidy!

Cliff Rowe is a retired journalist and journalism professor. (He practiced both in a time before journalists and what they produced were considered “enemies of the people.”) He and his family have lived in the Shorewood area of White Center (then Burien) since 1969 when they returned to the Northwest after seven years in the Chicago area. There, following graduate school, he wrote and edited with the Chicago Sun-Times and with Paddock Publications in the Chicago suburbs. On moving here, he was with The Seattle Times for 11 years before turning to teaching journalism at Pacific Lutheran University for 35 years, retiring in 2015.

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