Thursday, November 1, 2007

Graveyard Mystery

Taken 10/30/07

When this blog first started, I knew that a post about the mystery of the Halloween graveyard was a given. I've wanted to write about this annual event for years but never had the forum (blogging is great for this kind of thing) and never had the photographs to prove my point, or to at least illustrate my fantasy.

We've lived seventeen Halloweens in Seattle (OMG) and experienced our little ones in costume, going door to door. We watched them grow into pre-teens in costume and then into big kids too old to be "trick or treating" but going out nonetheless. And now, they are both out of the house and Denny and I find ourselves leaving our stash of candy on our doorstep with a sign saying "Help Yourself" and heading out to take in the night that is Halloween, especially the graveyard several blocks from our house.

Every year the lovely expanse of lawn belonging to a corner house on a well traveled street in our neighborhood is transformed into a ghoulish graveyard by dusk on Halloween, just in time for large and small "trick-or-treaters" to enjoy. This house is very traditional, quite formal in its symmetry and grandness. There are always a few pumpkins on the front porch and in recent years, large pumpkin shaped lights adorn the two pillars near the sidewalk starting in mid October. This is nothing out of the ordinary for a town that goes all out for Halloween. But, until late afternoon on October 31st the well manicured lawn is clipped, free of fallen leaves, orderly and tame. Then something magical happens. Sometimes I witness the transformation, many times I pass by too late and simply find that the graveyard is "up". Gravestones and cobwebs, the occasional skeletal hand draped over the grave marker, piles of dead leaves, ghostly shapes and one year a convertible car driven up onto the lawn with skeletons sporting wigs seated inside. Surrounding the entire scene is a low metal fence, draped with webbing and signs warning "Keep out" or "Enter at your own Risk". Usually the visual scene is complimented by ominous organ music coming from inside the house. The neighborhood has come to expect this recurring scene once a year on Halloween. I don't recall a year that we haven't witnessed this event.

The fascination I have with all of this is that it is over so quickly; the scene appears and then it is gone. I pass this house on my way to work and every November 1st the lawn is back as it was, peaceful and orderly as if nothing ever happened. The mystery and magic won't reoccur for another year. It is over. And, in my mind, I have to ask: did it ever really happen or was it all imagined? One has to wonder because this brief sliver of time, the fleeting moments, and the eeriness of the scene forces us to live now, see now, hear now, and be now because tomorrow it is gone.

Happy November 1st.
Even the pumpkins are gone today. We will need to wait another year for the show.

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