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Halloween on the 3300 Block of Beauchamp

Since 2002, we’ve put a vast effort into Halloween. It started one day when Stella came home with an 8-foot, purple, inflatable spider. I could not just plop this guy down in the yard. That lacked context. So, I dyed some sisal rope and built him a home, in the form of a 20 foot tall, illuminated spider web. A nice backdrop against which to give out candy to the kiddos.

Every year we’d tweak the presentation a bit. We added fog machines and lights. More fog machines. More lights. Better fog machines. Still more lights.

We added music! Loud, but not too loud. Enough skeletons to have our own baseball team. Bigger, badder fog machines with built-in dry ice chambers!

And there were pumpkins. Lots of pumpkins, artfully carved by friends and family.

Stella’s amazing pumpkin carving was met by Philips Hue color changing light bulbs and the amazing Hue Halloween app. That’s a fine solution adding dramatic lights sequenced to scary sound effects!

We did not do this alone. We had help in the form of our regular Beauchamp Street Boo Crew, many of whom came in costume. Some sweet. Others quite frightful.

Many families stop to take pictures of their little ones in the scary scene, with our costumed crew.

The idea is to be scary, but not too scary. We know we’re on target if, on that fateful night, one or two kids around 4 years old are simply too scared to enter our gate. Yes, one or two genuine screams from wee kiddos is the measure of it.

Stella has forbid me getting a fire-breathing dragon. A few years back I thought for sure she’s allow it, since she enjoyed Game of Thrones. But alas, I cannot.

The reward for those who are brave is candy, copious amounts of candy. We are not stingy on either quantity or quality. As my friends at Rodeo Houston always say, “…it’s for the kids.”

The result of all this effort, spanning over 15 years, is that we always draw a huge crowd. In the three hours from 6 – 9pm we are visited by 1000+ kids and their families.

That brings me to the reason for this post. We’ve been thinking about this a lot, and we simply cannot see a way to stage our annual Halloween presentation in a Covid-safe manner. So this year, we’re just not going to do it. The goblins are getting a much needed rest. The skeletons, those party animals who stayed up all this year, are finally being put into storage. Target will have to do without our annual investment in primo candy.

Every family has to make their own decisions about how to proceed in the era of Covid-19. We thought that sharing our decision about Halloween, at this early stage, might help others to work through their own thoughts on the matter.

This post first appeared on the website of the Woodland Height Civic Association, which I oversee. There it is supported by a gallery of around 50 images of Halloween from 2002 to 2019. Last year I set about to document some of the things we’ve learned and tech that we’ve used in staging our annual Halloween event. I’m reposting this here in the hope that it will be the start of some of that past effort being completed in the coming weeks.

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