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It was a wet one this year, but warm, and most of the kids in our neighborhood braved the weather joyfully. I'll take damp over freezing any day, but with all that drizzle, I left the camera at home this year.

Growing up, Halloween for me meant a homemade costume, usually one that made no pop-culture sense (one elementary year I turned myself into some kind of ghost princess thing that I still can't identify). It meant my parents taking the glass out of the top of our storm door to make giving out candy easier (if only our door did this, it would make things exponentially easier with dogs). It meant beef barley soup for dinner, simmering on the stove so that we could eat whenever we had the time or fancy. It meant visiting Mr. Long's house first in the evening, sometimes when it was still light out, to see just what he had up his sleeve, what fancy costume, what creepy decorations, for that year. We still talk about the year that he propped himself on the porch in a coffin and spooked the pants off all the kids that approached. We think I was the one who, after having been spooked, refused to go back up to get my candy. Sounds about right.

Every neighborhood had that house—the one with the spooky music and excessive decorations, the one that some kids rush towards while others approach more tentatively. In our neighborhood now, this house is a couple of streets away, and it never disappoints. This year's new addition to the maniacal menagerie was an evil vacuum cleaner. Who said humor couldn't be part of it? 

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