Scream night, 2011

My idea of a Halloween photo: A skeleton tree.

Halloween nudged waves of strange creatures to our central Phoenix front door again last night.   The total, 406, in little over two and a half hours was exceeded only by the 441 in 2005, according to a review of 14 other Halloweens going back to 1995.  We were out of town in 1996 and 2007.

By far the most popular disguise this year was the old “scream mask.”   The new next best thing has yet to arrive.

There was a smattering of Spidermen, Batmen and even one Batwoman.  Many little-girl angels appeared, beautifully decked out with gossamer wings protruding from shoulders.  But nothing truly scary.  The scream masks were old hat.  Some of the older kids wore only painted faces, in it only for the rewards, not the fun.  Most disgusting were four middle-age women who came to the door with bags, looking for a handout.  It is too bad there is not a law restricting Halloweeners to age 10 and under.

As usual, nearly all the creatures arrive in groups to this historic district via vans and other vehicles from neighborhoods not our own.  A vast majority look to be Hispanic.  The weather proved ideal.  Clear, calm, temperatures in the 70s.

It is apparent the business of Halloween is going strong, even while the national economy runs stagnant.  Not only is there a huge demand from “consumers,” but supply-side economics is looking rosy.  A total of 521 pieces of candy went out our door alone.

Our neighborhood is a magnet for Halloweeners.  At least two houses along our street go wild with elaborate decorations, even to the point of setting up tables and chairs on the front lawn.   A Halloween restaurant.  While most everyone else closes out the evening by 8 o’clock, these houses were going strong still at 9.

How we keep count.

The first visitors arrived before dark, at 5:25, three cute little grade school girls with a woman standing guard farther out on the sidewalk.  Things began to pick up at 6, with a crescendo of 145 in the last half hour, 7:30 to 8.

Here’s the count:

Prior to 6 o’clock (18), 6 to 6:30 (47), 6:30-7 (119), 7-7:30 (77) and 7:30-8 (145).

The yearly counts:  1995 (179), 1996 (no count), 1997 (161), 1998 (184), 1999 (166), 2000 (174), 2001 (95, shortly after 9/11), 2002 (241), 2003 (271), 2004 (252), 2005 (441, the record), 2006 (241), 2007 (no count), 2008 (290), 2009 (334), 2010 (273) and 2011 (406).

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