I had a chance last night to do something which I haven't done since my fifth grade year in 1994: spend a Halloween in Hyattsville.
(Side note, before I get too far into this column: UPLOAD YOUR HALLOWEEN PHOTOS TO OUR GALLERY, ABOVE!)
As a child, especially as a young, elementary school aged child growing up in Hyattsville, Halloween was always a special time because the neighborhoods really seemed to get into the spirit of things. I have fond memories of trick-or-treating down 40th Avenue in central Hyattsville, whose residents seemed to always have the most remarkable Halloween decorations. Its situation at the lowest points between two of the city's more hilly neighborhoods also meant that families and trick-or-treaters seemed to be pulled towards it by the force of gravity itself.
As an adult, I appreciate Halloween on a slightly different level now, using it mostly as an excuse to indulge in a costumed libations. It is, after all, America's version of Mardis Gras, except instead of one last party before Lent, it's the last party before the dead winter.
But this year, now living in downtown Hyattsville, I decided to have a reserved night of handing out candy to trick or treaters. Me and my girlfriend, Elissa Jerome, carved pumpkins (hers was a kitty-cat, mine was a traditional jack-o-lantern), roasted pumpkin seeds in the oven, and handed out candy to children on our front stoop while sipping wheat beers from the Riverdale Town Center Market.
I had a blast. The kids seemed just as excited as I remember I was on those Halloweens so many moons ago. I also learned a few valuable lessons from my first time handing out candy. Lesson one: $20 worth of candy is not enough to get you through the night because (lesson two) no one starts trick-or-treating until at least 7 p.m. and the crowds didn't let up (at least here on Queensbury) until at least 9 p.m.