It’s been proven that I love my birthday, and there is only one other day of the year that I love the most: Halloween.
Since I was a little kid, I loved the idea of dressing up and being someone else for a day. All the decor doesn’t hurt either; I’m one of those people who can go into the target seasonal lane and come out with arms full of skulls, bats, spiders, etc.
What is your favorite Halloween costume? When I was three, my mother made me a white rabbit costume. I like something like this now for the simple reason that it was a warm, thick white plush.
I remember lying awake at night listening to my mother’s sewing machine go through the material. The next morning, I would wake up to a full costume, not just a bunny. Over the years, my mom has turned me into an alien, a demon (not far-flung), an elephant, and a clown.
I worked just as much on my brother Steve’s costumes. When he was seven, she sewed him a Jane Simmons costume (you know, the guitarist in KISS), and when he was in seventh grade, she made him a glow-in-the-dark skeleton costume she drew with a palm. (Nowadays you can find these anywhere.)
Growing up, my friends and I used to cheat or deal with Nevada City. Not only was it easy to cross the streets, we got to know a lot of the townspeople. We’d go out without parents, usually starting at Falcone’s house in Prospect Hill.
Lori Falcone would prepare dinner for all of us, usually in the form of a warm soup with cheddar and corn buns. This should help avoid the cold as we were cruising the streets, hoping for more Milky Way but kindly accepting a rare coin or a piece of hard candy.
Then there were the little candy bags that people were spending time putting together. They usually had a pencil or eraser with some kind of loose candy. I feel like these days wouldn’t fly with the parents, but we definitely enjoyed it at the time.
For his part, Steve has been trick-or-treating with his friends, usually walking all over Banner Mountain. He would come home with pillowcases full of candy. We’d dump both of our potions on the living room floor and separate them into neat little piles. Kit Kats, Snickers, Dots, Reese; Each of us had our own organizational system.
Later in life, Halloween took a new angle. Too old to trick-or-treat, I had to find other ways to celebrate. One of the highlights of it has been the year my roommates, and a group of friends, each gone as a different version of Madonna. I’m still proud of that idea.
For those of you who share my fondness for all things spooky, Miners Foundry will host The Menagerie Oddities & Curiosities market that promises – among other things – quirky home décor, bugs, bones, jewelry, medical samples, and all kinds of “weird delights.”
The event will also include a lecture by Dr. Paul Kodonaris, illustrator and author of Heavenly Memento Mori and A Cat’s Tale.
Taxidermy and beetle lessons will be offered throughout the day.
And don’t forget your loved ones who left us. Mexican market El Barrio in Grass Valley hosts the Dia de los Muertos gathering and parade on November 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. The traditional Mexican celebration of “Day of the Dead” honors grandparents and friends, and the community is invited to participate.
No month or season would be complete without the city’s most festive decorator, Jim and Debbie Lockenbell. No matter the holiday, their home in Nevada City is always a photo-worthy celebration of all that’s to come. This month has been a spooky ghost, big shining pumpkins, and of course strings of orange lights. Keep up the good work, Luckenbills! Your festive spirit does not go unnoticed.
Whatever you’re doing this weekend, be safe and have fun – not just for Halloween but always.
Happy Hunt, Nevada County! Aloha-ha-ha-ha.
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