Our Halloween 2011 pumpkins. If you haven't already figured it out, they're characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas. L-R: Zero (the dog), Jack Skellington, and Oogey Boogey. Justin and the kids did these and I have to say, this is one of my favorite years. Every year we carve several pumpkins. We have people who remember that ours tend to be elaborate and visit just to see what we've carved. This year was no exception.
Halloween on our street is a big deal. Every year we get over 200 kids. Most of the houses decorate for Halloween, and there are simply kids galore. It is such a busy event that instead of shutting the door between kids, we rearrange the front porch furniture and hang out there. We adults get dressed up as well, of course. This year I was a witch, Justin was a priest, Shannon was a scary hooded guy, and Tristan was a skeleton. Justin's brother Matt came over and we dressed him up as a zombie, make up and all. (Really, I think I should start a Halloween Make-up business!!)
Along with the three pumpkins we had an "eyeball tree," the door to the house decorated with lights & usually open, the inside of the house decorated, and pumpkin & skull candles lit on the front porch. Oh yes, there was the scary music that played as well, of course. We always invite friends and family over for a Halloween party on Halloween, and so, as usual, we had a couple of kids who thought that our house was set-up as a Haunted House given the decor and the people coming and going.
While the guys (and Justin's Mom & sister) took the kids trick-or-treating I assumed my role to hand out candy. I had a goblet that I was drinking from, and took delight in playing up the role. Most of the kids were very well behaved this year. A couple of kids I saw darting across the road, not a wise idea on our road, and darting through people's yards, ignoring any landscaping that was there. When they got to our house I was in full witchy mode. I slowly took a sip from skeleton goblet, setting it down on the edge of my chair. I turned my gaze (with my heavily made-up eyes) to them just as slowly and then fixed my gaze on them. As I handed them their candy I had my voice eerily-pitched and scolded them gently, creepy, and with my gaze not leaving their eyes for darting into the road and for running through yards. I warned them that they could get hurt. I got two nervously sincere "yes ma'am"s from them. I think the point was made.
So, a little after eight we got the kids in bed and took the party inside. I left the lights outside on and even went back and relit the pumpkins when I realized kids were still coming by. This is where it starts to get fun.
Normally I don't care so much for older kids, and I will readily refuse candy to those who don't dress up. Also, we always put the dogs up in the crates during Halloween. With the door being open so much it would be easy for them to get out. Also, and our main reason, Halloween can be a scary time to be a dog. People in scary costumes make it hard to tell friend from foe and can scare a dog. Any dog with an instinct to protect could easily assume there was cause to. So, to be safe, our dogs stay up. However, once we shut the door we let the dogs loose.
Older kids kept coming by, knocking on the door. The dogs would go nuts. And, though all dogs' barks are impressive and can be scary, Foster does have a .. well .. massive Mastiff bark.
At first I would try to block the dogs as I went to the door, but with one group Layla, our 1 year old Bulldog, slipped by me and out onto the porch. I shut the door behind me and went to get her. She wasn't scared, she was curious as usual and simply walked around the kids. No growling, nothing. The kids were older middle-school or high-school age kids (hard to tell), and one boy simply FREAKED OUT. It was hysterical. He started jumping back when he realized she was a bulldog. "She's a bulldog" he yelled, "those things will kill you!!!"
I couldn't resist.
"Oh, no" I replied calmly and reassuringly, "bulldogs won't kill you. Mastiffs will kill you." And with that I opened the door, shoved Layla in, and let Foster take a step or two out. "See?" I said.
The kid tripped over himself running back to the sidewalk, while his friends, who initially jumped back as well, roared with laughter.
Foster never growled, never showed any aggression, just took a couple curious steps through the doorway, with me holding his collar.
Our roots here feel deeper everyday, but our branches seem to stretch across the country and world to find like-minded folk.
Carrie is out-spoken and not one to ever hide who she is, Justin is the rock of reason that keeps her from flying off into her own world, but who also is always along for the ride!
We're dedicated to urban-homesteading and trying to live as eco-friendly and self-sustainable life as possible, without losing what made us who we are in the first place. The love of beer brought us together, and homebrewing holds a special place in our hearts.
Homesteading, homebrewing, homeschooling, and Hokies -- is there anything else left to say?
Halloween is such a big thing for us and this neighborhood. So, carving pumpkins has become a big thing for us as well. This year we only did two (down from I think 6 last year!) but they were awesome: Jim Morrison & Jerry Garcia
Summer beginning to fade
Our sunflowers going to seed - 7/22/07
Early Spring 2007
A view of the garden in early spring
Beauty of Spring
A white Lily with raindrops
The sense of community and love that came out after the 4/16 massacre was beautiful. I cry everytime I think about everything that happened that day. No, it shouldn't define Tech, but what I will always remember is the love and sense of community & one-ness. So often we feel so alone in this world, the times when we don't should be remembered.