A full moon. A plunge intemperature. Transylvania County, North Carolina. Conditions were just right for Halloween....
I grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, a town built on candy, and I hold fond memories of Halloweens gone by - shuffling through damp, fallen leaves after dark with my sisters, sweating under masks we could barely see out of. Back home, we piled up a mound of goodies dumped out of big, brown bags onto the living room floor - trading Tootsie Rolls for Mary Janes and, of course, the ubiquitous Hershey miniature bars.
I have been conditioned to love chocolate holidays, Halloween and Easter chief among them. And Halloween in Transylvania County, North Carolina, is, well, something Count Dracula would be proud of.
There is the usual parade, the apple pie bake-off, and pumpkin carving on the square. Businesses on Main Street open their doors to costumed children and give out goodies (slightly dampened this year by rain).
After dark, the ghosts and goblins appear. A family on Maple Street created a cemetery in the front yard, and another used stereo speakers to broadcast eerie music and laughter. At the corner, a witch rocked back and forth in a rocking chair on her porch, her black cat by her side.
An older couple opened their home to all the grandparents on the block, who were particularly missing their grandchildren on this holiday designed for young ones. They spent days amassing candy and apples, and busily popping popcorn. Three-hundred-and-sixty-three trick-or-treaters knocked on their door during the evening.
Park Avenue was dubbed "Jurassic Park Avenue" for the season, when three huge Tyrannosaurus Rexes invaded a home there. Drivers and pedestrians happening by stopped dead in their tracks at the sight. Once word was out, people came from all over the mountains to see the dinosaurs crashing through the roof and peeking out of the bedroom.