Growing up, Halloween was my absolute favorite holiday. I grew up in Sun Valley, just over La Tuna Canyon, and from as early as I can remember I did everything I could to “spookify” our house. I would wheedle and plead with my parents to buy as many pumpkins as possible, then would absolutely mutilate them with my attempts at fanciful carving.
When I grew older and got a job and driver’s license, I’d buy dry ice (at that time the only place I could find that sold it was over at Conwin Carbonics off San Fernando Road) and pop it into a make shift “caldron” that would bubble and boil.
I remember one year when I decorated my folks’ front yard with “corpses,” I got some friends to lie on the grass among the fake “bodies.” Imagine my delight when some trick-or-treaters made their way across the graveyard and zombies rose from the dead. I can still hear their screams.
When we lived on Altura across from the freeway, it was very disappointing because we had no trick-or-treaters. Looking back I understand that it was because there were only homes on one side of the street – only half the loot available. Moving up the hill to our current neighborhood, we’ve enjoyed hundreds of children who’ve come by over the years.
I was fortunate that our eldest, Patrick, was as passionate about Halloween as I was. In his teens, he would plan and build elaborate haunted houses for our place. Trick-or-treaters would be greeted with a “car wreck” at the front of our house complete with cars at tilted angles and police caution tape stretched across. Sometimes a skeleton would be hanging outside one of the car windows.
Over the years, we’ve had spiders crawling across a fountain bubbling with blood and a smoke-breathing dragon that would exhale as trick-or-treaters left the porch, enveloping them in a white haze.
I’ve spent hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in spooky sound effects, fog machines and remote controlled talking skulls. Some of my favorite memories are of taking the boys to any of the Halloween stores that would open around Oct. 1 and picking and choosing make-up, decorations and any other items that would enhance the Halloween experience at the Goldsworthy house.
Fast-forward to Halloween 2012. Patrick has a daughter of his own. Matthew and Danny are out with friends and Andrew lives in North Carolina. Last night, the editorial crew of the Crescenta Valley Weekly was hard at work getting today’s paper out; there was little opportunity to indulge in the celebration of Halloween. I’m glad that at least the CV Weekly sales folks were manning a booth were along Honolulu Avenue as part of Spooktacular.
The times have changed. The kids are grown; my attention is turned elsewhere. Though I’m glad for the time I had – decorating the house, wearing make-up that made it hard for my friends to recognize me – I do miss the fun and planning that went into creating a Halloween experience. But who knows? Next year, Halloween is on a Thursday. Maybe I’ll get out the make-up kit and see what magic I still have in me. You’ll probably find me at Spooktacular – if you recognize me.
I hope you enjoy this extra fat Crescenta Valley Weekly. This might be only the second time in three years that we’ve had a 32-page paper and, to tell the truth, we’re pretty darn excited about it. But we’ve had just so much to share with you these past few weeks that we were literally bursting.
So, I hope you take time to pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and get comfortable – this issue may take some time to get through.