Halloween in Saint Paul is kinda different than in Groton center.
This is a walking neighborhood, with narrow streets in which drivers don’t speed much. Sidewalks on both sides. Smallish houses with porches and lights on. Square miles of the city are like this. Unlike Groton, there isn’t any obvious “center” to which trick-or-treaters gravitate.
In Groton we lived on the “loop” in the center which was the Halloween magnet for several towns around. Each year we were there we were visited by between 200 and 300 kids, toddlers to teens (and some young adults). Police stood guard around the loop as trick-or-treaters washed in waves and shoals back and forth across the streets.
Here for our first Halloween we handed out treats to 29 kids.
The photo shows a grey squirrel artfully carving our pumpkin this evening around 5:00 pm. We hadn’t gotten around to decorating it. A friend on Facebook quipped, “Well somebody had to!” Neighbors informed us that such squirrel moves are common here.
Before the trick-or-treat action heated up after 6:00 pm, we headed over to the west end of Sargent Avenue between Cleveland and Cretin. (Astute reader Linda Graziano had mentioned the Sargent two-block happening in the comment thread of an earlier post.) That stretch of Sargent is barricaded off and goes nuts for Halloween, in a restrained Midwestern sort of way. No multi-thousand-dollar “haunts” with lights and fog show and a sound track. Rather, most of the houses in the neighborhood pitch in to decorate each property in suitably spooky and mostly homemade fashion — all different and many idiosyncratic. A number of families were camped out front, in costume of course, with a fire pit to keep warm.
Above are a few quick snaps I captured: skulls mixed into a colorful leaf pile, a skeleton walking his bony dog (and note the crows in the tree at left), and — one of our favorites — the Yellow Brick Road leading up to the Good Witch Glenda, lined with artificial poppies looking very like the ones in the movie at the moment when it breaks out in Technicolor.
In the earlier post’s comment thread the question came up whether Halloween excess was a particular Twin Cities phenomenon, or if it was more general. I opined leaning to the latter view. Here is evidence that the trend is very widespread indeed: pumpkin production worldwide has doubled over the last 20 years.