10.30.2009

Movin' On Up

One way you can tell whether or not you've moved up in the world is to take a walk in your neighborhood around Halloween.

My old neighbors would weave paper decorations between the bars on their windows if they had time between bouts of domestic violence. In this place, strings of softly-lit jack-o-lantern lights are woven through vintage wood fences and bougainvillea. Just a few of years ago I lived off Hollywood Boulevard, and was proud of the 4'x5' rectangle of grass that was my front yard. It was ingrained in my psyche that if it wasn't nailed down, it would be gone in the morning.

Now look at me, strolling past makeshift graveyards sprouting from emerald green lawns, clusters of rare pumpkins sit beside Adirondack porch chairs, and scarecrows stand beside stacks of hay. Giant spiders the size of Smartcars sit on roofs, with the inflater humming by the gable of a bedroom window. I bet it's the child's window, and the soothing hum of that air pump brings back all the excitement of Halloween year after year.

Some parts of my old Hollywood neighborhood were so sketchy, I could close my eyes, throw a rock and feel a certain guarantee that I would hit an Armenian drug dealer or tacky sports car. Having spent all their dough on hair gel and car parts that make vehicles so loud they sound insecure, there was no money left to liven up their shabby home fronts. With strewn trash, people screaming over blaring TVs and cobwebs, it was Halloween rear-round, baby.

Here, perky young families close up their pools, pull out the Halloween box from their tidy garages and try to be scary. The effect is of course over-the-top cuteness, and thank God. No one wants to actually be scared when walking through their neighborhood at night. I prefer "Boo!" to "Bitch, gimme your bag" any day of the year.

Happy Halloween.

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