No one does Halloween better than Hollywood, and the creative community near Our Favorite Starbucks -- with its collection of talented writers, directors, actors and set designers -- is no exception. I checked out the festivities tonight and they were about the best I've seen. Houses -- especially around 15th Street -- were festooned with enough spider webs, skeletons, ghosts and pumpkins for a horror movie. A set director on Georgina Avenue transformed his home into a genuine theme park, complete with a pirate ship, vintage trucks and carnival attractions. Others staffed their homes with witches who looked like they flew in from central casting to dole out goodies from their cauldrons. But my favorite part of the evening, by far, were the costumes.
Gone are the days of dime store masks and cheap, polyester costumes. Kids today -- like the dinosaur pictured above -- wear custom jobs that could win an Academy Award in costume design.
And most of the parents were more dressed-up than their kids. I couldn't resist taking a photo of this Tin Woodman with his father, the Cowardly Lion. "Hey," said the Lion, "I know you ... we've done some work together, I'm sure of it!" "Of course," I said, "I'm the great and powerful Oz." He laughed. "Listen," I continued, "You just missed Dorothy ... she went skipping down Euclid in that direction." "Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for her," he said. I didn't have the heart to tell him that Dorothy was a middle-aged man with a receding hairline and five o'clock shadow.
Moments later I came face-to-face with a grown man in a Bunny Suit. "That's some costume!," I said. "What costume?!?," he replied, and hopped along his merry way.
I couldn't help wondering, as I concluded my tour, what makes people go all out like this on Halloween? Why do they literally in some cases open their homes to strangers? I think it's more out of a sense of community than anything else, an effort -- ironically staged on the scariest night of the year -- to love thy neighbor. Maybe that's why everything seemed so welcoming. I walked around for more than an hour, and the only scary thing I saw was a solitary sign in an otherwise empty front yard reading: "Vote for Meg Whitman" ...!