I'm a huge fan of Halloween normally, but this year due to travel schedules I didn't have time to get geared up in my usual costume (no, I'm not telling what it is). I headed out with friends instead to downtown SF. It was a relatively mellow night, but it was great to see some awesome costumes ("Jackie O" was my favorite) and some kids running around in costumes.
When at Voda downtown (great little place on Belden Lane, if you're ever in SF) my friends and I were talking about our favorite memories and Halloween observations. I coined it "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of Halloween. So, here we go...
The awesome haunted houses that are popping up in SF neighborhoods for the little kids to visit. There's one a few houses down from me, and a bunch in the Mission district. People go all out for Halloween here and it's really great. Plus, you get the few older kids running around with shaving cream and throwing eggs. I normally wouldn't support this, except as a teen I had quite a blast doing this myself (if no one gets hurt)... and a little yolk never hurt anyone except maybe a car or two (I really hope my father isn't reading this).
The Castro is CLOSED. A tradition that dates back years and years has come to an end due to some crazy folks going nuts last year (violence, guns, etc). I love the Castro Halloween celebration and it's too bad that this year's event was cancelled. That said, it was kind of cool to see that there were a few folks that gathered for a funeral procession down Market Street (the main Castro drag) to mourn the loss of the the event. Check it out. This is vastly different from the scene last year.
The Mean Muni Drivers. As I was heading back from my outing and waiting at the bus stop, I noticed a mother and her son. He must have been 3 or 4 years old, and had on the cutest darn devil costume: pointy red ears, trifork and all. Now, lots of folks take the bus up to the more "neighborhood-y" areas to trick-or-treat, including some of the less fortunate folks that might not live in the best areas to trick-or-treat. So, we get on the bus, and this mother didn't have the money to pay for her fare. The bus is kind of full, but this bus driver starts to holler at her - "If you can't pay the fare you have to get off Lady!" He repeats this several times, her son starts to cry because he's afraid he can't go trick-or-treating, and the bus driver continues to yell. I couldn't believe it. Where's the Halloween spirit? What happened to people being humane, and friendly, especially to a mother and her child that just want to trick-or-treat?
I have to say I was totally shocked. Thank god a few of us were in the holiday spirit as we all rummaged for change and dollars to pay her fare. She graciously thanked all of us, but the thanks wasn't truly needed. It was just great to see her son get an opportunity to have one night where he gets to experience the magic of Halloween. And hopefully lots of candy too.
Okay, so the beginning of that story was the ugly, but in the end it did turn into something great.
Another year, another Halloween. I'm off to eat some candy... /LC