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Monday, November 01, 2004


Last night's haul was lighter than years past.

Back in Hollywood, on Harrison Street, it took hours for us to walk the five blocks from our house to my brother-in-law's. There was always a gang of us, friends, neighbors, relatives, dragging coolers for the adults and wagons for the kids. Neighbors had performing magicians and clowns (tricks), cotton candy and snowcone machines, beer on tap for parents (treats), and tons of candy for the busloads of people who would visit our broad, well lighted historic boulevard. It was a giant street party where we would bump into more friends and drag the whole motley crew back to our house for a post trick-or-treating respite.

This year we decided to join the crowds that descend on the historic homes in downtown Punta Gorda. Only, there weren't as many as there used to be, both in terms of crowds and historic homes. It took just under one hour to cover the two main drags and five cross streets. Still, the houses that remain standing gave their all for the local kids, decorating their yards to the hilt. It was very moving to see vacant, condemned homes decked out in their spookiest, and recently cleared lots where former homeowners had placed giant tombstones marked with their addresses and "RIP", after losing their battle against the elements and the wrecking ball. It was even more moving to see the costumed owners of these properties standing out in front of their destroyed homes giving out candy in spite of it all.

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