Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fresh Fall Leaves

The weather is crisp and life is a blitz as usual. We've been trying to slow down, establish rituals, and enjoy the season. As a family, we're in a phase of being more politically active. I'm really excited by all the potential change that it looks like may start happening in the world right now. At home, as I've gotten into the swing of living in this small town for a year now, I want to really build community-- or at least get to know a few more of my neighbors. So the plan for this week looks like this, stapled to the telephone poles and taped to the big sycamores on our street:

Come one, come all. (I hope people come!)

Lately I've been inspired by the Playborhood web site. I was reminded of it when I read this article on the "Trick-or-Treater Index." An urban theorist named Richard Florida came up with this index to rate the child-friendliness (basically, the health and safety) of a given community. It basically says that if you count the number of trick-or-treaters you get on Halloween night you get a good indication of how safe and friendly your neighborhood is all year.

(There are exceptions. I lived in a very safe San Francisco neighborhood for years. Every year I would dress up and ready my huge bowl of candy. Every year I would watch as the neighborhood kids made their way to the Halloween party at the martial arts school across the street. Not one trick-or-treater ever graced my door, and every year my downstairs neighbor and her grand-daughters would get our big bowl of candy [or what was left of it] on November 1st. My neighborhood was safe but it wasn't a community. People didn't congregate and kids didn't play outside.)

The beginnings of our Halloween and Dia de los Muertos decor. Ghost tree and blood-sucking spiders not shown.

My current neighborhood is a Halloween heaven. Parents from the big (and very unsafe, if news reports are to be believed) city to the east of us drive their kids in for trick-or-treating, and the neighborhood is full of our own local kids anyway. So we expect a big turnout for the happiest night of the year.

Before that, though, I'm hosting my mother's 70th birthday dinner this weekend. I'll be busy planning and cleaning this week, and I'll post pictures if it turns out lovely. What would you do to make an intimate family party special?

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