• Last modified 543 days ago (Oct. 26, 2017)


Another Day in the Country

Big deal, Halloween

© Another Day in the Country

The dusty box of Halloween decorations sat on the porch for several days unopened.

“There are orange lights in there,” Jess said. “You might want to put them up.”

She had a hopeful tone in her voice.

“Lights for Halloween?” I muttered to myself, later. “I do good to get them up for Christmas these days, let alone a minor holiday like Halloween.”

It was then I discovered that Halloween is not considered a minor holiday by most people in Marion County. It’s a favorite!

While I knew that kids loved Halloween for the candy, of course, I really had never considered it to be an adult event. And then, I heard on the news, so it must be true, that American adults will be spending billions of dollars for Halloween.


I got the orange lights out of the box and blew off the dust, plugged them in, and only half of the long strand worked. That stopped me in my tracks until Jess got home from work.

“Half of those lights don’t work,” I said.

“That’s why it works so slick to put them on your rose bushes out front,” she countered. “You can just hide the part that doesn’t work in the leaves and plug in another strand.”

She was super enthusiastic, so we started spreading and hiding orange twinklies in the bushes. I must admit they do look festive.

These are old lights, ones we used for some long-ago haunted house or some such event we’d drummed up in Ramona. It was rather miraculous that they worked at all.

There were a couple strands of icicles with green and purple flashers with which we festooned the Charlie Brown Tree. A trip for pumpkins from our favorite local farmer and we were set for Halloween.

But I missed the scarecrows, remembering the days we encouraged everyone in town to build a scarecrow in their front yards. We even had scarecrow workshops for the kids. There were contests and awards and lots of stories told about memorable displays, but the community enthusiasm waned, and eventually ours did too.

Maybe this is the year to resurrect the scarecrows? We already have orange lights!

Cousin Carol from Colorado, dressed like a cat, had a Halloween party last Saturday night.

“Costumes would be fun!” it had said on the invitation.

Batman arrived looking fierce, escorted by his mother, Poison Ivy, and baby Robin making her Halloween debut. Then came a princess from “Frozen,” a baseball player, and a surfer covered in shark bites. Those three came clear from Missouri with their mother, Snow White.

There were Indians from both continents making the trek from Colorado, and a witch from Ramona, along with local characters impersonating themselves. It was a pretty festive start for the fall season. The wind blew too hard to have the event outdoors; but then again this IS Kansas.

The first year we celebrated Halloween in Ramona we decided to have a costume party on the front porch. I was fresh from California where the wind doesn’t usually blow and there are paved streets and walkable sidewalks. I had visions of how pretty everything would look in candlelight on the front porch with trick-or-treaters strolling up to greet us.

When vision turned to reality, it became a frightful Halloween, indeed.

A storm moved in that day, so Tooltime Tim wrapped the whole porch in heavy plastic so we could carry on. When the guests were seated and the wind picked up in intensity, I began to wonder if the pressure of the wind against the plastic would just lift us up, house and all, and blow us across the prairie.

It wasn’t quite what I’d envisioned, but it was memorable. We still tell the story of Ronnie coming as a Leaf Blower with one leaf on a string hanging from the front brim of his cowboy hat.

Well, it’s another day in the country and Kansas is looking pretty idyllic in comparison to all the wildfires in northern California. My kids have had their cars packed for two weeks, including their Star Wars costumes for Halloween, in case they had to evacuate. They finally unpacked Sunday. My grandson went back to school on Monday after two weeks of no school.

“As long as we have our lives, we’ll be okay,” Jana said. “That’s what I’ve learned from this ordeal!”

Last modified Oct. 26, 2017