Spiders, ghosts, pumpkins and bats adorn the houses in my neighborhood.
It used to be, back in the dark ages when I was a kid, that people decorated for Christmas. Only a few much-appreciated people with, I suppose, a great sense of fun, did anything for Halloween other than answer the door for trick-or-treaters.
Today, even the cows have Halloween companions. Yes, I really did see a farmer's hay roll made up like a spider -- smiling, of course; no doubt contemplating the bovine treat that was strolling his way.
And everybody has a scarecrow.
Clutching the mailbox, casually seated upon the porch, even hanging like Guy Fawkes from the trees, they scatter straw and goodwill across the yard.
Mine doesn't scare any crows. Nor any mice, crickets, caterpillars, starlings or kids. Next year I think I'll make a vampire, drooling Kool-aid and clutching a stuffed crow. That ought to scare somebody.
Halloween fun abounds in our area, from trick-or-treating to parties. If you're thinking of getting all dressed up and have no place to go, consider the fire departments, which have made the effort to give you a place to haunt.
The Sykesville/Freedom District fire department and Gamber fire department's auxiliary will have Halloween parties Saturday, and both will provide prizes for the most original costume.
Eight dollars will gain you admittance to either. Wear shoes you can dance in -- or plan to kick them off, because there will be plenty of dancing.
Eclipse will play country music at Sykesville/Freedom fire hall, and your cover fee includes beer and set-ups. The fun starts at 9 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m.
The spooks will arrive at Gamber at 8:30 p.m. and won't leave until it is truly Halloween, at 12:30 a.m. Stillwater will play country-rock, and cash prizes will be given for first- and second-place costumes. Beer, soda, chips and pretzels will be served.
Gamber's auxiliary also is holding a party for children of all ages on Sunday, so dress up your kids for an afternoon of fun starting at 2 p.m. They'll have a costume parade, lots of prizes for costumes, and everyone will receive a candy-filled bag.
Price of admission to the children's party is a bag of candy -- it will be used to make up those goody bags the children will take home.
Enjoy your holiday!
Congratulations to the Liberty High School golf team, which placed sixth Friday in the State Championships this year, after winning Region 5 at the regional competition at Bear Creek Golf course.
"It's a lot of pressure on the boys," said coach Cliff Trone, "In other matches, only the best scores count. But in this one, only four play, and all their scores count. So I'm proud of all the boys; they've worked hard, and I've really enjoyed it."
The four representatives of Liberty's 14-man team, Jason Burt, Jeremy Allen, Keith Bowen and Andy Thompson, were fourth in Thursday's competition. But other teams improved on Friday, dropping Liberty to sixth place.
"Even getting to the states at all is quite an accomplishment, particularly considering that we're only 2 years old," Mr. Trone said. "The boys are a little disappointed, but I know that, deep down, they're happy they went."
Mr. Trone, whose son, Brian, plays basketball and lacrosse rather than golf, said he started coaching because the boys asked him to.
"I used to be a golf pro, and, because of my son, I've known a lot of the boys since they were 6 or 7 years old," he said.
"So, when they asked me for help setting up a team, I went to the athletic director and he helped us form the team. I've really enjoyed coaching. These boys work really hard, they have a great attitude."
The team has been practicing since Aug. 15 at the Glade Valley golf course near Walkersville and at Liberty Golf Park in Eldersburg.
Jason Burt, a senior, hit a hole-in-one at a practice using an eight iron at Glade Valley. The ball flew 150 yards at the 13th hole to land just where it should.
That's the kind of playing anyone can be proud of.