It’s nice to see some ‘spirit’ returning

It was cold and dreary Saturday morning, with rain splattering my windows.

The leaves had finally changed color, with many falling on the ground.

In other words, it was perfect. It was finally feeling like autumn.

With Halloween only a couple of days away, it was about time.

Halloween is one of my three favorite holidays. I looked forward to the various Halloween television specials growing up, and would think about costumes months in advance.

There were parties at church and school (complete with a parade through town so all the kids could show off their costumes). There would even be a Halloween theme to the October Cub Scout meetings.

Eventually, the trick-or-treating came to an end for me, but I would help to pass out candy and still watch some of the television programs.

Celebrations have changed over the years, and I don’t always get to see some of the things which made Halloween special, but I still enjoy the time of year.

There have been a few trips, featuring ghost tours, but at home there hasn’t been much in the line of celebrating.

When free time is scarce, you tend to keep things simple.

As an adult, I’ve adopted two traditions for Halloween.

The first is to watch the television broadcast of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

I missed the first showing for the year. (It was the same night as a Weirton Council meeting) Apparently, it is set to be on television again tonight, though. Hopefully, there are no interruptions.

I do have a copy of it on DVD, just in case.

The second tradition is to spend my Halloween evening reading “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Written by Washington Irving, considered to be among America’s earliest authors, the story reflects the history and culture of a region, and the idea of a ghost story which could be true. For me, those were always the best scary stories.

They may seem like simple things, but they make it special for me.

We don’t get any trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood these days, so there’s not much of a reason to put up decorations.

These couple of things help to keep the feeling of Halloween going, though.

For years, it seemed almost as if the area had forgotten about this extra spooky of our holiday observances.

We went from Labor Day to immediately thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I am glad, though, to see some of the Halloween spirit returning to the area.

It seems as if there is some growth in the idea of “spookhouses,” with several setting up shop up and down the river.

As a teenager, I can remember everyone would talk about going to Brooke Hills for their attraction. It seemed to be the one everyone measured themselves by.

Then, there was a kind of drought of these attractions in the Ohio Valley. It seemed as if no one was organizing them, or, if they were, there wasn’t much talk of them.

Now, several communities have their own, and it’s great to see. They all have something that makes them special and memorable.

So, for those who like a good scare, there are options.

There are some community events taking place, as well, for those of us who like a more traditional and festive feel.

Trunk or treat activities are being sponsored by churches and businesses, there was the “Zombie 5K” held in Weirton last weekend and the Halloween Hullabaloo this weekend.

I wouldn’t mind maybe, one of these days, seeing a big community event all of our residents could enjoy, but it’s nice to see at least something being done these days.

Halloween can have those scary moments to help set the mood, but that’s not all it’s about.

The cold temperatures, foggy nights, fun decorations and the passing down of local legends can be just as much fun.

It doesn’t have to be a big, commercial production, with special effects and massive attractions.

Set the right mood and find a way for everyone to have an enjoyable evening.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)