Monday, October 24, 2005

A week until Halloween

Going to have a pumpkin carving contest here at work. Programmers usually do not become involved in anything, I’ve talked before how our EA (Executive Assistant – no, not a secretary!) plans lunches and nobody comes (did one Friday, two analysts, two DBAs the EA and myself, out of a dozen programmers only one). Last week while shopping I saw the big bins of pumpkins, and thought it would be nice if something were done with them. So I talked to some of the managers here and suggested a carving contest. Got some money and ended up buying 48 pumpkins, clearing out three local Vons stores of the cheap ones. Came in yesterday and scattered them around the cubes, with instructions to take them home and bring back next Monday. Sorry, no photos of the pile of pumpkins in our garage, or the back seat all full driving them over here. I will take shots of the results next week and post.

For those of you overseas – Americans have developed a holiday called Halloween. It’s the last day of November, based on the old ‘All hallow’s eve’ from long ago. Kids dress up in costumes and go door to door asking for treats. At least they used to, until several years ago some strange people in some areas put needles and pins inside of chocolates and now lots of parents are afraid to let their kids out. But may still do, so it is difficult to drive home that day in the evening with little ghosts and goblins and princesses and all running back and forth in the dark. One of the traditions is pumpkin carving, where you take some poor unfortunate orange globe and hollow them out and cut out a face.

I still remember our youngest, when we lived in LA and took him out for his first trick-or-treat evening. He was about three, we got him a simple costume (like his big brother and sister) and walked him next door. He was afraid at first, didn’t know what was going on. He rang the bell, whispered his ‘trick or treat’ (the traditional question) and the neighbor put something in his bag. He walked back to the sidewalk and looked in his bag. He saw there was a candy bar in there, this strange look came on his face, and he was off running door-to-door for more.

Our friend from Sweden thought the concept amusing, and so he started a tradition in Sweden of the adult’s Halloween party. He sends us photos of them all dressed up. Most of his friends find it amusing, but do go even though it is American.

Sitting here at work typing this, and Jim, my new project leader, just brought his pumpkin over saying he ‘didn’t have time’ to participate. Boy, some example our project leader is projecting, doesn’t even want to try (he leads a team of five others). See – I said programmers don’t participate. Guess I was hoping for too much in pushing this. Well, we will see how may carvings show up next Monday.

Ok, for Clare here are my three things.

1. Funny traditions that don’t hurt anybody but provide time for laughter.
2. Funny Halloween costumes and children laughing.
3. The smell of fall – cool nip in the air in the morning, smell of drying leaves, and the crunch underfoot.

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