Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Scenes

We made a quick tour of the Halloween happenings on Marlborough Street last night as we headed to our main event, "Scared for Good" at Old South Church. This is their annual "Spine-Chilling Halloween Benefit Organ Concert," featuring Harry Huff, who plays spooky favorites on the pipe organ by candlelight. Dry ice and a series of campy maneuvers add atmosphere. I've posted about this concert before. Last night's performance was similar and equally entertaining, ending with the same maniacal Wagnerian Valkryies shrieking singing in horned helmets.

Several blocks of Marlborough Street are closed off for trick-or-treating, and many residents decorate their yards and display their pumpkin-carving prowess on their stoops as they pass out candy to the kids. But the highlight of a Back Bay Halloween is always the Cashman House, or more accurately, mansion, on the corner of Dartmouth Street. Their garden becomes a graveyard, filled with flickering lamps and tombstones. This year, they hired three eerily costumed and body-painted mimes, who were excellent. A gravedigger and a tree spirit performed in the garden while a winged gargoyle (or something) perched outside a spotlit window on the second floor, surrounded by lightning flashes:

Tree spirit

Gargoyle

Skills and webs decorated the iron fence.

Tombstones and a talking bust in the garden.

The Cashmans also throw a catered party in their garage, where they welcome their neighbors. It's a nice tradition, and very popular.

Today, I passed a house further up the street, which we'd missed last night, that was decorated as an homage to the Hogwarts Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter novels. I was charmed, so to speak — I just started rereading the first book once again, to pass the time with our kitten. In these photos (click to enlarge, as ever) you can see a large Hogwarts banner with the coat of arms and school motto (Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus, or "A Sleeping Dragon Is Never to be Tickled") and the animal symbols of the four student houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Individual house banners hang from the fence, along with one of the giant spiders that dwell in the forest near the school.

There are also two racing-style broomsticks hanging from branches.

Another Hogwarts banner in the window, and Hedwig, Harry's owl

Cauldrons and another giant spider.

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