Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween Spooks the Upper East Side

by Jamee Gregory

Think the Upper East Side is stuffy? Not this Halloween week!
Take a walk from the 70s through the 90s, meander between Fifth Avenue and Lexington. Far-out fantasy-decor beckons trick-or-treaters to approach stately townhouses. School children, holding hands with their parents have a hard time heading to school. At 8:00 A.M. they stop, dead in their tracks, mouths open, eyes wide, refusing to move. Who can rush past ghosts, goblins, spiders, and coffins that open and shut?

Parents can hardly propel their kids past these gory and glorious scenes. Spirits hover on the landings. Cobwebs cover the stairs, climb the walls, snake across the windows, hiding skulls, bats and witches. Orange pumpkins brighten the streets, bright polka dots illuminating stark, cold streetscapes. Carpets of colorful chrysanthemums add to the festive street scenes. Homeowners let their imaginations run wild, welcoming eerie visitors to take residence on their stoops, lean on their banisters, hang from their branches.

Witches straddle trees, skeletons dangle on doorsteps, black cats crisscross rooftops, and heads hang on hooks. This sometimes frosty neighborhood is alive with the sounds of laughter. Residents let their dark sides shine, embracing the ghoulish, fanciful, over-the-top spirit of the season. Giant blow-up monsters menace passerby, towering over toddlers and nannies, grannies and mothers, fathers and sons.  No one looks scared, but everyone stops to look. Selfies are snapped, traffic slows, and the neighborhood is united, stopping to admire and to smile. Creativity reigns.