I've always been ambivalent about Halloween. When I was
little, my sisters and I dressed up and went trick-or-treating, but we weren't
allowed to wear scary costumes. (Or rather, nothing supernatural and scary--my sister's Raggedy Ann getup [left] screams
The orange Halloween lights went up early this year. And in our neighborhood, there seemed to be a lot more of them—along with tiny ghost dolls hanging from trees, cobweb-like fabric stretched across porches, plastic spiders perched on roofs, and bloody plastic hands emerging from cardboard gravestones.