Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween?

Halloween jack-o-lanternsWith Halloween falling on a Saturday this year and both of us being in town, Nan and I decided to see what Grand Junction had to offer adult revelers.

After volunteering all day with my neighbors to build some badly needed retaining walls between two of the units, I limped home, drank a quart of Gatorade to loosen up my cramping muscles, and then carved a couple of jack-o-lanterns from some last-minute grocery store pumpkins. As I was cleaning up, the doorbell rang. We had some actual trick-or-treaters, a first for us in five years here. Good thing Nan picked up some M&Ms when she bought the pumpkins.

We donned our costumes, Nan as a little old man and me as Dr. Frankenstein, and headed downtown for dinner at Bistro Italiano. Some of the staff were in costume but we were the only customers who dressed up. We took off our rubber masks so we could enjoy our meals and not have to drink our wine through straws. As we were finishing, our neighbors Rich and Diane came in dressed in their mountain man rendez-vous gear and looking very authentic. We had agreed to meet across the street at the Rockslide Brew Pub, but we were running late. We went back with them to the brew pub, and it was full of people in costumes having a good time. We ordered drinks at the bar, but there was nowhere to sit so we soon left to see what else was happening on Main Street.

We wandered up the nearly deserted street to Quincy's, where a bouncer was standing out front. He wanted us to take off our masks, show him IDs and pay a cover charge. I looked through the open door and didn't see any live music or anything else that would warrant a cover, so I told him to forget it. We crossed the street to see what was happening at the Mesa Theater. There was live music blasting through the doors and it looked pretty lively inside, but we didn't want to pay the ten-dollar cover charge so we moved on to Boomer's. They also had live music and a cover charge so we didn't go in, opting instead to stand out front and watch a funeral re-enactment by people dressed in Victorian clothing and looking like they had just stepped out of an old black-and-white photograph. Then it was back to the Rockslide for a nightcap. Rich, Diane and I were fading from the day's heavy labor, so we decided to head home. It was only 10:30.

Maybe I'm getting old, but I remember Halloween being more fun than this one was. When I was a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in the late 1970s, Halloweens were full-blown riots, with thousands of costumed crazies on State Street, lighting bonfires and climbing streetlights. It felt dangerous to be there. By comparison, Halloween on Main Street in Grand Junction felt like we were just going through the motions, looking for some fun that didn't feel like a rip-off.

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