austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

In this town we call home everyone hail to the pumpkin song

The other big Halloween thing is we went to the Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad, the big historical village in Flint. They dress the village up for Christmas, and run a train through lighted scenery. They've done this for Halloween, too, but neither of us had gotten there for Halloween before. Wednesday was a suspiciously warm day, though, getting into the lower 60s, and dry, and the chance there'd be a better day was absurdly low.

They put up some lights, including dangling strands together on a giant cobweb over the main town square, and hired a magician to do a fifteen-minute show with a couple of sawing-a-woman-in-half type tricks. He also did one where he brought a kid up on stage to pick which of three envelopes had a dollar inside, that the kid got to keep, inspiring the jaw-dropping awe that you get when you're seven and someone offers you real money you get to keep and for not even doing anything. The kid picked the one with the dollar inside, which is great, but the magician showed where the other packets had a five and a twenty-dollar bill inside, which confused me about the point of the magic trick: is it to delight the kid that he got a whole dollar but make him realize he missed out on a twenty? Well, the body-splitting stunts were well done.

The train ride, through the lights, was similar in kind to the Christmas one and a lot of fun since they apparently paint their own props for it all, and you get scenes like a football contest between ghosts and monsters (in which, according to the scoreboard, the ghosts managed one quarter to score a single point; apparently ghost football has some different rules), or ghosts going off to Joe's Diner for boo-berry pie and other such Halloween puns. There's a number of famous cartoon characters who get name-checked, surprising me that Disney hasn't just had all Genesee County nuked from orbit yet, but the homemade posters of Sully or Jack Sparrow or (to use other company's products) Shrek or Spongebob Squarepants are fun to see. The conductor does his best to talk through as much of the ride as can be, and then turns it over to Halloween music, which ... there really isn't enough of. Christmas has a deeper bench of carols.

Around the historic village there were twenty buildings set up with costumed docents --- one was dressed as Popeye, and we had to share that character's importance to our history --- who were passing out candy, including to us, and we did get to them all. If we'd have known that there'd be so many kids and quite a few adults dressing in costume we certainly would have; it must be what it feels like to discover there's a furry convention at your hotel that weekend. But this taste of trick-or-treating was a thorough delight, and surprisingly generous, especially considering that it is Flint's county. Curiously, as we got closer to the end of the night (trick-or-treating and the whole village closed at 9 pm) the docents got more talkative; the last one we visited, a pirate in a house wonderfully decorated with sea serpent and octopus and all, even put us through an amusing hazing of learning to arrr correctly, and talked about how the crowds had been.

Of course we took rides on the carousel, the fastest one we've ridden besides the Rye Playland racing derby, and beautifully decorated (ironically, when they dress up the village for Christmas they make the carousel look worse as they cover the animals with red and green blankets, obstructing their best parts), and the Superior (Ferris) wheel. Both had a few decorations for Halloween, but were really attractions on their own.

Trivia: When England's King Henry VI was proclaimed on 1 September 1421 (the day after Henry V's death) he was not quite nine months old, the youngest king England had had. Source: Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays And The History Of England In The Middle Ages: 1337 - 1485, John Julius Norwich.

Currently Reading: The Science Of Fear: Why We Fear The Things We Shouldn't --- And Put Ourselves In Greater Danger, Daniel Gardner.


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