Wednesday, November 5, 2014


This ghost advised, "If your engineer takes a flying leap
off your steamboat just before departure, follow him!"
The ghost of Charity Lamb told us how she became the first woman
convicted of murder in the Oregon Territory.  
We had an epic Halloween!  Halloween is a chance to be anything or anyone you dream to be. Naturally, Jasper wanted to be...a mushroom! Actually, he gets far more excited about mushrooms "flowering" everywhere in the fall than I am about wildflowers in the spring. So I worked hard to make him a credible mushroom costume.  It was a huge success, by which I mean that it both took less than an hour to construct, and looked decent despite the fact that my sewing skills are nonexistent!   Our residential neighborhood is frankly pathetic on Halloween.  I have always seen the holiday as a day to be neighborly.  But my neighbors are pretty crankypants on Halloween for the most part, and if they participate at all, they are prone to looking at you like you have two heads if you try to introduce yourself as their neighbor (even if you aren't wearing a two-headed costume).  Yet somehow I feel like I'm cheating if we raid someone else's neighborhood for trick-or-treating. So this year, we participated in one of the city's merchant trick-or-treat events, on Mississippi Avenue.  We actually go there to shop fairly frequently, but we had never taken a walking tour that involved going into almost every business. We were seriously impressed!  This neighborhood would make a perfect destination for an afternoon of leisurely exploration on a rainy afternoon. This year, Lone Fir Cemetery's Tour of Untimely Departures was restored after a two-year hiatus, and we jumped at the chance to take part in this awesome event.  This very historic cemetery, which is the final resting place of many of the founding families of Portland, has suffered terrible vandalism on Halloween in the past.  Volunteers came up with the solution of opening it up to the public with a living history tour in which costumed "ghosts" tell the story of their lives and untimely demises, while raising funds for cemetery restoration.  It's always a huge success, and is truly perfect for inspiring an interest in local history. (They also offer monthly tours which are family friendly.)  The Audubon Society was there with Hazel the spotted owl and Julio the Great Horned Owl, two of their education birds.  Next we made a mandatory stop at the Davis Graveyard, a home in Milwaukie which has the most incredible Halloween lawn decorations ever, complete with very spooky projected ghosts, sound effects, a hearse drawn by a ghost horse, and costumed zombies from a local high school prowling the grounds.  June through September, anyone age 15 and up can take classes  there on how to make your own awesome tombstones!  

A ghost moves through the mausoleum on the lawn of the Davis Graveyard.

A skeleton reaches out of a casket stacked beside a hearse in the Davis Graveyard.

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