Lining up costumes and pumpkins for Halloween
Photos and Article by Terry Hagerty
Shall I be Superman, Snow White or a bone-chilling evil doer? Getting the right costume, carving the proper pumpkin, and getting ready for Bastrop’s Halloween Fest 2014 are favorite subjects as Halloween fast approaches. And don’t forget to see some spooky neighborhood yards in Bastrop in the lead-up to Halloween night.
Costume delights: For those not wanting to cut two holes for eyes in a bedsheet for a quick and cheap ‘ghost’ costume, the choices abound for getting the right costume for Halloween. Wallet-saving choices are handy at several thrift stores, including Bastrop’s Goodwill and Bits and Pieces. At Goodwill a large assortment of witches’ hats ($3.99 to $10) and plastic pumpkins share space with Snow White, Spiderman, Superman, Renaissance Queen and ‘sexy-nurse’ costumes – plus scary masks. The young boys will love the Superman costume with its chest piece, cape, snap-on arm guards and a bendable (rubber) crowbar. Sometimes just a mask can make the costume, if fitted with the right grungy clothes and a bit of splattered (fake) blood. “Vampire blood” goes for 79 cents. It says on the front package, “Looks and flows like real blood” and on back are “some bloody suggestions.” A “zombie chimp” mask at Goodwill certainly does the trick, too. Nearby are pirate “peg-leg socks” and feathered eyelashes (just 79 cents for the eyelashes). Bits & Pieces also offers a fine selection of costumes, plus scary decorations at the front of the store. Watch out for that very large spider in a web crawling over the front counter. There are also a large selection of costumes and accessories at retail outlets such as Walmart and H-E-B, and other smaller local stores – just shop around!
Have the urge to make your own costume? Google “make Halloween costumes” and see numerous information choices, such as: BuzzFeed.com; realsimple.com (“10 Last-Minute Halloween-Costume Ideas”); familycrafts; and popsugar.com, etc. If you’re looking to save some money this Halloween, you can likely make a quick and easy Halloween costume with clothing you might already have around the house; the websites will point the way.
Pumpkin ready: An exquisitely carved pumpkin on the front lawn with an interior light will add to the delight of trick-o-treater’s on Halloween. But a first rule of thumb is, let the adults do the carving/hollowing out of the pumpkin – kids can help draw the outlines of eyes, teeth, mouth. Inspect the pumpkin before getting to a store’s checkout line. Beware of discoloration, bumps and gouges – which contribute to rapid deterioration. A sturdy stem is a good sign. And the famous ‘thumb thump’ will tell you the pumpkin is ripe if you hear a hollow sound. Unless you have a large pumpkin budget, purchase a pumpkin closer to Halloween, knowing that it will likely start rotting after about a week or two. Curious about the tradition of pumpkins at Halloween? It traces back to several centuries to the British Isles. According to the History Channel, in Ireland and Scotland people began to make “Jack-o-lanterns” by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away “Stingy Jack” and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets were/are still used. According to lore, Stingy Jack had a few ‘run ins with the Devil’ and was a man on the run, so to speak. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack-o-lantern tradition to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, made perfect jack-o-lanterns.
Halloween Fest and Festival/Corn Maze: Bastrop’s Halloween Fest 2014 on Friday Oct. 31 (from 5 p.m. to midnight) brings the community and visitors together for a grand event on Main Street. Presented by the Downtown Business Alliance, the event is a joint effort among local non-profit organizations, businesses and “great volunteers.” There will be haunted movie classics at the Bastrop Opera House (on Spring Street), games, trick-or-treating (from nearby stores) and a DJ at 921 Main St. There is also a costume contest for all ages. For more info, and for business-participation forms/registration see: bastropdba.org/halloween. On Nov. 1, The Fall Festival & Corn Maze at Barton Hill Farms, offers more fun. Barton Hill Farms is set amongst 100-year-old cottonwood trees, rolling grassy hills and the picturesque Colorado River. Children and adults will enjoy the outdoor entertainment, including the corn maze, rides, games, pumpkin patch, local vendors and seeing farm animals. We welcome large groups and school field trips. The farm is located at 1115 FM 969 in Bastrop and will be open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) through Nov. 9 .For more information and to buy and tickets, go to www.bartonhillfarms.com.