Each Halloween the BVNA selects and decorates a home in the neighborhood and uses that location as the Spirit Night House. Trick-or-treaters who come to the house get candy, a glow-necklace (to increase visibility on a dark night), and an opportunity to have their picture taken with a camera that produces an instant print.
This year (2007) BVNA members who staffed the Spirit Night House passed out almost 250 glow-necklaces (a few were duds that did not completely light), a huge bowl of candy, and took almost 90 photographs. We will be planning to buy more necklaces and film next year.
We should have thought to take a photograph of the house itself. Carlos and Marcos did a great job decorating with spider webs and huge spiders and cobwebs and pumpkins and scary figures hanging from the eaves, plus a fog machine and some great eery music playing through speakers in their front bedroom into the front yard.
Robert and later Brian took photos. Sabine and Ken handed out candy and glow necklaces. Loui cajoled reluctant folks on the sidewalk to come on in, and caught kids dashing off with candy before getting their photo taken. ("A photo? They will take my picture? Cool!") Carlos handed out the envelope and cardboard frames for the photos and did a great job shmoozing with the parents who were more comfortable speaking Spanish. Jordan dropped off more film when it was needed.
When we talked to some of the parents who visited the Spirit Night House, we found out that families come from OTHER neighborhoods to do their trick-or-treating in the Buena Vista neighborhood. When asked why, we were told it's safer, there are fewer big kids to bother the little ones or set of noisemakers, the streets are narrower so the cars don't drive fast. Also, the houses are close together and almost all of them have decorations and candy -- dense pickings -- instead of a few houses spread out that require a lot of walking. We have a nice, friendly, safe neighborhood!
Many visitors said they looked for the Spirit Night House on Mayellen (Robert and Linda Solis' home) where the BVNA has had Spirit Night the past few years, and were disappointed when they walked past and it was not there. And to their surprise -- there was the BVNA's Spirit Night house on Menker! One mother told me she'd had a photo taken of her daughter each of the last five years, showing her taste in costumes over the years.