Happy Halloween, Alexandria style

Happy Halloween, Alexandria style
(Courtesy Photo)

 The burnt orange banner atop the front page of this week’s Alexandria Times heralds one of this city’s great celebrations – that of Halloween. 

Throughout the city, and particularly in Old Town, it seems residents become ever more creative each year in erecting elaborate Halloween-themed displays. 

This year a group of residents on lower Prince Street have created their own multi-home fright-fest. Passersby can take in this free display featuring a gauntlet of spider webs with enormous arthropods and more than a dozen skeletons escaping from a house or being devoured by the spiders. There’s even a grim reaper skeleton on a horse! 

Be warned: anyone who was squeamish watching the spider scene in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” might not want to pass under these webs at night. 

In addition to spooky scenes, humorous touches abound, such as the dog on Franklin Street that didn’t quite make it over the fence to its box of dog treats. Other fun decorations include smiling pumpkins, a happy Casper the Friendly Ghost holding onto a tree and a skeleton person petting a skeleton dog. 

Yes, Halloween on Lee Street can be overwhelming, as thousands of people from around the region descend on roughly five blocks. But the crowds also lend to the festiveness, especially when adults as well as children dress up. 

Also in Old Town, just in time for Halloween, is the Little Theatre of Alexandria’s production of “Young Frankenstein.” Though the play is based on the movie by Mel Brooks, LTA’s production is a musical that, as Times theater reviewer Thompson Eskew writes “hilariously emphasizes the various elements of mature humor that the original film only alludes to in relatively small doses.” See his full review, “Young Frankenstein at LTA delivers,” on page 15. 

Residents of the Del Ray neighborhood get in on the fun with their annual Halloween Parade down Mt. Vernon Avenue at 2 p.m. Sunday. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes for children and pets. This is a great event that brings the community together for a fun and festive time. 

There are numerous other Halloween celebrations throughout Alexandria this weekend from gatherings for teens and another for families in the West End to a cocktail Halloween celebration in the Carlyle neighborhood. Check out the Times’ special Halloween calendar on page 18 for details. 

Halloween is an odd holiday, as it seems strange to devote so much effort to celebrating the macabre. But perhaps we frighten ourselves in a fun way exactly because there’s so much real horror in the world.