Carlisle at Halloween, Carlisle, MA

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Having settled into Concord’s rural sister town of Carlisle just over one year ago I have learned a thing or two over the past 14 months. Last year I was completely surprised by what a collective and celebrated holiday Halloween is here in Carlisle. This years however, I watched with fascination as the town literally transformed itself in preparation for October 31st. I think since there is really only one shop or epicenter to this small Town, it quite naturally sets the tone. That tone is created with great wit and a dose eccentricity by the owners of Ferns Country Store. Enormous spiders show up on Ferns’ porch roof sometime around early to mid-October and plant themselves through wind and rain for the rest of the month. They are such a spectacle to outsiders that pure acceptance and calm demeanor set by town folk having a coffee and reading the paper underneath these giants is what is really amusing (note relaxed gentlemen in rocking chair under purple spider).

Along with this ever present reminder that this is no ordinary time, the one school in town that houses all children Grades K-8 has a much anticipated Halloween parade through nearby streets; an event that to the best of my estimation, virtually all parents in Town attended. Finally, this evening many of the children and parents will gather at Ferns to begin their trick or treat journey to homes that surround the core of Carlisle. I don’t remember Halloween taking on these dimensions as a child or the stream of parties that lead up to this goulish evening. Perhaps it has taken on broader significance in a time when the communal aspects of other major holidays has diminished. We feel comfortable at Halloween, reaching out, offering a greeting and sharing an event that is embraced by all.